I read a post I saw on Freshly Pressed earlier. It was one man’s reason why he won’t be voting in favor of an amendment to make abortion more difficult in his state — even though he’s a Christian. He explained pretty well, IMO, the fact that Roe v. Wade was never meant to speak as to the morality of abortion. That is, the court’s decision was not in favor of abortion, but in favor of women’s rights. The idea is that states can’t really say abortion is only okay in cases of rape or incest, for example, because then when a woman wants an abortion because she’s been raped, the doctor asks her to prove that she was raped. Clearly that’s a privacy violation.
But I have a few issues with this. First of all, most women don’t get abortions because they were victims of rape or incest. Every source I’ve been able to find, pro-choice or pro-life, say that most women who choose to abort, do so because they don’t feel ready for a baby, or because they lack financial resources, etc. (Infanticide is still illegal even if you can prove that you’re destitute, by the way, but that’s another argument.) For all the shouting by many feminists about protecting women, protecting women, protecting women, let’s be a little more critical about this.
First of all, any doctor will tell you prevention is key to health. Person trainers and coaches say this. I wouldn’t be surprised if police say this. What if we put less into “protecting the privacy rights” of a very few women, and more into protecting the women themselves? I’m talking about preventing rape. I’d like to have a dollar for every time I heard or participated in an abortion debate in school, but until very recently, I never heard anything about preventing sexual assaults.
And what about the rape victims? I want them to have privacy, of course. My opinion is still that abortion is wrong, even for them, but… still, I’m not sure if I’d honestly vote in favor of a law that banned 100% of abortions. The thing is I don’t think it’s really right to base the entire legislating-abortion issue on protecting these women. The reason is that, as I said, they’re in the minority. Aren’t we in fact using these women as an excuse to permit any woman to get an abortion for any reason? That’s not right. It’s like a person asking for money to feed orphans, but then spending almost all of the money on… I don’t know, anything. New clothes. Something like that. That person can still say that the orphans benefited, even if he or she only gave them one percent of the money donated. Indeed, I suppose the orphans do benefit, just like women who have been raped and want an abortion benefit from the Roe v. Wade decision. But I find it pretty disgusting for people to pretend the pro-choice battle is all in the name of women who have been victimized.
I could go on, I guess. I don’t know how I’d vote on any given abortion bill/prop/amendment. Talking to my older female relatives, I know that women sought abortions in this country before they were legal. It doesn’t take a lot of reading to find out that in many countries where abortion is legal today, many women (and babies) die as a result of unsafe abortions. The line of reasoning I’m following right now is the one that essentially says, “If we prohibit abortion, we won’t save any babies. The babies will still be aborted, only more of their mothers die too.” I think that’s probably true, although part of me also thinks — and I’m not sure this is right because it does seem callous — but are these women unaware of the risks? I’m not saying they deserve to die, but it doesn’t make sense to decide what laws to make based solely on what will happen to the people who break those laws. Probably this is another unpopular opinion, but I also think people in this country don’t think about the consequences or meaning of anything. They don’t think about the consequences or meaning of sex, and so they end up with unwanted pregnancies. They don’t think about the consequences or meaning of abortion, and so they end up — however they end up, regardless of the law. The same people I hear complaining about being broke are drinking Starbucks beverages every other day, smoking cigarettes, or driving gas guzzling cars. I’m not being holier-than-thou — I definitely do bad or stupid things sometimes.
My point is that people really do need to think about priorities and consequences. If your priority, for example, is to be a real career woman, fine. Think about it. Get some effective birth control, and make sure you take it properly. I’ve been in the position before of fearing I was pregnant. It’s not like I don’t get what women think. I’ve been there. I’ve thought about my lost career plans, what others would think, how not-ready I feel, what the financial impact would be, how my lifestyle would change, how I don’t want to get huge, etc. But I’ve always thought, “As much as I don’t want to do this, if I am pregnant, I know how it happened. I made that choice. It’s not worth it to take another innocent person’s life in order to avoid all these things I’m afraid of.”
I just don’t understand how another human life isn’t as important as me not wanting to lose my figure or take time off work. I think half the financial arguments I hear are nonsense too, because some of the greatest and happiest mothers I have known were/are living in or close to poverty. If I’m not “ready,” or I’m so sure I’m going to be a terrible mother, well… would my unskilled parenting be worse than dying? Worse than not getting a chance to live in the world at all? Oh, and there’s always adoption. If I’m worried about having a child with special needs… what am I worried about in that case? The expense? The difficulty? How can people be against abortion except for children with Down’s Syndrome, for example? Does the life of a baby with a disorder like that mean less than the life of any other baby? It disgusts me and makes me sad how many people seem to think so.
So what do I think about laws? I don’t know. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. Truly, it doesn’t. Like the Pope has said, we have this disposable culture. We are so materialistic that even babies in the womb are not “lives,” are not “people,” are not “babies,” but are “bundles of tissue,” like a scab torn off a skinned knee. We say “terminate a pregnancy,” instead of “terminate a life.” We look at a baby in the womb a thing, not a somebody; so we think it’s okay to get rid of it, and we don’t consider that killing. I know these words would probably seem insulting to someone who has had an abortion. I’m sure many or most of these women don’t even think they have killed anyone, don’t think their babies were really babies. That’s exactly it. That’s exactly it. The entire mentality of our society is why abortion can’t be solved by laws. People don’t care about laws. (I’m not sure many people care about a whole lot, honestly.) Unless and until women start to turn away from materialism (including looking at a fetus as, essentially, nothing but genetic material), abortion will be a big thing.
But Americans can’t even be convinced to save fuel or to save food! Everything is a commodity. If there’s a zucchini in my fridge that I don’t want anymore, and I can afford to go buy a new one, out it goes. It’s not food. It’s not something that someone else could really use. I toss it. Why save the earth? Why save gasoline? I can afford to drive a gas guzzler, so why don’t I? I am certainly digressing now, but the attitude that underlies the pro-choice movement is the same attitude that leads to a half of the country’s agricultural products going to waste, and to fuel-efficient car sales going down now that the price of gas is going down. It’s money, convenience, material. So depressing.
Final word: This is quite a ramble. I have mixed feelings and many thoughts. I sympathize with women who are raped or poor or who just don’t want to have a baby yet. I sympathize with people who don’t want to eat that damned zucchini in the fridge. I sympathize with people who just want to drive a badass car. I get it, and I’m not judging anybody. If anything comes from this post though, it’s that I put thought into it. All the angry debating I hear about these things… all I hear are emotions, people arguing over what they want or feel entitled to. But we need to think harder. If every pro-choice person tried to understand what I’m talking about, and if every pro-lifer would try to be more compassionate toward women who want abortions, maybe we could come up with effective solutions. The sooner everybody realizes that debating abortion laws is pointless, the sooner we figure out something to do that really helps women.