Thursday, September 10
At first, being ‘Pro Life’ sounds very positive. ‘Pro’ always sounds positive and ‘Life’ is a good thing, too. But are ‘Pro Life’ supporters really supporting life? Are they supporting the poor? Children who live in poverty with their parents, people who don’t even have a roof over their heads? Do they support all aspects of life, such as homosexuality or trans-sexuality? For most of those ‘Pro Life’ supporters, the answer to all of these questions is ‘nope.’ A lot of ‘Pro Life’ supporters are against food stamps or social security. They despise the poor and the homeless as ‘lazy’ or ‘worthless.’ They see every kind of ‘non-straight’ sexuality as ‘perverted’ and ‘against God’s will.’
Which kind of life do they support, then? The unborn life, obviously. They will go to great lengths to make sure women can’t have an abortion no matter the reason. No matter how young, sick, or traumatized the woman is. The already born and alive woman doesn’t matter, the unborn foetus does. And, since most of them claim Christianity as their reason, they are even justified in that point of view. Why? Read on.
The three religions which all consider Abraham their founder (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) also share the same view of women. Women as a such do not matter, they are merely tools by which the man can enhance his family - his clan. Children are the possession of the father (hence a woman has to be ‘bought’ by her future husband and his family - possession against possession of the same worth). A woman’s only reason for living is to produce children, to enhance the clan, to add to her husband’s wealth in children. A woman who can’t do that is worthless. A woman who refuses to do that is bad. If this reminds you of the quiver-full movement, it’s not a coincidence. They (and several Christian sects which allow polygamy) simply reduce one basic message of the old testament to its very bones.
From this view of women, polygamy makes sense. A woman needs full nine months to produce offspring. A man who has several wives at the same time can have more children throughout his life than a man with just one. A man who regularly ‘exchanges’ his woman for a younger one also can have more children, since men can father children longer than women can bear them. Abraham, the founding father of those religions, was ‘cursed’ with a barren wife for a long time (until God finally made her fertile and she produced children for her husband in advanced years). His wife offered him her slave maid instead - which was legally perfectly okay at that time, since the slave was Abraham’s possession, too, and that means all children she bore him were his, anyway.
Despising any kind of ‘non-straight’ sexuality (sex between man and woman to make children) also makes sense. Sex is not for pleasure or other reasons, only for enhancing the family. Sex between two members of the same gender - or feeling you’re the ‘wrong’ gender, but incapable of performing the other gender’s duties in reproduction, is not the way it’s ‘meant to be.’ Any kind of sex which can’t lead to children is not ‘meant to be’ - hence any kind of non-vaginal sex is not allowed, either. Sorry, guys, no more anal or oral sex, I’m afraid.
A woman can’t be trusted to decide well for her own body. She basically can’t be trusted to do anything on her own - it’s still ingrained in our minds, even after two full and one ongoing waves of Feminism. Therefore, women have to jump through several hoops if they dare to decide to have an abortion. They have to watch an ultrasound of their ‘child’ or listen to the heartbeat. They are supposed to feel guilty about it.
If, as someone on the internet once put it, men were giving birth, the pill would be available in many wonderful flavours and there would be an abortion clinic on ever block (possibly right next to Starbucks).
Especially the Catholic church (which is the most fundamental of all large Christian sects, also called churches) and other extremely fundamental sects have a huge problem with contraceptives in all forms. A contraceptive not only means that sex outside of marriage remains without consequences, it also gives a woman a way to choose not to become pregnant and, thus, not to fulfil her God-given mission in life of pushing out children at the highest possible speed.
And if the contraception fails (which happens more often than you probably think), abortion provides a way to terminate the pregnancy - also avoiding doing your God-given task. It’s known by now that the Romans completely exhausted all reserves of a plant simply because it provided them with a natural ‘morning after’ pill.
German has a word for women illegally performing abortions which is both fitting and unveiling the truth: Engelmacherin (Angel Maker). Those women did not only ‘kill’ the foetuses, they often also severely injured the women, causing them to die or to become infertile, so they could never bear a child again.
