The Underlying Problem

The “right-to-life” position of devout Catholics and extreme Evangelicals is a very real problem but is also symptomatic of a much deeper problem.

The Founding Fathers recognized that problem, which is the danger posed by making national laws based strictly on one given religion’s views and requirements, especially when there are different faiths with differing views.

Right now, the far right’s pro-life extreme position enshrines in law a belief that essentially a fetus’s right to life trumps the mother’s right to life and right to determine what to do with her own body. Put another way – the right-to-lifers believe that even a clump of undifferentiated cells has more rights than a living, breathing, thinking woman.

Jewish beliefs, from what I’ve read, state that the mother’s rights are paramount until birth. Neither represents the most widely held belief in the United States, that abortion should be allowed, roughly along the lines set forth in Roe v. Wade.

One of the essential underlying principles behind the founding of the United States and its Constitution was the goal, so far as possible, of self-determination. The far-right anti-abortion laws restrict and deny self-determination to women, despite all the explanation and apologia to the contrary.

Not only that, but the so-called “pro-life” position is in many ways “anti-life” because the ramifications of legal restrictions are destroying or reducing available pre-natal and maternity care in states and localities across the country. Some medications that can induce abortion are being banned, even for women with other conditions who need them to survive. Birth control methods are also being denied, restricting the ability of women to plan their families and their future.

All these restrictions don’t apply to men. So… enshrining the views of a religious minority creates a legal inequality between men and women. On the other hand, allowing women the right to choose does not restrict the personal rights of women who do not believe in abortion. If they don’t want an abortion, they don’t have to have one. If they find a particular kind of birth control objectionable, they don’t have to use it.

Why is this so hard a concept to understand?

The anti-abortion crew insists, in effect, that there’s something so special about their beliefs that the government should pass laws to override the beliefs held by the majority of Americans.

Not only that, but the same crew, using terms like the innocuous sounding Florida Citizens Alliance, Moms for Liberty, Families for Educational Freedom, or Utah Parents United, have effectively banned classic American novels (like Huckleberry Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird), books that even mention different gender identities, and histories that illuminate more fully the evils of 400 years of black oppression or of the Holocaust.

State, local, or federal repression of ideas or books you don’t like because goes hand in hand with political repression, and those actions are what define a theocracy – a land where one religion rules and imposes beliefs by law — and theocracy is what the Founding Fathers opposed, and what many of them fled from.

Is theocracy what really what you want?

12 thoughts on “The Underlying Problem”

  1. Bill says:

    Of course, I want a Theocracy but only if I am the earthly head of that religion. Otherwise, not so much. But in this case. I worry that calling it a theocracy legitimizes their cause a little too much. Anti-abortion activists have the perfect cause because it requires nothing from them. As mentioned, these people are often against supporting the children once they are born. A common post on social media talks about how the unborn require no support and action but are perfect as an excuse for not doing anything about anything else. Church leaders and even politicians can claim this as their highest priority and do absolutely nothing until this issue is resolved. Which means they will never do anything but gather money and power. It is just a con game.

  2. Postagoras says:

    The con men running the Republican party have groomed a reliable set of voters who are easily terrified and triggered by
    – abortion
    – fear of others not like them
    – crime
    – taking away their guns
    They don’t have any policy goals, they just want to get elected to continue grifting.
    With the reversal of Roe, they’re like the dog who caught the car… they don’t know what to do with it.

  3. Phineas says:

    Pro-lifers might be motivated by their religion, but I don’t really get the claim that the pro-life argument itself is a religious belief. Humans have a right to life. Unborn children are humans. Therefore, unborn children have a right to life. What about that argument requires belief in a religion? Isn’t that something an atheist could reasonably believe too?

    In many places, religious charities were forced to abandon the work they pioneered in adoption and childcare because of their opposition to gay marriage, etc. It’s more than a bit disingenuous for liberals to block religious people from helping to care for children after they’re born and then complain that religious people only care about children before they’re born.

    1. You’re either avoiding or missing the point. Most Americans don’t believe in the strict anti-abortion view. The minority that does wants to force its views on the majority that doesn’t. That’s using government to force belief. By arrogating the rights of the unborn over the rights of the mother you’re also minimizing the rights of women.

      1. Dan says:

        My view is that both options are bad. Either you remove the rights of a woman over her own body (slavery – even if temporary and situational) or you remove the right to live for an unborn human (murder or arguably manslaughter if you deprive it of nutrients and let it starve) Murder or slavery, neither one is a good choice. Maybe someday something like this will allow us to make a third choice?

