It’s time to try to have a rational discussion about abortion – a topic on which many Christians are relentless, but to no avail. Maybe we need to think outside the box.
The Washington Post reports that Idaho is about to go full-throttle against a woman’s right to get an abortion: its state senate passed a bill, 28 to 6, approving a ban on abortions after six weeks. It is expected to pass the Idaho House as well, and the governor will sign it into law.
This bill is similar to the one in Texas, but Uber drivers are in the clear. Only family members can sue, and only abortion providers can be sued.
Six weeks. Roughly from the moment a woman may discover she is pregnant.
Pro-choice people don’t really want to kill babies – they just want to let the pregnant people make up their own minds.
Whose business is it, really? What right does a legislator in my state capitol have over my body, my life?
I ask that question seriously, not rhetorically. What right does a legislator – or anyone other than myself and the father – have to tell me I must carry a pregnancy to term?
To any “pro-life” evangelical still reading, can you articulate an actual answer to this question?
Please don’t give me the standard answer, “which part of Thou Shalt Not Kill do you not understand?” Because here’s the thing: this is not that. You may like to think a one-day-old zygote is a human being, and you may have Bible verses to back you up – but you can’t impose your religious beliefs on my body. Impose them on your own body.
We have a name for the practice of forcing one’s religion on others: we call it Sharia Law (note: that’s not what Sharia Law actually means, but that’s how evangelicals typically use the phrase).
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What do we hope to accomplish by outlawing abortion anyway? Do we think our rules will somehow purify our country? Because if that’s what we think, we need to get a clue. The United States is so guilty of so many crimes – crimes that impact many millions of already-born human beings – there are certainly other issues to get involved in, issues that don’t tread on a woman’s right to choose what’s going to happen to her body.
Get in your legislator’s face about world hunger, poverty in our nation’s cities, sex trafficking, the price of medical care. There are a million ways our country can be better and do better.
Under Roe v. Wade, nobody imposed “choice” on you. They only gave you a choice.
So if you believe abortion is taking a life, here’s an idea: choose not to have an abortion.
Jesus didn’t command us to make our neighbors as religious as we are – he commanded us to be compassionate and loving.
I know what you’re thinking: “it’s not loving to allow my neighbor to kill her baby.”
Coercion is not really love. And obligating a child to live in poverty is not loving.
But if you truly love your neighbor, there are things you can do that do not involve imposing your will on her.
If you really love her, address the issues in her life that lead her to seek abortion. Help her get out of the cycle of poverty. Help her get a decent-paying job, insurance coverage, and child care. If you want her to have a baby, she’s going to need money to take care of it – something like $250K just to get him/her through high school. (Nobody is going to take on a $250K burden just because you say they must.)
Help her get contraception. The availability of contraceptives causes a significant drop in the abortion rate – so if you don’t like abortion, fight to make contraceptives available in your county. Some conservatives have been demonizing or even trying to outlaw contraceptives, and they are driving up the abortion rate.
Bottom line: make sure life is a realistic option. When it is, more women will choose it. Until then, let them choose contraception.
Leave the issue of abortion to the families who are dealing with a pregnancy. Do not presume to impose your religious conviction on total strangers.
End-of-life decisions are hard and painful – and intensely personal. And not our business.
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