I was asked what I believe was an honest and sincere question.
"Would you share with me what makes it okay to kill a baby?"
I answered him honestly.
My response, edited for clarity and personal details, is below.
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I'm going to take you at your word, and explain as best I am able.
First and foremost, I'm going from the advantageous position of knowing I will never be forced to make this choice, as I am neither a doctor nor a woman.
But from where I'm standing?
It starts with many of the same reasons it can be OK to kill anyone else.
It's not a pleasant choice. But it's a choice that on horrible occasion had to be made.
Pregnancy and childbirth are the number one killer of women worldwide throughout history, full stop.
We're designed rather badly that way. It takes regular access to first world medicine for women to be more likely to die from cancer and heart disease than from childbirth. It happens all the time.
And first world medicine doesn't stop it entirely. I have more than one loved one who had all the access in the world and almost died anyway.
So in that case, it is a matter of self defense.
It's not often thought of that way. People think self defense and they think strangers in dark alleys.
Well, dudes do. But that's a bit of a tangent. A tangent that boils down to the fact that there's a lot of ugly circumstances that can come into play depending on how your life has gone so far.
But even if I can wrap someone's head around it, it's not fully understood that way, because a lot of people don't understand self-defense in general.
I tell the handful of people I've taught that far that there are choices that keep you alive, choices that keep you out of jail, and choices that let you sleep at night.
But the thing about self defense is that you can't truly be forced to defend yourself. Doesn't matter what your weapon is or how much you're trained. Oh, you can be coerced or punished or pressured, but you can't truly be forced. It's your decision and yours alone.
And quite frankly, it should be.
On top of that, something else that is rarely spoken of: Lethal self-defense cannot only be used to counter an attempt to kill. But also attempts to maim. Attempts to commit what the lawyers call grievous bodily harm.
Grievous bodily harm includes rape.
It's rarely used as a trial defense, for reasons any woman in your life can tell you. But it's there on paper. And for much of human history, it was practical as well. Parts of the US had the death penalty for rape of an adult on the books until the 1970's, and for the rape of a child until 2008.
At the bottom of their hearts, a lot of those who rail against self-defense fear people they don't control making such choices.
Many people feeling that fear have taken it out on me over the years. Many don't recognize that that is what they're feeling or what they're doing. But I see it. I can almost smell it on them. And I can smell it when a similar fear is being thrown at other people.
Those who rail against abortion fear women they don't control having the power of life and death within the confines of their body.
I can hear all of your points and arguments. I have heard them all my life.
But I will ignore them for now and look at what you really fear.
And it is a fear.
A woman who controls her own body wields not only the power of life but that of death as well.
One of those would be intimidating enough, but both? In one person? One uncontrolled by a man? Uncontrolled by culture or family or law?
It is fear that drives every attempt to deny her that power. To deny her that choice. To put obstacle after obstacle in her way, as if risking her own life to bring forth another wasn't obstacle enough.
I would not think to force anyone to defend themselves lethally. But I would let them know that doing so does not diminish their humanity. Despite what politicians and media and the mob think of it. That choice is their own.
Thus do I support a woman's choice. I would not force them into making one or the other. But I would let them know that doing so does not diminish their humanity. Despite what politicians and media and the mob think of it. That choice is their own.
You asked me what makes it OK to kill a baby?
I say your fear has blinded you into believing such choices are that simple.
The way fear of my weapon has blinded others into believing other choices are so simple.
You and they are so concerned with not trusting me or not trusting this hypothetical woman to make an ethical choice that you would deny us the right to make the choice at all.
Neither you nor they are close enough, involved enough, to make an informed choice for me, or for her.
And neither she, nor I, will allow your lack of trust to deny us our choices. They are difficult enough without you.
That is where I stand.
It is a position some may call crude and ugly, but it is one I can live with.