Freedom Without Personal Responsibility is Like One Hand Clapping
Legal access to abortion is the issue liberals hope will be their election winner for the foreseeable future. It is an ideal wedge issue for them and a major distraction from the many failures of liberal policies that are destroying the country faster than many of us would have thought possible. Americans are deeply divided on abortion. The subject evokes emotion and horror stories across the political spectrum and rational discussion of differences is rare. A Supreme Court decision last year relegated the regulation of abortion entirely to the states. Wisconsin voters mobilized in response to the unrelenting theme of abortion in the last two election cycles and have made it clear they do not want abortion to be illegal in every circumstance. It would be a mistake to deny this.
Abortion is the intentional killing of a human life – a unique individual with his or her own DNA from conception. This is an irrefutable truth. The disagreement is over whether a woman has the right to kill the human life she carries within her, not whether she is killing a human life.
Abortion is not health care. The term is misused to make the argument for its legality but killing is not health care. Some in the medical professions contend that abortion is health care and a “reproductive right.” I speak on this topic from my position as a leader in heath care for nearly 40 years. Those of us in the health professions hold different views on abortion like everyone else.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story on abortion last Sunday. They referred to it as “basic care.” They showcased the experience of a woman, now 74, who in 1970 learned she was pregnant. Her boyfriend in Madison “dismissed the possibility of marriage; law school was his priority.” She went to Mexico City for an abortion. In the eyes of some, this underscores why women must have access to abortion. In the eyes of others, it is a story about lack of personal responsibility for one’s choices. We are not going to agree on this.
Freedom affords us autonomy to make decisions about how we want to live. Free people embrace a “live and let live” philosophy and understand that their freedom ends at the point it infringes on another’s. Freedom only works if people assume personal responsibility for their choices and the consequences of their decisions. We have lost sight of personal responsibility in the way we are living and there is a growing expectation that we not only tolerate the choices of others, but embrace them, and accept consequences that infringe on our lives. This is a source of increasing conflict among us.
We no longer share values and respect for the truth. It has taken us generations to sink to these depths and returning to personal responsibility for our choices will be resisted. The mayor-elect of Chicago said we should not demonize the youth, who rioted and looted for days in downtown Chicago last weekend, because they have been deprived of opportunities in their communities. It is clear we have a long road ahead.
The laws of a free society must reflect the will of the people. Wisconsin voters have left no doubt they want women to have legal access to abortion. The legislators and governor must now clearly define what is legal. It is unlikely many will be satisfied with the legislated solution. Do not expect honest legislative efforts to resolve legality and move on. Our division is a source of power for politicians, and this is a political football they will want to keep in the air.
For those of us who know killing is wrong and believe abortion should be unthinkable, we will have to accept that women have the freedom to kill the human life they conceived within defined legal parameters. Getting to “unthinkable” will require changing many hearts and minds and those cannot be legislated. We can and must insist, however, with abortion and every other decision any one of us makes, we are responsible for how we choose to live. We cannot expect others to be involved – condoning, participating, or paying. Abortion is front and center politically, but it is far from an isolated issue. Sustaining our freedom requires we live and let live. Freedom without personal responsibility is like one hand clapping.