Are we really going to let the political barrens impoverish our political discourse yet again with another season of the “abortion debate”?
When a young women agonizes about being pregnant or we, as a society, have to deal with the horror of a baby not being born because the women carrying it chooses not to do so, must we take sides and make a spectacle out of that perinatal situation?
Those weeks prior to a baby’s birth and the first few weeks of their lives are magical. But we are not talking here about having a baby or planning to have one. We are talking about, for whatever reason, an unwanted pregnancy. To be sure, the abortion debate is more about a women’s choice whether to reach the perinatal period in the first place. Being pregnant in the early stages is greatly defined by why you are pregnant. It just is.
But abortion, like so many semantically charged issues, has become a political boogyman in our society that is pulled out in the battle of women’s liberation vs. the self proclaimed “moral majority”. Imagine that–intelligent people on both sides let the boogyman out. Today’s media circus allows the few to speak for the many. In this way, an artificial discourse develops and is seen as real and scientific regarding public opinion. Public media becomes public opinion.
Abortion is a sad and horrible fact. The use of the issue as political fodder is wrong. The less sexy issue is the feminization of poverty, for example–how so many women are uneducated, disempowered and abused. Abortion further demonizes these women and their circumstances. Perhaps people of means who have internal demons are more comfortable with boogymen and as such summon them or at least willingly join the party. That women get pregnant in circumstances that are not optimal for the commitment to the growth and birth of the fetus is a fact of life that is not likely to go away. What we do about it as families, neighborhoods and communities to support women’s sexual health is the real issue. Politicians rallying masses of voters will not help solve the central question. Women’s sexual health is often compromised and the outcome of child birth is too often a big problem.
Smart powerful women, or conservative ladies who have their husband’s power behind them, have the time and wherewithal to go on these intellectual and perhaps spiritual pony rides. On the other hand you have the women who do not have the means. Most of these anguishing women and the fetuses which define their predicament are canon fodder in the “good fight”. There are four kinds of people in this struggle. There are the good people fighting the evil people. There are the people who are considered the evil people by the good. There are the people who are considered crazy by most bystanders who have to endure the charade. It’s really difficult to tell who is who–it depends where one is standing.
Abortion has never been a problem for those who have the means to deal with it. That is, to avoid it and have the baby put up for adoption as many did in before the 1970s when the choice became endorsed and supported–liberating young women seemingly everywhere. Today, it is still being dealt with by those of means. That is, conservative politicians looking to drum up support from the believing masses and women’s rights groups who have the wherewithal to define the fight, educate the soldiers, and speak in one voice for such a cacophony of human suffering and hope. This sanguine struggle pales in comparison to any other civil rights issue because it is so private and at its center is not baby killing but a single women’s choice about her body, her psyche and perhaps her soul. How many issues involve sex, blood, shame, hell and even death? But poverty has seized to be the issue of the day and sexuality and babies make for better television. Long gone are the poor welfare mothers who were the demons of yesterday for some and the soldiers in the minds of liberal causes. Bill Clinton had his way with so many women, not to mention the million he kicked off of welfare with his Welfare Act. At last, irony forces all of us to open our eyes and think. Who is really the friend of these women in their darkest hour?
The truth may be that abortion has become an ideological scapegoat, a powerful political tool and a cattle call. Instead of really coming together and fixing the problems that divide us as a nation and impoverish us as communities, abortion as a maternal and child health perspective divides us, brings out the worst in many, and does not solve the ageless problem of child birth as a challenge that overcomes some. But abortion is good politics because it gets folks riled up, to dig in their pockets and to pound the pavement for a cause. Right or wrong–right or left… It all depends where you stand… It rarely depends on where the most disempowered young and scared women stand. The choice is personal, spiritual and perhaps mostly economic. It’s not about women’s liberation… It’s more about having the means–and in politics having the means means getting votes… Abortion moves people.
Here we go again. The bread and butter issues were not good enough to rabble up the masses. It is insane. It is hardly believable and definitely more difficult to fully comprehend. We are all getting riled up again about the “A” word. Never mind that it mostly happens as a consequence of a very private act, without much public notice and with our most private parts. No… that does not matter to the ideological gladiators right and left who have a ticket to ride because they perceive that their bodies are being controlled or that they must intervene in the most personal and spiritual moment of a women’s life–to help or to judge–to help her make a choice or to make communion with a political church that is pushing popular and political orthodoxy.
“The Texas Senate gave final passage on Friday to one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country, legislation championed by Gov. Rick Perry, who rallied the Republican-controlled Legislature late last month after a Democratic filibuster blocked the bill and intensified already passionate resistance by …”
via Texas Senate Approves Strict Abortion Measure – NYTimes.com.
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