        1. Wren Jackson says:

          Except that’s not the case, there’s no evidence of any type of sentience or actual humanity in the clump of cells, and the argument that it’ll eventually become a human is asinine to say the least.

          The woman is alive, conscious, sentient and has a right to their body.

          Let’s put it a different way. Do you have both kidneys? How often have you donated blood? bone marrow? Do you have your whole liver?

          Because all of that could save lives, so aren’t you morally obligated to give all that up rather you want to or not? Regardless of any risk to you? Otherwise, you’re committing murder or arguably manslaughter.

          The reality is an Organ Donor has more bodily autonomy than a woman in this country. You have to agree to be an organ donor, you have to agree to let your lifeless body save other lives, despite the fact that you’re, you know, dead at the time and have no possible risk of damage or need of your organs.

          Also, your study is meaningless at the moment. IF it becomes a valid and viable approach with humans and IF it is FREE to all people who wish to use it, IF the process is as safe or safer for a woman than an abortion and IF the care of the child is then being guaranteed by a backing government. THEN, it becomes a worthwhile argument. That’s 4 HUGE If’s before the argument is even reasonable to consider.

          1. Phineas says:

            Most pregnancies are the result of voluntary behavior on the part of the mother. That’s the difference between my position vis-a-vis a person who needs an organ donation and a mother with an unborn child.

            The de-humanizing language of the pro-abortion crowd regarding the “clump of cells” is pretty ironic, given it’s so unscientific from a group that likes to accuse their opponents of religious thinking.

          2. You seem determined to miss the point. What you’re continuing to say is that your ethical/moral view on abortion should be imposed on a majority that doesn’t share your views. You’re using theology, not biology, as well. The so-called voluntary behavior requires two parties, not just the woman, and in addition to forcing a minority view on the majority you’re effectively arrogating the rights of men over women.

            If that’s what you want, move to Afghanistan or Iran, and stop trying to turn us into western clones of their oppressive systems.

          3. Wren Jackson says:

            #1: You’re avoiding my other point. Is the study you quoted fully past human trials, less dangerous than an abortion for the mother and backed by a government guaranteeing the funds and manpower to raise said child including the cost of the procedure itself? Until those are yes you have no argument.

            As for the “Choice” Cool, so in your mind if someone does something stupid they deserve to have their entire life destroyed, good morals there. But beyond that, what about all the people who did NOT choose? They’re just SOL so YOU can punish the others? That’s even assuming your “Most are voluntary”.

            Unless you have actual studies and statistics to back up what you’re saying I’d advise bowing out. All you’re doing right now is showing a desire for power over others and a lack of empathy.

      2. Phineas says:

        All laws are about using government to enforce standards of behavior. I’m sure there are many things you believe are wrong and think the government should restrict, such as theft, assault, and murder except for unborn babies and possibly other groups that don’t meet some arbitrary standard of humanness. I think most if not all pro-life legislation gives priority to the mother if the pregnancy is threatening her life. In situations where the life of the mother is not threatened, an unwanted pregnancy is a real burden but dead babies are a pretty ugly consequence of a desire for unlimited bodily autonomy.

        1. Mayhem says:

          But the life of a mother is *always* threatened – pregnancy is not a safe and reliable process, particularly in third world countries like the US where universal medical care isn’t available. Around half of all pregnancies naturally end in miscarriages anyway. I understand where you’re coming from, and sympathise with the view, but disagree wholeheartedly – if the mother doesn’t want the child, the mother should not be forced to risk their life and their future because someone else thinks that child might bring value.
          Even more so when the mother might not even be aware of potential pregnancy within six weeks, and over 90% of abortions (and natural miscarriages) happen within the first three months, before the fetus has had a chance to even develop properly. That’s kind of the point.

  4. Tom says:

    … “The Founding Fathers recognized that problem, which is the danger posed by making national laws based strictly on one given religion’s views and requirements, especially when there are different faiths with differing views.” …

    Googling “why do we need laws” give this sort of result:- Laws protect our general safety, and ensure our rights as citizens against abuses by other people, by organizations, and by the government itself.

    Humans are diverse or different from each other and thus behaviors under similar conditions are also diverse and different. Laws are thus required to guide our behavior from fighting to cooperating. The legislature should thus avoid making laws that deal with “Personal Sovereignty” where it is obvious that there will be no harm to another sentient individual in the society.

    … “Is theocracy what really what you want?” …

    I doubt that even the most extremely religious person would want that because “Theocracy” would result in very significant loss of our pie in the sky “Freedom”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *