Since 2010, we’ve passed more abortion restrictions in the United States than during the entire previous decade. Some states have banned abortions past a certain number of weeks. Some now require invasive and unnecessary medical procedures (vaginal probes). Or waiting periods. Require women to be counseled by religious organizations. Or require doctors to read scripts with false medical claims. Some states are criminalizing miscarriages. Some of these new laws nothing at all to do with women. Some target family planning clinics. Unnecessarily extravagant building codes. Others target abortion doctors themselves. TRAP laws. Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers. Federal courts have said that shutting down clinics for hundreds of miles is not an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose. The Supreme Court recently decided that private corporations have religious beliefs, and can deny contraception coverage in healthcare plans.
Legislators have attempted to pass personhood bills, which would ban certain forms of contraception (including IUDs). Rape insurance bills, which would require additional insurance coverage for abortion, even for rape victims. Fetal-heartbeat bills. Some states have attempted to jail abortion providers. Some states (GA) have tried to ban clinics from doing abortions, only in hospitals. Other states (PA) have have tried to ban hospitals from doing abortion, only in clinics.
While some claim that these efforts are meant to protect the health of women, others are more truthful. House Speaker John Boehner has said that “one of our most fundamental goals” is to “make abortion a relic of the past.” In fact, the 2012 Republican party platform insisted upon a Constitutional ban on all abortions.
According to Genesis, God created Adam & Eve. When there were only two people on the planet, God instructed them to be fruitful and multiply. Again, after the flood, the planet was inhabited by just Noah and his extended family. As before, God instructed them to be fruitful and multiply, to inhabit the earth. Those were very specific cases. Which made sense. Human existence was in peril. This situation has long since been remedied. There are over 7 billion people on the planet these days. Multiplying humans is exceedingly more a hindrance than a virtue.
Later in Genesis came the story of Onan. His brother, Er, was evil in the sight of the Lord, so God killed him. Onan’s father, Judah, instructed him to marry Er’s widow in order to conceive an heir. Onan knew that an heir would truly be his brother’s, and not his own. Onan married Tamar, but spilled his seed on the ground. So God killed Onan, too.
The story of Onan needn’t be interpreted as anti-contraception. It could just as easily be taught as a story of obeying your parents and respecting elders. Common biblical themes. Better still, the story of Onan was in line the Old Testament law that a man was to take his brother’s widow if they had yet to conceive. Onan was running afoul of this and was punished.
Thou shalt not kill came in Exodus. Seems pretty cut and dried, except that zygotes are not people. How can I say this? Especially when we have sonograms? Well, what does the bible say? Adam was created, but wasn’t alive until he was given the breath of life. Again in Revelations 11:11, breath signifies life.
Exodus also lays out restitution for accidental death. A woman could be killed for half-price. And no payment is necessary unless the deceased is at least one month of age. The bible says that you aren’t alive until you take a breath of life, and you don’t count until one month.
The Old Testament shows just how pro-life God isn’t. It’s not just Sodom & Gomorrah. Jews were commanded to kill all non-believers. The Canaanites were to be completely destroyed, from women and children to pets and livestock. Everything. The first-born sons of the Egyptians were murdered by God. God once got so mad at humans, that he murdered all but a few of us. Shoot, Revelations says that Jesus will eventually torch our entire planet, including all non-believing inhabitants (for New Jerusalem). Does that sound very pro-life?
In fact, Moses gave a recipe for an infertility potion in Numbers 5. If a man is jealous, a priest mixes holy water in an earthen jar with dirt from the floor of the tabernacle, ashes of paper transcribed with damning statements, and burnt grains of jealousy. If God knows that the wife was faithful all along, she avoids the curse of infertility from the potion, and being cast out. Not very pro-life.
This is about control over women. Jesus spoke against placing undue burdens upon people. Said that mercy is greater than sacrifice.
Forcing women to carry every pregnancy to term is an undue burden. Contraception means that women control their own lives. That they are free to have an uninterrupted career if they choose. To choose the most appropriate time to start a family. To be able to decide when they’ve had enough kids. Aside from the basic right of autonomy over their own bodies.
This is a problem for some. The bible says that wives should be submissive. The Catholic church refuses to allow female priesthood to this day.
This is where we see the greatest need for the separation of church and state. The Constitution (let alone common sense) mandates that women are equal. Who are we to demand control over women’s lives and bodies? Because someone told you that the bible says so? Read it yourself. And don’t skim over the bad parts. The bible also supports slavery. Instructs slaves to be faithful to their masters. Which we know is also completely and utterly disgusting. Are pro-lifers also pro-slavery? Should we still ban shellfish and mixed fabrics? Should we still have a ban on collecting interest? Are we unclean if we sit where a woman on her menstrual cycle had previously sat? Should sexually-active women be cast out of cities? Should children be murdered for cursing at their parents? That’s what the bible says. And we don’t believe any of that.
Now of course, America is not a theocracy (we were the first secular nation, to intentionally have no official religion). And not all believers are anti-choice. But that doesn’t stop the restrictions from happening from coast to coast. And the fact that six of nine Supreme Court justices are Catholic, most of whom seem amenable to overturning Roe.
Think about how things actually play out in real life. Why would a woman want to get an abortion? Think about it. Being pregnant means taking time off from work. We don’t have guaranteed maternity leave in the US. For a single woman/mother, taking such time off not only greatly diminishes pay, but hinders career advancement. If she is in a low-paying job, or is a student – the cost of having children is impossible to afford without significant assistance. Forcing government-mandated pregnancy-outcomes can represent a severe economic punishment.
Maybe the father went kaput. The family was split before it began. Maybe she’s thirteen and was raped. Maybe she’s sixteen, and doesn’t feel like she’s ready to raise a child. Maybe she’s twenty-four, and her birth control failed. Look, people have sex, it’s only natural. We should not impose punishment upon those who want to share intimacy with another human being. Slut-shaming is wrong. If you believe that God intended for sex to feel good, why would we want to attach punishment to such a gift?
Restrictions on abortion are nonsensical. I challenge anyone to find women who have abortions for fun. Who whimsically and frequently find themselves pregnant, only to abort the proceedings. Like drive-thru abortions. That’s what contraception is for, so you don’t get pregnant in the first place. And that’s what sex-education is for.
Access to abortion should not be restricted in any way. (Aside from coercion.) Especially late-term abortions. And these are the most despised. Yet I say again, why would a woman make such a decision? Why would a woman have a late-term abortion? Think about it – she’s already carried the fetus for months on end. Already gained the weight, with possible marks to show. Already dealing with the pains of pregnancy. Sickness, swollenness and tenderness. Why would she suddenly decide not to follow through?
She wouldn’t. It would be because doctors have informed her that the fetus is not viable, and/or that her that giving birth would be a significant risk to her health.
You don’t think women should have abortions? Don’t have one. Think that fetuses should have rights over women? Women are not incubators. They are human beings.
Not only are abortion restrictions morally reprehensible in their disrespect for women. But they push women in need of care into the hands of despicable individuals like Kermit Gosling. Into back-alley abortions. Bathtub abortions. Kitchen table abortions. Back to hangers. To women dying everyday in failed amateur abortions. We are headed in the wrong direction.