I don’t like abortion. It seems to violate the essence of what it means to love people and protect the least among us. Life is a gift from God, and we as parents, friends, and believers should invest in things that enhance life, protect life, and celebrate life. When I see pictures of my two grandchildren—Sam and Clara Mae—my feelings about these things intensify.
But when these convictions move out of my heart, and mind, and soul into more public spaces, where they intersect with the wider culture, where they collaborate with law to form public policy, where they run headlong into party platforms and legislative agendas—when they seek to find a home among those who also feel strongly about life and death, it gets complicated.
A blue house sits on the corner, and there is much about this house I like. The people who live there—and it is a very diverse bunch—talk about equality and education and the environment. They like freedom, especially the kind that gives to women the right to choose if and when to give birth.
These days the blue house is in an uproar. Everybody there is agitated about the man nominated to set in judgment over things like equality, education, and yes, abortion.
I have a lot of sympathy with their feelings about this. It seems strange that it would be men, sitting behind an elevated bench or around a mahogany table, deciding what women are allowed to do with their own bodies and also with the babies they carry.
Down from the corner is the red house. I have many friends who live there, and I hear them talk about responsibility and enterprise and the grand experiment they call American exceptionalism. Some of what they say rings true to me, and more than once I mutter an AMEN to something they sing or shout.
And they are doing a lot of shouting these days. They, also, see the man nominated for the court; but they see him as a savior rather than a threat. They want him to prevent abortions rather than protect abortion.
I don’t feel at home in either house, not in the blue house on the corner, not in the red house next door. I live in the big house in between.
It is big, bigger than you think, because there are so many of us not comfortable in either the red house or the blue house.
We want to discourage abortion but encourage contraception as a strategy to prevent both unwanted pregnancy and abortion.
We want to promote and protect life, not just before birth but at every stage from birth until death; we want fewer guns and more health care, especially for infants, children, and their mothers.
We want to address all the social issues that push people toward abortion, things like poverty, racism, unemployment, and despair.
We want to celebrate life, love and marriage, with policies that support families full of children.
We want citizens that know both their rights and their responsibilities, that practice service to others and discipline with the self.
We want a society that rewards sexual restrain even as it opens up to sexual pleasure.
We want a country where abortion is rare but legal; where mothers give birth to babies and fathers give their time and energy to raise these babies into men and women; where babies, even those in the poorest of homes, have access to the best of care: before, during, and after their birth; where these children awaken to an American world were anything is possible regardless of your language, gender, religion, or race.
We want laws that function, not to prevent abortion, but to ensure that every mother foresees a life of health, happiness, and prosperity for the baby they carry for the first nine months.
This is what we want, and there are many of us, living in the big house in the middle.
Maybe that’s where you would like to live, also.