This is such a volitale issue, and I feel so strongly about it that I have kept out until now. Yet I honestly believe that my perspective might add to the discussion, so here goes.
I have always believed that life begins at conception. I am also *extremely* pro-choice. Many years ago :-) I was a teenager faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The baby's father would not publically admit to responsibility. Some of you may be wondering why I was so dumb as to be in that position. Let's just agree that I was dumb. Having to tell my Mom was very difficult. When my Dad found out he quit talking to me. I decided to carry the baby to term, and after a bit of time realized that the best option for my child to have the kind of life that she deserved was to give her up for adoption.
I read through the classifieds a couple of times a week, looking for an ad placed by someone looking to adopt. But 20 years ago, these were not common, and I didn't see any. I wanted an adoption where I would get occaisional Christmas cards and the like so that I would no that she was OK. But that didn't happen. When I was 5 months pregnant, one of my brothers beat me, aiming for my belly. I had to move in with a friend after that. So I went through the long months of pregnancy, and 36 hours of a difficult labor ( baby was "sunny side up" for those of you who have been there. One of the L&D nurses said "I don't know how you can do it, *I* could *never* give away my child" which made me feel like a horrible person. After all, I could not manage to do a decent job at the most basic thing of "womanhood" At least that is how I felt at the time. Saying something like that to a person is not helpful! It still makes me mad when people say stuff like that.
I have missed this child for every day since her birth. She is now an adult, and I hope and pray that someday she will try to find me ( and yes, I am registered). Asking another person to go through the pain that I go through is not right. I also am able to feel good about the decision I made. I did what was right for me, and what i thought was right for my child. The fact that *I* made my own decision, also means that I get to take credit for it! I stood up for what I believe, and even though the going was tough, I remained true to my beliefs. So having the choice was important to me.
Any woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy has some difficult choices. None of them are easy. I wouldn't wish the turmoil on my worst enemy.
As someone said above, not all people, and not all religions believe that life begins at conception. Some people believe that the soul chooses which body to inhabit shortly before birth. Some people do not believe in a soul at all. How can I tell people that they are wrong? I can't. That is why the choice needs to be left to an individual.
As for catostrophic late term abortions, I once was on the same public speaking thing with a woman who had one. She and her huband had been trying for a couple of years to get pregnant. When they were finally, joyfully, pregnant, they got news that most of us can't even imagine, their baby's brain was outside of its skull. The child's intestine and stomach, etc were out side of the body. The baby had *zero* chance of survival. Mom's future reproductive capacity was endangered if she continued to a full term delivery. After consulting with their doctor and religious leader, they decided to end the pregnancy. I absolutely support their right to make that decision. The law should not preclude them from choosing this option.
I have deliberately used the words "baby" and "child" because that is what *I* believe. I would never ask anyone to think what I think. I could just as easily used the words "fetus" and "embryo".
Young people need to be properly educated, and abstinance only curriculums do not work. Decent programs should make abortion less necesary. But it should always be legal and accesible. Women should not be made to feel guilty about whatever choice they make regarding unplanned pregnancy.