Abortion, Life or Choice?

By Gus Bode

Since the moment the gavel dropped on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling permitting abortions, the debate over an unborn baby’s right to life versus the right of women to choose has consistently been a point of national contention.

Monday marked the thirty-fourth anniversary of the ruling, and the controversy over exactly when viable life begins in a fetus and whether abortion should be legally protected still rages on.

According to a recent nation-wide poll published by CNN, 64 percent of adults would oppose measures to repeal the landmark decision, while 29 percent would support such measures.


“”We all believe in something, either in ourselves, God, sex, status or whatever, it’s just a question of whose faith is going to be making the laws, and we think the Christian faith is the only true faith,””Burke Shae

Still, both sides continue to make their points in hopes of swaying those numbers.

Members of Jackson County Right to Life marched through chilly, wet downtown Carbondale Sunday afternoon protesting the anniversary of the ruling.

“God has blessed men and women to be able to reproduce,” Kevin Bold said. “I believe that abortion is murder.”


Bold, 25, a graduate student studying Forest Hydrology, said that Jackson County Right to Life is a secular organization, despite his personal connections with God.

The organization’s vice president and pastor of Cornerstone Reformed Church, Burke Shae said, “We’re calling people to submit to Christ and not kill their kids.”

Jamie Huber, 24, a graduate student from Hillsboro studying clinical psychology said that in her time as a councilor at a clinic, she dealt with a wide variety of women seeking abortions for an equally wide range of reasons. She said there is a common misconception among opponents of abortion that it is often used as a form of birth control. “That myth needs to be dispelled,” she said.

Even the local Christian community is divided on the issue.

A member of the Church of the Good Shepard, Colleen Flanagan, 58, said even as a practicing Christian she believes legislation regarding social issues should not be based on religious teachings alone. She said that would be a violation of the separation of church and state.

Fellow Church of the Good Shepard member, Vern Crawford, 62, said he agreed with Flanagan, adding that in his decades following the issue, the most stanch and outspoken opposition to abortion seems to come mostly from men. He said men should offer their opinions in individual situations where it is appropriate and requested, but the decision should ultimately rest with the woman involved.

However, Shae said that he sees the separation of church and state a little differently. He said that while the church as an institution can be separated from the state, it is impossible to remove belief, or faith in this case, from the creation of laws.

“We all believe in something, either in ourselves, God, sex, status or whatever, it’s just a question of whose faith is going to be making the laws, and we think the Christian faith is the only true faith,” he said.

Shae said that they were also out marching Sunday to remind women that abortions can be very emotionally and psychologically traumatic. “There are a lot of women who are broken by abortions,” he said.

He said he is also fearful that allowing abortions could be a slippery slope that could lead to killing the elderly and disabled if it were allowed to get out of hand.

Margie Parker, 61, another member of the Church of the Good Shepard said she would favor strengthening social programs that would support women by increasing the options of those who feel that they have no other choice but abortion, rather than outlawing them outright. “I would not want to judge for another woman what her decision should be,” she said.

Adding to Parker’s statement, Crawford said the answers to abortion lie in education, family planning, availability of contraception, sex education, health care and legislation that offers economic support for people who may not be able to provide for a new child.

“I would say that I am pro life in that I place a tremendous value on all life, but the abortion issue is not as simple as to say that any type of abortion under any circumstance is wrong,” he said.

However, Shae said that the issue lies more in the realm of faith for him. He said, “We’re trying to confront people, call them to faith and remind them that this is not their world; this is God’s world.”

Chris Klarer can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3397 ext. 267