I’m reluctant to comment on the recent Supreme Court ruling, wherein both Roe and Casey were overturned, meaning the Court deemed there was nothing in the Constitution granting a right to an abortion. We are now in a situation where abortion will be legal in some states but not others. I’m reluctant because I’m a man. I will never face what a woman has to face when it comes to pregnancy. Part of me thinks that every man, right now, should probably just keep their mouth shut. You don’t know. You can’t know. Shsssss.
There is another part of me though, the less wise part, who has some thoughts. I know I tread on thin ice here. Some context: I was a small part of the “pro-life” movement for decades. At least since the early 80s. Over the years, at one time or another, I joined in the annual January public protest walks and held signs advocating for the unborn. I once manned an anti-abortion booth at our county fair and I only voted for “pro-life” political candidates.
Like most Christian fundamentalists/evangelicals, I was brought up on a steady diet of anti-abortion arguments, reasons, outrage and anger. This was non-negotiable. There could be no compromise here. We were talking about babies and murder. It wasn’t like we were talking about whether we should support higher or lower taxes or how we should view US foreign policy. This was an issue like slavery or something along those lines as to the moral gravity.
I have now come to see that such a view of this extremely complicated matter was unwise, uncaring, tone-deaf, simple, and entirely unhelpful. It’s amazing what can happen when you step outside the fundamentalist/evangelical box, with its limited horizons and views. The world becomes much larger. And more complicated. Why? Because it is. The reality is that we live in a very big and complicated world. Also, we don’t know everything. And holding up a Bible while one shouts something doesn’t change that fact.
I don’t believe anyone is truly “pro-abortion.” I think most people wished abortions were rare, but still legal. Most of us, I hope, wish that any child conceived is born and brought into a stable, loving, healthy, and flourishing situation. But as most of us know, that isn’t always the case. Again, it’s a complicated world. Any laws in this area of life need to take that fact into consideration.
I consider myself pro-life across the entire spectrum of life, which many professing “pro-life” people are not. Only being “pro-life” when it comes to the matter of abortion is not being truly “pro-life.” While I’m not a strict pacifist, I’m generally against the use of violence in most circumstances. Still, in general, I agree with those who think abortion should be legal and a choice left to women. It impacts them and affects them, in ways it doesn’t for any other pertinent party. They must be the one, the only one, making that decision. They may or may not seek council. We may disagree with their decision. We may agree. Regardless, it should be theirs to make. They should have a choice.
Finally, simply noting that an unborn child is a life, is a person, does not address the entirety of the issues at play. There is also the mother’s life to consider. This life is inside the mother’s life. In my opinion: Any view of abortion that considers only the life of the unborn child, is not a well-rounded, wise, caring, Biblical, or ethical view. If one cannot see the difference between a born person, a fully formed human-being right before their very eyes, speaking to them, listening to them, experiencing a common life with them—and living cells in the womb–then I can’t help them.
Let me close with some points and reflections for the reader to consider:
*The Bible, other than by extrapolation or inference, is mostly silent on the subject of abortion and Jesus never mentioned it at all. See here.
*Abortion, before “quickening,” was legal in every state when the Constitution was adopted. See here.
*Southern Baptists (arguably the largest group of American evangelicals) were not always against abortion. See here.
*Consider the time, effort, money, and resources expended over the last 50 years by fundamentalists/evangelicals/conservative Christians to outlaw abortion. The Bible speaks, much more often, many times over, from cover to cover, about poverty, the sick, and the material needs of those outside the womb—and our responsibility to them—than it does to making abortion illegal. What if that time, effort, money, and resources had been expended on the problems the Bible addresses over and over, rather than on an issue the Bible or Jesus rarely, if ever, addressed? Doesn’t that raise the probability this wasn’t so much about protecting life in the womb as it was controlling women’s bodies?
*Outlawing abortion will not stop abortions from taking place. Abortions will continue to happen. It only means they will now take place in unsafe and unregulated environments, meaning many women may end up being severely harmed or even die. How is that being “pro-life?” When we learn a woman has died from a botched abortion (and we will), will we comfort ourselves with thoughts of political or court “victories?” “Yahoo, we won!” Really?
*Men, if you are married/have a significant female other, or have a daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, aunt, or any women friends at all, are you really okay with them possibly dying from an “illegal” abortion done in an unsafe and unregulated environment? Are you okay with them going to prison for one?
*This will impact the poor and minority woman much more than any other group. Rich white women will be able to travel and get an abortion secretly and safely, whenever they like.
*Why are only women the focus when it comes to abortion? It takes two to tangle. Why aren’t men brought into the equation? Why does this only fall on the woman? If we are going to outlaw abortion, then what are we going to expect of the men who caused the pregnancy to begin with? Will they be held accountable too? I rarely here answers or suggestions to these questions from the “pro-life” people.
*If men were forced by law to get vasectomies from the time of puberty until they were married, then allowed to get them reversed, we would probably have burned everything down by now. Men would never give the government that sort of control over their bodies. We would riot.
For decades, Evangelicals/Fundamentalists/Catholics have been, like a dog, chasing the abortion car. The Republican Party absorbed their mission and used it to raise money and gain support for their candidates. Both groups have been barking and chasing that car for a long, long time. One group wanted to actually catch it—the other group just wanted to chase it (Looking back, in my opinion, it was just a wedge issue the GOP cynically used to raise money and demonize their political opponents).
But have you ever seen a dog chase a car? Haven’t you ever shook your head and wondered, “Good Lord little 10-20 lb. dog, what are you going to do if you actually catch that 2000 lb. car?”
Well, for the GOP and conservative Christians, they’re about to find out the answer to that question. Good luck.
*This is a revised and edited Patreon Post.
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