On The Issues

Abortion

In Brief

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Defuse the abortion issue by allowing for Pre-Natal Adoption.

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Pre-Natal Adoption saves babies. That’s Pro-Life.

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Pre-Natal Adoption preserves a woman’s right to choose. That’s Pro-Choice.

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Pro Life + Pro Choice = Pro Option

In Depth

[This is the text of the speech presented by Mr. Krawchuk to the Educational Testing Service Toastmasters]

I’m a big fan of science fiction. One of my favorite fictional role models is Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. There was one episode where he was in a tight situation. The picture was bleak; everyone thought they were doomed to die, all except Captain Kirk. When someone asked him why he didn’t appear concerned, Kirk answered: “I’ve never believed in the no-win scenario. I like to think that there are always options”, then he proceeded to rescue the whole lot of them.

It’s great fiction, but it makes you wonder what can be done with one of the biggest no-win scenarios that we face today in the 21st century.

What can be done about abortion?

The room gets real quiet when you say that word, doesn’t it?

It’s a powerful word, isn’t it?

It conjures up images of frightened, embarrassed teenaged girls hiding their faces as they hurry past protesting picketers. It conjures images of graphic pictures right out of a Steven King novel, images of bombed clinics on the evening news.

It’s the collision between indignation at the taking of an unborn life, and indignation at being robbed of one of the most personal choices there is.

People feel very strongly about abortion, don’t they?

People disagree about abortion. Did you ever look at the statistics? It’s always forty-some percent versus forty-some percent, with about ten percent who won’t say.

People are divided about abortion, so much so that it must have been King Solomon himself who set the rules of the debate: “Let it be divided.”

And so it is.

But imagine, for a moment, that you were King Solomon (or Queen Solomon), and that your wish was the world’s command. When it came to abortion, what would you wish for your world? Pro life? Pro choice? What would you choose?

I don’t know about you, but as for me, I’d wish for the best of both worlds. I’d decree a world where you could respect the unborn life and a respect woman’s right to choose. And it’s possible. It’s an approach I call “pro-option”.

So were I “just this king” instead of just this guy, I would decree that if a woman does not want her unborn child, she must first sign a legal document saying that she thereby abandons her unborn child. If she doesn’t want the baby, she doesn’t have to keep it; that’s pro-choice.

But, at that point, any individual or organization could then step forward and offer to adopt the abandoned child. If someone else wants the child, they can have it. That’s pro-life.

Now follow the consequences of that one decree allowing for pre-natal adoption. Me, I see four options available regarding the unborn child.

The first option is that the foster parents could ask the woman to please bring the baby to term. The request would be made through the doctor so that the woman’s privacy is respected; and it’s a request, not a demand. The woman can agree or not.

If the woman agrees to bring the child to term, then we’ve saved one baby, haven’t we? That’s pro-life. But we’ve also let the woman decide, haven’t we? That’s pro-choice.

By the way, if the woman agrees to have the baby, I think it’s only fair that the new parents should be responsible for paying the woman’s medical bills for the delivery. Since many babies are aborted for economic reasons, this first option is guaranteed to save more babies.

But I digress. What happens if the woman says “no”; what if she doesn’t want to carry the baby to term? Again through the doctor, the second option is for the hopeful foster-parents-to-be to ask the woman to carry the child as long as possible, long enough that labor could be safely induced before the nine months are up without endangering either the mother or the child-to-be.

With the current state of medical technology, a premature baby can be safely delivered around the seventh month, depending on the circumstances. Sure, it would cost more for the premature delivery, but it would still be paid for by the foster parents.

Will people step forward to adopt? I believe that there would be no shortage of willing foster parents, because one of the biggest tragedies in the world today is that there are not enough children to adopt.

Do you know how many people want to adopt a child, but can’t? Or how long it takes? Or the bureaucratic hoops that must be navigated?

Do you know how difficult, how expensive, how chancy it can be? It takes years, and tens of thousands of dollars. That’s one of the reasons why so many adopted children are from overseas. It’s easier, cheaper, and quicker.

So the foster parents are there. The demand is there. The babies are there. The love is there. All we need do is alter the rules, just a little, to help match the supply to the demand.

But what if the woman still says “no”? What if she chooses not to hang on into that “third trimester” when safe delivery is virtually assured? Then the third option would be to attempt to transplant the unborn child to a host mother, and bring it to term that way.

Now, I realize that such a feat is currently beyond medical technology, but not too far. Embryo transplants are routinely performed in the animal kingdom. It wouldn’t be too far a stretch to adapt those techniques for use on humans.

I also realize that if the laws were changed today, some people would begin performing research into how to safely perform the transplants.

By allowing those people who care about unborn babies to earmark their own dollars for research, little by little I’m sure that that seven-month “safe delivery” period could be pushed back to six months, then five, then four.

It may take twenty, thirty, or even fifty years, but eventually techniques will progress to the point where every single unwanted child could be saved. Better still, the same techniques could then be employed to save wanted babies, too. All we need do is start the ball rolling now by allowing for the options.

By the way, there is a fourth option, sort of a default option.

Think about it: if no woman agrees to bring the baby to term, or near enough to term to be delivered safely, if no one agrees to adopt the unborn child, and if no one finances the medical research necessary to save the child, then we have exactly what we have today: abortion on demand.

But there are people willing to adopt, there are women who are willing to bring the child to term, there are doctors willing to work on the problems of difficult deliveries. And if any one of them steps forward, we’ve just saved another child while leaving the decision in the hands of the woman.

Face it. When it comes to abortion, there will never be a utopia, but one thing is certain: A pro-option solution would work to save babies while preserving a woman’s right to choose.

With one decree we can turn a divisive no-win scenario into one where everyone wins: the woman, the foster parents, and the child. And it doesn’t take a Mr. Spock to see the logic in that. We only have to try for it.

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