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Opinion: Why is it always mother or child in the abortion debate?

We need laws that consider both mother and child, not just one. In order to do this, we need to find the common ground in our partisan divide.

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protesters against abortion hold signs outside of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Monday, May 16, 2022, in Washington. A draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a Politico report released.

Mariam Zuhaib, Associated Press

While the national abortion debate rages, it would be nice if more people would pay attention to the largely ignored middle ground.

I’m a party-independent, active Latter-day Saint woman, born and raised in Utah, who is morally opposed to elective abortion. I would like to see the overall abortion rate decrease. However, like many Americans, I feel strong reservations about some of the anti-abortion laws being enacted. It’s not a question of whether most abortions are right or wrong. I have a hard time trusting our deeply polarized government to ethically regulate something so profoundly personal.

It is impossible, both morally and socially, to promote respect and compassion for the unborn child without also promoting respect and compassion for the mother. Psychologically, trying to do one but not the other goes against almost universal human instinct. Hardline activists on both sides keep demanding support for mother OR child.

Keeping in mind the difference between views on the act of abortion and views on abortion law is vitally important because therein lies the gateway to precious common ground.

No law regulating any behavior can be effective or sustainable without sufficient cultural consensus behind it. That’s why outlawing bank robbery works, but prohibition failed spectacularly.

Let’s face it: Both major parties are more interested in feeding contention than resolving it. So, let’s forget about party and focus instead on what most Americans can agree on. Then, let’s build on that, whatever it is. Incremental progress based on compromise beats endless head-butting hands down.

Lisa Rogers

Meridian, Idaho