It’s Much More Than A “Yes” Or “No”

Working my way through the letters-to-the-editor of the Star-Advertiser one morning, I came across the best approach to the abortion stalemate I’ve yet seen thrown out for public discussion.

And maybe my reaction is because it matches my own approach.

The letter was from John Heidel of Kailua, a retired Punahou School chaplain and president of Interfaith Alliance Hawaii.

He writes: “Those of us who have advocated for pro-choice need to accept the reality that indiscriminate abortions are wrong. Those of us who have advocated for pro-life need to be less rigid and controlling.

“I’ve become both pro-life and pro-choice when considering this issue.”

Right on, John!

John Heidel

It’s much more than a simple “yes, abortions” or “no abortions allowed.”

It’s so much more than only a legal argument. It’s a moral dilemma.

Look at it this way: A person employed by a prison in a death sentence state may be legally permitted to pull the switch or inject the drug that carries out the death sentence. But his moral sense might interfere. He might not be comfortable putting someone to death.

I don’t think many of us who are pro-choice view abortion as “good.” We recognize religious misgivings and personal reservations. That’s why we call ourselves pro-choice rather than pro-abortion. It’s a call by the involved woman, not by the rest of us.

Similarly, opponents prefer pro-life to anti-abortion. It’s not the process they are against. It’s the loss of a budding life form, albeit not yet existing on its own.

But those have been the people we’ve all seen taking some very nasty protests to the streets and at abortion clinics.

The arguments should be made dispassionately before lawmakers and judges. No shouting. No shootings. No disparaging of pregnant women seeking abortion advice.

There currently are wins and losses in various courts on various moves by both sides, but mainly efforts by the pro-life side to restrict an act that the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled to be legal. (Hawaii okayed abortion three years earlier.)

It’s probably coming back for another look by the new court.

We need to restrain ourselves and accept the outcomes. To do otherwise is to hold our highest court in public contempt as in some South American and Asian countries.

And as the Rev. Heidel said: “While viewing all life as sacred, there is also a need to consider the quality of life.”

Excellent summation.

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

4 replies on “It’s Much More Than A “Yes” Or “No””

  1. I say: Put your money where your mouth is.

    Don’t ask me to pay for abortions. If you are so pro-choice, sponsor a free abortion clinic for indigent women.

    If you are so pro-life, adopt a foster child or sponsor an orphanage.

  2. Hi Bob Jones, maybe I’m wrong, but it sounds like you are cryptically advocating for some type of rollback of Roe v. Wade. Maybe I’m being dense here, but I wish you would express your point in a more straightforward fashion. You said you have a thick skin, so I hope you can take this.

    You said, “It’s so much more than only a legal argument. It’s a moral dilemma.” Everybody’s morals are different. Everybody applies their morals in a different way. What’s your point?

    You also said: “A person employed by a prison in a death sentence state may be legally permitted to pull the switch or inject the drug that carries out the death sentence. But his moral sense might interfere. He might not be comfortable putting someone to death.” Would you support someone like Kim Davis, Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

    1. I generally don’t approve anonymous comments, but you raise one valid question.
      Whether I support a rollback of Roe v Wade. Nothing could be farther from my mind or wishes. It is precedent and should stand.
      That’s a constitutional matter and leaves the abortion decision where it belongs –with the woman.
      Your other comments seem to be arguments for argumentation’s sake.

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