Let’s think about the right to life for a moment, specifically the right every living human has to receive adequate care: food, shelter, safety and some level of affection, the sense that she or he is wanted, even loved – throughout childhood and beyond.
The Trump administration, with its ultra-conservative platforms and endless rallies promoting them, is delivering on promises to once again deny women control of their own bodies. With two new appointees to the Supreme Court likely to be supportive of that move, we are likely to see the rights of women and their children back on the lowest rung of the legal ladder. It has been suggested that the new Supreme Court will likely return decisions relating to abortion rights to the states for determination rather than completely overturning Roe v. Wade. More chaotic consequences and obstacles to safe health practices seem likely in any event.
I consider myself pro-choice and pro-life, two classes much too complex to effectively define from a single perspective or belief. Many pro-choice women like myself would be unlikely to choose abortion while conscientiously defending the rights of other women living in complicated circumstances to decide for themselves.
I am concerned with the many living children who are simply cast aside, “aborted” by immature and otherwise afflicted parents, family, friends and public entities who turn away citing legalities and inadequate resources to intervene in truly destructive situations. Contraceptive and morning after choices are obviously more desirable than abortion, but at this point in our history the very institutions that educate and offer those preventive and early solutions are being demonized, threatened and denied support for the simpler solutions as well as the more complicated.
The fact that abortion numbers overall have decreased in recent years seems to have no impact on those who wish to destroy and defame Planned Parenthood and other women’s health groups that should be thanked for providing the needed health care and education to the majority of their clientele.
As a woman who completed three pregnancies I find it difficult to believe there is a man alive who understands the physical and emotional intensity of that moment of first awareness when you realize for sure you are carrying a new life to a fruition which is likely to be unimaginably painful and life changing. The inevitable pain is just the beginning! Pregnancy is a privilege and, under most circumstances, a supreme blessing that women since the beginning of time have accepted thankfully.
I find annoying and worrisome the huge national focus on the behaviors and bodies of women while ignoring the responsibility of the males who make the dilemma possible and whose bodies have never been controlled by laws. The lives of far too many babies have been snuffed out by a parent, boyfriend or babysitter who had no understanding of the needs of babies to be protected, fed, loved rather than punished for being a baby. Where are the pro-life men and women acting on behalf of these murdered babies before the fact? Trustworthy and inexpensive or free child care for low income and single parent families is nonexistent except for employees of a few progressive institutions.
Our nation is now witness to (and guilty of allowing) the results of government policy that intentionally separated hundreds of children from parents fleeing violence in their countries of origin thinking we Americans would welcome, or at least help them. Instead, we did worse than abort a child, we permanently and intentionally injured whole families in order to send a message, “We don’t want you and we won’t help you.”
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is slashing away at policies in the Department of Education that support the health and progress of the poorest students of whom there are millions. Health and Human Services is not doing much better while the Environmental Protection Agency is being run by people who think there are no environmental problems to be addressed with integrity for future generations, only fake news. Pro-life?
It’s time to act like the patriots we claim to be by standing up to our leaders and showing the world that we are still united in our previously held values of welcoming the stranger, caring for the less strong and valuing each person.
Melinda Stibal lives in Coloma. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.