In November 2016, I penned Heirlooms Without Heirs. I shared my absolute aversion to having children and all the many reasons I did not want any. Four years later, I was filing for divorce from an absolute tyrant. He was so bent on trying to control me that, despite the fact that I asked for nothing, he turned an uncontested divorce into a 13-month process.
Throughout the divorce, my attorney and my family commended my decision not to have kids. After all, imagine being tied to that tyrant for at least another 18 years to raise a child while he continually used the child as a pawn to re-enter my life―like my biological father did with my mother. The fear of that possibility, even before things spiraled into the mess they did, was precisely why I never wanted any kids to begin with.
With four heart conditions to consider, there is also a very strong likelihood that pregnancy would kill me. So, this attack on a woman’s right to protect her own body and her own life is an absolutely traumatic turn of events in America.
Women Do Not Need To Justify Their Decisions
Most pro-lifers will agree that there are some reasonable causes for terminating a pregnancy. These usually involve situations like mine, where a pregnancy would pose a lethal threat to the mother. Some are also open to terminating pregnancies due to high disability risks for the children or if the children resulted from incest or rape.
However, I do not feel any woman needs to justify to me why she has had an abortion. If she feels she does not have the physical or mental resources to care for a child, that is her decision to make. In my opinion, not wanting a child is enough. Do we not already have enough unwanted children in the world? Why add one more?
Quality of Life Matters
Did you know that babies in orphanages typically do not cry? Psychologists first noticed this after visiting Romanian orphanages and noticing how quiet they were. The babies had accepted that their needs would not be met, so they stopped crying, even when only their caregiver could assist them.
This phenomenon is especially common in orphanages across South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, some North Americans have reported similar situations in the United States. Consequently, even in America, children not adopted by about two years old tend to have lasting effects of having learned this coping mechanism.
It’s important to note that these babies are not necessarily neglected on purpose. There simply aren’t enough caregivers to see to all their individual needs. The system has been overwhelmed for a very long time in America and the rest of the world.
So, before you advocate for tossing unwanted children into foster care, consider that these children are up to 5 times more likely to attempt suicide. This is higher than the general statistics for abused or neglected children, which says abused children are three times more likely to attempt suicide as youths or later as adults.
The American Foster Care Crisis is Decades Old
The country has not progressed out of its decades-old crisis and the pandemic has reportedly made it worse. There is a record number of children entering the system. Homes are full and agencies are becoming increasingly desperate to place children anywhere with anyone who will take them. Not surprisingly, in surveys that have been conducted for decades, as much as 40% of former foster care children report abuse and neglect in the homes they were placed in.
To add to this, while families are often eager to adopt newborns and babies that they can pass off as their own, they are less willing to adopt older children. Children who belong to racial and ethnic minorities also have lower adoption rates and tend to remain in the system much longer.
Pro-lifers want to save the children, but how many of them are willing to band together to resolve the growing foster care crisis? Does the quality of life not matter? Is it better for children to enter the world unwanted, abused, and neglected?
Separation of Church and State Exists for a Reason
Conservatives love to reference the First Amendment as a protection of free speech but selectively forget about the Establishment Clause, which separates the church from the state. This prohibits the government from establishing laws based on religious beliefs. In the case of Everson v. Board of Education Ewing TP et al, one U.S. Supreme Court judge stated:
The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.― U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black
In spite of this, politicians in a country built by families escaping religious persecution have decided to use their religious beliefs to dictate the lives of others. While most Americans identify as Christians, not all Americans are. And, let’s be serious, if this Christian majority actually embraced the teachings of Jesus, the country would not be where it is today.
There are other religions in the country where abortion is a protected right. The Jewish community, for example, has been outraged by the recent attacks on abortion laws. According to the National Council of Jewish women (and thousands of outraged Jews on social media), life does not begin at conception, and “Jewish law does not consider a fetus to be alive”. Consequently, abortion has remained a protected right within the Jewish community since the dawn of the religion.
What gives Christians the right to make laws that affect them and everyone else? Since when does Jesus―or rather, the radicalized Western version of him―sit on the Supreme Court?
COVID-19 Regulations Are NOT Comparable
Recently, I got into a heated debate over abortion rights vs masking and vaccines with a young man from Florida. He compared being compelled to take vaccines to women losing their abortion rights. Just imagine: a man thinks regulations that applied to every American somehow compare to a law that specifically targets women. If you have read my article I am Tired of Listening To White American Men Complain, you have a pretty good idea of the thoughts going through my head when this very oppressed man made this comparison.
When I posited that COVID-19 was a public health issue, he asked me if losing children would not be the same. It would lead to population decline, he explained, if women did not have more children. I looked him dead in the eye and said:
First Worlders make up only 18% of the world population but you use 88% of the world’s resources. You really think the world needs more of you? How exactly does more of you benefit poverty rates, public health, the environment or global economics?
My response stumped him. It, quite obviously, was not the response he expected.
The Bottom Line
On the day of my engagement, my wasband and I visited The Bodies Exhibit in Atlanta. I was fascinated by the displays but felt an immediate aversion when I saw the fetuses in jars. All along, I had seen them in school labs and thought nothing of it. But now marriage was on the table and society expected wives to have children. I felt physically ill at the thought that I might ever be asked to share my body with that thing in a jar. I still remember the feeling of complete disgust that coursed through me.
Some people might find that offensive, but the truth is that some women simply do not want children. Outlawing abortions is not going to stop women from trying to ensure they don’t. It will only reduce access to safe abortions and increase the mortality rate of pregnant women. Hilariously, as is common in red states, the race to the bottom has already begun. One Arizona politician wants to ban all forms of “artificial birth control” including condoms, and several other Conservative politicians are rallying behind him, as far east as Louisiana.
I have never been pregnant and have never had an abortion. I do not care which of my friends have ever had an abortion and would not even think to ask. What I do know is that I am not anyone’s baby incubator. I would rather take flight off the Grand Canyon without a parachute than be subjected to forced birth.
If Roe v. Wade falls, women in red states are doomed.
And, of all the places for this to happen, it’s in the alleged Land of the Free. Ha!
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