I’m not a fan of abortion because I’m not a fan of murder in general. As I see it, a person who is at a very early stage of life is murdered. Therefore, abortion is murder. Right?
But that does not mean I’m in favor of abolishing it.
If abortion is murder, so what? We countenance murder in certain situations, don’t we? Think war, where we glorify it, uncontrolled gun sales, self-defense, guilty but insane, and capital punishment. Think anti-vaxxers and mask refuseniks whom we don’t coerce to behave in a rational manner. We permit companies to pollute the earth, contaminate our food, and release all kinds of carcinogens into the world that accumulate in our bodies. In short, the fact that abortion is murder does not mean we must criminalize it.
Face it. We live brief and unremarkable lives. Most of us are quickly forgotten. What difference would it have made to the grand scheme of things if you or I had never been born? None. Perhaps a potential Einstein or two have been aborted over time. That’s too bad, but we have muddled through alright without them.
Genius or not, though, once a person is born, people get attached to them and consider them essential. As an adoptive parent, I am thankful that my bright and lovely daughter was carried to term by her unwed teenage birthmother.
I can countenance abortion but would prefer a world where it is completely avoidable. In fact, we already have the means to prevent most abortions. In an ideal world, where everyone used contraception appropriately unwanted pregnancies would be rare. Sure, and if everyone got vaccinated it would eliminate Covid. If everyone exercised and had a healthy diet the hospitals would be empty. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Human nature being what it is, access to birth control is not enough.
Joseph D. Nehemiah who wrote the imaginative and entertaining novel “Cosmic Casino: The True Word of A. Lester Lord,” implored me on his deathbed to finish the trilogy he had envisioned. I honored his request and followed his novel with two sequels, “The Brief Long-Term Therapy of A. Lester Lord” and “Guitars of the Gods: The Redemption of A. Lester Lord.” Perhaps you have read them, though, to judge from sales, it’s more likely you haven’t. No matter. You will not miss them just as you don’t miss all the people you’ve never met, or, for that matter, all the aborted fetuses you never met.
In his first and final attempt at garnering the Nobel Prize in literature, Nehemiah put forth the following rational solution to abortion. Why, he asked, given the technology we now possess, should sex and reproduction be connected at all?
He suggested that everyone should have their gametes harvested and frozen at the onset of puberty, then be permanently sterilized. This would enable them to do what they are going to do anyway with no concern about pregnancy. The frozen eggs and sperm would be stored for future in-vitro fertilizations when donors are ready to become parents. All pregnancies would be planned and wanted. Severely abnormal gametes would not be used. There would be no catastrophic birth defects.
Those who insist God must decide which gametes should get together can rest assured that they will otherwise be chosen at random, insuring that His hand guides the selection process. After all, the most cursory glance at most of the beings He has ordained to bless with life would reveal, even to the most ardent believer, that His quality control team could definitely stand a bit of assistance. This is not to demean the Deity who, burdened with controlling every piddling event in the entire universe (including determining when each couple must engage in sex, evaluating every ovum and the millions of sperm in every ejaculation, and deciding when it is necessary for a woman to be raped in order for a preordained being to be conceived) must surely be prone, even He, to an occasional slip-up.
The price tag of Nehemiah’s brave new world may seem daunting, but look at the trillions we could just as soon have burned in the futile pursuit of turning Afghanistan into a democratic state. By the way, a lot of that money was spent on, guess what, murder. Think of what better use Nehemiah’s plan would have put our money to.
And think of what would happen if the GOP didn’t have abortion to use as a ploy to get rubes to vote against their own self interest. Aside from protecting the rights of unborn Covid viruses, helping gun manufactures, literally, make a killing, shielding the superrich from taxation and endorsing environmental armageddon, they would really have no reason to exist. (Hmm. maybe we could figure out how to identify gametes that are likely to result in Republicans and cull them out along with the birth defects.)
I know Nehemiah’s plan sounds draconian, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a stroke of genius. I’m truly honored to have known Joseph and to have been entrusted with his legacy. If his plan were enacted in my lifetime I would lobby tirelessly for his birthday, April 1, to be designated a national holiday. HIs plan is, admittedly, highly unlikely to come to fruition, but what truly great ideas ever do?