abortion, abstinence, pro-life, religion, right to choose, sex education, sexuality, women's bodies, Women's issues
It is probably true that there is no basis of compromise between the two sides. One either believes that there is a fundamental right of a woman to control her own body or one believes that conception and the resultant life trumps all other issues from the moment that sperm meets ovum.
We can all agree to that. What choice people profess, and most anti-choicers refuse to acknowledge, is that choice people also want to reduce abortion in every effective way possible short of legally restricting the right. Nobody is “for” abortion as the “pro-lifers” are want to insist.
Reasonable heads should prevail, one would assume. The question should become, “what can we do to effectively work toward reducing abortions?”
It would seem obvious that we can get together to work on that, right? Wrong.
Because that is part of the big lie of the right. They are not so much interested in reducing abortions as they are in winning on this issue, and controlling women’s bodies. And that suggests that it is not some “overriding” moral conclusion that is beyond religion as they claim. Make the argument that abortion is a religious issue, and wait for them to begin howling. No they claim, it’s not religion, its simple morality. Odd, since they will surely claim that all sense of morality comes from God, thus non-believers cannot be “moral” exactly.
If abortions are immoral, then reducing abortions must be more moral than merely stubbornly objecting to abortions as being immoral. And the dirty little secret is that abortion is only part of the agenda for the religious right. The other item on the agenda is “contraception.” And this of course is very much a religious issue, and depends on a very specific type of belief, namely that sex is only for procreation and that to use any type of barrier to conception is a slap in the face to God.
No matter of course, that an omnipotent God can presumably frustrate the best efforts of humans to defy his wishes. It is the internal desire to take conception out of God’s hands that is objected to. And most every if not all the right to life organizations are anti-contraception.
There is a fascinating article by AlterNet on the subject, and with some amazing statistics. Tim Ryan, (D-OH) and pro-lifer, has been removed from a pro-life board of directors because he favors means to reduce abortion, including contraception. He has gone public and is underscoring that the real war is between a tiny segment of the “pro-life” movement, and the vast majority of pro-lifers who are like him, fine with contraception.
The realities are stark. Abstinence only programs are a failure, at best postponing for a few extra months, teens experimentation with sex. Worse, when they do begin having it, they don’t use protections and have a much higher incidence of STD’s and pregnancy, thus abstinence only programs actually result in increased abortions.
Study after study shows that broad based sex education works. States are moving away from AO after watching their statistics start to re-climb, back to comprehensive sex education, a proven method of reducing STD’s and unwanted pregnancy. Joining with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ryan sponsors the “Preventing unintended pregnancies, Reducing the need for abortion and supporting Parent’s Act,” which aims at instituting practices found useful from the “The Third Way,” a left-center think tank.
Various anti-choice organizations now call Ryan “so called” when it comes to being pro-life. But when polled 80% of those who self-identify with a pro-life stance, also are pro-contraception. The bill supports contraception, help for poor women who wish to carry to term, comprehensive sex education, and help for adoptive families. No pro-life group supports the legislation.
Only the Catholic church 0pposes contraception, even though 90% of its faithful use it or are in favor of its availability. There is no denomination whose support of contraception is below 88%. Jewish support is at 97%. Even 70% of Republicans and Independents favor contraception and only a measly 2% of them don’t.
According to Ryan, only 20% of the pro-life movement favors no contraception, but they seem fully in control of the movement. Ryan urges that those within the movement need to hold that 20% accountable now.
It is obvious that this minority has an agenda separate and apart from reducing abortion. And I contend that that agenda is religious in nature and is theocratic in intent. It is nothing less than to impose religious concepts of sexual behavior onto the public at large, regardless of what their religious believes are or are not.
Certainly, it is perfectly fine for anyone to believe personally that contraception is wrong for them, and somehow against God. One’s personal theology is sacrosanct. However, to allow it to intrude to the point that one will not work for a legitimate goal of reducing abortion, is telling to say the least. It in fact shows all too clearly that something else is at stake. The article is a real eye opener. It is what I have been contending for some time, and what no doubt others have realized as well.
It’s not just about “life” its also about controlling women and their sexuality.