Once upon a time, in a prosperous country, many women decided that nurturing the next generation should not necessarily be their primary vocation. They offered a variety of serious reasons. They wanted to be appreciated as individuals. They had gifts and skills that should be allowed to develop and serve the community. They were often very well educated. They should not be the victims of male dominance or aggression. They should be able to choose what they did with their lives without being excessively burdened with unwelcome child rearing. They embraced abortion as one of the tools that offered them a possibility of control.
Pro-Choice women and their supporters therefore organized, demonstrated and lobbied vigorously in favor of abortion. Intense controversies ensued, particularly with citizens who defended an unborn child’s right to life. Politically the prosperous country, that had always prided itself on its idealism and its protection of children, was torn apart. What could be done?
Could the answer be found not on the battlefields of warring factions, but by addressing the conscience of each woman, one at a time? Could the states that embrace free access to abortion go one step further and create a licensing process?
Their doctors are already authorized to perform abortions and to dispense abortifacient drugs. But what about the women seeking abortions? Could they be required to exercise their right to choose by going to the appropriate department at their local city or town hall and filling out an application for a license to abort?
On the form, the woman would be required to affirm that she understood two statements: First, that the fetus, at whatever stage of development, is alive; and secondly, that scientific evidence demonstrates that it is human. Having acknowledged these two facts, she would then sign the application for a state license to terminate the development of her child. She would then receive a document, the abortion license, that she would give to her doctor who, in turn, would register the death with the state. Appropriate statistics would be recorded. All three parties, the woman, the doctor and the state, would formally acknowledge their mutual responsibility for the termination of a human life.
No longer able to hide behind the smoke and polemics of political controversy, would fewer women seek abortions? If conscience means anything, I would hope so. Maybe the prosperous country would even save its soul.