The views held by people who label themselves as either pro life or pro choice are often taken as being extreme by the other side. Pro life people often accuse those who are pro choice of being baby killers who would allow abortion under any circumstance, whereas the pro choice people tend to view those who are pro life as people who want to completely abolish the procedure, regardless of any reasonable need for it. From my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. I know plenty of pro life people who would allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, and risk to the health of the woman and the fetus. Also, there are many pro choice people who would see extreme procedures, like the partial birth abortion, abolished.
So if you're also in the middle ground, what do you say when someone asks if you're pro choice or pro life? My current response is: neither. While I used to identify myself with the pro life side I have never been for completely abolishing the procedure and I don't wish for people to think of me that way. I also have many friends who call themselves pro life, yet our views are essentially the same. Maybe there should be a third classification for those of us whose beliefs aren't so left or right-wing. The only problem is finding a name for it.
It is obvious that abortions should be permitted in cases of rape and incest, because the woman is not at fault and carrying a child could cause both emotional and physical problems for both the mother and child. In cases where the mother and/or the fetus's health is at risk, the decision should be between the mother and the doctor, not up to the government. Also, if the fetus were healthy, but had some sort of mental or physical debilitation, then the decision should rest with the parent(s). A child born under such conditions would likely require longer and/or more intense care than one born under normal conditions, so the government has no right to decide whether or not the parent(s) should take on the added burden. Also, if a woman is using contraceptives that failed which resulted in a pregnancy, she should be able to have an abortion, because she was trying to prevent the pregnancy in the first place.
In fact, I'd permit a woman to have an abortion under pretty much any condition except one. Taking the above statements into consideration, there are three conditions that would have to be met in order for a woman to be denied the choice:
1. The woman under consideration must be of age (no underage young ladies) and of the understanding that unprotected sex can result in pregnancy.
2. The woman must have been informed of, and had access to birth control.
3. In light of the above, the woman either refuses or neglects to use birth control and has unprotected sex.
Given that both the woman and the fetus are healthy and that the conception was not forced, I believe that under these circumstances abortion should not be an option. A woman may not want to be inconvenienced with childbirth, but having made the decision to have unprotected sex, I believe that she ought to at least carry the baby to term and given birth to the life she started. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying she should be forced to raise the child, she can still give it up for adoption. I simply believe that a moment of negligence doesn't justify an abortion. If this were a law I believe that it would promote responsibility for one's actions and that it would help reduce the number of repeat abortions.
Consider this: many women have abortions because they don't want to raise a child. Since when does giving birth mean that you have to raise a child? Sure, giving a baby up for adoption can be a hard decision, but so is having an abortion. Both can be heart-wrenching decisions just to consider, but at the end of one, the fetus will still have a chance to live. It may not be with it's parent(s), but babies are adopted out much more easily than older children and have a great chance of finding a good home. Even for those who don't, and I know a few who've been in foster homes (granted, they were older children when taken from their parents). I know a young lady who, at one point in her life, was raped on a daily basis by one of the other youths in a foster home. She never said that she wished her mother had an abortion, or that she wished she'd never been born.
Also, I believe that in third-trimester abortions where the fetus is viable, it should be saved alive rather than destroyed. Again, given that there are no health problems, rape, or incest, if the fetus can be saved without any harm to the mother, then there's no reason to destroy it. It the mother doesn't want to keep it she can still put it up for adoption.
In closing I would like to say that the freedom we have to make our own choices may be the most precious right we have, second only to the right to live.