I treasure life and think the female role of being the bearer of the future of humanity is a position of unbelievable privilege.
Note: see the first part of this post: Women Who Abort Are Murderers: Lock Them Up.
So, should we label women who undergo abortions as murderers and properly prosecute them? This is the sad but logical conclusion of the anti-abortion stance that any product of conception, even in the earliest zygote stage, is fully human and should be given all the protections accorded to human beings.
I treasure life in all its forms and the gifts of God in all of it. If I can help it, I won’t even kill an insect unless it happens to endanger my life or invade my house. But see the exceptions here? If my life is endangered or my house invaded, I will indeed kill, i.e., murder the life that is endangering me or invading my space.
But that right, to protect herself from being endangered or invaded by the life in her womb, has been stripped from a pregnant woman. She has been left utterly unprotected from dangerous pregnancies or pregnancies caused by an unwanted invasion of her vagina at her fertile time of the month.
In other words, while we might condemn rape or incest as immoral acts, if such acts result in conception, then they effectively have become good because they, within a few hours, produced a human being with all rights and privileges to life, liberty, and happiness endowed upon them.
Quite the conundrum. The zygote gets all rights; the womb-host loses hers.
A basic truth: without women, life cannot go on. This is the nature of our God-breathed world. No fertile wombs mean the end of life. So is any life, no matter the nature of its conception, worth what could be the ultimate cost to the womb-holder, i.e., her own death?
It’s a big deal to carry a baby to term
With the future of humanity completely dependent upon the willingness of women to become pregnant, we need to address the real difficulties of carrying this human bring to the end of a full-term pregnancy.
Sadly, I’m getting the impression that many equate carrying and birthing a baby with having a bowel movement: just do it and leave it behind. If it is inconvenient, toss it over the wall at some “safe-baby” house, forget about it and get one with your life.
That’s what gets me about the rabid anti-abortion movement: there is this idea floating around that it is no big deal to carry a baby to term, birth it, and then simply give it away and forget it ever happened or to put one’s life fully aside for a considerable period of time to give this tiny, helpless, 100% dependent human being a decent start in life.
Such ideas display utter ignorance of the female body, of the process of gestation, of the often-devastating toll pregnancy takes on that female body, of the intensity of bonding that occurs between mother and child even if the child is removed for adoption, and of the mixed feelings of resentment coupled with exhaustion most mothers face with the most-wanted of infants, of what can be an extreme negative impact on financial stability and the ability to stay out of degrading poverty except for the more privileged class of women.
In addition, there seems to be little appetite for bringing justice to the impregnators. The woman is left to dry–and be charged with murder or forced into life-long poverty.
The impregnator? Lip service only to dealing with the real source of the problem. Not one step has actually been taken toward making the sperm-spewer that caused the unwanted pregnancy in any way responsible. He’s free to go strut his stuff elsewhere; she gets to deal with the life-long aftermath.
Again, becoming pregnant, carrying a fetus to term, and birthing a baby is NOT like having a bowel movement, where one can just walk away and forget about it. It changes everything.
And should women no longer be willing to endure this, to hold the destiny of humanity in their holy wombs, there is no future.
Time to find the holiness in sex and pregnancy
We have, for the most part, stopped forcing girls to marry, knowing such coercion is generally destructive. We must also stop forcing women to give birth and instead recognize pregnancy, and the sexual act that creates it, as holy, one entered into freely, intentionally, and joyfully.
But, we MUST have far better ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies rather than dealing with them after the fact.
One of my big issues with abortion: the act of aborting the product of human conception is violence–both against the female host and against the developing life in the womb.
Frankly, we commit acts of violence against our bodies all the time. When cancers develop, and remember, they are just cells trying to live, we poison them, cut them out and burn them to death with radiation. When diseased organs present themselves, we permit people to cut into our bodies and rip them out.
We engage in extreme sports; we jump from airplanes; we ski down impossibly steep slopes; we surf sky-high waves; we put ourselves behind the wheels of massively powerful automobiles and see how fast they can go; we ride bicycles for hundreds of miles over multiple mountain ranges.
Now consider the sexual-specific violence that has historically been perpetuated against female bodies: We bind feet; mutilate organs vital for sexual pleasure, squeeze innards and force breathlessness in whale-boned corsets; grow lice in two-foot-high hair, tighten the skin with lengthy and sometimes disfiguring surgeries, implant more fat in the buttocks, reduce the fat in breasts or stick foreign substances in them to make them bigger, paralyze faces with poison to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and torture feet with ridiculous shoes.
Addressing the culture of violence
We do violence to ourselves all the time.
Perhaps what we need is to address our entire culture of violence rather than singling out desperate women for an act that desperate women have been committing since the earliest days of humanity.
Perhaps we need a nurturing, supportive society, one that is not afraid to recognize that our sexuality is a part of our humanity.
Perhaps we need good and honest sex education for all boys and girls, with a special focus on all sexually maturing teens.
Perhaps we need accessible health care for the poorest women, the ones most impacted by the anti-abortionists.
Perhaps we need a way to honor the vulnerable and irreplaceable womb and prepare all females to protect that womb from unwanted pregnancies and find effective ways to sterilize men until they are ready to be fathers, actively involved in the lives of the human beings they help produce.
Perhaps we need to discover and practice far more female-empowering ways to preserve the gift only they can offer for the holy act of wanted pregnancies and healthy births.
Perhaps it is time to recognize that women are indeed the future of humanity and that if we don’t treat females better, we have just doomed ourselves. And ripping from girls and women the right to make decisions about their own bodies does not speak of a society that wants to treat females with respect.
Making abortion a criminal procedure without having already successfully addressed the above issues renders fertile females to being breeding units. It strips them of basic human rights, even while endowing all such rights on the collection of cells growing in their wombs. This is not the hallmark of a just society.
Do I want abortions? Nope. Don’t want wars either. But sometimes, we need to acknowledge the difficult world we live in and find solutions that don’t penalize the already vulnerable but find ways to empower and strengthen them.
We need no more unwanted babies. But we’ll never get there by punishing women for their fertility. As long as we label abortion as murder of a human being, then women who do abort need to be blamed, shamed, shunned–and jailed. To separate the two is the height of hypocrisy. Is this how we want to be known?