If there ever was a hot topic in our culture that had gotten me emotional as a young man it was abortion. I couldn’t believe such a thing existed. As a teenager I and a group of my peers were shown a video of an actual abortion to show just how barbaric it is. Was it ever. Though I’d suggest showing such a video to anyone other than a med student is also barbaric. But I didn’t need a video. I hated abortion. I still do.
Back then it was easy. It was like my feelings and thoughts were simply sitting in a chair. Today those same feelings and thoughts have moved from that chair and onto a tilt-a-whirl. It’s a crazy ride. And before I get into it, I realize that it can sound like it’s an issue of flip flopping. But please understand it’s far from that. Flip flopping is holding to one belief when in the presence of some and changing your mind and claiming adherence to another opposing belief when in the presence of others. My mind will not be changing this way and that in the following paragraphs. Yet as I’ve gotten older my brain has grown and developed. I’ve learned to do things like empathize, listen, walk in other people’s shoes, look at the world through other people’s glasses, and of course, the delicate art of putting those shoes and glasses back before the owners know they’re gone.
The tilt-a-whirl ride, which I had been on many times through my childhood when the Exhibition (or Bill Lynch Show) came to town. Back then the ride was a little rough, a little scary, a little too much to handle, and a whole lot of fun. Likewise, when I think about the issue of abortion and talk about it, it’s scary. It’s rough. It’s hard to handle. And though I wouldn’t say it’s fun, per se, it’s definitely good.
Here’s how the ride goes for me: At first I’m angry about abortion. I hate that those little lives are snuffed out. When my feelings and thoughts were in a chair, I made those people who had abortions and those who performed them as enemies in my mind. They were tangible bad guys. When TV shows and movies told stories in such a way to get me to see things from their perspective, I hated it. I wanted to give them a piece of my mind with all the teen emotion and angst I could muster.
Then the tilt-a-whirl jerks and changes direction. Swish…
I still hate abortion, but I don’t hate people. I don’t hate doctors who perform them. I do wonder how they can do such a thing, and part of me wants to look at them like a person with a gun killing an innocent child. And that’s what it is isn’t it?
Here’s one of the biggest direction changes on the ride. When I remember the fact that abortions have always been around, it makes me think on a deeper level. They weren’t invented by Dr. Morgentaler (influential 20th century abortion doctor), and what he and others like him were trying to do was a little more noble than I like to admit.
I still hate abortion.
He and others wanted to protect women. When an unwanted pregnancy happens, it’s the woman who has to deal with it. Her life will be drastically changed and for some it’s more complicated than getting used to changing diapers and sleep deprivation. Scared and desperate, many turned to coat hangers, shady individuals claiming knowledge to make a buck, and other dangerous methods. Not only were babies’ lives taken, often so were the women’s. Or sometimes they were rendered infertile or even permanently disabled. Prevent this from happening? I’m all for it.
I do believe that a fetus is a human. Trying to draw a line anywhere between conception and birth that divides the child into a stage of “non-human” to “human” is just ridiculous to me.
Plain and simple: I’m a man. Though I am not disqualified from the discussion by virtue of my gender, I believe strongly that I need to readily admit my limitations, especially considering men’s roles and behaviours concerning abortion pre-19th century. Though I feel so strongly against taking life from a fetus, I cannot testify as someone knowing what it’s like to have a baby. In fact, I might even consider myself as pro-choice in a sense.
Still hate it. HATE IT!
I’d only be pro-choice in the sense that a woman have the right to choose. Women should be the principal debaters when this issue is explored. As long as abortion is legal and as long as it would stop violence done towards pregnant women, I do support a woman’s right to choose. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean being anti-life. And pro-life doesn’t necessarily mean anti-choice.
Last swish and the ride is slowing down…
Though I am not a woman I know what it’s like to lose a baby that’s inside the womb of the woman I love. It’s horrible. I’ll stop there, because there is no way to explain it. Now I don’t want to simply take that very personal, painful experience and let it dictate my thought process. But it does mean something to me concerning this. Furthermore, I have this feeling that we’re missing something… something in the search for a solution. I don’t judge you for a second. I only judge myself and my convictions.
Having said that, I love that Juno gives an angle that we all can appreciate on all ends of the abortion debate. I won’t tell you what that is, because if you don’t know it yet, please watch the movie. It’s awesome.
Congratulations, Juno. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Ellen Page of course (take that Kirk!). I love that she’s identified herself as “a tomboy from Nova Scotia.”
Best Actor: As much as I love that Donald Sutherland is from Saint John, I’d have to go with Mike Myers. Yeah baby yeah!!
Best Quote: “I trust everyone. It’s the devil inside them I don’t trust.” Charlize Theron as Stella in The Italian Job.
Ok, after stepping off that ride I’ve gotta shake off the jitters. A top ten list might help:
My Top Ten Favourite Canadian Actors
10. Andrea Martin
9. Martin Short
8. Cobie Smulders — “Nobody asked you Patrice!!!”
7. Michael J. Fox
6. Catherine O’Hara
5. Eugene Levy
4. Ellen Page
3. Mike Myers
2. John Candy
1. Jim Carrey