The Truth About Abortion

Right now the story dominating headlines is, of course, the leaked Supreme Court memo indicating that come June, Roe vs. Wade will no longer be the law of the land. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Barack Obama from appointing centrist Merrick Garland to the Court in favor of letting the next president fill the seat. The next president was, of course, Donald Trump, who was able to place three Federalist Society judges on the nation’s highest court over the span of his four-year term. That all but assured the end of Roe vs. Wade, as the Federalists have had their sites set on outlawing abortion for years.

The religious right are cheering the impending end of abortion rights because they would really like to see a government based on their particular worldview franchise, but let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with the life of the fetuses that never become children. In face, the religious right and the Federalist Society have two completely different agendas here. Let’s break them down.

For the religious right, this is about forcing women to carry babies to term, and failing to do so makes them “murderers.” This includes cases of rape, incest and where the mother’s life is endangered by the prospect of carrying a baby to term. By the way, some 60% of Americans polled believe abortion should be legal in some or all cases, and in a Democracy the majority tends to hold sway. Of course, America has not been a true Democracy for quite some time. So after the Supreme Court’s decision is codified, the federal law protecting a woman’s right to choose her own healthcare options will be struck down and the religious right (minority) will declare victory. The majority/losing opinion on the subject will be still be heard in the form of those folks who are currently demonstrating at the houses of the deciding Justices.

For the Federalist Society, this is about doing away with any federal government regulations that were not specifically spelled out in the US Constitution (as they interpret it). They would prefer to let states make their own laws and limit the overall power of the federal government. That sounds all well and good, but as the United States there are some fairly universal rights that we like to think we stand for as a country, among them a person’s right to make their own healthcare decisions. The problem is, there is a genuine fear that with the Federalists will now begin a cascade of repealing hard-fought freedoms.

“It’s appalling because it doesn’t just chip a little piece off Roe v. Wade,” Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said recently. “It takes a pickax to it and in doing so, it opens up the risk of losing a whole stack of other rights that we’ve come to depend on.”

Next on the agenda is rumored to be the Marriage Equality Act, which allows same-sex couple to wed.

I will never have an abortion, nor will I be the cause of one. The issue is not personal to me, and neither is gay marriage, other than the fact that I have friends who are gay and happily married. What worries me is what else might be waiting as we slide down this slippery slope. There has been a sharp rise in conspiracy theorists, racists and generally just crazy people in government of late and I would hate to see their views become the laws of the land in states across the country. Much like The Bible, The Constitution is very much open to interpretation and the viewpoints it represents are those of people who came from a much simpler society with less complicated lives to govern. In many cases, attempting to apply those ancient viewpoints to modern situations is as anachronistic as suggesting Moses should have escaped Egypt on a 747.

If this issue was really about the life of a child, and if the right-wing politicians were truly concerned about it for that reason, those same politicians would also be the leading advocates for free prenatal care, paid maternity and paternity leave, high quality early childhood education and funding the best educational system on the planet. You probably don’t need Google to tell you whether or not that is the case. If you do, go ahead.

I’ll wait here.

Welcome back! As you found, those advocating for the birth of every child conceived are also vehemently against pretty much anything that would benefit the children after they are born. I have come to call those folks “Pro Birth” instead of their chosen “Pro Life” moniker. But let be clear, at its core this issue is really not about babies.

What’s really at issue here is something about which the Founding Fathers were in 100% agreement: separation of church and state. Remember that the primary reason those European refugees came to what we call America was because they were fleeing the tyranny of the Church of England. They had had more than enough of the Church usurping their human rights and taxing them into oblivion so they went looking for a fresh start somewhere else. Many of the most notable founders – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and James Monroe, in particular – were deists, and therefore did not hold Christian doctrine to be of particular use. Jefferson even produced his own version of the New Testament without any of Jesus’ purported miracles because he did not find them to be credible or necessary accounts. To put it bluntly, they wanted a society not governed by one group’s religious doctrine.

It’s disappointing that a couple of hundred of years later we are working to become the very kind of society from which those Founders fled.


One thought on “The Truth About Abortion”

  1. Would you agree that the issue is about power and control? I’m with you that it’s not about the health and well being of children, or future people. Rather whose will is paramount. God’s? his? her’s? the people’s? the voter’s? the righteous?


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