Sorry I haven’t updated in a while; I’ve been alternately busy and sleeping. I’ve also been a little nervous about writing this post. But it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed, over and over and over again.
I was raised in the Catholic Church. I went to Mass (almost) every Sunday and I went to religion classes every week, and though I was never very enthusiastic about it, I believed in God, and I thought Jesus seemed to be a pretty cool dude. And whenever my mother prayed to Saint Anthony, she always found whatever she was looking for. It seemed like a pretty okay system. So I grew up, celebrated my first communion, and was eventually confirmed in the Church.
I have a very distinct memory of one particular day in CCD, sometime around seventh grade. Someone came by our classroom carrying a small wooden cross, painted pink. We all signed our names on it, and afterward, we headed out to the hill beside the church to put them in the ground. Between all the classes, there were about 20 or so crosses, all pastel pink or blue, and signed with the names of the students. We were putting them up for all the fetuses that had been aborted.
At the time, I could only think how sad it was that so many children would never have the chance to grow up. Now that I’ve grown up and educated myself on feminist issues, I can only think of how angry I am with myself to have participated in such a thing, and to have been encouraged to participate in it by adults I was supposed to trust.
The last Mass I ever attended concluded with the priest informing us of a nearby anti-abortion rally that he hoped we could all attend. It was at that moment I decided that, while I still believed in God, I could no longer believe in the Catholic Church.
Those who would criminalize abortion frequently describe their position as “pro-life,” because terminating an unwanted pregnancy is as good as murder. But these same people who claim to support life also support gunning down abortion doctors and bombing abortion clinics. South Dakota would even go so far as to make such a thing legal. That’s right— they want to make murder legal. And they call themselves pro-life.
Not only that, but abortion is also apparently worse than letting the person carrying the fetus die— even if that would also kill the fetus. Rather than save the life of a living, breathing, grown up human being at the expense of some non-sentient cells, it’s better to let them both die. In fact, if you sacrifice your own life for that of your fetus, the Church may even canonize you for it. Yay life!
For anyone who’s reading this article and thinking “But I’m not like that! I don’t support abortion, but I would never kill anyone over it!” Guess what. By opposing safe, legal abortions, you are aligning yourself with these people. When you vote to criminalize abortion, you are voting in support of these practices. Sorry to say: you’re encouraging the murder of abortion providers and the willful negligence of doctors.
As if all that weren’t enough to make “pro-life” the worst misnomer in the world, choosing that title for their side implies that the other side, those who champion legal abortions, is “anti-life.” They use rhetoric that suggests that pro-choicers are in fact against pregnancy itself. This is not only untrue, but patently ridiculous. More than anything, people who are pro-choice want the best for the next generation: they want every child to be wanted. Forcing a woman to carry a child to term against her will may save a life (provided the pregnancy is a healthy one with no complications), but it only raises the number of unwanted children in the world. There are more than enough already.
Many pro-choicers, including myself, are of the opinion that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Rare not because women are shamed into carrying an unwanted pregnancy, but because everyone has the resources to reduce the risk of pregnancy in the first place.
Many of the same people who would outlaw abortion are also proponents of “abstinence-only sex education.” Rather than being taught about various methods of birth control and their effectiveness, children should be taught only to abstain. However, it’s been proven time and time again that this doesn’t actually reduce the number of teenagers having sex: it only ensures that those who do have no idea how to protect themselves from STDs, pregnancy, or abuse. Teaching children and teens how to practice safe sex most likely won’t encourage them to go out and have sex with the next person they see, but it will reduce the rate of unwanted and accidental pregnancies, as well as the rate of STD transmission.
Finally, there’s the fact that making abortion illegal will not make abortion go away. Abortion has been around almost as long as pregnancy itself: the difference now is that it carries much less risk. If abortion were to be criminalized, those who wish badly enough to end their pregnancy will still do it: in back-alley clinics with questionable methods. Before abortion was legalized in the 1970s, up to 50% of maternal deaths were credited to illegal abortions.
It’s fine to say “I wouldn’t have an abortion myself.” That is your own choice. But the minute you take steps, cast your vote, campaign to make abortion illegal, you are condoning practices that will kill countless women and see more and more children neglected. You are robbing others of their own choice; a choice which is not and should not be anyone else’s business. So mind your own uterus.