Sunday, August 26, 2012

The True Nature of the Anti-Abortion Campaign

I've been struggling with the issue of abortion for a long time.  I don't believe it to be the simple, black-and-white issue that many seem to believe it is.  For a long time, I've been bothered by the idea of snuffing out a living being for the sake of the 'convenience' of the mother.  I understand that part - I really do!  I don't care for the idea of abortion as a relatively simple escape hatch for being careless about contraception.  In this day and age, there are many simple and effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and responsible men and women should be allowed to use those effective means to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

But - at the same time - I understand that careless people are out there, and some of the careless women get pregnant and are unwilling or unable to accept the responsibility for the potential child in their womb.  They'll seek abortions by whatever means, safe or unsafe.  And of course, thousands of women die every year as a result of unsafe abortions.  Does being 'pro-life' exclude any concern for the lives of those women?  Is their unborn potential child more important?  How does that arithmetic work to be a life-positive outcome?  Isn't the evident lack of concern for these women really a thinly-veiled moral judgment of their participation in sex, perhaps outside of marriage?

With time, I'm finally coming to see the real source of all the 'pro-life' groups' power and pervasiveness: religion.  You don't have to be religious to be against abortion, but I'm pretty confident that a substantial majority of the folks opposed to the right of women to control their own reproductive system are religious and that's driving their support of the anti-abortion movement.

What evidence is there to support this notion?  The arguments being offered by the anti-abortion movement have the strong stench of black-and-white religious morality.  They also include scientifically-absurd notions like the recent comments by Rep. Todd Akins (which are not exclusively his!) about "legitimate rape" never resulting in pregnancy - such nonsensical and manifestly untrue beliefs are the hallmarks of a religious movement.  Several different tactics involving the re-branding of rape have been used to try to limit the opportunities for raped women to abort pregnancies resulting from rape.  In fact, there are efforts underway to outlaw all abortions, including those pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother, those resulting from rape, and those resulting from incest.  The effort to make in vitro fertilization and other fertility enhancements virtually impossible under proposed new laws is based on the same irrational arguments made on behalf of anti-abortion laws: the protection of fertilized eggs at all costs!  The blocking of federal support for stem cell research that could save many lives and heal many ailments has been similarly based on anti-abortion-related arguments.

Extremist christians have embarked on a crusade in the USA to identify 'personhood' as beginning at the moment of conception.  Any rational person must see that a fertilized egg only becomes a person when it has the capacity to survive outside of its mother's body.  Prior to that, the fertilized egg is only a potential person, and many don't survive owing to failures to implant in the uterus, spontaneous abortions, etc.  Is the mother a murderer (or guilty of involuntary manslaughter) because she has a miscarriage?  This crusade to transform fertilized eggs into sacrosanct living persons is obviously a religion-motivated campaign.  They shrewdly call themselves 'pro-life' but they seem not to give a damn about that same fertilized egg once it's born!  Many of them oppose welfare for single parents or poor families struggling to support those children, once they're born.  Many of them oppose support for education of those same fertilized eggs - education that might convert children from disadvantaged single parents into productive members of society.  Many favor the death penalty when those same fertilized eggs reach adulthood and lash out in violent acts.  Heaven forbid that fertilized egg turns into an LGBT person, at which point some 'pro-lifers' feel that they deserve to die!

They're not so pro-life as they want to claim, and they're obviously motivated by the sort of religious misogyny that characterizes islamic fundamentalists like the Taliban.  Women should stay at home and bear children, not be paid equally for their work, not be promoted to the highest professional levels, not be encouraged to pursue math and science.  If they're raped, it's because they were asking for it!  Some would even seek to have the right to vote taken from women!  These extremists want to roll back the clock and do away with all the progress in women's rights over the past 200 years.

From where I now sit, the anti-abortion movement is basically an effort to legislate religious morality - an unconstitutional intrusion of religion into our secular government.  At the same time as this anti-abortion crusade is underway, the religious extremists behind this movement also want to ban virtually all forms of contraception!  The irrationality of that can only be embraced by people already accustomed to accommodation of contractions:   religious extremists!

Behind it all is the poisonous influence religion has on perfectly natural human sexuality. The demonization of sexuality in all its forms is simply a means of controlling people.  But that's another subject, perhaps to be considered here in the future.


okienurse said...

I have to agree almost 100% but wanted to add my two cents...
I don't think it has to be exclusively a extremist religious group to perpetrate this kind of behavior...I think it stems from a dominance issue...Whoever has to control everything and the might of the majority makes it okay. The religious doctrines written through the years have been altered and adjusted to feed into this control.
I don't like or believe in abortion for myself but I do believe that it is our duty to provide safe care. A woman (and man) has to live with this choice not me. We have to offer an alternative to the backroom dives where they have had abortions for years. Quacks and hags aborting fetus using a coat hanger and no anesthetic, leaving the woman to die because of their puncturing the uterus.
I wonder if these same religious fundamentalist would protect this unborn fetus so zealously if he grew up to be gay, a rapist, a murderer, a Jeffry Dalmer, or suppose if they had knowledge that he would do something to them or their families? No I don't think so! I think they would demand it be aborted!
Here in OK we have been dealing with the moral majority, religious right for so many years I am seriously tired of it. I wonder how we can as women survive if law makers like Ryan, Akin, and here in OK Sally Kern keep getting elected. Women better stand up and be heard this year or it won't be pretty!

Chuck Doswell said...

For those of you who don't know "okienurse" is my lovely bride, Vickie Doswell. She gets an exemption ...

ColinSTL said...

To quote the late, great George Carlin:

"If you're preborn, you're fine. If you're preschool, you're fucked."

Exactly spot on.

Anonymous said...

This is very well written! Thank you for posting your thoughts.