Before the late 1960s/early 1970s, when the second wave of Feminists fought for the change of § 218 (which deals with abortion) in Germany, women either went to one of those Engelmacherinnen or they went to Switzerland or the Netherlands (depending on whether they lived in the south or the north of Germany). But only rich women (or women knocked up by a rich man who didn’t want anybody to know about it) could afford going abroad for an abortion. Everyone else (including women who already had a host of children and simply didn’t want any more of them) had to seek illegal means in the country.
In Goethe’s version of “Faust,” Gretchen (the heroine and Faust’s love interest) gets executed at the end of part one for drowning her newborn child after Faust knocked her up and then left after killing her brother and (by proxy through shock) her mother. That is the last way of getting rid of a child you’re not supposed to have - killing it after it was born. Adoption became a topic much later, although Gretchen technically could have left the baby on the steps of a church, though probably not a local one where people would have gone snooping for the mother. But is Gretchen going to hell for it? No - she is saved by God and, at the very end, saves Faust from his well-deserved trip due south.
If you think this is just about the middle ages: the last institutions for ‘fallen girls’ who became pregnant outside of marriage in Europe were closed in the 1970s - not the 1870s or 1070s.
Back to ‘Pro Life’ supporters, though. They go to great lengths - including harassing poor women and setting abortion clinics on fire - in order to protect ‘unborn life.’ Now, ‘unborn life’ is an oxymoron as a such. You can’t be ‘unborn’ and ‘alive’ at the same time. A foetus, for all it may later on become, is not a baby. It’s not completely ‘done’ already. It can’t survive outside the womb. And the womb is so complicated in its workings science still hasn’t been able to create an artificial one, despite trying very hard.
And humans - unlike, say, cats - do not always carry their foetuses to term, anyway. As it were, the period is proof of the fact that we’ve been built with the inborn ability to abort pregnancy. The period is the uterus casting out tissue which has been built up to house a foetus, should the woman get pregnant. This tissue is actually a fail-safe device certain mammals have while others don’t. A cat, which doesn’t have that tissue, must carry every foetus to term, even if it’s severely malformed, even if there’s a terrible famine and the mother cat is close to dying. A woman, who does have that tissue, has a body which can terminate a pregnancy due to internal or external reasons - it’s called ‘miscarriage,’ usually. Internal reasons would be an extremely malformed foetus which wouldn’t survive outside the body, anyway, or certain sicknesses which can cause a miscarriage. External reasons include famines, since there’s no real reason to add another mouth to the tribe while nobody has enough to eat. Scientists think that only one in ten pregnancies is actually carried to term, most of the other nine are terminated so early the woman never realizes she was pregnant in the first place.
But what about that one pregnancy which proceeds past that point? Well, there’s good and valid reasons to abort that one, too, you see. Medical reasons like the mother running the danger of dying, if she carries the child to term. Psychological reasons like the mother becoming pregnant due to rape or abuse. Social reasons as well, such as the mother being in a situation in which she can’t or won’t have (yet another) a child.
The idea that all of the above are no good reasons for abortion is bringing up that old-fashioned idea about women again. The woman is just a tool, the child is more important. It doesn’t matter how she became pregnant (rape/abuse), whether the pregnancy is endangering her (medical reasons), or whether she doesn’t want that child (social reasons). So what if the woman was raped? At least she produced another child, the ‘how’ doesn’t matter. So what if the woman dies in childbirth? The child can still be raised and the mother can be replaced. So what if she doesn’t want (yet another) a child? Her opinion doesn’t matter, she’s only worth as much as the children she produces.
‘Pro Life’ supporters give a rat’s ass about life. If they did care, they would care first and foremost about the life which exists already. They would care about the poor and the homeless, about abuse and rape, about inequality in society. After all of those problems and many more have been solved, they might start to care about ‘unborn life,’ but not before.