No one should force a pregnant woman to have an abortion, a practice in China years ago to address population explosion (the one-child policy). But forcing a pregnant woman to bear an unwanted child is "involuntary servitude." The key concept here is force. If men and women in a modern society are legally equal citizens, how is it that the radical branch of the Republican Party has been relentlessly trying to eliminate the 1973 law that permits women to make decisions about their own bodies and childbearing?
People are entitled to their own opinions on this contentious issue. But they should not have the power to control those who think differently. This personal issue has now become a battlefield that not only divides our two political parties, but also divides Republican-majority states from Democrat-majority states.
Ugly bills have been passed in Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, North Dakota, and now Alabama and Missouri. This minority of states enacted draconian laws that they hope will force the abortion issue to the Supreme Court, expecting Roe v Wade to be overturned.
Alabama made their bill so repulsive that probably the Supreme Court will not touch it. Their law makes abortion a criminal act, with no exceptions for rape or incest, and life-time imprisonment for doctors and nurses who do these procedures. They claim this is based on principle that life begins at conception and a fetus is a "person." Is a pregnant woman not a person?
When the woman governor in Alabama held a press conference after signing the bill, a reporter asked her how much money will be allocated to support teen mothers too young to work or mothers with more children than they can support? The answer is "none." These "baby-lovers" don?t care about their mothers, or incestuously impregnated children, or desperate women having to resort once more into life-threatening illegal abortions.
The claim that all life begins upon conception does not account for fetuses rejected by a woman?s body (miscarriage). Nature protects us from a life that should not, and cannot, come to fruition. Apparently, all life is not sacred.
The anti-abortion politicians claim that a woman who gets pregnant did it willingly. What about a raped woman? What about a woman with a brutal partner? What about a child violated by a family member? Does the resulting fetus, that cannot survive outside the woman?s body, have more rights than the woman? Is it not a part of a woman until the moment of birth?
The vast majority of Americans (almost 80 percent) believe that women have the right to abortion, with some restrictions, but even those restrictions have limits. A woman in her last trimester whose pregnancy goes very wrong can abort; the law recognizes this contingency.
But where the politics of this issue got really ugly is best exemplified by President Trump, who cynically switched from a position supporting a woman?s right to choose to the most extreme form of anti-abortion rhetoric. During his presidential campaign, he actually professed punishing women who aborted with prison, along with her doctors, but no punishment for the man who caused the pregnancy. He was forced to walk back on that one when he faced public outrage.
But even more outrageous are the President?s lies about "doctors ripping babies from their mothers? wombs," a reference to a medically needed late-term abortion. He implies infanticide and claims that silly women decide at the last minute not to become mothers. Nobody has a late-term abortion who has any other choice.
Republican extremists who have joined the anti-abortion bandwagon not only want to ban abortion, but want to cut funds for contraception, for women?s health centers and support systems for poor mothers and children. More than one political hypocrite has been caught ordering pregnant mistresses to abort or arranged for abortion for errant daughters.
The Supreme Court, despite conservative-packing by Trump, has a public image problem. Trump?s two appointees testified under oath that they would respect "settled law" (the Roe v Wade law). If they lied in their Senate hearings, shouldn?t they be subject to impeachment?
Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.