Last year, I participated in a pro-life demonstration. I was quite nervous about it, afraid I would get yelled at, as I held my graphic sign. It wasn't too bad, but I still wondered at times whether or not I should be holding signs up of the bloody reality of abortion on a public thoroughfare. Today in class I had an experience which confirmed me that this is the right thing to do.
We were discussing conscience in my ethics class. I was making the point that the fact that we respect conscience doesn't fit with the notion that cosncience is merely an expression of feeling; if it were, why would it deserve respect? Conscience is a judgment of intelect about moral truth. One of the students brought up the issue of abortion, where there are conflicting judgments of conscience. So, I decided to explore just what it is.
Professor Karl: Who here knows what the state of abortion law is in the United States?
Pregnant student: I think you can't get them after the sixth month.
PK: No. Let's try this again: are there 1) no restrictions, 2) some restrictions, or 3) lots of restrictions on abortion in the USA?
Students: Ummmm, 2? Some restrictions?
PK: There are no restrictions at all. Abortion is legal at any time, for any reason, in any pregnancy.
PK: That's right. [to 7-month pregnant student] You are pregnant, correct? Seven months? Do you feel the baby kick? It's neat, isn't it?
Pregnant student: Yes, it is.
PK: Let me tell you what is legal. That baby, up to nine months in pregnancy, can be delivered up to a certain point, leaving the head inside, and then scissors can be jammed into its skull, killing it.
PK: That's the state of the law in the USA.
The fact that none of my students knew what the real state of affairs was in our fair country confirms me in my decision to participate in more pro-life demonstrations this summer. Yes, the signs are disturbing. But people really don't know what is legal.