Monday, December 6, 2010

Economy vs. Morality?

I'm going to write this ...taking not the high-road, but maybe a more journalistic perspective. Not because I don't have an opinion or conviction on the matter, but that is a perspective for another time, another forum.

This afternoon I was unable to find my usual lunch-time radio talk show. I still don't know where it has gone, frankly. While thumbing through the dial I came upon NPR. I have not, traditionally, been a frequent listener of National Public Radio, and since I couldn't find my usual talk-show ....I listened in on NPR. The topic of choice seemed to be the current economic situation and its effects on marriage, families, children, etc.

A caller's comments really, really struck me! I'll describe losely (though, I believe, accurately) what the caller said. The caller indicated she and her husband had opted for aborting a child ..though they already had other children (prior, I assume). I believe the caller also stated that her marriage ultimately ended in divorce. Financial strain was an obvious culprit ..both on the abortion decision, as well as the divorce.

Here's the comment that struck me. "I love my kids more than my own life, but we wondered if we were being financial and socially responsible in having another child." Now that part is almost an exact quote; a terribly close, but accurate, paraphrase.

I don't, normally, pick apart comments or statements made by folks. But this one was practically unavoidable.

1. Firstly, she stated that she loved her kids more than her own life. Granted, I think she was refering to the children she already had. But it also made clear her position on the validity of life of her un-born (now aborted) child.
2. Secondly, she questioned whether or not they (she and her former husband) were being financially and socially responsible. I'm tellin' ya' ...I didn't do it on purpose, but my mind IMMEDIATELY broke this portion of her comment into three areas of note. (a) Are they being "financially" responsible? Just how prevalent is the weight & balance, among married couples, of the financial responsibility of having a child as compared to the thought of whether or not an un-born child has a right to live? (b) The caller also questioned, in the same phrase, the "social" responsibility of having another child? One would have to nail down the specifics of this detail. Did she mean that it is possibly "socially irresponsible" to add another child to the world; over-population concern, or what? (c) Lastly, the fact that she questioned these things with the word "responsibile" tacked on. She had concerns of "financial" responsibility. Any parent reading this can relate with that concern. She had concerns of "social" responsibility. Again, without speaking, personally, with someone making such a statement isn't hard, within the context of her statement, to imagine (or assume, if you will) the proposed concern. How would this affect her life, her husband's life, their marriage, and / or their social status ...if they had another child, another mouth to feed.

I wish you could have heard the conversation for yourself. The tone was almost "matter of fact". It was as if the topic was in regard to their personal stock portfolio, and the effects of a decision to buy, sell, etc. were at hand.

Here's the elephant in the room! The word "morality" NEVER came into the picture. This stunned me? An otherwise reasonable, rational sounding human stated... "....we wondered if we were being financially and socially responsible in having another child.", but didn't appear to question the moral obligation of their decision.

No doubt.... another mouth to feed, child to educate, to clothe... costs more money. No doubt... an additional child affects one's social life. I remember how much my wife and I felt that change after having 3 children. One child was a piece o' cake in terms of doing things you "used to do", and just hopping in the car and "going". A 2nd child only slowed that process a little. But having our 3rd child completely changed our perspective ...including our "social life". I can understand all that.

But isn't it striking that our society has come to the point that we can weigh the decision of the progression of, or termination of, the birth of a child by considering all these possible "life aspects" ...except for one?? This was an educated, seemingly intelligent human making these comments. No dregs of society. Has the economic woes of today forced us into a corner?? Hmmm.. there have been previous economic woes in our society; in our own country. Abortion wasn't a social option. It couldn't be factored in at all least not as a viable, much less "legal", option. What has changed? When did we become so certain that aborting the birth process of a fetus was so definitely "an option"... that we don't even weigh in the "moral" aspect of it in a public conversation? Clearly, I do not know this lady and her former husband. I do not, and would not, pretend to understand their circumstances in life. Nor do I have any desire, at all, to place judgment on them. I have a large enough plank in my own eye. This question, this wonderment, is not about the lady on the radio. It is about "us" ...all of us a society.

I guess I'd make a poor journalist. I think my opinion is bleeding through.

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