Abortion for men

Notice that as new anti-abortion laws are passed, there are no penalties which force a man to parent.

No laws which threaten him with the death penalty if he does not. Or if he commits incest or rape and an abortion takes place.

No laws that force him to put his life on the line in order to parent a child.

No laws that set the definition for life beginning before conception, so that he breaks the law if he has a vasectomy or refuses to inseminate. I mean, life can’t begin without that, and shouldn’t the woman involved have equal say in that?

By the way, if the lawmakers (what percentage of them are men in these states?) are going to get all biblical with their reasons … are they aware that in the Bible, refusing to inseminate in that time and culture was an offense against God? Yep; check out the account of Onan:

Genesis 38:8-10

“And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.”

That’s a pretty substantial penalty for early withdrawal.

The penalty is at least diminished when it becomes part of Moses’ Levirate marriage law:

Deuteronomy 25:5-10

If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.

However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

So, death before dishonor in this case. The later fellows got off easy. But at least the women were allowed their own role in imparting the deserved dishonor.

Maybe we can’t expect legislators to not write God in their own image though, when God remains stubbornly silent on the very concept of abortion throughout scripture. There is no word for it there; no description of it; and no definition of precisely when life begins.

In the Christian subculture I grew up in, Churches of Christ, we had a saying: “We speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent.” A noble goal, but many of us realized the truth is that we generally speak loudest where the Bible is silent.

So do these lawmakers — and my guess is that the vast majority of them are not gynecologists, surgeons, biologists, theologians or even women. Maybe not even attorneys. They’re just good ol’ boys with farms and businesses looking to make life easier for themselves and harder for others. Especially others who are not like them, and whom they cannot possibly (and will not try to) understand.

I honestly cannot fathom the thinking behind the laws being proposed, passed and occasionally blocked by courts in some of these states.

• No exceptions for rape

• No exceptions for incest

• No exceptions for even severe fetal deformity

• No exceptions for pregnant children

• No exceptions for threat to the life or health of the pregnant person

• Severe fines and long imprisonment terms for the pregnant person, physician, or even just someone who assists in transport, and sometimes even the death penalty for the pregnant person

• Trying to extend state authority beyond state lines

Are they making other laws that criminalize a resident for going out of state to do something that is legal there? Like smoking weed? Someone who gives them a ride to do it?

Is that the long-term goal? Set a precedent in courts to create a police state run by the most authoritarian states?

Do lawmakers really expect threatening laws like these to prevent all or even most abortions when those who decided they must have one can find a way? As women have done for centuries?

And do they really want to burden the arrests, trials and penalties of these laws on those who suffer spontaneous abortion, a miscarriage?

Look, I’ve said this before and I’ve been saying it for decades: I wish there were fewer abortions. I wish there were more healthy births, more gentle voluntary termination of parental rights and more adoptions with wonderful kids going to parents who love them as dearly as Angi and I could with ours. I wish the foster care system wasn’t overwhelmed with adoptees but not enough caregivers.

And if we want to get serious about reducing the number of abortions, why aren’t we instead passing laws that support accessible healthcare for all, accessible contraception, equal educational opportunity, parental leave, a liveable minimum wage, available childcare, equal pay for women, and affordable housing? Perhaps even assist with adoption fees and costs? Things that can have a proven positive effect?

If we want to get serious sbout caring for children, why aren’t we passing laws banning assault weapons instead of banning books, libraries, school health workers and imposing vouchers?

I think we all know exactly why.

Money talks. Follow the money. Taking away rights, privileges and opportunities rarely costs money, and it can be done easily to the people who are least easily able to prevent it. And what a righteous authority rush it must give to those in power!

The Bible has a lot to say about justice, too; and oppressing the poor and disfranchised.

Funny how that doesn’t seem to affect the kinds of laws that are being passed these days in the name of what’s good and right and holy.

What I Want

I hope to be really clear about this.

I want there to be fewer abortions.

I want babies to be born into the arms of mothers who will love, nourish, nurture and WANT them. Into families that are stable; with the resources to support this new life. Where violence and abuse is unknown. A circumstance where the birth will not threaten the life or health of the mother.

And when that can’t happen — or for any other reason — I want it to be the choice of the woman carrying that life to decide what to do. Not a law, not a legislator, not a policeman, not merely a doctor whose career and family income are at stake, not a man who has never had a fetal life inside of him, not any other woman who has nor hasn’t; not a religious leader or a secular counselor or an attorney or a judge who almost certainly has never been in that woman’s exact circumstances (or even if they have), not a court that can blithely rule while ignoring evidence that’s inconvenient to its ideology.

I want it to be HER choice. For all of HER reasons, needs, beliefs, capabilities and desires.

I don’t want the precedent to be set that a life that has never seen sunlight or breathed its first breath somehow automatically takes priority over the life of the woman bearing it inside — a woman who has family, friends, loves, interests, memories, responsibilities, experiences; a woman who is unquestionably and undeniably a person, and has been a person living a life for enough years to carry that life inside.

I don’t want the government (at any level or branch; local, state, federal, legislative, executive, judicial) to assume the authority to decide what happens whenever any health care issue is at hand; who must bear children; who can — or can’t — bear children.

Or who lives. And who dies.

I don’t want government to start insinuating its authority into choices of life and death at all, but it’s already been happening so long in the justice system that I doubt my voice would be heard on that matter.

Because when you let government assume that authority into life and death matters, things can and will go wrong and they are often irreversible.

I want babies to be born that have a good, fair, honest chance at a life worth living — and not under an authoritarian government that removes rights from its citizens and makes their choices for them.

Or decides that a settled-law right they and those before them have had for decades is no longer their right at a national level if their state decides it isn’t. How utterly irresponsible!

I’m not an attorney, don’t pretend to be one, but I understand what precedents are — and a precedent like that opens the door to even more terrifying possibilities. Not just in health care, but in criminal justice and immigration and a host of other issues.

I sure as hell don’t want those possibilities playing out! States’ rights already divided us as a nation and led us into civil war once. That’s not what I want for the next or any generation of United States citizens.

I want babies to be born into a country where the foster care system is fixed and the economy is excellent and good families who want to adopt easily can and every baby has a home.

I want babies to be born into an environment where health care is available to all and no one has to worry about going broke in order to stay alive and healthy.

I want babies to be born and grow up in school systems where ALL the facts are taught in history and science; where they can choose to pray their own prayers or not before a test; where they don’t have to fear for their lives while crawling under a desk or barricading a door when an alarm goes off.

I want babies to be born into a nation where bigotry is gone and race/ethnicity isn’t a problem and people respect others’ heritage, beliefs, backgrounds, life circumstances and the choices that flow from them.

And the right to make them.

To vote them.

To live them.

I hope I’ve made it clear what I want for my kids and my grandkids and everyone else’s.

What do you want for them?