It’s a loaded topic, to be sure. And I’m certain I’ll call down my own tribe of trolls for this post, but it’s been brewing for a very long time. I have an extra bottle of wine on hand and a posse of people ready to love on me when the haters come out. Because I’ve got to say this and say it loud:
The abortion issue is not a good reason to vote for Trump.
And I’m deeply dismayed by Christians who are willing to vote for him based on one issue, and one issue only.
This is a nuanced and complicated discussion, worthy of many more words than what a blog post — even my long ones — allows. And it’s complicated even without throwing Drumpf in the mix, but he adds a little sprinkle of special to the conversation — and it’s a dangerous sprinkle at that.
I’ve been loathe to discuss it publicly for many, many years because it’s such a trigger point for so many people, and I’ve struggled with my position as both a feminist and a Christian. I am personally against abortion and would probably never make that choice for myself. I say probably because I consider myself extremely lucky that I was never faced with a non-viable, life-threatening pregnancy in which my husband and I would have been forced to make a decision — keep me alive to help raise our other kids, or risk it all to give birth to a baby who might die anyway?
I’ve never been completely willing to believe that government should have a say in this highly personal conversation, even in my most conservative Christian days — the early days, when I listened to Focus On The Family every morning in my car on the way to work because I thought after all, WWJD? Well, of course he’d listen to James Dobson!
Even then, I thought that if I was going to encourage a woman to keep her pregnancy, then I damn well better be willing to walk that out with her. So for a time I volunteered with an agency that worked to do just that — walk out their pregnancies with women, and help them manage the consequences of that decision.
I left, however, after the first time I had to tell a teenager she was pregnant and failed utterly to do anything to comfort her. I was barely out of my teens myself, and completely ill-equipped. I’ll never forget her, and I don’t know to this day what she decided.
And it goes beyond just abortion. The precedent set by government making highly personal health care decisions for women scares the bejeebies out of me. It’s already impacted a woman’s choice on how she’d like to give birth; there are plenty of instances in which hospitals have forced women to have C-sections, even going so far as to have the courts give custodial rights of the unborn child to the hospital in order to force the mother into the operating room. In some cases, a woman who disagrees with her doctor and chooses to give birth naturally has resulted in the hospital reporting her to Family Services as an unfit parent. In other cases, doctors simply bully women when they are at their most vulnerable.
Let’s be clear: if the government were up in men’s junk this much, it would never be an issue. It would be shut down faster than you can say “Donald Trump thinks with his penis.“
If we really want to lower abortion rates, we need to create social justice policies that make it easier for women to keep their pregnancies. Important issues like a livable minimum wage, to paid family leave, to welfare policies and the pay gap, to access to education, and streamlining adoption proceedings — all of these issues and others could do more to lower the abortion rate than a simple ban.
In my mind, if you want to simply ban abortion, you don’t care about women. And if you don’t care about women, you don’t care about their children. Because the unfortunate truth is that abortion will never go away. It will simply push it underground and make it a black market commodity, and that is very, very bad for women.
As Jen Hatmaker eloquently said in this interview, to be truly pro-life, you need to be pro-refugee, pro-Muslim, pro-living wage, etc. Not only is a ban on abortion not pro-woman, it’s also incredibly lazy — it’s an excuse to not do the harder work of creating a just and hospitable country for all people.
You know, sort of what the point of America was supposed to be in the first place.
Which brings me to that special sprinkle: Donald Trump. There are a myriad of reasons not to vote for him, and his alleged stance on abortion doesn’t mitigate any of them.
First of all, I don’t believe him for a second. His stance on abortion has been flip-floppy at best, and he’s obviously a demagogue who will say whatever he thinks his people want to hear. Who knows where he’ll end up if he makes it to the White House — but there’s no way that I think he’s truly got an agenda that actually cares about women. In fact, I don’t think he actually cares about abortion at all, except for how the topic might help him get elected. (His absolute ignorance on what a late-term abortion actually is makes this pretty clear.)
But the fact that Christians have to very consciously, with great intent, look past a whole host of other issues with him as a candidate is repulsive to me. Holding so fast to their beliefs about abortion (which I get, as a Christian) they are willing to overlook the fact that he is an admitted sexual predator, that he is openly racist (Bad Hombres, anyone?), misogynistic (Nasty Women), and xenophobic (here’s an interesting article on that phenomenon). He has admitted to not paying taxes and won’t release his tax returns, and he also hasn’t agreed that he will maintain a long-standing American tradition: the peaceful transfer of power.
So in essence, he’s kind of destroying everything that actually does make America great. He is pretty much the antithesis of anything great in America.
Oh, the irony.
But when it comes to Christians who support Trump solely on the abortion issue — I just don’t get it. I don’t get how you can hold fast to one tiny little part of an issue and not address the whole body of important stuff and still say Trump is good for women, for God, or for our country.