Well! Well! What do you know? It seems that Republicans, meeting for their Caucus on January 21, decided to scrap a planned vote on a 20-week abortion ban. Mind you, they have Not changed their policy on abortion. They just decided not to bring up a social values issue at the moment lest it turn away women voters who, together with Blacks, Latinos and other minorities, will likely be deciding the upcoming Presidential Election. In other words, they decided to pull the wool over the voter’s eyes in another hypocritical attempt to camouflage their real intentions and a mainstay of their party platform. They believe that they are playing smart politics on this divisive issue (as well as a few others) by counting on the naiveté of most voters who might yet prove them right. How utterly tragic is ignorance!
I have been observing the US political landscape for over thirty years now and abortion invariably comes up in every single election, tempers flare, arguments are made, extremes on the left and right contribute their opinions and, at the end of the day, the polls and statistics seem to show that the electorate, especially women, are more and more accepting to leaving this issue for individual women to decide on rather than for politicians to legislate anything beyond Roe vs Wade. The electorate is smart!
Women have been undergoing abortions since Abraham and even before that. This is not a new phenomenon. And women came up with all sorts of methods to do this. I have mentioned previously that my own pious, devout, Bible reading mother-in-law did that too. I have known other women who have had abortions also. I did, too.
Most of us women did not speak publicly about this simply because we felt that it was a very private matter about which we had societal and religious inhibitions that had been built-in over millennia into our very genes. Nevertheless, amongst themselves, and in their gatherings, women, of course, spoke about this and other personal issues. How else then did they learn and teach others these things? How else would we have known about this today if they had not expressed that? The fact is that abortion was cited going back to the Code of Hammurabi of 1760 BCE and throughout all the primitive and ancient cultures of the world whence it was mentioned, described, sometimes punished and legislated; where either certain tools were used to bring it about, or herbs, or physical action. One of the fascinating reasons – and there were a few – that were given in those days of yore for condemning abortion was that “men should decide how to dispose of their seed.” In other words, it is not the abortion itself that was considered a taboo, but the fact that women would take the initiative to have an abortion on their own and without consulting men. Quite interesting, don’t you think?!!
Believe it or not, this practice continues up to these modern times when any decision-making license on our own bodies (or most anything else, for that matter) still has to be legislated by males. I think it is absolutely appalling, for instance, to have to get permission from Any perpetrator or Any legislature in the cases of rape or incest. And while, yes, it would be ideal in a loving relationship to consult with one’s partner on this matter (as I did), the final thoughts should be the domain of a woman.
It is very important to note, though, that, contrary to what the Pro-Choice advocates have been telling us, women do Not always feel that it is a disturbing, heart-wrenching decision. That is an absolute fallacy. For some women it is devastating, for others it isn’t. That is the truth, because life matters are not an Oreo cookie: they are not either black or white; there is a wide spectrum of colors in between the two. And so it is with our feelings on any personal issue. Thus, it was not traumatic for me, nor was it for most of the women I know. Actually, what was distressing was my having a miscarriage for a wanted pregnancy all over my friend’s newly installed bathroom carpets during what turned out to be a very embarrassing visit!
Having said that, I, as most, if not all, women would definitely like to see the day when we do not have to make that choice at all; when abortion becomes unnecessary (again, not in the case of rape or incest and for as long as these scourges remain with us); when we have educated every male and female how not to get to a situation of pregnancy so as not to have to make that decision in the first place. That would be ideal, and, it is also doable. In fact, statistics have shown that the incidence of abortion has been going steadily downwards because we are educating females – especially young, school-age girls – on how to avoid becoming pregnant. That is a good thing.
The issue of abortion – as most of us know – and the prevalence of teenage pregnancy especially, became rampant after the Women’s Liberation Movement took off and because the Pill became available, as well as the feeling amongst young women that their sexual liberation was one of the entitlements of that movement. That this sense of entitlement spread from adult women, to college-aged females and then to girls as young as thirteen and fourteen who were having sexual relationships and getting pregnant is one of the unintended, and tragic, consequences that sweeping movements of this nature often engender.
However, there is no turning the clock back and legislating against abortion, punishing doctors, clinics and women who do and brandishing religious or moral arguments will only backfire. The Republicans meeting at their Caucus realized this and so they avoided bringing up the issue. What they might not realize is that bringing this up when/if they acquire more powers in our government and legislatures will also backfire. (Unfortunately though, they are succeeding in changing State Laws regarding this issue, and a plethora of other important issues, while most voters are asleep!) Nevertheless and simply put, women of all persuasions are not where the extremists are on this issue and will not accept to be lectured about it, especially by any male. Whether the Republicans and Conservatives like it or not, they will not put an end to abortion through legislation. And, women will not go back to having abortions in the proverbial back-alleys with metal clothes hangers as scraping tools! That’s not going to happen! Nor will pregnant teenage females be sent to the memorable convents to have their babies. We are living in different times, right-wing radicals!
Yet, and let’s be honest here, abortion and questions of that personal and private nature such as homosexuality, are merely used as a diversionary red herring, a sleazy political tactic that spotlights the electorate on such issues rather than allowing people to focus on the shenanigans, skewed policies, corruption, wars, surveillance, racism, voting restrictions; the malignancy of greed, of opportunism, of hypocrisy, of bigotry and the malfeasance of all those politicians, corporations and all those members of the ruling class who endorse these pernicious cancers of governance.
We would do well not to allow them to do that!