I have really been struggling as to how to respond the recent wave of violence being done to women as it relates to our reproductive rights. The U.S. Constitution is clear, and yet individual states (and insurance companies) have been slowly picking away at our access to choice. Abortion has become the scapegoat in a centuries-long quest to deprive women of our natural born sovereignty over our own power.
The truth of the matter is that abortion is not the issue. The issue is a system of fear, power and control made to support the wealth of those in power while imprisoning the rest of humanity. The abortion fight is merely a smoke screen for something far-more insidious and evil about which we should all be concerned. But as long as we are having the abortion argument, we are distracted from the real matter at hand – the freedom and liberty of all human beings that are slowly being stripped away from us by the powerful few.
But let’s talk about abortion for a minute. Having been raised Catholic; I once proudly waved the pro-life banner. That was until I realized that “pro-life” only meant anti-abortion as I watched so-called pro-lifers favor the death penalty and political positions that ignored the needs of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the otherwise powerless. I have seen those same persons who vote for the pro-life candidate, vote against access to health care and empowerment programs for women, children and those suffering poverty. These same pro-life voters continue to support the death of innocents both in our country and abroad by supporting war, ignoring the needs of the mentally ill and by refusing to step forward in rational conversations about reasonable gun policies. They want to support the rights of the unborn child while ignoring the needs of that child after it is born. This is not pro-life!
This is where I became pro-choice. How can we support the unborn child without caring about how it will survive after it has come to term? How can we favor the unborn child over the millions of people in our world who are starving, homeless, and without access to adequate medical care? And why is the unborn child of greater value than the mother who is asked to birth….and then provide for it? I’m not saying abortion is the ideal choice, I’m not sure I could make that choice if faced with an unplanned pregnancy. For some, however, it may be the only choice when faced with a world that is adamant about bringing life to birth but completely unconcerned about the care of that life thereafter.
Abortion is not the issue. Abortion is a symptom of a system that has gone terribly awry.
Abortion would become rare and mostly unnecessary if we lived in a system that:
- Provided quality sex education and access to affordable birth control so that unplanned pregnancies would become rare.
- Guaranteed access to quality pre-natal, maternity and post-natal care.
- Guaranteed access to affordable, quality healthcare.
- Provided paid maternity and paternity leave in support of the mental, emotional and physical health of the family.
- Ensured that the basic needs of the family were being met – food, clothing, safe housing, access to medical care, etc.
If the mother is unmarried or not in partnership with the father of the child:
- Enforced paternal financial support of the unborn child and if the child is given over to the father for support, that he receive adequate financial support.
- Access to education, gainful employment and quality childcare so the mother (or father) can work (if they have to…..and mostly likely they will).
But sadly, none of this is being done and the supports that have been there are quietly (sometimes not so quietly) being stripped away.
Women rarely choose abortion because they want to; they are forced into this choice by a system that does not support them or the child they are increasingly being forced to bear. Putting laws in place to prohibit abortion will not stop abortion. It will only make it more dangerous. If we truly want to stop abortion, we need to work toward reforming the systems that put women (and men) in the position of having to make this choice in the first place.
(If you haven’t figured it out yet, there is an even more insidious reason for those in power wanting to prohibit abortion. It is not “to save a life.” It is to keep more women and children poor and therefore dependent on the system that put them there in the first place. Grrrr)