Abortion is Not Anti-Life
BANS OFF OUR BODIES: Protestor Jillian Dworin in front of Texas’s Capitol building September 1st, the day after SB8, prohibiting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, was ratified by the state Senate. (Image Source: The Associated Press)
A woman diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in tandem with the news of her pregnancy. A survivor of an abusive relationship who had just escaped from under her husband’s thumb. A man whose pregnancy augmented his gender dysphoria. A pro-life advocate. A girl, just eleven years old.
What unites these disparate souls? They all sought the assistance of Gracie (whose last name is unlisted on social media), an abortion provider based in Texas. And, had they requested her services any later than August 31st, 2021, they would have been forced to give birth to the children they carried.
On that ruinous day, the Texas state legislature ratified Senate Bill 8, the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. That evening, Gracie took to Twitter to dispense her ire, telling her clients’ stories. “My rage is incandescent,” she captioned an Instagram post screenshotting her tweets.
Her incandescence ignited a viral firestorm, with her tweets, now shared across social media accounts and platforms, patching together a heart-wrenching narrative. Their stories presented the unfiltered reality of people with uteri, whose wombs are subjugated by politicians like those in Texas who enacted SB8.
Texas’s law, specifically, prohibits abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy - before the vast majority of people become aware of their status - and makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The legislator’s pen proves to be mightier than the sword, as SB8 is only the first in a succession of recent attacks against the national precedent of Roe v. Wade, a 1972 Supreme Court case that resulted in a decision that legalized abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. On December 1st, the Court will preside over a new case that threatens to obliterate nearly 50 years of Roe’s standard: Dodds v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which debates the unconstitutionality of individual state laws that ban abortion prior to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Dodds’s impending hearing precludes a civil war predicated on moral conflict: pro-life and pro-choice. However, to draw the battle lines in this manner construes a false pretense regarding abortion. Abortion is not anti-life, and the intentions of pro-life ideology mask the selfish gains of their proponents behind a veneer of fidelity.
Opponents of abortion claim that to legalize the procedure would be to legalize the murder of the unborn. Within that statement lies an almost-humorous oxymoron: murder of the unborn. It is impossible to terminate the life of one that is not alive, which a fetus is not. A 24-week gestation period must occur before the fetus becomes viable outside of the womb, a benchmark observed by Roe. Rather than preserve the lives of those who would not survive at the time of abortion, it prioritizes those of already-living people.
Religious justification, specifically that of Christianity, is another prime example that pro-life rhetoricians draw upon in their methodology. Adhering to Christian faith is not to be condemned, but using that faith to dictate the way that others live their life is to be condemned. And not just by individuals, but by the Constitution of these United States. In the very first clause of the Bill of Rights, the Establishment Clause, the Framers stated that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Using biblical logic to outlaw a lawful procedure is a denigration of the morals that pro-life politicians must uphold for the country they stand for.
Autonomy is another sacred, patriotic value, one that the criminalization of abortion would depreciate as well. By thrusting reproductive decision-making out of the hands of people with uteri, their bodies become the vessel for a different message: one of governmental overpowerment. The leaders that citizens elect, thereby placing the ultimate bastion of trust in their hands, do not bestow the same trust upon 50% of their constituents. Instead, they exhibit control over their liberties, one manufactured by the machinations of a patriarchal system. (For those of you who are about to use this same logic to justify anti-vaccine sentiment, because there are undoubtedly some of you among this publication’s readership: COVID-19 is contagious, and to catch it would harm the health of more than just the person infected. Pregnancy is not contagious, and is not able to cause harm to anyone’s health besides the individual who is pregnant.)
The term “pro-life” implies that its adherents will support a child from first breath to last. One would assume that argument holds water… until they dive beneath the surface of its ethos. If the politicians with pro-life calling cards truly lived up to the label, many societal ills would be alleviated, if not completely eradicated. As of the drafting of this editorial, 712,929 Americans have passed away from COVID-19 (source: CDC). Greg Abbott, Texas governor and signer of SB8 into law, recently prohibited mask mandates in his state’s counties, including school districts. 150,000 children ages 13-17 are transgender (source: Williams Institute). 2021 has proved to be a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation, especially laws targeting children - Arkansas, a state that passed a near-total ban on abortion last March, passed a bill to ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans children within weeks of one another. Almost ⅔ of American children do not have a stay-at-home parent, sparking debate about the enactment of universal daycare (source: The Washington Post). Among its opponents is the Idaho legislature, whose own abortion ban (the ratification of which would occur 30 days after a federal appeals court approves a law akin to theirs in another state) still remains on the table. Since their words fail to parallel their actions, these politicians are branding themselves hypocrites. They cannot, in good conscience, call themselves pro-life while actively supporting legislation that endangers lives.
To be pro-choice is to be pro-constitutionality, pro-autonomy, pro-individuality. None of those attributes are anti-life. In fact, the behavior of pro-life legislators, based on the bills they support and the rhetoric they espouse, has exhibited anti-life principles. With that, let the rage of people with uteri be incandescent. Let them practice the reproductive decisions they make, those that would guarantee their lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness.