It is likely that the fight over the next Supreme Court nominee will boil down to a single issue: abortion. Some claim that the entire 2016 election was largely about the issue of abortion and a lead-up to this moment. Now mind you, the abortion issue as per the historic 1973 Roe v Wade decision, is far from being the only human rights issue that is endangered by the threat of yet another ultra-conservative ideologist on the Court. Same-sex marriage, LGBT rights, freedom from religious mandates, immigration, and many other issues stand to be endangered. I will deal with each of those in the coming week or two, but the initial fight will likely center around Roe and abortion. As usual, I have a few thoughts on the matter …
The issue of abortion is … or at least ought to be … a personal one. Roe v Wade was not about abortion as much as about the right of a woman to have a say about what happens to her body and in a broader sense, her life. Now here’s the thing … if you are a religious person and believe that life begins at the exact moment of conception, believe that a fetus is a sacred being, that is certainly your right. Nobody is trying to challenge your beliefs, nobody is trying to take away your rights, and nobody is ever going to force you to have an abortion! Your right to give birth to as many children as you wish is safe. BUT … the rest of us have rights also, and while we are carefully not trampling on yours, we ask that you not trample on ours. Live and let live. Women do not choose abortion lightly … it is an agonizing decision for each woman, and one that she will live with for her entire life. Don’t make it harder for her with your holier-than-thou protests and denigrating remarks. Just sit down and shut up.
Why do women choose to have an abortion? In most cases it is because they are not able to take care of a child at this point in their lives. The reasons may be immaturity, i.e. the high school girl who was careless and found herself pregnant while still a child herself. Financial reasons are a major factor … consider the single-mother who already has 2-3 children and is struggling to keep a roof overhead and food on the table. In some cases the mother’s health may be in danger. The bottom line is that none of us are in that one woman’s shoes or can know what factors are driving her decision, and it is not our place to take the decision out of her hands, forcing her to possibly endure a lifetime of hardship.
One of the things that puzzles and annoys me most about this argument is that the anti-abortionists claim to feel a responsibility to the ‘life’ of a fetus, to give it an ‘opportunity’ to live, but then once a child is born, they wash their hands of it. It is for this reason that you will not see me calling them “pro-lifers” as they call themselves, for they only advocate for a life for nine months, after which … “oh well”. Almost every person who is against abortion is also against their tax dollars going to help support that child, to ensuring it has medical care, a home, and food to eat. They sniff loudly, turn their noses toward the sky and claim that the mother is simply too lazy and deserves no help. It is rather akin to adopting a puppy to keep it from being killed, and then allowing it to die from neglect and malnutrition in your garage! I have known people who did exactly that!
Those who would take away a woman’s right to choose are fond of saying that there is the choice to put the baby up for adoption. Obviously none of these people have gone through the adoption process at any stage in their lives. It is a long, arduous and often painful process, not to mention expensive. Because of the cost, it generally turns out that children are not adopted by those who most want a child, who would be the best parents, but rather by those who have the single qualification of wealth. I do note that there are exceptions. Children placed for adoption often end up in the foster care system that, while the intent is noble, the actual implementation is a nightmare rather than a success story. Look up the statistics of children in the foster care system who are abused or neglected.
Then there is the consideration that the world is already over-populated and it is simply unconscionable to bring into it another child that has an uncertain future. The world’s population is growing by 1.1% per year, or approximately an additional 83 million people annually. From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia (ordered by their expected contribution to total growth).
“Because of the abundance of our nation’s resources, we have long been careless about our level of consumption, but it is the precipitous rise in the U.S. population over the last four decades that has resulted in our outstripping of our national resources. We are living beyond our means and are doing so increasingly as our population expands. This is a serious problem with major implications for future generations.” — Fairus
Still feel good about protecting that potential, as yet un-formed, unborn fetus?
At one point during Trump’s 2016 campaign, he claimed that women should be ‘punished’ for having an abortion. Let me tell you something … women ARE punished for having abortions … they punish themselves every day for the rest of their lives! We do not need the courts and law enforcement to add insult to injury, and we do not need the religious right to shame them.
If your religion teaches you that it is wrong to have an abortion, then fine, don’t have one. But understand that not everybody ascribes to your religion. Understand that ours is a secular government and that our laws are not driven by the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Torah or any other religious text. Jews and Muslims do not eat pork, but they do not try to keep the rest of the nation from eating pork, nor do they lobby the government for laws to make pork illegal! Realize, anti-abortionists, that your beliefs are not the only legitimate beliefs.
Groups on either side of the abortion debate are poised to spend big bucks … tens of millions of dollars … in advertising their position in the upcoming debate over the confirmation of a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. It is, without a doubt, the most watched issue of the day. It is a sad state of affairs, if you ask me, that the law of the land will be determined for the next several decades based on a single religious group’s stance on a woman’s right to control her own body. It shouldn’t even BE an issue! It is not your right to choose for another. It is not the right of the U.S. Supreme Court to tell me what I must do with my body. We all need to understand that we do not live in a perfect world and that sometimes people make mistakes, but that they should not be forced by a group of nine men and women to have their lives ruined because of a single mistake.
I call on the U.S. Senate to block any Trump nominee for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Every woman in this country stands to lose if they do not. Every member of the LGBT community stands to lose. Every Jew, Muslim, Hindi, atheist or agnostic stands to lose. We the People stand to lose.