Political Opinion by Richard Bleil
When I write this blog, I am often about a week ahead, and yet, when issues come along that are too important to be queued, I’ll push my posts back. This is one of those topics.
Wednesday, Texas enacted a law making abortions illegal if there is a “viable heartbeat”. A fluttering of cells in the developing fetus can be detected as early as six weeks when the group of cells are about the size of a bean. At this time, the woman often is not even aware that she is expecting. I’ve seen at least one (and I believe two) web sites already where anybody can anonymously “report” a woman for having an abortion in violation of this law, like any ex-girlfriend that you would like to officially harass and punish through state resources.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, effectively giving the green light for this law in Texas and, I’m sure, many other states with similarly restrictive laws waiting to be approved or written. This doesn’t exactly violate the Woe v. Wade case, but it does make it so limited that it is effectively moot. To hear a case, six justices must agree to it. This is a two-thirds (super) majority of the nine sitting justices. As a reminder, fully one-third of the justices were appointed by Trump, including one which was literally stolen from President Obama by Mitch McConnell who no longer can make a valid argument that it was “too close” to the upcoming election.
The Republican Party cannot claim the moral high ground here. Yes, it is mainly Republican governors who are passing these laws (and I’m sure Republican placed justices although I cannot find a list of which justices voted against hearing the case). These same governors are Gerrymandering voter maps to dilute the voices of minorities and passing voter restrictive laws to make it harder for minorities to vote. Anybody truly paying attention today should recognize that the Republican Party is simply acting to restrict rights of anybody who is not in their primary demographic, namely white males. And I’m not saying it was always the Republican party, either. A hundred and fifty years ago, it was a Republican president who passed the emancipation proclamation, and the Democratic party that wrote and passed the Jim Crow laws to restrict the voting rights of the newly freed minorities. Back then, it was the Republican party fighting for the rights of minorities to have their voices heard, but things change. Today, it’s the Republican party, and those who vote Republican, who want to erase the rights of women and minorities.
This is not a surprise. The Supreme Court, thanks to McConnell and Trump, is now conservative. That means anti-rights for women and minorities. Yes, I know the argument; protect the fetus, but let’s be honest about this. Fetal rights have nothing to do with the actions in Texas or on the Supreme Court, and everything to do with women’s rights not only over their bodies, but quite literally over the right to survive. That right is now gone. This abortion law does not make exceptions for non-viable pregnancies that put women’s lives in danger. It places the rights of a group of cells over the life of a fully developed human being.
There are still those who argue that it is keeping in line with the Bible. It is not. In fact, it is actually anti-Bible. Nowhere in the Bible is the phrase “It is a sin to abort a baby.” What is in the Bible, on the other hand, is a definition of the beginning of life (Genesis 2:7) as “God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” It’s sad that extremist Christians are so quick to ignore the Bible, which makes it not surprising when they ignore the Constitution that says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or restricting the free exercise thereof.” That means that if the Catholic Church stands opposed to abortion, attempts to make laws against abortion based on this mistaken belief is both anti-Biblical and anti-Constitutional. What’s more, if I belong to a religion that does not make a stand against abortion, making abortion illegal also violates my right on free exercise of my religion.
The Bible is not anti-contraceptive. In Genesis 38:9, the Bible reads in part, “So whenever [Onan] went in to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring.” Coitus Interruptus is an effective (are you ready for this?) contraceptive. In fact, in Biblical times, goat bladders were used as an early version of condoms, and yet, miraculously, this practice was never condemned in the Bible. I suspect the Church’s stand has less to do with God’s will as it does recruiting more church members since most people simply carry on the religious affiliation of their parents.
The Texas Law makes it abortion a harsher punishment for the woman (certainly not the man) and the doctor than it does a rapist who impregnates her. This sounds like a boost to the rights of men, but a serious imposition on the rights of the woman. If a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, which is very rarely successful and is a major risk to the life of the mother, she is violating this law. Why is the life of a fetus more important than the right of a woman? My mother carried to term my brother who was stillborn. I do not know if they realized the fetus was not viable, but I cannot imagine carrying a baby to term only to have it die. If the child won’t survive, it’s simply immoral to make the woman go through to term, explaining to everybody, as she is carrying it, not to congratulate her because they already know it won’t live.
And by what right do I say she must abort if the fetus is not viable? I have none. That’s my exact point. I would not force her to have an abortion any more than anybody has the right to say she cannot. Sometimes doctors are wrong, but isn’t that a decision that the mother should make with her doctor? Or should it be entirely the choice of the man who raped her?