For Life

I mean… way to say it out loud, Mr. Akin. Your ignorance may be astounding–horrific, even–but you are teaching us a valuable lesson. The moral of the story is–this is what single-issue voting will get you.

I’m one of many, many people of faith in this country: who are pro-choice, but anti-abortion. If you think that is an oxymoron, stick with me here. I think that abortion is sad and awful, and should not be used as an alternative to birth control, or as a matter of convenience. That said—i do not think that the government is equipped to make any sort of decision about women’s bodies. Furthermore, if abortion were to be criminalized, who would go to jail, exactly? I am pretty sure it would be women. Every. Single. Time. Where is the father? Somewhere getting another girl knocked up, maybe, but definitely not in jail.

I’m one of  many people of faith in this country: who think that the best way to dissuade abortion is through education, good healthcare, accessible contraception, and healthy conversations at home, school, and church–not just about abstinence, but about sexuality, respecting our bodies (ours, and those of others) and the sacred nature of intercourse.

I’m one of many people of faith: who believe that the most proactive way to reduce abortion is to address matters of poverty,  racial and gender inequality, and other factors that leave women feeling trapped, alone, and desperate. Making childcare, health care, and education more accessible for single mothers, for instance…that would be a good start.

All this makes me one of many, many people of faith in this country: who feel we have nowhere to stand in the ‘pro-life/ pro-choice’ debate. It has become such a polarized, black/white, wrong/right sort of thing that there is no middle ground. There is no whole-person, big-picture approach. You are either sending women back to the dark ages, or you are killing babies.  No other options.

Well, until now. Did Todd Akin–in his bone-chilling moment of ignorance–just do something productive? I think so. What he managed to do, in one short statement, was to shine light on what comes of extreme ideologies and rigid party lines (in either direction). If I were going to look for something nice to say about the man, that would probably be it: that he has shown us the grim national future awaiting us, if we don’t change our ways. He’s like the Ghost of Christmas future–a fearsome orb, cloaked in death and darkness; a skeletal hand pointing to a day when THIS man—the Todd Akins of the world– is the face and voice of our country. (I fear you more than any spectre I have seen!)

There’s a better way, people, and we know it. Whether you would classify yourself as ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice,’ we can all agree that no kind of rape is sort of ok (which Akin implied by qualifying some rape as ‘legitimate.) Akin’s brand of harmful rhetoric is what comes of dissolving important human issues to a tiny box on the ballot. Check or don’t check. No other option. This is what happens when we elect our leaders based on one belief, one hollow promise, one stump speech or sound bite. We find ourselves represented by people who are for anything BUT life, anything but progress, anything but human dignity and intelligent discourse.

I’m pro-choice, but I get why many people are not. I really do. I respect the other side of this discussion, and constantly struggle with it myself. But voting for one man (or woman) based on this issue alone—or ANY one issue, for that matter–diminishes us all as human beings. It reduces us to something the size of a ballot box, and from that miniscule frame, no life can grow.

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!”

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