Is there common ground on abortion?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the news that the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. I have sought common ground between opposing sides on this issue. I don’t think there are. What I see is that a minority imposes its religious beliefs – in a very important way – on a majority that does not agree with it.
Polls on this question fluctuate somewhat depending on the specific question asked, but a strong majority – 70% in a recent poll [abcnewsgo, 5.3.2022] — say that the decision of whether or not a woman can have an abortion should be left to the woman and her doctor.
I’m surprised how many people don’t realize that Roe v. Wade was written by a lifelong Republican judge, Harry Blackmun (a Minnesotan), and voted for by five Republicans and two Democrats appointees. At the time, many Republicans believed government should — as much as possible — stay out of people’s lives.
I regularly attended the Catholic Church for over 20 years of my adult life. I realized that many Catholics go to church because of what they were taught when they were young. And, for example, many Catholics use various forms of birth control not approved by the church. The annulment of Roe v. Wade should be a wake-up call to all those Catholics choosing which parts of Catholic dogma they wish to follow. Your freedom of choice disappears.
The Catholic Church and other religions posit that life begins at conception and use this position to assert that the termination of any pregnancy is murder (in fact, the Catholic Church usually speaks only of “sinful women”) . How credible is this outside of these religions? For starters, the Catholic Church is run by men – all men, no women – whose approach to sexual intimacy is to deny each other any form of it. Their beliefs are based on ancient texts that have been translated from other older languages, and interpreted and reinterpreted to serve the notions of those in power.
Think about how much we have learned about the various sciences over the past 2,000 years. None of this takes into account Catholicism or most other religions. Catholics and other anti-abortion people generally refer to embryos and fetuses as infants. They are not.
Many Christians fear that Muslims will grow in population and end up imposing Sharia law on everyone. It is strange that these Christians are embarrassed by the idea of one group imposing its religious beliefs on another. And speaking of Muslims, there’s no reason to believe that the Christian minority behind the attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade will stop there – they would like to make their version of Christianity our national religion.
I think most people who oppose abortion by others have projected their own view of babies onto people and situations they don’t understand. Many pregnant women and the men who have impregnated them are thrilled at the idea of having a baby. They planned it, prepared for it, are ready for it, can afford it. They can’t imagine someone not wanting what they want.
It’s not true. I actually think most people who oppose abortion by others are dogmatic, simplistic, and narcissistic. If they really wanted fewer abortions and thought about it, they would do more to create a world in which pregnant women do not want to abort their embryos or fetuses. They would like to give these women things like free health care, clean air and water, good schools for their children, affordable housing and jobs that pay them and their children well, when they will be great.
If people who wanted to ban abortion were intellectually curious, they would realize that countries where abortion is legal and accessible actually have lower abortion rates, and that education and better access to contraceptives are the most effective means of reducing abortion rates.
Even in Israel, which follows most of the Old Testament Bible that Catholics and most other Christians do, abortion is permitted — and state-funded — in the vast majority of cases where it is requested. .
Many of the people who want to ban abortions (and force women to give birth and raise children they don’t want) are the same people who want to keep immigrants out of the United States because they think we , as a country, cannot afford to support the people here any longer.
Recently I read this on body autonomy (author unknown):
“No one can be forced to donate blood, marrow or organs, even though thousands of people die each year on waiting lists. They cannot harvest your organs after you die without your explicit written permission and premortem. Denying women the right to abortion means that women have less bodily autonomy than a corpse.”
This – the reversal of Roe v. Wade – happens because too many of us didn’t pay attention, as a minority with lots of money imposed their will on the rest of us. Rich whites have always treated blacks and other racial minorities badly. They cheated workers out of a fair share of what they produce. Now they enslave pregnant women. Do you think that this abrogation of fundamental rights does not already affect you too? Wake up.
— Kevin S. Carpenter is a resident of St. Cloud. Submit your own round by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.