The other day, I saw this article pop up via one of my friend’s Facebook posts, titled “Christians Face Clear Choice Between Party That’s A Hypocritical Mockery Of Their Faith And One That’s Openly Hostile To It.”
In the comments, he and other American Christians discussed how their left-leaning friends thought this article was not very funny at all. The atrocities the Republicans are committing, they screamed, are not equivalent to a non-existent attack on Christianity from the Democratic party.
I, a super leftie lefty, thought the article was pretty funny. I think it’s because I understood it in a way that other super leftie lefties raised in secular homes don’t. I grew up in a Catholic household. I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween because it was the devil’s holiday. I understand how real these feelings feel to the people who feel them.
But, as the article suggests, there is nothing worse than someone claiming to support your morals, while undermining every single one of them with practice. However, does that mean that the enemy of your enemy is your friend?
Nowhere is this reflected more than in the ethical chasm of switching to a party with a pro-choice stance. I saw this (also) on social media and jotted down some thoughts.
No one wants abortions.
Abortions happen when things go miserably wrong. Abortions happen when we are raped, when we’re afraid that we can’t give the child a fair shot at a good life. Abortions happen when we’re in a serious relationship with a man who we think is going to be a good father, and then he leaves us because he’s scared. Abortions happen when we’re 19, we can’t afford birth control and we think the “pull out method” is a method at all because we’ve received no comprehensive sexual education. Abortions happen because we’ve stigmatized sexual activity (AKA the thing that got us all here) as so taboo that people are embarrassed to buy condoms.
Abortions aren’t fun. Going to an abortion clinic is a horrible experience. Everyone there is sad. And the process itself either involves an invasive, painful procedure, or a pill that wretchedly destroys our insides for weeks.
So, why get one? Having a child, whether you keep him or her, as a woman, is an irreversible, permanently life-altering event. You want to argue that it is for men too, but don’t, because you and I both know men who just walk away from the whole situation. You want to argue that if I had an unwanted pregnancy, I could put the child for adoption. But you know that it’s not that simple. You know that between now and 9 months from now, me being pregnant would mean significant, often insurmountable challenges for me that given the lack of social safety net in our country, I could never overcome. Example: childbirth costs an average of $8,800, AKA money I do not have. Not to mention the losses in income I’d suffer from taking time off for prenatal care because our country doesn’t protect expecting mothers from discrimination in the workplace, and future losses associated w that lack of protection as well. Yes, I could go into debt to have this child, sure, but then read: permanently life-altering event. People do all kinds of horrible things when they find themselves in insurmountable debt, often ending in suicide. You might argue that I’m perfectly well-resourced enough to have a child because people with less than me raised children, but you don’t know that I was raised by a woman who was physically and emotionally abusive woman who raised me telling me that she wished I was dead, slapping me across the face and dragging me across the apartment by my hair until I begged her to stop. Maybe you do or don’t know that 74% of people who grew up in homes like this end up engaging in similar acts of abuse towards others. You definitely don’t know that I started going to therapy weekly the month I moved out, and while my treatment has been effective, it has been mostly intermittent, because of – ding ding ding – no social safety net in this country including privatized healthcare making it unaffordable to keep up therapy on a consistent basis. You don’t know that one of my deepest-seated fears in life and motherhood is that I would abuse my child, and how hard I’m working to make sure this doesn’t happen. Now you know.
And let’s not even get into what we’re slowly finding statistically happens to the children born out of these types of pregnancies. If interested, Google Donohue & Levitt. Spoiler alert: they don’t usually lead happy, crime-free lives.
I don’t practice these days, but I was raised Catholic, and I was taught that God forgives sinners. If I ever found myself in this situation, I’d probably find myself back in confession. And I’d hope, with all my heart, that this one sin prevented 30 others.
That’s why we call it pro-choice, not pro-abortion. Women don’t want abortions. We want our society to be able to make the choice. I think that there is no way to feel good in making a “do you kill one person to save the whole city” choice, but if presented with it, I need to be able to make that choice. Myself.
But, this is all a long deviation from the question at hand, which was, how do we reconcile not voting Republican if we believe abortion is murder?
Well, I’ve never had to have an abortion almost exclusively thanks to Democratic policies.
I should, by most statistics, have had an abortion by now. I grew up in a low-income, single-mother household, in an abstinence-only public school system. I started having sex way too young, which is common for this demographic. I was raised Catholic, being told that contraceptive use was a sin.
But through the Pell Grant, I got to go to college (a Democratic policy). In college, I got access for the first time in my life to women’s health care and sex education in the university wellness center (a Democratic policy). For several years, a Peruvian family member would mail me the birth control I couldn’t afford in the US until the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate (a Democratic policy) made long-acting birth controls accessible to me. And here I am. Thriving. Not killing any babies.
I am not unique.
The fact of the matter is, outlawing abortion does not prevent abortion. Black market abortions are common vernacular in countries where abortion is outlawed. Among my female cousins in my home country, they’re almost a punchline in the discussion of pregnancy and relationships. “Si metes la pata, off to the alley you go.”
The only thing that prevents abortion is preventing unwanted pregnancy. The only thing that prevents unwanted pregnancy is 1) comprehensive education and 2) birth control. How could any conscious pro-life activist vote Republican, knowing that Republican policies are actively attempting to undermine the factors that have, according to the CDC, resulted in the lowest abortion rates in the past 45 years?