I have laying hens. As I was washing dirt off my eggs to put them away yesterday, I marveled again how this is a reproductive unit, wasted in efforts to reproduce more chickens. We’ve repurposed it for food, but every day, those hens struggle to produce another reproductive unit that will again go to “waste”.

My body struggles every month to spit out an egg, reserve a bunch of blood and wait for another reproductive unit that’s not coming. So much waste. So much potential that never comes to fruition.

Nature is constantly coming up with potential life. Even when eggs are fertilized, there is wastage.

I accidentally got a rooster mixed in with my “guaranteed” female baby chicks last spring. He’s being sweet so I can’t bear to do anything about him, but it means I get fertilized eggs sometimes from my hens. Am I now eating chicken? No, I am still eating scrambled eggs.

It is what it is. It’s a fertilized egg. It’s not a chicken. I am not killing an animal, I am still just breaking an egg when I make my omelet.

Similarly, women’s own bodies kill more embryos through spontaneous miscarriage than abortion ever will. It’s terribly common. It happens every day, sometimes without a woman even knowing she was pregnant. Nature is constantly creating potential life, and then wasting it. And life goes on. That’s how it works.

How melodramatic would you be if you mourned every period, every ejaculation where life went to waste? Women do mourn miscarriages. They mourn them bitterly and tragically sometimes, sometimes even when it was not a wanted pregnancy. But a miscarriage is not a murder. It’s not negligent homicide that the woman’s body committed on her behalf. It’s not something people call their extended family together and have a big funeral for. (OK cue the stories of weird families) But it’s not the same thing as losing a child. It can be heartbreaking, for sure. But there is a big difference socially, biologically, legally, emotionally. To say it’s the same thing cheapens the pain of women who have lost children. Both are hard. They are different.

There is a difference between life and potential life. Potential life gets dispatched by nature every second of every day billions of times across the globe. Sometimes, like a chicken egg it is not even tragic, it just is. Nature is the least “pro-life” entity there is.

I don’t equate a fertilized egg with actual life, and I don’t judge what a woman wants to do with a fertilized egg in her body. I certainly don’t want government getting involved in her decision making ability. That can’t possibly go well. Uh, and I think it’s been tried to spectacularly bad results. It is like wanting to go back to alcohol prohibition. We tried that. It went badly.

Now as the pregnancy gets further along, that potential life gradually transforms into actual life. That’s the whole reason for gestation. I think there is a big difference between an abortion in the first trimester and one in the third. And in fact, the doctors at some point, refer to it as a still birth rather than a miscarriage. What point is that? At some point after viability. But the idea of legal ramifications for a woman losing a baby – at any stage – that she “may” have aborted is repugnant to me. I think pro-life people need to take that into consideration with legislation they push. They are pushing government into exam rooms, hospitals, and doctor-patient relationships, and I think the cons far outweigh the pros. Before Roe v. Wade women still had abortions. But more women died from them because they were not safe. I don’t think that’s a good goal or outcome. Safe, legal and especially – rare is the best of all possibles, I think.

To help with the rare part, get out of the way of birth control. Make the pill OTC. Get out of the way of private efforts to provide free condoms and other things. Prevent as many pregnancies that are at risk of becoming abortions as you can.

Also – make adoption as easy an option for birth mothers as possible. Reduce fees and red tape for adoptive parents. Let’s bring together unwanted pregnancies and infertile couples as much as we can. Do whatever it takes to match up an unwanted pregnancy, but a mom willing to carry to term, and a couple that is willing to nurture that life when it comes. Mostly it should be getting government out of the way.

Focusing on those issues will save the most life without endangering women. It is possible to be pro-life, but to also see government force and intrusion as really bad solutions. But we also don’t have to be so hysterical about embryos being the same as children that we lose our minds and do counterproductive things.