Abortion is about as controversial and decisive an issue as any in the history of our country. Had abortions been more frequent in 1776, I’m positive our founding fathers would have detailed a more specific plan on how to treat the mother, the baby and the doctor. The question is simple enough: When does life begin? Most conservatives see it starting at conception. Most on the left see it as a woman’s choice, that the carrier of the unborn child is in the best position to determine when she doesn’t want to see the pregnancy through. As a religious man, I believe life begins once that egg and sperm connect and the glory of human biology takes over and the fetus starts to develop. My position is considered pro-life. But I never thought that label made a lot of sense when I started thinking about how I was only “pro-life” when it came to the unborn, but was certainly pro-death in areas concerning the death penalty and euthanasia, where my libertarian tendencies tend to shine through.

The reason I bring this up is because on Feb. 18, the House of Representatives decided that Planned Parenthood would lose $330 million in federal funding under an amendment that passed 240-185. If the Senate agrees, the measure could cut all federal aid to the organization during the current fiscal year, which ends in September. The significance of this is monumental, in that Planned Parenthood is a leading pro-abortion advocate, but since federal funds cannot be used for abortion services, Planned Parenthood gets around that by providing aid for other services such as cancer screenings and birth-control services. While Planned Parenthood claims it doesn’t use the funds for abortion, many in the pro-life camp believe that it uses faulty accounting to get around the laws.

With the House passing this amendment, the abortion debate will become as hot as ever, creating even more division in an already divided political spectrum. And if this issue takes up more daily print, conservatives need to be clear on how they view abortion and human life overall.

As I wrote earlier, I don’t consider myself “pro-life” since I do believe there is a time and place to execute those who have chosen to take the lives of others. When a man kills an innocent person, I believe he should be given lethal injection, the chair or whatever is still accepted in the United States as a “humane” way to end the life of a murderer.

I also believe that those who wish to take their own lives due to painful illnesses or diseases, with the help of their doctors, should have the right to decide that their time has come. While I would not choose that option for myself, I do believe that when people take their own lives, they are making choices for themselves, as opposed to taking the life of an unborn child, who has no say in the matter. I understand that not all my values should be laws, and on an issue like euthanasia, I’m willing to concede.

With that being said, I would like to label myself and those who agree with me as “anti-abortion,” instead of as “pro-life.” We must be clear in our agenda. It is not simply life that we are always protecting, but innocent life that must be protected: the innocent unborn, the innocent victims of murderers and the innocent people who have been struck with sicknesses they can no longer handle.

I’m sure a nasty battle will take place over the next few weeks, as Planned Parenthood will fight to keep its $330 million funding, and women’s groups, religious groups and pro-life and pro-choice advocates will fill the talking-head shows, but whatever side you choose, please be fair and consistent. Of course, I write this knowing that some of my conservative friends will believe me a hypocrite for being against abortion and for doctor-sponsored suicide. To them, all I can say are the words of Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”   

paulmoomjean@yahoo.com