Thursday, October 09, 2008

Warning to USA voters - of whatever 'colour'

While I am very happy to see that a man of colour is very likely to be the next US President, I also fear for citizens the USA who may be in danger of losing other hard-won freedoms - regardless of who is in the White House for the next few years.

The US constitution supports the right to hold any religious faith or none and all that entails. However, the agenda of some ultra-Christian voters on BOTH sides seems to me to be directly AGAINST the idea of the right to choose - to love and marry whom you want and to choose to end a pregnancy.

I am referring to the abortion debate and also the tendency towards homophobia. I recently commented on another blog where the owner slams same-sex relationships and marriages. The blog owner didn't like what I said, but it had to BE said.

I'm not gay, but I have no problem whatever with anyone who is, and if what they want is to legally and openly commit to someone else of the same gender in a long-lasting relationship I celebrate their loyalty to their partner and what is more, I support their right to adopt children or to use IVF and donors to have a child that is at least partly biologically theirs.

Abortion has always been a difficult question for me. On the one hand, I feel incredibly sad that any life however humble should be ended - killing even an ant upsets me. Every kind of living thing has its place. But there are times, to prevent the birth of a seriously disabled child, where it would harm the mother's physical or mental welfare, or following rape or incest, where, surely it is better for abortion to be available in the safest and quickest circumstances.

In the UK at least, the law still requires the agreement of two doctors to an abortion, although the common availability of the morning-after pill has undoubtedly helped many women avoid a confrontation with their doctor or their family.

It isn't a perfect system and I truly believe that making it on-demand would be better, once a woman has made that choice, any delay, even days. is worse for her mentally and physically and worse for the foetus.

I would hate to think that this legal right to choose could be lost to American women and that in the 21st century there could be a regrowth of illegal abortionists with all the risks involved.

What is worse is that some of the same people who are against abortion are illogically also against teaching young people about contraception. An educated choice to be celibate is one thing, Do your best to pass on your personal morality if you wish, but don't take away their right to know how their bodies work and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies because not all of them will listen and follow what their parents believe.

Which brings me to this. Morality is not a mathematical axiom. What one person considers perfectly OK, may be horrendously immoral to someone else. Take for instance how Saudi Arabian tradition and law demands what a woman should wear in public, certainly not tight jeans, short skirts and midriff baring t-shirts, commonly seen on the street elsewhere in the world.

I don't impose my personal morality on anyone else. And if I lived in the USA, I would not appreciate my President - or Vice President - potentially imposing theirs on me.