[Background information for non-US readers for whom Roe and Wade just mean a pair of names, and “Choice” and “Life” are not obvious antonyms: US Supreme Court is very likely to come out with a decision in June 2022 that paves way for abortion becoming illegal in a large part of the United States. Read on.]
Conservatives have not been playing fair in more recent history. Since facts, demography, and education are not on their side, there’s no way they can stay relevant and win their cultural battles without being unfair in their games. It was their dirty games that resulted in the US Supreme Court having a 6-3 Conservative majority. They refused to allow Obama to appoint a Supreme Court judge with almost a year left in his term, and let Trump appoint one with only four months left in his.
With Conservatives intent upon taking the country back(wards), the activism of these conservative judges is highly instrumental in that backward push. The country has a Democratic president, a Democratic party controlled House, and a Democratic party controlled Senate — a clear indication of what a majority of the American public wants — but a Republican SCOTUS is making big decisions for the country based on what a minority of hardliners want. In spite of the fact that each conservative judge appointed by Trump promised during their nomination hearings that Roe-v-Wade was “set precedent” and “law of the land”, it appears they have already made up their mind to overturn this law of the land.
Conservatives in the US have denigrated abortion from being a reproductive choice to a crime like nowhere else in the world, except for some super conservative religious countries. Even in countries like Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, and Cuba, anti-abortion laws are being relaxed. Nowhere else in the world is this issue so contentious as it is in the United States, and nowhere else in the world is the needle of progress pointed backwards. The daughters of 21st century may have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers born in the 20th. The second half of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan tells it all. The “great” was sometime in the past, and it needs to be visited “again”.
The shady legislative strategies of Conservatives aside, let’s give America’s pro-life lobby the benefit of the doubt. For most of them, the priority is saving the life of the unborn child — not patriarchy, not controlling the reproductive choices of women. However, in that process they don’t realize, or don’t care, that they are forcing women against their will, and are becoming a tool in the hands of a patriarchal set up that wants to control the reproductive choices of women.
Most of the slogans that the pro-choice movement uses are defensive in nature, as if the women were asking for a favor. In my opinion, the abortion question should not be a question of “abortion is healthcare”, “bans off my body”, “my-body-my-choice”, “allow abortion for rape/incest/health of mother”, and so on. Not that those issues are not important, they are. But those should be beside the main point. The main argument should be about the free will of the woman and should boil down to one simple point – You shouldn’t force women into motherhood. My question to conservative women — do want to be forced to bear children if or when you don’t want to? Do you want your sister, daughter, mother, cousin, to be forced to bear children if or when they don’t want to? The answer in 1973, when Roe-v-Wade was decided, was NO. And the answer 50 years later cannot be and should not be dialed back to YES. Women have a right to decide whether to have a child, and when to have a child. Yes, children are great; they are a blessing; unborn children have life; motherhood is an amazing experience. But children are because of the mothers; mothers are not because of the children. The only purpose of women is not to bear children. They will have children when they want to and if they want to.
For an adult human being, engaging in sexual activity is as normal as eating or breathing, but each of those acts is not done with the express purpose of procreation. A miniscule percentage of sexual encounters in a human’s life is intended to be for the purpose of getting pregnant. More often than not, a human is just having sex for pleasure, not intending to make babies, not wanting to make babies. This holds true for both the man and the woman. When the woman wants to get pregnant, she knows what to do. But when she does not want to, it is not that easy. Contrary to a man, the woman has the added burden of having to avoid getting pregnant. This is a huge burden, as is the process of pregnancy and child birth itself. When a woman does not want a child, the men in their lives may happily or reluctantly contribute in the process of contraception. But ultimately, the burden is on the woman, as is the consequence when the process fails. Now the Religious Right says, “We don’t care if the process failed. Now your body is the government’s property. Or the society’s. Or the church’s. Now you must carry that child, whether you want it or not.” Not only that, if it were up to them, they would even outlaw contraception, and make women into baby making machines.
So why should women seek exceptions for rape, incest, health of the mother, and so on? If you, as a lover of personal freedom, don’t want to be forced into taking a vaccine, or going to a dentist against your will, how can you force a woman into child-bearing when she doesn’t want to? Abortion should be a right (Period.), just as correctly established nearly five decades ago in Roe-v-Wade. The big slogans should be: Let women have kids when they want. Don’t force pregnancy on the women. Don’t force women to have children against their will.