First, let's make one thing clear: of all the people I know, who fall in every spectrum of this debate, not a single person I have ever spoken to thinks that abortions are a good thing. No one really wants them to happen in the first place. The real question isn't whether purposefully ending an unborn life is moral. I think most people agree that it is not...it's a messy, ugly, nasty topic at best. (I won't say that ALL people find it immoral, because there really are all types out there, but I think saying "most" people consider it immoral is safe enough.) It can be argued that abortion is, in rare cases, the lesser of two evils. The real question ends up being whether or not the government can make the decision for you, and if they can, to what extent and in which circumstances.
Personally, I feel like life is precious and that murder is wrong. I am a Christian, and the Bible is pretty clear on the whole "don't kill people" thing. On top of the Bible saying so, my conscience finds the idea really abhorrent. I consider my conscience to be one way the Holy Spirit speaks to me, so that is practically as important to me as seeing it in scripture. The fact that those two agree only confirms for me the truth of it. Killing people, even the unborn, is not good. On every level, killing people screams to me "THIS IS A TERRIBLE THING!". I cannot see ever bringing myself to have an abortion. I couldn't bring myself to end a feeble life that was conceived out of the love I bear for my husband, even if it were at the worst of times. Even before we were married, I would have said the same...I could not kill a child conceived through love. We're resilient folk, we'd find a way to make it work. If it came down to my life or the life of my unborn child...if the child had a good chance to survive even if it killed me, I think I would choose their life over my own. I would only regret that I'd be leaving my husband to cope with the aftermath alone. I hope I never have to find out whether I have the guts for that choice (I am certain that my husband also fervently hopes that we never face such a terrible situation!). In this sense, I consider myself very Pro-Life. When it comes down to me, no matter what else is going on, abortion just isn't an option considered. If someone were to ask me if they should have an abortion, I would certainly urge them not to do it and try to help them find another solution. Abortions are something to be avoided if possible. (The best way to do that, I think, is better reproductive education, encouraging and educating parents on how to provide great but realistic examples of moral and responsible adulthood for their children, and easy access to contraceptive methods without stigmatizing their use...fewer unwanted pregnancies = fewer abortions)
If I were raped...well, that may be another story. I've never really come to a conclusion on that extreme instance, so I actively avoid situations that would increase my risk for having to face that choice in my life. I'd rather not find out how I really feel about this. What I do know is that as hard a time as I have even imagining making that choice in the event of rape...if I can't make that decision in my own mind and heart - then as a voter, I have zero business making that choice for the thousands of women who are faced with that choice in real life every year. At that point...it is a matter that is between them and God that I have no place in, except to pray that God gives them wisdom that I don't have, and abundant mercy and compassion.
Which brings me to my legal view. My personal decision is one that I made after a lot of thought and prayer - and I would resent my government telling me what to believe about this. I celebrate the fact that my country grants me the freedom to reach that conclusion on my own, without the government forcing my actions regardless of my beliefs. Of all the parties in this world that have a say in whether an unborn child may be born...the government just isn't on that list to me. And there are very extreme circumstances out there, where you have to weigh the value of one life against another because you cannot always save everyone.
From a legal standpoint, Pro-Life says to me "We, the government (and a host of total strangers), know what is best for everyone in every situation". I don't think most Americans feel that the government knows best for everyone in every situation about...well, ANYTHING. I know that I don't feel like my government knows best about much of anything. There are a few things they manage to get right, and from what I can tell, I am privileged enough to have a government that gets it right more often than a lot of others out there - things could be a great deal worse, I'm sure. Anyway...Let's face it, we Americans a contentious and stubborn lot of people as a culture, and we like to have the freedoms to make our own mistakes if we must. As a people, we're really terrible when it comes down to authorities telling us what we must do. Most of us will end up making good choices most of the time, but we have an instinctive cultural reaction to rebel against others telling us how to think and how to act. On the whole, I think this is a good thing. Independent thought breeds wisdom eventually, even if it is a hard road of bad experiences along the way at times. So it seems weird to me that this debate even got off the ground here in America - and weirder still that the political party that has taken Pro-Life as a banner issue...is the party that claims to also champion smaller government and greater personal liberties? (I love the idea of smaller federal government and greater personal liberties - that's something I can get behind! But how does Pro-Life fit into that platform? I just don't understand that at all.) Because...
Pro-Choice, legally speaking, is saying that the government cannot and should not make that call for every woman in every situation. Pro-Choice is the legal stance that some things should be tightly regulated to minimize the harm it will cause anyway if it is made entirely illegal. Pro-Choice is recognizing that for the evils we cannot eliminate by banning it entirely - we can minimize by providing better education, counseling, and popularizing less traumatic options whenever possible, but leaving some types of abortion legal for the circumstances that necessitate such a terrible deed. Pro-Choice is legally respecting that some issues are best determined between a family and their faith and their relationship with God...and that we are not so wise as to know what is best for everyone all the time, that they must make their own peace if they go down that road without the interference of the law.
I don't want to stand in the seat of judgment for someone else on an issue so personal - I don't feel like I have either wisdom or the legal right to do so. I am willing for my government to spend some of my tax money on programs that minimize the problem through preventive programs, and to minimize the myriad pains caused by the remaining abortions that could not be prevented by allowing them to be medically supervised (not paying for them, mind you, just letting it happen legally in a hospital at their own expense) and providing counseling afterwards with the hope of preventing the same mother from going through it all again and paving the way for positive mental health after the trauma.
I am Pro-Choice because I believe that legally, the associated policies and legislation protect more lives in the long run, and because I refuse to make a choice for others that I would not want others to make for me.