Life is precious and complicated
With the passage of the Texas Heartbeat Act and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization at the Supreme Court, the abortion issue, still looming large in US politics, has come to the forefront of the nation’s attention in a way it has not. done in recent years. In the war on public opinion, abortion rights advocates have shown a cold contempt for those who are living examples of births they believe should never have been allowed.
There was a time when liberals as convinced as the Clintons argued that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Today an ad popped up on my screen stating, “Adoption cannot replace abortion”. As an adoptive mother, my heart broke thinking about the message this ad would send to my children: your life is not worth fighting for and the world would have been a better place if you had never been born.
Some might say that this reaction is too sensitive and I should know what the advertisers meant, which is that simply advocating for adoption does not solve the underlying social or medical issues that come with choosing. of a woman to terminate her pregnancy. These are real issues that are often overlooked, but in all fairness, this particular ad, along with many others that have popped up on my social media feed recently, haven’t addressed these issues either, nor have they. comments under posts.
In a time when careers are over and lives turned upside down due to poorly chosen words, perceived offenses and contempt for groups of individuals, it seems unfathomable that the lives of groups ranging from foster children to disabled can be referred to with such insensitivity. disdain and indifference without consequence.
At the end of the musical Hamilton, the chorus speaks of the importance of “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story”. The stories of those described by some in the abortion debate as unworthy of life matter; they matter as much as the stories of women who have to choose between continuing or terminating their pregnancies.
“If you don’t have a uterus, you shouldn’t have an opinion,” is an oft-repeated mantra from pro-choice supporters. The unspoken part is, “And if you have a uterus, your only choice is to be pro-choice.” Being pro-life is portrayed as being anti-woman, as if femininity is a monolithic group of like-minded automatons who have been told to want the same out of life. It is a very limited feminist reflection before the 2nd wave.
Ironically, the pro-choice feminist perspective on abortion reinforces the heteronormative male-centered worldview. He calls children an obstacle to success, and while in the past the inconvenience of raising children was left to women, the acquiescence of responsibility offered to fathers has been replaced by the total elimination of the child. for mothers. In this way, men do not have to change their behavior and the responsibility to “take care of the children” still falls on the woman and therefore nothing has really changed. But I digress.
Abortion is a complicated matter, and should not be reduced to sound bites. I have spoken with mothers who were pregnant with loved and cherished babies but who could not survive the birth and continuing this pregnancy would seriously endanger the life of the mother.
There are women for whom the continuation of a pregnancy is Sophie’s choice between her ability to reconcile a fragile economic existence for her existing children and her desire to give birth to the child she is carrying. Young women raised in ardently pro-life conservative households face the decision to be excluded from their families for engaging in sexual behavior outside of marriage or to secretly terminate the pregnancy resulting from that choice in order to maintain unblemished family relationships. And, because society does not support motherhood, millions of women are forced to choose between their potential and the potential of their unborn child. It is a very limited view that says that women make decisions about pregnancy casually or casually; these are often painful decisions in which choice does not seem to be part of the equation.
To truly curb abortion in this country, we need to support women and children. It means social programs that make the choice of life the easier decision. This is often the catch in the Conservative community because that support will cost money – money for child care, medical care, education and housing. It will also involve investments in things that appear to be outside the traditional framework of women and children.
For example, changing our drug policy so that it focuses on rehabilitation rather than incarceration, thus providing people with the skills they need to be good parents instead of breaking up families. Solid sex education in schools with lessons on the destructive potential of pornography addiction so that young people do not normalize an unhealthy relationship with sex that could lead to unwanted pregnancies. Transport infrastructure so that parents can get to work, daycare and school, giving them time during the day to invest in their children.
Finally, incentives for companies that support a healthy work-life balance for their employees, including flexibility for maternity and paternity leave, not only after the birth of a child, but with a concern for flexibility for parents throughout their child’s education.
As we face this moment in our country’s abortion debate, we cannot afford to slide into sound wars. Too often, these one-off flights fail to take into account the value of the lives and experiences of people on both sides of the debate: adoptees and their parents, people with disabilities, those with fertility issues, women in physical danger. and economic and parents without support. Birth is too often a dividing line with one side of the debate focused exclusively on those who are born and the other only on those who give birth. There is nothing in this debate that is as simple as either.
My children’s lives matter and the world would be a poorer place without them, but I’m not so naive to be blind that this issue is more complicated than any person’s experience. My prayer is that we have a real conversation in this country about how to value life in all of its complexities and not degenerate into divided crowds shouting slogans at each other on the steps of the courthouse.