*** This essay was originally posted on 8/28/12 ***
I am unapologetic in my anti-abortion morality. I am also unapologetic in my stance of pro-choice legislatively. Rarely do I ever speak publicly about my personal and political positions on the issue of abortion, because on first look, my positions seem to be in conflict. Then the issue of health care reform hits our cultural dialogue and I see another layer of why my beliefs fit for me. The issue of the Health and Human Services Mandate brings home the reason I come down the way I do on the issue of abortion. The bottom line is an issue of civil liberties. I don’t want the government to be able to dictate to me about issues that involve my body, my reproductive options, my socio-economic opportunity, my ability to earn a wage, or how to practice whatever faith I choose to submit to.
The mandate requires non-church, faith organizations to offer medical coverage for employees that goes in direct contradiction to said organizations moral convictions. Churches get exemption but what about religious education organizations? Well, these organizations are making their case against this mandate, and so I ran across this the other day on my Facebook feed:
Biola University is my Alma Mater. I had an incredible college experience there and I feel like I was uniquely prepared for my adult life and career while I studied at that institution. I was definitely in the minority when I chose to stand pro-choice during my college days. With regards to their current position however, this pro-choice alumni is in support of their declaration. I believe we need to fight for a woman’s right to make the final decision on her life, her health, her body. I also believe that we need to fight for religious freedom and the ability to live out our moral convictions the way we feel called. I think that requiring an institution to fund an elective procedure that is in opposition with their organizational tenants is a huge overstep of the Federal Government.
We live in a broken world and my heart cries out for the people who get caught in a situation where the idea of abortion needs to enter in. Abortion is a complex and dark reality in our world…one that needs compassion and pro activity, not rhetoric and judgement. Abortion will always be present, whether it is legal or it is not, so there is no way to reduce it to a simplistic issue. Freedom is also a complex issue, yet it is a reality that is a source of inoculation for the darkness in our world and in our own hearts. It too will always be present, which gracefully there will never be a way to remove it’s presence in this world.
So in the end, I will celebrate freedom in both situations…even though each situation has a different conclusion to similar issues. My bottom line is that we stay mindful of our liberty. Abortion needs to be legal, but we need to find better solutions so that we drastically reduce the need for such trauma. I have serious doubts that legislation will ever offer us enough to address the underlying dynamics that live just beneath the surface of the theoretical arguments. If an abortion is decided upon, regardless of the dynamics surrounding such a decision, the government does not have the right to require a company/ institution to pick up the financial responsibility for someone who makes that decision. The government does however, need to protect the woman’s right to exercise her freedom by keeping the gender field as fair as possible when it comes to reproduction and the ramifications for both men and women.
We must stay alert to the whittling away of our liberties. I don’t need to morally align with the liberty someone needs to cling to in order to use my voice to fight for their right to retain that freedom. I feel called to be someone who comes alongside, not someone who hands morality down from on high. I do not want a country dominated by religious tyranny, nor do I want a country where systematic repression goes unchecked. Freedom is dependent on how well we balance personal vs. collective liberty. Even though we live in an age that is losing touch with this reality, it does not erase the truth. I hope we can all learn a better way to rest in the balance of liberty. After laboring over this blog entry, it is my goal to explore my posture towards liberty more intimately…that is for sure.