“My body, my choice” is a common refrain for women in the pro-choice movement. I happen to agree with it. What women choose to do when they get pregnant is truly none of my business.
Yet the abortion debate swirls and twists and roars as if men played absolutely no role in getting women pregnant. As if all pregnancies were some kind of immaculate conceptions.
Our society and culture puts almost all the onus and responsibility (and, often enough, blame) on women for getting pregnant. For pro-lifers, a woman, once pregnant, is then obligated to have a baby and care for it until adulthood, else put it up for adoption.
But what about the father’s obligation? After all, unless we’re talking the Virgin Mary here, she didn’t get pregnant alone. (And even the Virgin Mary had help of a godly kind.)
I’d have a bit more tolerance for pro-lifers if they’d agreed to these rules:
The biological father is also responsible, financially and legally and otherwise, for raising the baby until adulthood.
If the father isn’t married to the mother in question, and the mother keeps the child, he is legally obligated to pay for child support. For argument’s sake, let’s say he’s obligated to contribute 20% of his pay until the child reaches the age of eighteen.
If men were held legally and morally responsible for all the children they fathered, and this was strictly enforced by society and the state, with deadbeat dads becoming society’s new outcasts, I wonder how long it would take for abortion to be made legal and universally available in America?
I truly believe that if men got pregnant, abortion would be free, legal, and readily available across the United States.
But men don’t get pregnant, so the idea of carrying an unwanted baby to term is mainly theoretical for them. How easy it is, then, to outlaw abortion while claiming to be pro-life.
Having been raised Catholic, I was taught abortion is murder. It’s that blunt. As the Church was teaching me that, it was allowing predatory priests to molest children. There was even a predatory priest assigned to my parish when I was young. So I’m not too keen on the moral authority and teachings of the Church here. Again, if priests got pregnant, I truly believe abortion would be accepted within the Church. Perhaps it would be justified by arguing that priests, first and foremost, have to serve God and the Church and therefore shouldn’t be encumbered by children.
The U.S. Supreme Court seems ready to overturn Roe v Wade by next summer, which is not surprising. So much for respecting judicial precedent. Even as it does so, we’ll hear arguments about how the Court isn’t partisan or political or influenced by religious beliefs, which is absurd. So-called pro-life Republicans have won the battle of placing partisan justices on the Court, and soon they’ll reap their reward.
Establishment Democrats are not as unhappy as you might think. I’ve already received urgent requests to donate money in the cause of abortion rights. Abortion is a “hot-button” issue and a real money-maker for partisans on both sides. Sorry, Democrats, this is your mess too, and you won’t see a penny from me.
Why do I claim Democrats are responsible too? President Obama could have appointed a justice to the Supreme Court when Mitch McConnell refused to do his job. It may have touched off a Constitutional crisis, but it was a fight worth having. But Obama figured Hillary Clinton couldn’t lose to Trump, so he did nothing. Meanwhile, Hillary ran a horrible campaign and lost to a failed casino owner and C-list celebrity apprentice. Because of that, we got three new justices who were all picked in large part because of their opposition to Roe v Wade. (That, and the fact they’re all pro-business.)
We will soon take a giant step backwards in America. Roughly half of American states will outlaw abortion; the other half will likely allow it under various conditions. Of course, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted, rich women, no matter where they live, will be able to get abortions. Women of lesser means will struggle and suffer. The pro-life movement will applaud that there are fewer abortions even as they cut benefits to the mothers who are forced to have these babies. They will do this with no pangs of conscience and in the name of loving the unborn — until they’re born to the “wrong” kind of mother.
And so it goes in America.
A Coda (12/5/21)
I welcome all comments on this difficult issue.
Instead of Cui bono, or who benefits, I think of who suffers if Roe v Wade is overturned. Not men. Not women of means, who will find a way to secure a safe abortion irrespective of the law in their particular state. It will be poor and desperate women who suffer, especially those who’ve been raped or who’ve been the victims of incest. Imagine being raped and then being forced to carry the fetus to term — it’s unimaginable to me.
I should note as well the burden placed on women — always women. What about the man who got her pregnant? Why may a woman be forced to give birth to an unwanted child while the father walks away freely in virtually all cases? People often discuss abortion as if women got pregnant by immaculate conception. As if men hold no responsibility whatsoever. Believe me, if men got pregnant too, abortion would be freely available.
So it’s likely that next summer, five men and one very conservative woman aligned with a fringe group in the Catholic Church will rule to compromise the bodily autonomy of women across the country; they’ll be opposed by two women and one man who seek to uphold a less-than-perfect precedent but one that has served to reduce state and patriarchal domination in the US of A for half a century.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will obviously be revealed for what it is: a partisan hack shop in which the law is for sale or otherwise open to manipulation by the well-connected for unsavory purposes.
Tell me how this is a good thing.
Coda 2 (12/6/21)
As a (lapsed) Catholic, I realize people have religious reasons why they oppose abortion.
To these people I say: If you’re opposed to abortion, don’t have one. But don’t seek to impose your religious beliefs on everyone else.
A decision on abortion should be between a woman and her doctor. It’s a private decision. You have no say. Your religious beliefs don’t matter.
Against abortion? Don’t have one — simple as that. And MYOB.