Category Archives: Reproductive Rights

1000 Words: Murderers

Here’s the heart of the anti-abortion argument: voluntarily ending a pregnancy before its term is the moral, and now legal, equivalent of killing a born human being.

At any given anti-abortion rally or demonstration, you’ll find numerous “Abortion Is Murder” signs. This is the most positive spin I can imagine applying to the movement that took over the Republican Party beginning in the mid-1970s and gained steamroller momentum during the Reagan Years. Those who decide to abort, those who help them get an abortion, those who provide medical assistance in the surgical procedure itself, are parties to a capital crime.

Among Roman Catholics and other god-ists, participation in an abortion condemns everyone involved to a sentence of eternal damnation, an exile to hell. In that sense, the souls of the people involved in an abortion are as stained by mortal sin as those of murderous mobsters, serial killers, war criminals, assassins, and everyday brutes who’ve snuffed out another human being’s life.

Notice I said this was a positive spin. The reason I say that is there are at least a half dozen other, less savory, reasons many people oppose reproductive rights. They include misogyny, fear of female sexuality, desire to control women, tribalism, and a few others. I can’t accurately state how many anti-abortionists fall into any of the aforementioned categories but I feel confident to assert a huge swath of those prohibitionists are driven by rationales less lofty, less spiritual, less altruistic, than the simple Abortion Is Murder doctrine. But for the sake of this argument, I’ll focus on those who hold zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as close to their bosom as any human who’s ever emerged from a mother’s birth canal.

Many of the new state laws triggered by the US Supreme Court’s recent reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision criminalize doctors, nurses, technicians, and any and all friends, family, and loved ones who perform, assist, or enable women to get abortions. Abortion, these laws clearly imply, is a crime. The worst crime a person can commit. Murder.

This makes sense if one is to accept the fact that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is an actual human being with guaranteed constitutional rights. Now, I don’t believe that, nor do the vast majority of people who espouse reproductive rights. But, again, millions of people believe with all their hearts the clump of cells in a woman’s Fallopian tube, making its way toward the uterus, is as human as you and me.

A Person?

Why, then, do none of the new state laws restricting abortion, as well as those long in the books, call for criminally charging and legally punishing the women who choose to abort?

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if many of the Abortion Is Murder folks would be four-square in favor of putting a woman who aborts in criminal jeopardy. Yet the legislators and the prosecutors who are eager to put the new and existing state laws into practice have steadfastly avoided criminalizing women who abort.

In fact, if one were to accept the Abortion Is Murder idea, a woman who aborts must be held criminally responsible for her act. She has killed a human being. She called a clinic to set up an appointment, asked her best friend to drive her there the day of the procedure, and voluntarily submitted to the medical personnel’s physical act of snuffing out the human life that heretofore had been thriving within her womb.

She is a murderer.

At least in theory.

Separating the woman who chooses to abort from the criminal consequences of abortion is the equivalent of saying the person who drove the getaway car, the armed lookout, the abettor who provided the hideout, and the fence who laundered the loot all are to be held criminally responsible for the bank robbery. Only the actual person who stuck the gun in the teller’s face and ran off with the bag of cash would be exempt from prosecution.

You’d find that ridiculous, wouldn’t you? I do. Anybody would.

So why do the abortion restriction laws let the woman off the hook?

The only conceivable reason must be that everyone understands a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy is the ultimate personal choice, one that countless women have been forced to make since human beings came to realize they could actually abort. That realization came about thousands of years ago, so it’s not some newfangled, commie, socialist, homosexuality-grooming, Black Lives Matter attempt to bring down all of Western Civilization. Carrying a fetus to term is a life-altering thing. Raising a child changes a woman’s life in ways none of us males can even comprehend. And deciding to terminate the clump of cells within her Fallopian tube or uterus is a choice women agonize over. The idea that there are scads of women running around getting pregnant every half hour and then blithely submitting to abortion after abortion is as false as saying every grown man is a child molester or all politicians are crooks.

It’s a simplistic, non-thinking take on a complicated world.

A rational person must be compelled to call for our state legislatures to enact laws mandating the prosecution and criminal punishment of all women who choose to undergo an abortion. It’s murder, isn’t it?

I wonder how far that would get the anti-abortion state senators and representatives. It might cost those politicians votes. Many votes, inasmuch as a majority of the American electorate is in favor of maintaining a woman’s right to abort.

We all agree murder is a crime. We don’t all agree abortion is murder. Even the lawmakers restricting or outright banning abortion understand that.

1000 Words: Obsessed

The Loved One and I take regular, weekly drives through the hinterlands of southern Indiana. Now, before you tell me I ought to get out of the car and walk or hike a bit, please be aware I can hardly walk due to still having one hip joint with Category 4 osteoarthritis. That means the ball and socket no longer have any cartilage cushion between them. It’s bone on bone, baby, and that’s a formula for howling pain.

But enough of that. Today’s screed has to do with people who seem to have a one-track minds.

As we make our way through small towns and winding farm roads, we see an endless stream of billboards addressing abortion. And the topic ain’t controversial. Every single one is an anti-abortion scold.

Some examples:

My heart began beating at 23 days — accompanied by a picture of a cute little toddler with a blanket partially covering her head.

I felt pain before I was born — with a similar aww-inspiring pic alongside it.

A baby is God’s miracle gift.

Black people didn’t choose slavery. The Jews didn’t choose genocide. Babies don’t choose to be aborted.

And of course, the old standby:

Choose life.

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If we were to try to count the number of such signs during any of our Sunday drives, we’d soon become overwhelmed by the immensity of the task.

Now, for the sake of this post, I’m going to give the people on whose property these sign are erected, as well as the people who pay to have them put up, the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume they honestly and truly believe ending a pregnancy before birth is a crime, both morally and, now that the Trump Supreme Court has had its say, legally. I’m not always so generous, though. My sneaking suspicion long has been that a lot of anti-abortion-ists simply can’t bear the idea that women like to have sex. They think all women have to do is not engage in it. Problem solved.

But, damn it all, these women keep spreading their legs and getting pregnant and then blithely murdering the infants inside them. And they do it again and again and again.

Let’s ignore the blatant falsehoods in that line of thinking. Let’s ignore it all right now. Let’s, as I say, give these folks the benefit of the doubt.

Today, we were behind a guy in a pickup plastered with anti-abortion bumper stickers, including this one:

93% of Woman Who Had Abortions Regret It.

Which is rather presumptuous on his part, wouldn’t you think? In his mind, those seven percent who are cool with their decision to abort must be ghouls.

Again, let’s assume these folks hold dearly in their hearts the unshakable belief that all human life is precious and to end one is the most heinous crime of all.

Why, then, is abortion the only ending of life that drives them to put up signs, to hang banners down from highway overpasses, to harass women trying to enter abortion clinics? Why, why, why?

They’re not out hanging banners calling for an end to the murder of already-born people. They’re not calling for an end to war. They’re not agitating for safer cars and highways, where tens of thousands of Americans each year are killed in crashes. They’ve yet to weight in on the Flint, Michigan water supply crisis that was responsible for countless deaths. The don’t have bumper stickers calling for the arrest and conviction of the Sackler family for their part in the opioid epidemic.

I don’t see any such signs, placards, billboards or bumper stickers decrying anything but the ending of a pregnancy prior to term.

They don’t march around their town squares demanding an end to rape.

They don’t hint at any concern for industrial pollution or global warming, both of which already have caused immeasurable sickness and death around the world.

That’s why I refuse to call their crusade “pro-life.” It’s not.

It’s solely anti-abortion. Anti- a few other things as well but, as I say, let’s ignore that today.