It’s been a week now since the Women’s March. I hope that people have taken a breath, and will take a few moments to read this woman’s thoughtful, researched, and prayerfully considered opinion on something.
I don’t have on a costume. I don’t have a sign. I went to work all week, didn’t litter, and am an educated, professional woman. I’m a wife, and a mother of a 13 year old girl. I have both academic information and real-life experience to form my opinions. I am also capable of doing my own research on laws, statutes, and Supreme Court opinions, and I have.
I am a Christian. So I’m going to take on an issue that has been on my mind a lot over the last several years and I’m going to address it as both a woman, from a political perspective, and as a Christian, from a religious perspective.
I am NOT a lawyer, or an elected official, or a preacher, or a doctor. I am just a citizen. Probably like most of you.
I have seen posts on Facebook since last weekend saying things like, “I do not support a March for Women to protect their rights to kill babies.”
I have seen people roll their eyes and say, “What are you marching for? What rights are being taken from you?”
Would you humor me for just a moment? I want to share a hypothetical scenario with you, but specifically addressing my fellow Mississippians and those who identify as Christians.
Let’s say you, your wife, or your sister or daughter has been trying to get pregnant for months, years maybe.
She takes a pregnancy test and it’s positive! She is elated and can’t wait to start planning for the new addition to her life.
But then she realizes that something isn’t right. She goes to the doctor and discovers that she has an ectopic pregnancy. “Ectopic” meaning that the fertilized egg is developing somewhere other than the uterus. But it IS a pregnancy. And it IS life-threatening.
Her treatment options include Methotrexate – a medication usually used in chemotherapy. Chemotherapy will kill the developing cells and usually avoids the need for surgery to remove them or the patient’s fallopian tube in the process. If there is internal bleeding, surgery will be the fastest treatment. Left untreated, a ruptured fallopian tube will very likely lead to this type of bleeding, which is life-threatening. (All facts gathered from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD websites on Ectopic Pregnancy)
Who would ever want to be faced with such a decision?
Who would ever want to watch their wife, sister, or daughter face such a decision?
Both of those treatment options above are considered “abortions” – the termination of a pregnancy.
Let me give you another hypothetical scenario.
Let’s say your daughter is a high school or college student somewhere. She’s doing great, on her way to a bright future with a ton of opportunities.
One night you get a phone call. She’s in the hospital. She’s been raped.
Depending on her age, either she is or you as her parents are presented with a choice: wait to see if anything happens, or she (again, with or without your consent, depending on her age) can consent to taking the “morning after pill”. Plan B works by either delaying ovulation, inhibiting it altogether, or by irritating the lining of the uterus so as to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
Plan B, is also known as “the abortion pill”.
Who would ever want to be faced with such a decision?
Who would ever want to watch a woman or girl that they love be faced with such a decision?
But these two scenarios represent a tiny fraction of reproductive questions that thousands of women are faced with every day. And none of them involve answers that are easy.
Here is what the law on abortion looks like in Mississippi right now:
Mississippi Code 97-3-3, 5;
Mississippi Code 41-75-1, et. seq.;
Mississippi Code 41-41-31 to 41-41-73
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion
Willfully or knowingly by means of instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance causing any pregnant woman to abort or miscarry; Partial Birth Abortion: prohibited unless necessary to save mother’s life if no other medical procedure would suffice
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion
Necessary to preserve mother’s life; pregnancy result of rape
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion
Felony: imprisonment 1 to 10 years; if mother dies, murder; if M.D. or nurse convicted, license will be revoked; misdemeanor: $25-200 and imprisonment up to 3 mos. if selling, giving away, possessing or in any manner anything causing unlawful abortion; Partial Birth Abortion: felony, up to $25,000 fine and/or 2 yrs. imprisonment
Written informed consent of the mother at least 24 hours before the abortion, except in emergency; unmarried woman under 18 must have written consent of both parents, with exceptions for medical emergency or judicial waiver
Mississippi has some of the most restrictive laws on abortion in the country. I hope you have read this law. I want you to read it again.
If Roe vs. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court, these very strict abortion laws would be null and void.
Roe vs. Wade itself basically gave legality in the U.S. for abortions within the first trimester of a pregnancy and the individual laws surrounding that would still be up to the states themselves. It recognized the individual rights of a person to make that decision, for whatever reason and then left it up to each state to put statutes in place regarding in what circumstances abortion would be permitted, what type of consent was required, and what, if any prerequisites would be necessary.
In Mississippi, as I understand it, a woman must first have a consultation, the option to view a mandatory ultrasound, and there is a 24 hour waiting period before the procedure can actually occur.
Now, before we go any further, I want to make something very clear. I am pro-life in the fact that I believe abortion on demand is not a good thing and that partial birth abortion is a very tragic occurrence. I believe in the sanctity of human life, and not just in terms of the unborn. I believe that the lives of those considered “collateral damage” in war have value. I believe that life matters. Period. And making a decision to end a life, whenever it began, is not something that any person should ever have to decide. But it happens.
But understand this also: I am pro-choice in the fact that I believe no government should ever have the right to tell a person what to do with their own body. That’s as personal as it gets. And if you agree with the line of thinking that it IS okay for women to lose their reproductive rights because abortions are wrong, period, then you need to get on board with the idea that any man that gets a woman pregnant by any means (rape or otherwise) and then she chooses to abort – that man should lose his reproductive rights and be either castrated or sterilized because it takes two to create a pregnancy and more than one person should be held accountable for the outcome of it.
The plain fact is, folks, that these are not black and white issues whether you want to believe they are or not. And until you’ve been faced with one yourself, I would urge you to learn more about them until you can speak from more than simply a moral pedestal. Because not all women use abortions as a means of birth control. In fact, I would venture to say that MOST women don’t. Besides that, you cannot, I repeat CANNOT legislate morality. And to try is folly. Teaching and exhibiting moral behavior is up to, yet again, the individual, not the government. It is NOT the responsibility of the state, nor the federal government to teach anyone right or wrong. It IS the responsibility of our legislators to protect our individual rights to make our own personal decisions regarding what is and isn’t best for our own health, our own finances, and our own families.
Before you tell me that you’re okay with the choices available, like the ones I mentioned above, may I ask: Did you vote for the Personhood Amendment in 2011? Do you realize that if you did, and it had passed, those choices would almost certainly not be available any longer? Can you understand why it’s a mistake to make the blanket statements like “ABORTION IS MURDER” when you’re including in your broad strokes those instances like the ones I mentioned above. Can you understand that when it comes to this issue, broad strokes cannot and SHOULD not be used and to end rights for everyone based on the moral depravity of a few and is neither fair, moral, or constitutional?
What I find interesting is that, in general, more people than not who claim to be “pro-life” are also very much against gun control.
Now let’s see: even though guns might end up in the hands of the mentally ill, the psychotic, and the religious extremist, we should not create any type of gun control laws to prevent people from taking advantage of their 2nd amendment rights – even if they might pose a threat to innocent human beings? But we CAN legislate on abortion because everybody knows that women who abort are poor whores who don’t have any morals and are probably living on welfare anyway. Right?
The opinions by many appear to be, “It doesn’t matter if ALL women lose the right to make their own reproductive choices, because it’s abused by a few, and therefore, evil.”
Please tell me you can see the hypocrisy in these issues.
You cannot say you believe in personal freedom, want no government interference in your rights, and if innocent people are killed, well, that’s just too bad, and then, in the very next breath, broadly refer to abortion as murder and demand that government intervention.
I want to propose yet ANOTHER scenario to specifically my Christian friends and readers:
Let’s say there’s an initiative coming up on the state election ballot regarding abortion. Things get heated and people get angry and hostile – the way they always do when divisive subject matter is in the news. You are tired of the debate, tired of the “liberal agenda” and support the initiative which will make abortions illegal. Or make “person” a definitive term used to describe when that fertilized egg actually becomes “human”. You believe life begins at conception so you run out, pick up a yard sign and put it up at your house. You get together with some of your like-minded friends at church and decide that you’ll put one up at the church too. You get on Facebook and rage against the tide – “ABORTION IS MURDER”. You post pictures of the aftermath of late term abortions, or pictures of cute babies captioned that you are fighting for their rights.
But somewhere in the shadows there is a young woman who has been driving past your church every day for a year. She’s seen the playground, the advertisements for Vacation Bible School – she’s even been visited by your clergy and personally invited to attend services or activities. She’s a single mom though, and it’s hard to get to church when you’re so exhausted on the weekends or have to work. Still, those people seemed really nice and it would be good to get the kids in church – I mean, it’s the right thing to do. So she decides: next Sunday, I’m going to go. I’m going to take the kids and go to church. She feels good about her decision and heads off to work. As she drives by your church, she sees the sign out front regarding the support of the congregation for the initiative on the ballot. Maybe she scrolls through your and your friends’ Facebook later just to see if she can find out how deep that sentiment goes.
She thinks back to a time when she was younger. She had an abortion. And now the very people that she thought might bring some encouragement to her life have called her a murderer. Not to her face, no, they would never be so cruel. They’ll tell her God’s forgiveness and love covers all. But it doesn’t matter now. Because she’ll never get to that message, because you blocked her with the first.
This goes beyond “not offending” someone, my Christian brothers and sisters. This goes into the dangerous territory of turning someone completely away from Christ because you have not exhibited his love and mercy before his holiness. And the very fact that God sent Jesus to earth to walk, live, and die as one of us speaks to the priority that he places on those attributes, does it not?
The right-wing lost a feather several years ago when I realized that the aforementioned scenarios were not all necessarily hypothetical. I have watched them, or aspects of them, play out in my own life or the lives of my friends.
I’m speaking to my hard core conservative friends here, because I was once where you are:
Why do you use such blanket statements to cover “liberals” or “feminists” or their policies and/or agendas when you know your own are not so cut and dried?
There is hypocrisy galore on the right side of the aisle, much of it from “evangelicals”, and some years ago, I reached my breaking point with that kind of thinking.
I’m not saying the left side is any better, or that hypocrisy is absent there.
Maybe now you’ll see now why I’m a middle of the ground person. Because there are some policies, some POLITICS, that you cannot use to comprehensively cover entire sectors of the population. That’s neither fair, not right, and usually involves someone’s personal freedom.
Many of the women marching last weekend know that if certain Supreme Court Justices are appointed, their reproductive health could be at risk. There are many people who would have you believe that isn’t so, but the truth it, nobody really knows. Standing up for the right to make their own choices and trying to send a message that they will not revert back to dark alleys and shadows to make choices that are often quite actually forced upon them is why many of them took to the streets.
I do not condone disrespectfulness of property or just in general acting completely crazy to get a point across. But I do respect the right to assemble, speak out, and protect the rights of my own health and the health of my daughter, my sister, my mother, and my friends.
And I hope by reading this you will understand how important it is to remember that personal freedom does indeed come at a cost, and ask yourself if you are willing to pay it yourself.