I think I’ve said this before on the SDMB, but it’s easier to say it again than look for whatever thread I may have said it in.
I think their are four basic stances.
> The strongly anti position: Abortion is so bad and wrong that it should never be allowed. It should be completely illegal.
> The strongly pro position: No woman or girl should have to bear an unwanted child. Any woman or girl who wants an abortion should be able to get one, without having to justify herself to anyone. Some would say, no legal constraints at all; some would say, no legal constraints at all,during the first and second trimesters; during the 3rd trimester, the woman has to have a good reason.
In between, you have two other groups.
> The medium to mild anti position: Abortion is should be illegal, but with exceptions – a woman should be able to get one if she has a good reason.
> The medium to mild pro position: Abortion should be legal, providing the woman has a good reason.
Ironically, there is probably at least some overlap between the last two groups listed. That is, some who count themselves as anti-abortion would actually allow abortions under more circumstances than would some who count themselves as pro-choice.
IMO, we would face major problems if we ever decided to allow abortion only when the woman had a good reason. What constitutes a good reason? Who decides which reasons are good enough? How do we determine if a woman is or is not telling the truth about her reason? Do we set up abortion courts to judge each woman’s reasons, and issue aprovals and denials? What if, while the woman is applying and the court is deciding, the rather short window of opportunity for a first trimester abortion passes?
I think a great many Americans would agree that the really good reasons for abortion are to save the life of the woman, to save the health of the woman, in cases of severe fetal abnormality, and in cases of rape and incest. But these reasons account for a small portion of abortions. Would it really be a good idea to forbid all other abortions on the grounds that no other reason is good enough?
With most of the other, “less good” reasons, it would be pretty difficult to set a standard. If a girl gives “I’m too young” as a reason, how young does she have to be? Under 14? Under 18? When is “I don’t want to have to quit school” a good reason? When the girl is in 6th grade? 9th? 12th? What about college students? Grad students? Is it only a good reason if the girl is getting good grades?
A woman might say, “the man ran out on me, and I don’t want to have a child without a husband or boyfriend to help support and raise the child.” Is this always a good reason, or only when the woman is poor?
Even the traditional “good reasons” could be questioned. As in, "alright, doctor, you say this woman’s life is in danger (or that there is something very wrong with the fetus), but how do we know you’re telling the truth? Maybe you’re a lying to help her out?
I, as you may have guessed, am in the strongly pro camp: I say, no woman or girl should have to bear an unwanted child. Any woman or girl who wants an abortion should be able to get one, without having to justify herself to anyone. I say, no legal constraints at all during the first and second trimesters; during the 3rd trimester, the woman has to have a good reason.