During the past week or so, we’ve (or at least I have) seen a pro life activist confront pro choice activists by screaming her regret in a public confessional: “I murdered my baby!” We’ve seen the state of Louisiana propose for the lawbooks that women who have abortions be charged with homicide. We have decades of pro life folks throwing about the phrase “baby killers.” So in that context, yes, I do think a discussion about the act of killing itself is a legitimate topic of discussion.
I do not believe that women who have abortions who some people (a minority in this country) claim are committing ‘murder’ should shoulder the whole burden of society’s ignorance, confusion, self-contradiction, and some hypocrisy and probably a little guilt and shame around the taking of life, or preventing a life, any life, from the fulfillment of its potential. We can of course put abortion in a box and tackle it as an issue whole in itself, and get into all the politics and differing cultural perspectives, but if we’re going to label it as murder, then it becomes also just a part of a larger discussion about killing in general in society, as well as issues around the metaphysics and sanctity or non-sanctity of life.
No, I am very big on divine nature. But from where I sit, you, Fermented Agave, are every bit as divine in essential nature as any newborn. “There is no place where Spirit is not” (Upanishads)-- One Consciousness and Energy–not separate, the same, identical in everyone. And that ‘One Thing’ does not die, which is how I can hold killing in my consciousness without going at least a little insane. Heck, I even say to insects when I kill them “one day I too shall die.” And I speak to plants and trees when I prune them as I was doing this morning, and thank those branches and stems I’ve just killed for their loveliness and contribution to the whole. Yes, I’m pretty big on divine nature.
I recognize my beliefs/truths/experiences are among the less than 1.5% of religious views in this country. I recognize that yours are a much larger percentage, and I am personally in support of some compromises to accommodate yours and others who share your views around abortion. But that does not mean you are totally or more “right” than others, or more right than those of us in the lower percentages of religion affiliation type, nor does it give your religion the right to impose its strict views on the entire nation. Not all Christians, let’s not forget, are against abortion. 56% of Catholics for instance, I recently read, are in favor of maintaining all or some of Roe v Wade, despite the views of the church fathers. There is major disagreement among Christians as to when ‘life’ or ensoulment actually begins: at conception? at the quickening? at birth? some other time?
So as I say, there are so many things about which we are in the dark or are confused. Which makes taking bodily autonomy and the science around viability into account as important, as well as issues around forced birth and meaningful support for mothers and families such as @Michelle speaks of, and also placing a little more trust in women to make these choices. These are areas we have at least a little actual knowledge from which to make decisions.
I will admit I share a little bit of that visceral recoil and sometimes feel a momentary little flare of anger somewhat akin to the rage some of the pro choice activists are feeling around the possibility this SC will overturn Roe. This must be how some men have felt who have been drafted into the military, as Margaret Atwood pointed out. We allowed for conscientious objectors during the Vietnam war, allowed that men have a moral conscience; do we not think that women have a moral conscience too?
The SC has not made a final decision yet of course, but if indeed it’s overturned and given to the states to resolve, the risk is that the nation will be truly divided, neighboring state against neighboring state. The abortion issue has an excessive intensity to it, given it has such existential, spiritual, political, economic, cultural issues connected to it. The same kinds of issues that are relevant to climate change and war, and the same kinds of issues that will most likely within this century become relevant to the world’s declining population. Who knows? Foregoing abortion and having as many children as possible may become a woman’s ‘patriotic duty,’ like the way many men perceive going to war, for the good of the nation.
But I don’t think that particular moment is here yet, and if the SC justices are smart, they’ll cool down this issue a bit.