Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (74), November 10, 1986

Choice Remains the Big Issue

Election Day represented one of those rare occasions when most voters in the Commonwealth turned out to vote for the questions above the candidates. Perhaps the most controversial question on the ballot was Question 1. Fortunately, the pro-choice movement waded through the verbal labyrinth and did a commendable job of translating to the general public.

What the anti-choice movement tried to pass off as a simply vote to restrict public funding of abortion, was in truth an attempt to make a major step toward ultimately banning abortion in the Commonwealth. I was glad to see that both John Rankin and Tom Griffith called a spade a spade when when they states that a “yes” vote was a vote against a woman’s right to safely and legally seek an abortion.

Since the attempt to slip the question past the voters, disguised as nothing more than a tax issue has been exposed, most reasonably informed voters now realize it as much pro-choice as anti-choice as it is fiscal, indeed far more so.

To those who voted “yes” out of conscience, and are enraged that our tax dollars go toward publicly funded abortions, bear in mind that many of us are just as incensed that our taxes build MX missiles and fund contras. To those who voted “yes” solely as a practical means of stemming taxes, consider that the taxpayer will ultimately pick up a much higher bill for raising and supporting many unwanted children, born because their mothers couldn’t afford a choice.

Finally, to those women who have made the excruciating decision to abort and therefore branded a murderer by some, perhaps this following quote will be of some comfort: “When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according to what the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” These are the words God spoke to Moses in Exodus 21:22-24 (Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Scholars agree this is an accurate translation from the original Hebrew text.) If she miscarries, the man who caused the miscarriage is fined.Taking it one step further and putting it in an historical context, one must remember that in an agrarian society of the time, a man;s wealth was measured largely by the number of sons he had, since boy children worked in the fields and tended livestock. Therefore, the fine for the loss of an expected child carried practical and moral implications.

If anyone can find as strong a documented in the Bible or elsewhere, that specifically addresses the moral and religious implications of the loss of unborn life, I encourage him/her to share it. Although I will remain open to this painful and complex issue, yet there seems no argument strong enough to deny a woman the right to choose.

Candice K. Garrett, 282 Thatcher Road, Rockport