Abortion is an issue I’ve discussed before in passing. However, it has never intersected with so many issues as it does right now. I’ve also mentioned Ruth Bader Ginsberg as well. It seems the ship has sailed on Republicans waiting to fill the seat. Heck, Mitch McConnel couldn’t even wait 24 hours to make that declaration. Elections have consequences after all.
I think the saddest part of this whole deal is how political the court has become. I was always fond of telling the story of Earl Warren to my students. He presided over the court from 1953 to 1969. He was a part of Brown v. Board of Education and Miranda v. Arizona decisions to name a couple. He was appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower was a Republican. You can’t always predict how a justice will act. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Conservative thought on jurisprudence has gone from an overall legal point of view to a litmus test. Would you overturn Roe. v. Wade? If the answer is yes then you are qualified to serve on the bench. Life is complex and certainly legal philosophies and issues are complex. Is abortion really the most important legal issue before the court today?
I’ll address where I am at on that issue in a minute, but we know it is not the most important issue. The court is constantly dealing with issues of equality. Whether it be continuing systemic racism, prejudice against the LGTBQ community, or differences between men and woman, the court’s stances on those issues affect far more lives. The court also has opined on issues of free speech and campaign finance. In the age of the internet, issues of free speech and privacy are also dreadfully important. Every era has it’s legal questions. Abortion might be the least important and least interesting of all of them.
This is because the legal issue surrounding abortion is different than the act itself. The legal issue behind it was decided by a 7-2 ruling in 1973. Clearly, the court back then felt it was a compelling privacy right that belonged to women. The human side of the issue is a lot more complex and the various reactions to it should also be more complex.
I have known multiple people that have had abortions. I’m not revealing the number or any identifying characteristics. It’s a right to privacy. I will only say that none of them used it as an extended form of birth control. They were difficult decisions that were made for complex and often tragic reasons. I’m just thankful I wasn’t in the same situation.
As a general rule, I am opposed to abortion. I also don’t think it should be a political issue. Beyond supporting or not supporting a woman’s right to choose, it really shouldn’t be on the ballot. There isn’t much a president can do to affect abortion since it’s a legal right. What legislatures have been want to do lately is pass all kinds of restrictions. I suppose that makes sense. They are supply side economists after all, so why not apply the same concept to abortion?
I’ve always been a demand sider. Statistics show that the rates of abortion have been lower in Democratic administrations than in Republican ones. So, are we worried about what people say or are we worried about what actually happens? If you want to limit abortions you limit the demand for those abortions. You do that by limiting unwanted pregnancy. How do you do that? Well, you provide more education for kids. You provide access to contraceptions.
You don’t eliminate the choice. You help them expand the choice. There is adoption, but there is also making keeping the child more palatable. You do that by providing support. The common criticism of the Pro-Life movement is that they aren’t really Pro-Life. They are Pro-Birth. The moment that child is born then those poor girls can fend for themselves. We don’t want to provide them with affordable health care. We don’t want to provide them with income assistance. We don’t want to provide them with help finding good food. We don’t want to provide them a roof over their head. If you didn’t want to end up like this then you shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place. That’s the world we are bringing that child into.
It’s okay for the state to kill convicted murderers. It’s okay to repeal the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic. It’s okay to refuse to wear masks. If you’re afraid of getting the virus then you should just stay inside. The elderly would gladly give up their lives to save the economy. It’s okay to pollute the environment so our company can make a few dollars more. It’s okay to separate children from their parents at the border. It’s okay to strip women of their ability to have children at the border without their consent. It’s okay to neglect your own citizens following hurricanes, wild fires, and other natural disasters. This is particularly true if they reside in a blue state or a U.S. territory that doesn’t get to vote. It’s okay to keep blue states from getting much needed supplies for the pandemic. Blue lives matter, but they only matter if you’re talking about police. If you aren’t then only red lives matter.
While we are on the subject, notice that the all lives matter crowd never shouts that at the blue lives matter crowd. It’s only when someone mentions black lives. In other words, quit calling yourselves pro-life. You aren’t pro-life. You are pro-birth. Life is a continuum. It doesn’t stop at birth. Being pro-life means being for feeding that child. Being pro-life means being for keeping that child healthy. Being pro-life means being for educating that child. Being pro-life means protecting that child’s life equally no matter their background. Being pro-life means that their life is more important than the economy. Being pro-life means the state doesn’t get to end that life no matter what the child has done. Being pro-life means we don’t enter into wars of choice so our children can end the lives of other children.
So, I hope that you can see that Pro-Life means a whole lot more than just abortion. I don’t like abortion any more than anyone else, but I’ll be damned if we allow short-sighted zealots to wipe their hands and walk away as soon as that child is born. That child’s life has just begun. They deserve more. We can argue about what that looks like, but you don’t get to call yourself Pro-Life if you think you wash your hands of it after the child is born. You don’t get to call yourself Pro-Life if you allow government officials to endanger our lives everyday with their short-sighted policies. You don’t get to call yourself Pro-Life if you are okay with letting that poor family starve because of choices they may or may not have made. You don’t get to call yourself Pro-Life if you are okay separating children at the border and putting them in cages. You don’t get to call yourself Pro-Life if you think opening the economy is more important than saving people’s lives. You are pro-birth. I have no issue with anyone that is pro-birth. It’s a fairly respectable viewpoint. You just don’t get to stand on the moral highground of Pro-Life.