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Research & Thoughts

Abortion Debate Updated

Let's start this debate off with a little quote from a well-researched novel about the Church's attitude in 1215.


 "Her funeral, too, had to be held outside the church, for her body held an unbaptized infant, and the church must not be defiled." Really? You wanted babies baptized inside the womb? I'm going to say it out loud, because that attitude is so offensive.  Just because Christians believe that every conception is a gift of God doesn't give them the right to regulate someone else's womb. This whole issue about birth control, including abortion, is about a woman's right to choose her time to be a mother.  But it's more than that.  It's against the Christian idea that they have the right to control society.  Normally I have nothing against Christians.  But on this issue I do, and by the time you're done reading this—if you read it with an open mind—you'll understand the debate a little better.  


Granted, this opening quote was from 1215 in Italy.  But think about it—is it really so different an attitude than what pro-lifers promote today?  I made a radical comment in a novel I wrote—about a girl out west in the 1800s who was raped by her father, gave birth, and the father strangled the child and never let her see it.  There have been readers who have badmouthed the book and refused to read more because of this event, a pivotal event in a relationship that moves the story further. Why so incensed?  Because it could never possibly happen?  Of course it could.  Had this girl been allowed an abortion, a lot of grief and trauma could have been avoided.  I don't know how they did abortions in the middle 1800s, but by the late 1800s I know that abortion doctors were available.  I found search for another novel set in the 1940s that claimed the use of a morning after drug.


But in today's world, we need to factor in emotional maturity, because today's unwed mother is so often left alone to fend for herself.  And pro-lifers refuse to face that fact.  They want to force that woman to bear the child but provide nothing to help her out afterward, unless she is willing to fall on the auspices of their church and plead eternity loyalty to their savior.  


Is it any wonder that newly born babies are often found abandoned?


If you believe that from the moment an egg is fertilized by sperm its life deserves to be protected until it is born and takes a breath, you're a pro-lifer.  Paul Ryan, former Senator from Wisconsin, wanted to give a fertilized egg the same legal rights as a breathing human being.  This GOP attitude has led to the issues of Justice Scalia saying that the Roe V. Wade protection of abortion got it all wrong. All wrong is from a Christian standpoint. Let me demonstrate.


Roe V. Wade's Supreme Court ruling referred to the 14th Amendment's Constitutional right to privacy. That this issue is between a woman and her doctor and no one else -- in effect, no state was then allowed to prohibit abortion because it's interfering in a woman's right to privacy. There's also a phrase in that Amendment that says that all persons have a right to life, liberty and happiness … all "individual persons" was then latched onto and Christians began demanding we see fetuses as individual persons. Ah yes, there's the rub. How is a fetus an individual when it cannot exist outside the mother?


That's the issue and there's the compromise. No child in the womb who is able to exist out of the womb can be aborted; that is, deliberately killed. We make the part of this privacy act and we effectively cover all bases. There really are no arguments that don't boil down to this specific comment: Is the fetus an individual? No, not if it cannot sustain itself.


It all really boils down to 'none of your business.' Today we're also facing a formula shortage. I mean, how does that even happen, when more women than ever are breast-feeding? Well, it means the formula companies have to scramble to make the product cheaper. I hear one even sickened babies and had to be removed. Not all women can breast-feed. Sadly. It's the best thing for the baby. And now they want to do away with abortion at a time when current babies are a struggle to feed.


My strongest argument in favor of birth control, including abortion, is that there is no one more helpless than a newborn infant, an eating machine that at first seems to cry incessantly because he doesn't always know how to eat, or maybe he's simply frustrated, too, at the birthing process and in pain from all the adjustment his body has had to make.  The mother has to have extreme patience in those first months, while dealing with this squawking eating machine, especially if breast-feeding, along with a host of other problems, namely pain and maybe even a little post-partum depression.


Add to this the frustration of having a baby you really didn't want, and formula that's hard to find.


The problem with calling abortion murder is what happens when a women miscarries. Is anyone going to believe it was accidental? Or does a woman who miscarries automatically become a murderer? Being pro-life puts you on a slippery slope for which there is no real escape. You have to keep defending and defending that position, along with wanting no government interference, which is supposedly a GOP stance -- less government involvement in our lives.


Grieving women have a hard time coping with the loss of their lovingly anticipated offspring.  Should we accuse them of murder?  Did they do something wrong, causing the fetus to abort?  Absolutely not.  But how do we know that this mother, whose baby miscarries or dies at birth, really wanted it?  If you outlaw abortion, will ever single prenatal death be called murder?


A woman has an abortion not because she's mean, but because she's loving. She knows that her child deserves the right kind of environment. So what happens when you force her to bear young before she's ready?  She may have such a horrifying experience that she never does it again.  So by making her bear one she doesn't want, you are robbing her of the loving experience of having others she does want.


Today, a woman needs to be ready, because killing a breathing infant IS murder.


Caring is a remarkable feeling and giving birth is a beautiful thing -- if the child is wanted. Yes, adoptive families are most often loving ones (although I have known failures).  Adoptive children fill a gap. But there will always be things about that adopted child the parent will never know, forcing that child out to seek her birth parents.

Abortion has a very long history, indicating that women have always believed they had the right to choose motherhood.  But then Christianity stepped in and made it a forbidden act, by converting those "pagans." Aside from the crime rate caused by unwanted and abused children, do you know what women had to go through before Roe vs. Wade?  Doctors were sought who would perform abortions in closets (figuratively speaking), coat hangers were used by those desperate for do-it-yourself … I would bet some very dangerous substances were ingested as well.  Women died in desperation because of the fear of bringing a child into an undesirable circumstance. And we've mentioned the occasional dead baby found in the garbage, or flushed down the toilet because of the terror of women unable or unready for the responsibility, and fearful of the stigma of pregnancy.  

The point of pro-choice, then, is not to stop people from having babies. Instead it recognizes the seriousness of the mother/child relationship and allows the mother some say when it's her time.  


Pro-lifers think everyone has to give birth because they and their God will be offended otherwise.  But their God does not belong to everyone. People who are comfortable with their spirituality have no need to push their beliefs on others, which is what pro-lifers try to do.  


No one is forced to have an abortion.  That might be the biggest fallacy out there.  But to say we want to be free to have guns and defend ourselves and in the same breath take away a woman's control of her own body is an arrogance that only an insensitive man can devise.


I long for the day when there is no need for abortion, because of easy access to birth control, lots of sexual activity training by the time the girl is menstruating and at that same age for boys, an open conversation and dialog about this most important of duties, and free birth control and morning after drugs readily available.


I would rather see Christianity disappear than hear one more of its radicals say that they have the right to stick their hand over another woman's vagina.

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