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Why the Christian Right is to Blame for U.S. Abortions

February 24, 2009

Chances are you know a woman who has had an abortion.  You probably don’t know who she is, though. 

 For many women, abortion is a secret that cannot be spoken of because, after being convinced by the Christian Right that she has murdered a child, rather than receiving comfort in her grief, the same group condemns her. 

Or worse yet, she may be exploited by the “pro-life” movement as a tool for their cause. 

 But abortion, like so many other issues, hasn’t always been viewed so rigidly by those who presume themselves to be the most virtuous.

 ABORTION IN AMERICA – HOW DID WE GET TO HERE?

 During the 1840’s, the American Medical Association decided abortion should be a crime. A short time later, a group of lawyers joined in the battle to make abortion illegal. As a result, we began to see a patchwork of anti abortion and pro abortion laws in different localities and states. As time went on, and as our nation approached the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973, many of the anti abortion states and localities were already relaxing their abortion laws. 

 Prior to the Civil War, laws regarding rights and liberties were primarily passed at the local and state level. After the Civil War, and as we became a nation more concerned with individual rights and liberties, we began passing laws at the national level, to avoid being at the mercy of local leaders. However, the abortion issue has never been addressed by Congress.

 RELIGION AND ABORTION

                When the Supreme Court justices wrote their decision in Roe vs. Wade, along with legal issues they had addressed, their moral question was “At what point does the Spirit of Life enter the baby?” One of the many historical sources they looked to for guidance was the Catholic Church. This must have turned out to be a profound embarrassment for the Church, as lately they have been so “pro-life”.  

 Actually, the Catholic Church has changed their viewpoint on the abortion issue many times, but from the 13th century until the not so distant past, the Church held to the view of St. Thomas Aquinas, who mocked those who believed the Spirit enters the “embryo” at conception.  In other changes of belief, Pope John Paul II stated that any citizen of the U.S. who voted for a pro-choice political candidate was guilty of having an abortion. In yet another change, the newest Pope, Benedict, has backed off this position, stating that “all of the issues should be carefully weighed before voting, and many good people are in disagreement on the subject of abortion”

 Regarding several other major religions, the Jewish faith holds primarily to the belief that life begins at live birth, while the Muslim’s believe the Spirit enters the child in the fifth month. Until recently, the Protestant faith held that the decision was up to the woman and her family. 

                We have all seen the pictures of what a fetus looks like in the mother’s womb at different times during the pregnancy cycle. However, under United States law, this is not the question to be answered. The appropriate question is, “Does the child have a Spirit, and therefore, the same rights as those who can live outside the mother’s womb?”

Obviously, the question is unanswerable.

Yet, the “pro-lifers” keep trying to use photos of fetuses as a battle cry to try to divert attention away from the actual issue of how to reduce abortions. 

Members of the Christian Right would do well to understand that one person can look at these photos and see a baby, while another person can look at the same photos and see an embryo or fetus, and neither person has the ability to prove the other wrong. 

The picture flashing method has also proven to be quite ineffective in reducing the overall rate of abortions.

 

WHY WOMEN GET ABORTIONS

 In the United States, those women at greatest risk of having an abortion are of college age. Many times, the women are under pressure to not disgrace their families or to not “ruin their future”. In many other countries, the primary factor is poverty.  Among other major reasons for abortion are the health of the mother or the child, and those women who choose to terminate pregnancy because the pregnancy was caused due to rape or incest. 

ABORTION ALTERNATIVES: ADOPTION

                In the United States, we are witnessing a rapid increase of the infertility rate among couples desiring children. This increase is due to two primary causes. 

 First and foremost, many women are waiting until later in life to have children, and for many of these women, their childbearing years have passed. 

 PID… In the United States, there is a dramatic increase in PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)  among our nation’s woman. PID, caused primarily by sexually transmitted diseases, leads to infertility and ectopic pregnancies. (Ectopic pregnancies are a major reason for health issue abortions). 

 With the rise of American couples desiring children and unable to produce their own, the demand to adopt is rapidly increasing. To meet this increased demand for children, child kidnappings in poorer countries are on the rise to alarming levels. To date, several countries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, and Guatemala have been cut off from adoption relations with the United States in response to these kidnappings. Numerous other countries are also having problems with adoptions to the United States. At its peak before being cut off, fifty percent of the children arriving in the U.S. for adoption from Guatemala  had been stolen from their natural mothers by unscrupulous adoption agencies in order to provide a child for a wealthier family here.

 In cases of adoption vs. abortion, you will hear so many women state, “If only I had been counseled on how much suffering I would have undergone as a result of giving a child up for adoption, I would not have done so. I would have kept my baby.” However, we just don’t seem to hear from these women when viewing the websites of adoption agencies. Perhaps it is because the agencies have such a great need to fill the adoptive slots. 

 

 

 

 

JUST MAKE ABORTION ILLEGAL

                When abortion is made illegal, no matter how severe the punishment for having an abortion, the rate of abortions do not decrease, not in any country, anywhere, at any time.  Rather, the unintended consequence of making abortion illegal is that  medical complications from poorly performed abortions rise, thereby increasing the costs and burdens to area hospitals, as they attempt, very often unsuccessfully, to save the woman’s life.   

 

SOLUTIONS

                As we know that making abortion illegal will not reduce the rate of abortions, the key question becomes how do we reduce abortions?

 If we truly want to see the amount of abortions reduced in the United States, we must first of all understand that either trying to force individuals to remain celibate until marriage or taking away the child of a woman who had an unplanned pregnancy will not work.

As long as in the United States we continue to treat sexual matters as “taboo”, we will continue to experience the current rate of abortion in our nation.

As long as the Christian Right continues to not try to understand the very real issues involved, but simply to declare anyone who asks questions as “evil”, the only thing the Christian Right will accomplish is further division between those who believe life begins at conception and those who do not.

 Perhaps the Christian Right could heed the lessons that Jesus taught regarding effectiveness by using love, compassion and knowledge of humanity, rather than using division and name-calling.

 The Europeans have had success in reducing the number of abortions in their countries. They have achieved their goal by following a determined commitment to educate their citizens in sexual matters and by making contraceptives readily available for all. 

                We must therefore, learn from the successful example and do a better job of educating our citizens regarding the use of contraceptives and we must make these contraceptives readily available to all. We must work to help our youth better understand the real dangers and consequences of sexually transmitted diseases, and how to reduce the risk of catching these diseases. Only then will we begin to make progress.

 President Obama recently tried to introduce funding to provide education to our nation’s youth in sexual matters and to increase accessibility and availability to contraceptives. Once again, the Christian Right through the Republican Party blocked the initiative…

Why?    

Only by working together, and trying to work with the facts as they are, can the tragedy of abortion be reduced in our nation. It’s time for the Christian Right to get on board.

                                                                                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 24, 2009 9:49 pm

    Great blog!

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