I generally (read: *generally*) avoid writing about hot button political topics. Although every once in a while I feel the need to put my finger on the boiling cauldron of political discourse so that I can check the pulse first-hand.

I think about abortion, gun rights, transgenderism, privilege, racism, etc. quite a lot. These are all unbelievably complex issues, which means you need to understand a lot of variables before you even begin to have a truly informed opinion.

One of the best ways for me to explore ideas is by talking about them. So here, I’m going to write out my thoughts on abortion as they stand in an attempt to organize them and think about the issue more clearly. As I write this, I’m getting myself prepared for an onslaught of shallow insults. I can only hope people actually try to read this to understand, rather than characterizing my opinion just by reading the title of the article and placing me in a box based on my sex and skin color. This usually happens when I touch the cauldron. I’m hoping I can communicate what I think clearly enough to avoid that part this time.

What should the government do about abortion? First, I don’t have an answer. I don’t understand enough about the question to feel confident that my opinion takes every relevant variable into account.

On one hand, killing an unborn child seems wrong. Inside a fetus is the entirety of human potential. It is a whole human life, including all the good, all the bad, and all the ripples of influence across humanity that can happen during a lifespan. If I were faced with the question of aborting my own child, I’m not sure I could bring myself to condone it regardless of my life situation. I’ve heard far more personal stories of people being regretful about their abortions than of the opposite. I think any reasonable human would feel remorse and disgust at pulling the plug on their own tiny human.

On the other hand, when a child is on the way, the child isn’t the only one involved. People want abortions for really good reasons. They don’t want to raise a child in an unstable/unprepared household. This can really ruin a person’s life in the long-term. Or maybe the child was conceived from rape, in which case I can’t even begin to understand the lasting emotional trauma and that might be wrapped up in the child and the experience.

It seems to me that both sides of the debate have really strong arguments backed by fully relevant opinions. It’s not obvious which side is correct (as long as you’re not looking at the problem through an emotionally tilted lens).

Beyond the issue of abortion itself, how much should the government get involved? Should the government tell you what you can and can’t do with your body? I do believe the government outlaw and enforce some things, like murder or theft. So is abortion murder? At what point in the pregnancy do human rights kick in for the child separately from the mother?

I don’t have a conclusion. I’m still figuring this out for myself. But I think it’s more of a moral issue than a political issue. I don’t believe the government should put blanket limitations on such complex issues that depend so much on context and the inter-mingling of thousands of variables.

I guess the core question for me is: Does a human life and all the potential that comes with it always outweigh the negatives that come with having a child when you are unprepared/unwilling to raise it properly?

I don’t know. The answer probably depends on the individual situation. I can only scratch the surface in 600 words.