Being on the “fun side” of the wall, as they put it here in Mexico, gives perspective to many issues going on in America.
Aside from being one of the most violent countries, Americans are also so politicized we can’t see the depth of an issue before us. Not to make this a red vs. blue or an us vs. them, I think women need to step back and look at many things happening and put it all in perspective. No matter where you stand with pro-choice or pro-life, it isn’t as simple as that. When Roe v. Wade was enacted, it wasn’t just about abortion. It was about the right to privacy. A woman’s right to have control over her own body. Before the law, a husband could forcibly have sex with his wife, and it still took time for some states to enforce it. Men could hit their wives and not be held accountable. Fathers could molest daughters, and mothers could do nothing about it. Or if they took matters into their own hands, they were held accountable to laws put in place by our male-dominated society.
With the current trend to overturn Roe v. Wade, without American voter input, we have to step back and grasp possible scenarios to really understand the scope of the decisions being made. Imagine a 14-year old gets molested by a stranger, a family member, or a foster brother or father. Under the new laws, she would have no rights to terminate, not even a morning after pill in many states. AND for the next near 10 months, her body is basically held hostage while she carries the reminder of what happened to her. She must nurture and care for a growing life and if she does anything to hurt it, she is subject to severe punishment by law. These are third-world country mindsets, and sadly, it will only impact the poor.
This isn’t about babies; this is about our bodies. A law will not stop abortions. It will only make them more difficult and more dangerous. Abortion will still be an option for the wealthy. There is always be a way if you have the means. For three states, the next step they are striving for is to stop contraception. What then?
But here’s the true crux of the issue. Pro-life ideology cannot stop when the child is born. TRUE pro-life is birth to natural death. Advocates demanding rights for this unborn child need to continue for that child past birth. Pro-life must include welfare, food stamps, healthcare, and beyond. That foster girl having a baby cannot provide for that child without it. So to be pro-life is at least an 18-year commitment. Thousands of babies will be born into extreme poverty and need these supports. Their life doesn’t just need to be fought for in the womb; he or she will need a safe home, an education, rights to all that it means to be an American citizen. To demand birth and call that pro-life can’t end at birth. I agree, life should not be a choice. But neither is quality preschool, a healthy meal, a safe home, and a life of opportunity. The opportunities that come easily to the middle and upper class.
Poverty is cyclical, and if we don’t make efforts to break it, there is not a life of opportunity nor many choices. Women have fought this battle since time eternal. Women in other countries have fewer rights than we do in the U.S., but we are sitting back and allowing predominantly rich, white, men to make decisions that govern our lives, our bodies, our futures. We are founded on the principle “of the people, by the people, for the people.” For anything to be of, by, or for, we must have the right to vote for it.
Let us speak…all of us. The unborn, the newly born, the rich, the poor, the marginalized and the minimized. This country shouldn’t just be about those with means or opportunity. Many people demanding all babies be born cannot fathom a world in which a substantial meal might only available at a shelter or at school. It’s easy for the middle and upper class to demand all children have the right to life, but what will they do to ensure a quality life? Provide foster care? Respite care? Donate to their education, their welfare, their housing?
It’s easy to sit in a comfortable air-conditioned house preaching about beliefs when you’ve never known true poverty – hunger, hopelessness, no sense of self-worth. Fight for the life of a child at all stages and be supportive of opportunities for all.
When Rachel on “Friends” said, “No uterus, no opinion,” it might now be adapted to “no follow-through, no opinion.”
Of the people, by the people, for the people – all people.