Abortion is a controversial topic in every election. It stands out because it’s not just a question of raising or lowering taxes or policy about faraway countries — it’s emotional.
There are people who truly believe aborting a fetus, no matter how far along, is murder. I’m Catholic, and this was how I was raised. I’ve always been torn about the issue, but I realize it is only one among so many important issues that will need to be addressed by the next president. I also realize there is a hard-line separation between church and state.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump discussed abortion at the final presidential debate Wednesday night, and both appealed strongly to emotion. However, I think it’s important that we look at facts and statistics — not personal, religious beliefs — when deciding the government’s role in our lives.
We can’t know with absolute certainty whether abortion is a moral wrong, at least not without invoking religion. So, we can start to evaluate how important the issue is by looking at what happens to women who are denied abortions because of financial issues, obesity or missing the deadline.
In 2013, the New York Times published an article about a study on this subject. Researcher Diana Greene Foster found that “turnaways” suffered physical and economic troubles after having the babies they previously tried to abort. According to the article, these women were three times as likely to move below the federal poverty line within a couple years.
It’s also been shown that countries that outlaw abortions don’t effectively stop them from happening. In fact, the women who are desperate to have them will get them anyways, by any means. So, there are incredible safety risks to banning all abortions without exception.
Even with this knowledge, some people still cannot reconcile their moral consciences to believe in legal abortions, and I get that. If you believe, undoubtably, that killing a fetus equates to killing a human being, there is no way to argue that point.
However, I urge voters not to concentrate on just one issue. I’ve heard many people express that they cannot, as good Christians, vote for someone who wants to keep abortion legal. But there are other ways to discourage abortion that don’t include policy and that don’t include voting for someone who you may disagree with on a vast majority of other issues.
Pro-life advocates can advertise, protest and make themselves heard. They can urge women to reconsider. But they can do all of this outside the legal system.