Thinking through and writing about issues that rouse
How can you be both against abortion AND birth control?
Do you wonder why Christians you think are reasonable can STILL support Trump, even if they know he’s immoral and incompetent? It’s because they think they’re saving babies. He doesn’t need to be eloquent or even have policy plans. All he has to do is say certain magic words, like law and order, and in this case, abortion. For good measure, say “nine month” abortion, and you have secured a moral imperative in which the ends justify the means.
It’s not about saving babies though.
If it’s about saving babies, you would be FOR birth control, right?You wouldn’t have pushed for the 2014 Supreme Court decision that allows private companies to deny birth control coverage to their employees if it opposes their religious beliefs. Women earning less than a living wage will not be able to afford birth control and therefore possibly be faced with unintended pregnancies. Will they have abortions? Maybe, maybe not. But you didn’t have to put them in this position! You could’ve just allowed them the contraception and the education to prevent unintended pregnancies. Voila! No abortion necessary.
If it’s about saving babies, you would not be so adamant about overturning Roe v Wade
The data is in: abortions have declined to its lowest levels since Roe passed. The reasons are unclear, but the theories seems to coincide with changing social norms, as well as increased access.
More women are expected to work, to get some postsecondary education, and to support their families, which make unplanned childbearing more costly and the benefits of delay much greater. The second reason is greater access to and increased use of the most effective forms of contraception, such as long-acting reversible contraceptives.( Sawhill and Guhot, Brookings, June 24, 2019)
If Roe is overturned, abortions will continue. If public opinion is a gauge, the majority of Americans are not opposed to abortion. 61% think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases while 38% believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. If a woman’s life situation compels her to end the pregnancy, she will, no matter the risk. Young people support abortion rights, and if their current fervor for activism is an indication, they will not easily acquiesce to rights being taken away.
If you succeed in criminalizing all abortions, they would be moved underground as before, unsafe and illegal. Women with means would be able to have them safely, and women without means would likely resort to desperate unsafe measures. That’s how it was back then, in the dark ages. Mentioning the methods is just too sad, but you can google it.
Are you triggered by the “nine month” abortion?
If your passion for saving babies is because you heard they are being aborted in the ninth month, you would find comfort in knowing that this doesn’t happen. According to Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN who has performed many late-term abortions:
“A ninth month abortion is a unicorn and so it’s ridiculous to even discuss it. Terminations after 24 weeks are for severe fetal anomalies.”
The use of provocative language such as “nine month abortion” and “partial birth abortions” is an opinion-shaping device not based on the real-world occurrences. Most abortions occur in the first trimester. But, one hour or nine months, fetal abnormality or health risk to mother, there is no difference to you, it seems. You believe life begins at conception. So why use those false and blatant fear-mongering tactics about babies being aborted in late stages of pregnancy? It’s all the same to you. The horror of the “killing” of a blastocyst is the same as a fetus at 8 or 9 months.
Why are you opposed to the “morning after” pill?
If it’s about saving babies because you think that life begins at conception, you wouldn’t be opposed to the morning after pill, which lowers the chances of conception hormonally. It is not the aborting of a fertilized egg, but the prevention of fertilization. And if you don’t believe the science of this, then why not support research to insure that it is the case. Doesn’t that make sense? Wouldn’t that be a kind thing to have available to a rape victim? Or any woman who knows she doesn’t want to get pregnant for whatever reason?
You say ANY after-conception (or even after-sex) intervention is murder. Yet, prevention of an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy via accessibility to education and contraception is also not acceptable. Why this contradiction? I can only conclude that your sacred calling to save babies is not about the babies. The only thing that makes sense is that it’s about sex. You have problems with sex. One of my pro-life friends likes to say: “If you don’t want to get pregnant, just keep your legs closed.” As if rape is not an issue. As if abstinence is the only form of birth control that will prevent abortions. As if she’s not capable of making a bad choice in the heat of the moment.
Contraception is power. It is a way for a woman to have sexual and reproductive freedom, to choose when and under what circumstances she will bear a child. With contraceptive assurances, a woman who is able to bear children does not have to rely on her partner to use a condom or to pull out if he doesn’t have one. She can have sex without the fear of pregnancy. Before these medical advances, there was always that fear.
By being so adamantly against Planned Parenthood and other organizations where women can get contraceptives, it seems it is your intention to keep people from having sex. Even within the conventions of marriage, the fear of unintended pregnancy (for whatever reason) looms heavy without birth control.
Can it be this archaic?
Is it possible that we still have puritanical views about sex? We had hoped that society had evolved beyond this. We had hoped that it is a norm that sex for pleasure between consenting adults is not only acceptable, but healthy. But even if that is the norm for most of us, conservatives are actively working towards imposing their values on society through the political, legislative, and judicial processes. Yet, who among us hasn’t heard of stories of hypocrisy where self-righteous men and women meet their downfall? (Catholic priest scandals, Jerry Fallwell, Jr. and wife, and stories like this are pervasive).
It’s not just about sex. It is about cultural change that bothers conservatives as well. This is why they STILL cannot accept homosexuality, or any non-heterosexual claim to one’s personhood.
Is there a chance for a compromise?
This is one of, or maybe THE, most divisive issue in our country. Both sides are so entrenched in their extreme positions that no one is willing to compromise, for fear of the slippery slope. But, I am the uber-optimist and I have hope.
I too would like to end abortion. Rather, I’d like to end the need to have an abortion. That’s a cultural change I hope comes to fruition. It’s not that I think life begins at conception, I don’t. I believe in reproductive freedom; I advocate for abortion services to be available if need be. I trust women to make the choices they need to make. But a cultural change of empowerment, education, and access can reduce the need for abortions, and thus will reduce abortions — our shared goal. A healthy, fulfilled society with strong and empowered women who are in such control of their bodies that if they have a child, it was not accidental, but a choice. Even if the conception was accidental, the pregnancy would be a choice. And the birth and rearing of these children would be well-supported. This is doable. It can be accomplished through education — raising girls to become strong, empowered women and raising boys to become respectful, accountable men. Contraception, including the morning after pill, needs to be as accessible as food, air, or water, for both women and men. It is not difficult. It is only difficult because of conservative opposition.
To end the need for abortion, we can provide sex and contraception education, promote social-emotional health, provide counseling services, and increase access to birth control. If you can’t allow for the type of society that has this level of humanity, freedom, and responsibility, can you please just not get in the way? Go ahead and be a positive influence on your own children and teach your values to them. But the more you try to end abortion through legal and punitive means for the rest of us, the farther you will get from the goal of ending abortion. That’s your goal, right?
Granted, not all anti-abortionists have extremist, anti-birth control, “life begins at conception” views. This issue is complex and opinions vary across the spectrum, but I refer to these anti-abortionists as a monolith because the extremists are the ones pushing policy measures to abolish reproductive freedom. Though we hope that the new justice on the Supreme Court IS able to separate her personal beliefs from the law, we also know that it is possible that she will find a way to interpret the Constitution to match extremist views.
If your issue is abortion, let’s work together to end the need for it. Let’s not pursue policies that hurt women, especially poor women; that exacerbate unhealthy attitudes towards sex; or that resort to repression and punishment to control behavior. Let’s improve the world, not make it worse.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.