Your conscience may be troubled by abortion, because you’re human. But abortion bans will not stop abortions. It will only make them more dangerous, except for the privileged and the wealthy who can seek them out elsewhere. – John Hodgman
Exactly. Regardless of your personal religious convictions on abortions, women have sought them out forever, and will continue to do so for countless, often truly heartbreaking reasons. Setting aside horrors like rape and incest (unlike the newly-proposed Alabama law), a friend of ours recently put things very well in, of all things, a Facebook comment:
Completely banning abortion will lead to unintended consequences. Will we investigate women who have miscarriages? What about ectopic pregnancies? How safe is it for an 11-12 year old to carry a baby to full term?
In addition to those scenarios, Kottke recently shared a terrifying article that painted a picture of illegal abortion in 1960s Britain:
Women would drink bleach to try to induce miscarriage. They would have very hot baths, or move heavy furniture, or try to do it themselves with a needle or a crochet hook,” says Munday.
As a result, an underground network of backstreet abortionists ran quietly across the country. Some of them, says Munday, became involved by force. It was not unknown for women who had carried out abortions for their close friends and family to be blackmailed by desperate pregnant women who threatened to report them to the police if they didn’t help them, too. Like women who had abortions, those who carried out the procedure illegally could be sent to prison.
What it comes down to is a fairly stark fact: banning and severely restricting abortions will cause more women to die. As we march towards a world in which the government would be able to force a woman to bear her rapist’s child, things snap into focus very quickly. Our Facebook friend continues:
I think the greatest difficulty in this whole situation is the legislation of Christian/religious morality. The right to privacy. As always, my Christian values would determine my own decisions. I can’t mandate someone else’s personal decision.
While it’s disappointing to see so many evangelicals have no issue obliterating the line between church and state, it’s sadder still to see them casting stones and actively advocating to put women in danger, usually through tone-deaf, wildly-inaccurate memes. Those that do this while also stirring up fake dissent about “Sharia law coming to America” are particularly galling (though I’ll admit that I do relish the irony).
So what about pregnancy prevention? Do you support birth control and sex ed as a way to reduce abortions? Cool, so do I. So please stop vilifying Planned Parenthood, a big source of these essential services.
Women need all the help they can get right now, so raise your hand and let them know you’re there to support them. Make that choice.