In case you’re not from Texas, you might not know that Wendy Davis is a state senator from Fort Worth who recently staged a filibuster in the Texas Capitol to block a bill from being passed. That bill would have essentially shut down almost all abortion clinics in Texas by burdening them with expensive requirements that virtually none of them could meet.
Davis, a former teenage single mother, went on to earn a law degree from Harvard. Her efforts, including standing for over 11 hours to tell women’s stories, are heroic to me, and not because I am pro-abortion. I am absolutely anti-abortion, just like I am anti-rape and anti-incest and anti-disease and anti-ignorance and anti-bullying.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that no one wants people to have abortions. I’m pretty sure that everyone would agree that avoiding unwanted pregnancies is the best possible course of action in human reproduction.
However, in order to reduce the need for access to a safe, legal, affordable abortion, at least ten things would have to happen:
1. Rape would cease to exist.
2. Incest would cease to exist.
3. All girls and boys would be empowered by being thoroughly educated on all aspects of sexual reproduction, including birth control options as well as abstinence.
4. All girls and women would have access to affordable birth control through clinics such as Planned Parenthood.
5. Birth control would never fail.
6. People would cease to be human and therefore be immune from making life-altering mistakes.
7. All fetuses would develop normally with no gaping holes in their brains or fatal genetic malfunctions.
8. All men would take financial and emotional responsibility for a partner’s pregnancy.
9. No woman’s life would ever be put at risk by a developing fetus.
10. All pregnant women would have the same emotional and financial support as the top one percent.
If you’ve ever taken an anthropology class, you know that you can’t apply your own cultural beliefs when studying another culture. You have to understand things from their points of view based on their histories, environment, heritage and culture.
I think this issue is very much the same. It’s very easy to say that you are pro-life no matter what, but what if you or your daughter were violently raped and impregnated? I can’t imagine a just and moral world where a women who is the victim of such a crime would be forced to put her own health, job, family, emotional state and financial status at risk to carry a child she did not want or ask for and be forced to relive that crime with each pound she gains. Some women might be able to do that. Me? No way.
I’m not sure men are really able to understand the totality of what a sacrifice and potential danger it is to carry a baby to term. And I find it hard to accept that the many male Texas legislators feel like they should be able to make such personal decisions for women. Sure, it’s easy for these men to place a vote that limits a woman’s reproductive options because it DOESN’T AFFECT THEM! But guess what? That vote may affect their wives or their daughters or their nieces. And I believe that if they fully respected those women they loved, those legislators would understand that unfortunately, the world is not always perfect. Not everything is black and white. Terrible circumstances may arise that makes an abortion the best of a series of bad options available for a vulnerable woman.
But her decision really shouldn’t be anyone else’s business.
If we really want to reduce abortions, then let’s educate our youth instead of withholding vital knowledge and relying on abstinence. Let’s make it easier to report rapes and get medical treatment by including rape kits in ALL hospitals, not just a few. Let’s realize that women are not all the same but that we are all able to make our own reproductive decisions without government interference. Let’s stop judging people about something that, unless we are in their position, we can’t fully understand.
Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s encourage people to sign up to be adoptive parents to the many, many children languishing in the state’s care. Now THAT would be pro-life.