Op-ed: Considerations for pro-life conservatives
A common post revolving around the internet right now that condemns the near total abortion ban in Alabama states, “Men shouldn’t be making laws about women’s bodies” has been flying around the internet recently. But the deadlocked abortion debate is much more complex than old, white men versus women when it results in a concerted, national effort to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Missouri also recently established anti-abortion laws, and female state Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Sturgis proposed abortion bans in her state and heartlessly said abortions “should be painful.”
Governor of Alabama Kay Ivey, also a woman, signed Alabama’s bill citing Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” Pew finds that the gender difference between those for and against abortion is trivial. To then say the pro-life movement is indicative of men pushing opinions on women would prove unproductive. Instead, “God” seems to be the point of focus for most pro-life campaigns. But it is ridiculous that such abortion bans can be passed by a majority of senators in a nation that has a ‘free exercise clause’ enshrined in its constitution, fundamentally prohibiting Congress and states from furthering or deterring religious beliefs or practices.
The juxtaposition between anti-abortion state laws and the First Amendment produces a self-contradictory legal system. However, the abortion state laws are not yet in effect, and will likely reach the Supreme Court, where Brett Kavanaugh will get a chance to prove his competence in safeguarding inclusive justice. Regardless, American society needs to engage in a constructive conversation about abortion.
Conservative pundits are fond of saying “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” It seems that they presume exemption from their own statement. Pro-life conservatives ignore a number of scientific facts because, in reality, they “view” and “feel” that abortion constitutes murder. The assertion that a two-week-old fetus amounts to the same humanness of a full grown baby is contradicted” by medical evidence that suggests fetuses cannot live unsupported without a respirator, even at 21 weeks. Pro-life campaigns argue fetuses can feel pain, although scientific evidence tells us that, until at least 24 weeks, fetuses cannot feel anything like pain. With the lack of science, banking on a strict perception of morality to criminalize abortion casts infeasible restrictions on fertile women, especially rape victims, and ironically becomes unjust and immoral.
The solution is actually quite simple: If you don’t support abortions, don’t have one. You don’t have to dig your fingers into strangers’ lives and provide unsolicited virtue signaling. Considerations of what should be criminalized by law must be logically based on human rights, economic standards and ethical or unethical conduct that endangers or ensures public safety. You can be a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist or Scientologist, but your religion shouldn’t matter when it comes to your “advocacy” pertaining to policies and politics. That only makes sense if your nation ratifies religious jurisdiction, but the U.S. Constitution explicitly does not. So, I challenge conservatives to explain why abortion should be banned without unconstitutionally bringing God into the conversation.
When navigating through what has today become the dead-end abortion debate, we must highlight that pro-choice means you can choose to and choose not to have an abortion. Pro-choice not only aims to protect those who choose abortion, but also those who do not, while pro-life attacks the choice of those who have abortions. I understand that many women hold religious convictions and will not pursue abortions. What I cannot respect is when individuals disparage women who have had abortions for very personal, complex reasons only to validate their anti-abortion viewpoints.
Though abortion affects a woman’s body, reproductive rights concern both sexes. But the fact is that men can easily escape the responsibility of being involved in a pregnancy or raising a child, as the law does nothing to ethically counter that. Many single mothers raise children through financial challenges, and oftentimes children end up in foster homes. And I’m sure many rapists would not like to raise children. So if the law forces a 11-year-old rape victim to deliver a child, a fair bill should also be passed that requires rapists to finance and account for the entire pregnancy, along with their prison sentence. If nothing is done in that regard, we are legalizing vile misogyny.
A rapist can now face a lesser sentence than a doctor who performs an abortion on a rape victim, a woman who became pregnant without her consent. No one should inhumanely force victims to physically carry what happened to them against their will. So, to those diehard pro-life advocates who believe they’re doing the right thing with these laws that marginalize vulnerable people, it’s time to refresh those ethics lessons.
Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy has been “pro-life,” and recently resigned after reports found that he had asked his extra-marital partner to get an abortion, highlighting a clear hypocrisy. The tragedy here is that abortion has become a partisan issue — a denominator in the clash of the liberals and conservatives — which, in this case, seems to mean abandoning the sense of logic and morality to fit oneself into a political tribe. Maybe I’m wrong, but where’s the logical consistency for conservatives who are pro-life, pro-death penalty and pro-gun?
Pope Francis himself has recently argued the death penalty is a violation of the right of life. How can Alabama be pro-murder and anti-murder at the same time? Shooting incidents have been killing youths across the nation for decades, and teenagers are arguably “more living” than fetuses. Yet, lawmakers cannot implement common-sense gun laws because Americans need to bear arms for “self-defense.” How many people have used guns for self-defense and how many have used them to murder innocents? I challenge conservatives to straightforwardly explain the contradictions with “facts.” It’s time for conservatives to answer these questions and to apply their logic and humanity to the abortion debate.
Ramisa Rob is a 2019 graduate of the University of Michigan.