I almost didn’t publish this post. I’m nervous to post anything about this. But if I can’t post this when I am on maternity leave – when can I?
I am so ashamed of my state. I am ashamed of every representative who voted for this bill. I am ashamed of every voter who voted for those representatives who voted for this bill. I am embarrassed that someone in my state even mentioned this kind of bill. This has sparked a variety of debates on social media – and I am ashamed how many of my fellow Christians think that imposing their faith on others is somehow appropriate.
I have two primary arguments against this bill.
The First Argument – Science
The first is simple science – medical science does not recognize the heartbeat as the defining element of “alive.” We declare people dead with beating hearts every day. Doctors use a combination of heart, all the other organs, and higher brain waves (actual thought-thinkings) to determine if an adult is gone. Using the same calculations for the womb – somewhere around 22 weeks is “alive.” Then it shouldn’t be surprising this is about the point where premature births begin to survive…
Scientifically, a woman’s body is the most impressive life support system we’ve ever imagined, and if we don’t think removing life support on a 50-year-old man is wrong – then removing the life support a woman is supplying isn’t “murder” either.
The Second Argument – Religion
My second argument has to do with my religion. I am a Christian, I’ve been very clear on that. It informs my decisions. But I feel like Jesus was pretty (pun intended) damn clear we aren’t supposed to judge others, or impose our beliefs on them. He stopped some Jewish men from stoning a woman caught in adultery – and by Jewish law they were justified in that action. Similarly, in Luke (Luke 6:27-36) Jesus is VERY clear – “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. ” (Luke 6:35a)
I am not supposed to impose my beliefs on others. Jesus was clear on that. When I combine that with the separation of Church and State (as an American) – I have to argue for laws that follow the scientific community’s findings. Not my religious beliefs when life begins.
I don’t know when a fetus gets a soul. Hell, I don’t know when adults have a soul. But I firmly believe that God knows our hearts, and I don’t think a woman makes the decision to have an abortion lightly (ok, that woman probably exists – she’s the exception, not the rule). If a woman makes this choice and believes it isn’t murder – my Jesus tells me not to judge her.
The Final Argument – My Experience
I am a Christian, and in my own life I can’t imagine having an abortion of a healthy child. And I have had that fight with myself.
In the summer of 2006 I had a pregnancy scare. I was over a week late for my period (and I was never late – you can set a watch by my cycle). I had a plane ticket to fly to Japan in September and spend a semester in Tokyo. The guy I was dating (and duh, sleeping with) had always been clear he didn’t want kids. We had been having a bit of a fight and hadn’t seen each other during that week.
I sat in the parking lot of the pharmacy and called him. I didn’t want to buy the pregnancy test. I didn’t want to find out. I wanted to pretend it just wasn’t real. He picked up and I burst into sobbing tears. I told him my fear. I told him I was about to buy a test. I told him I was scared.
“I’ll take you to the clinic and pay if you need me to.”
“What are you talking about?”
“If you’re pregnant. I’ll pay for the abortion.”
He was very matter-of-fact about it. And I was angry. I was angry he assumed I would. He kept talking while I sat on the phone and cried. He pointed out a baby would “ruin my life” and a bunch of other things. I wanted him to tell me the most important words – “it’s your decision and I’ll support it either way” but he never said that.
I wasn’t pregnant. The test came back negative. My period ended up being almost a full two weeks late and when it did hit, it was one of the worst of my life. I had a lot of doubts and fears. And I had to ask myself if I would abort a child because I wasn’t ready, the guy who I was sleeping with didn’t want a baby, and he made it clear he wouldn’t participate in raising one. I had to make my choice for myself.
And I will fight for every woman to have that choice. Every woman should have the right to have that fight for herself. This discussion; this wrestle; this choice should be for a woman to make. The advisers involved should be the father (yes, I do think a consensual partner should be allowed to weigh in with his opinion) and her doctor.