by Rachel MacNair
There are now many years of experience with legalized abortion in the United States, Great Britain, and many other countries. We can therefore now consider and discuss this actual experience, as opposed to pre-legalization ideas of what might happen, in light of the Quaker testimonies.
We need to reflect on the possibility that abortion practice is inconsistent with the Quaker Peace Testimony due to being violence against unborn children, against their mothers, and against their fathers, grandparents, and siblings. It violates the insight that using violence usually causes more problems than it solves, as shown by disappointing results of pre-legalization predictions on such things as child abuse and the feminization of poverty. It makes abortion staff work in conditions of intense spiritual and psychological harm.
We need to reflect on the possibility that abortion justification contradicts a testimony on human equality in terms of dignity and respect because it singles out the unborn child as an exception. In many cases it treats pregnant women as unequal, and deprives them of support and accommodation to which they are entitled.
We need to reflect on the possibility that abortion language goes against a testimony on integrity because it requires dehumanizing or ignoring the unborn child, it requires applying euphemisms to the act of violence, and it requires misrepresenting or obscuring sexist pressures on pregnant women.
We also need to consider the rights of people with disabilities when it comes to recent advocacy and actions for both passive and active forms of euthanasia. Arguments are made in some cases that people with disabilities are not entitled to the suicide prevention services other people get. In other cases, such people are actually encouraged by others to regard their lives as burdensome and worthless. Is this not violence against people with disabilities? Does it not treat them as unequal? Does it not require dishonest language to obscure these two points?
Friends Witness for a Pro-life Peace Testimony wishes to encourage reflection on these points, as well as action for nonviolent and life-affirming alternatives.