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Err on the side of life

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Day. To mark the day, I’ve included a column of mine written a couple years ago. I realize that being publicly pro-life will offend some, but I also know that open dialogue about the topic is the only way to understand both sides of the issue.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant recently signed into law a bill that could close the state’s only abortion clinic.

The law doesn’t ban abortion outright, but it requires abortion providers to be board-certified obstetrician gynecologists and to obtain admitting privileges at Mississippi hospitals.

It’s a hurdle many are hoping abortion providers can’t overcome. I, for one, certainly am.

As a man, I realize I can never fully understand the difficulties women face when making fateful decisions on abortion. But I completely understand that life is valuable and should be protected.

Should women enjoy the individual freedom of deciding what to do with their bodies? Of course. But individual freedoms often take a backseat to another’s right to life.

That’s why we outlaw drunken driving. Let me be clear, I’m not saying women who seek abortions are like drunk drivers. But the safety of motorists takes priority over the individual freedom of imbibing alcohol and then driving a car. As a society, we have decided that the right to life trumps individual freedoms in this instance. Why should abortion be any different?

Smoking is yet another example. Cities across the nation have enacted smoking bans to protect the health of the public. In those cities, leaders have decided that the health and safety of the public is more important than the individual freedom of smoking in some public places.

Again, the right to life is placed above individual freedoms.

Some will argue that an unborn child is not fully human, and so doesn’t enjoy the same right to life as full humans. But deciding when a fetus is fully human is not a scientific endeavor, it’s a philosophical one. Why not err on the side of life, and simply say life begins at conception? To err the other direction puts countless lives at risk of death.

Pro-choice proponents often cite individual freedom as their justification for abortion. They will say that women have a right to decide what happens to their bodies. I won’t argue with that. Women, just like men, should decide what happens to their bodies. But there are exceptions, and abortion should be chief among them.

To argue that women should have a right to their own body at the expense of another life is selfish at best and homicidal at worst.

As a society, we should seek to protect life, not seek to find ways to justify destroying it.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what Gov. Bryant recently had to say about the pro-choice camp.

After signing the previously mentioned bill, Bryant said this about proponents of legalized abortion:  “their one mission in life is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb.”

Regardless of how we feel about the issue, I think we can agree that rhetoric like this only serves to further divide the two camps. While pro-choicers and pro-lifers will never agree on this issue, both sides are made up of people who must live and work together. That gets harder to do when either camp spews hatred.

 

Luke Horton is publisher of The Daily Leader.