Chris Huston


One of the most difficult moments of my sweet wife’s life was when she, the oldest living relative, had to sign the papers to end life support for her younger brother, whom she dearly loved.

They were both well into adulthood. He was in a coma, from which he would never emerge. He lived only with the mechanical assistance of tubes and wires plugged into very expensive machines. Still, signing those papers was the hardest thing she ever did. It was the right thing to do. But she still grieves the decision that had to be made.

It is a difficult decision to end a life.

Several states have recently rushed to pass laws placing historically strict limits on a woman’s ability to receive a medically safe abortion.

Ever since 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision, the debate has raged. In America, we agree men have a right to determine their own life’s course. But many seek to put an asterisk by that right for women. The argument goes that a woman, once pregnant, is no longer just herself, and in the event of a conflict the rights of the seed exceed those of the mother.

I belong to a Church that takes a stern view of unnecessarily-terminated pregnancies. Abortion, we believe, thwarts God’s purposes for His children.

I’m okay with that position, by the way. We believe what we believe. No one is forced to join with us.

But I’m also willing to accept that others experience life far differently than I do. In this tug-of-war of competing rights between the woman and her womb, many believe the woman’s rights take rightful precedence.

And besides, we all know that when abortion is banned, it will still continue. Always has. Always will.

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What happens to the spirits snuffed out by abortion? I like to think a loving God gives them another chance to be born somewhere else. I hope so, anyway.

But here on Earth, I would like to see adoption play a larger role in the sad plight of unprepared pregnant women. There are so many families wanting to adopt, but the baby supply is low, and the costs are traumatizingly high. If lawmakers wanted to slow the abortion rate, this would be a very good place to demonstrate some legislative funding muscle for those on both sides of the need.

Meanwhile, it bothers me that all this debate focuses solely on the female. To say that the male gets a free pass on the issue is an understatement. Being male, I get to make all the promises I can conjure up to this month’s lover, then hop off the hook at the first tug of the fishing line.

So if the results of intercourse go badly, why is it always the woman’s fault? Do you really think the vast majority of women aren’t scarred for life by their decision to abort?

It is a difficult decision to end a life.

I also sense hypocrisy in the lengths to which we go to enforce each baby’s eventual arrival, and then largely turn our backs on the quality of the life the child will eventually live. A decision to proceed with an unwanted pregnancy often predicts a life of poverty and denied opportunities to both the mother and child. The response? Oh well. Boring. You should have correctly envisioned the eventual result when you…you know.

But that’s modern life. Today states are outdoing each other with their shock and awe legislation. Each law will be challenged. Eventually a case will reach SCOTUS, and the nation will hold its breath. A decision will be made. Whatever happens, about half the population will be elated, and the other half will call it America’s darkest day. And the never-ending fight to reconcile the conflict between valid but competing rights—the mother’s and the fetus’s—will begin all over again.

Of course, I don’t know what the final verdict will be, but I’m pretty sure that whatever it is, it will be women, plagued either by their conscience or a life turned upside-down, who will end up paying the heaviest price.

Hey, baby, you know I’ll love you forever. Come on, don’t you love me too?

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Chris Huston is semi-retired in the Magic Valley following a 35-year career in broadcast journalism. Connect with him on Facebook, and at chrishuston-modernlife.com.


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