Joshua Heath | In Defense of the Right to Abortion

Joshua Heath commentary

The Republican Party is wasting no time taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Laws are now on the books in red states across the country that eliminate abortion almost entirely, with no exceptions even in cases of rape and incest.  

With these draconian new measures, conservatives are sending a clear message: Our women can’t be trusted with their own powers of reproduction. We must have the firm hand of the government intervene to ensure these shrews and harlots don’t get out of control and start terminating fetuses willy nilly.  

But this sort of thinking goes against everything we know about the fairer sex. 

Women are inherently pro-life, being humanity’s nurturers and the source from which we all came. They value babies more than anyone else in the world, rarely ever walk out on their families, perform most of the domestic labor to keep our households running, and would sacrifice themselves for their children in an instant.  

As we were reminded with the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, as the cops waited outside that classroom, it was the mothers who were ready to storm in and stop the shooter, even though they were armed with nothing but their bodies. 

Therefore, the difficult decision of whether to keep a pregnancy is something a woman makes only after deep, serious consideration. 

No decent American should put up with these awful Republican policies. 

Citizens deserve rights because they are full, dignified human beings. We grant the people freedom of speech, because we trust that they will use their words wisely, the right to protest, because we believe in their ability to challenge power.  

This issue is no different. 

Supporting reproductive freedom is a way of affirming the simple truth that our women are good and kind and don’t need state supervision over their choice to become mothers. 

More broadly, the reasoning abortion opponents employ is fuzzy to the point of confusion. Operating from their Christian principles, they see an unborn fetus as a human life, worthy of protection under the law. What logically follows from that position is that eliminating a pregnancy is murder.  

But what raw data is there to prove this? 

It’s an abstraction, purely a matter of opinion. The only thing that is conclusively true is that a fetus has the potential for life. 

However, does that necessarily mean our society should treat it as an actual life?  

Who knows? 

Children have the potential to become adults, but that doesn’t mean we act as if they already are. 

The law doesn’t allow kids to drive, get married and have careers, simply because one day they will be older and qualify for those things. Instead we wait until they turn 18 before granting them these rights.  

It is not sufficient to use the Bible alone as justification for a particular political view. But that seems to be the only evidence pro-lifers marshal for their case. 

As a Catholic, I support what the good book says, but as an American citizen, it is morally wrong to have the government impose religion on anyone.  

Faith, in order to be meaningful, must be freely chosen. You cannot mandate someone love God any more than you can force them to fall in love with their mailman. But this is precisely what conservatives are trying to do. 

Instead of letting Americans search their own souls on this subject, and come to a principled conclusion, they are demanding we all follow their particular theological worldview.  

Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with being pro-life. It’s noble to want babies to be born. Abortion bans are the wrong way to go about this goal, however.  

A truly principled pro-life movement would fight for these issues in the culture, not through the government. More specifically, we must educate our men about the importance of making a good living, and committing to their romantic partners, so that when they get someone pregnant, abortion won’t be a necessity.  

Furthermore, this sort of an endeavor would also attend to the other deep issues affecting humanity such as gun violence, poverty, sexual assault and the climate crisis. That work would be good for everyone, and avoid the grotesque situation we now face where victims of rape and incest will be forced to carry their pregnancies to term.  

A woman brought us into this world, and only through the care of women were any of us able to survive. 

The government doesn’t have to force our daughters to value the unborn. It’s literally written in their DNA to do so. 

Here’s hoping the protesters in the streets will speak up loudly, and remind the nation of these truths, so that we may quickly undo the harm that has been done and move toward a truly humane society.  

 Joshua Heath is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.

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