All of the debate about the Hobby Lobby ruling from the Supreme Court reminded me of Amy, a college-aged intern I worked with when I was an associate at a law firm in DC.  Most of the people I know fall into these two camps:  pro-choice/anti-death penalty or pro-life/pro-death penalty.  Amy created her own camp, pro-life/anti-death penalty, because she said, “You’re either ok with killing people or you’re not.  I’m not.”

In my teens, I was vehemently pro-choice:  a woman should be able to do with her body what she wants.  That changed when I visited my grandparents in Chicago one spring break and went to the Museum of Science and Industry, my favorite museum ever.  They had a life-sized exhibit on the wall on what a human embryo/fetus looks like from conception to birth, and it rocked my world.  Fetuses look like tiny babies from pretty early on.  Since then, the idea of abortion makes me uncomfortable and sad.  I still think that abortion should be legal and safe, primarily because women have probably been purposely ending unwanted pregnancies for as long as humans have known we had that ability.  There’s no reason for anybody to die as a result.

In any event, Amy’s policy of consistency, which she shared with me sixteen years ago, popped into my head this week.  I wonder how conversations would change if we adopted the same policy.  What I see in the news is that we’re in favor of religious freedom until we start talking about Islam or Scientology or another religion with which we have only a passing familiarity.  We’re in favor of legalizing addictive substances like alcohol and marijuana, but we believe that large sodas should be outlawed.  We believe in free speech until the speech we hear offends us, and then the government should shut it down (e.g., we’re ok with protesters picketing when we agree with them and think they should be removed when we don’t).

I don’t think that my opinions would change based on consistency.  It’s probably not consistent to believe that abortion constitutes the taking of a human life and still be in favor of its legality.  It’s probably not consistent to be in favor of people’s right to buy a large soda and not be ok with rising health care and insurance costs.  It’s probably not consistent to want to pay the smallest price possible for my airplane tickets and still want the airlines to offer me desired amenities like food or alcohol or leg room.

I don’t know where Amy is, and I won’t be able to find her because I can’t remember her last name.  Wherever she is, I hope she’s still making people think and consider.  I’m going to try to get better at thinking about the consistency of my opinions, not with the goal of changing my mind or proving others wrong or right.  I like that it makes me look at what I think I believe with a critical eye, and it makes me think harder.  I have such a long way to go to being the person I want to be.  I’ll take all the additional help I can get.

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