Before getting into the crux of this column, let’s first examine the no holds barred Alabama abortion law. It’s actually the least hypocritical of all of them. Why? Because if you believe that an embryo is a person and that abortion is murder, then why does it matter if the embryo exists because of rape or incest? Murder is murder, right? But I digress.
First, let’s admit that not all self-identifying “pro-life” people are hypocrites. For instance, my money is on Tim Tebow being anti-abortion but look at what the man does in his free time. He helps orphans, preaches to those in prison, and hosts a prom for kids with disabilities. How about Clayton Kershaw? Probably anti-abortion. And what do Clayton Kershaw and his wife do in their free time? Build houses for the needy and help their communities prosper. I may disagree vehemently with both on the issue of abortion. But they earn their “pro-life” tags and then some.
Unfortunately there are a lot more Donald Trumps than Clayton Kershaws and Tim Tebows when it comes to being against abortion though. What’s the difference? Whereas Kershaw and Tebow work to make people’s lives better, the Donald Trumps of the world don’t give other people a second thought in making decisions.
For instance, if someone with money to spare really cared about life and the most vulnerable among us, then why do 1 in 6 children in the United States live in hunger? Where’s the outrage on that one? Why aren’t the “pro-life” people picketing outside the White House and every legislature body’s building demanding that kids be able to eat?
More tellingly, why are the “pro-life” people, the people who say that they care about the most innocent and vulnerable among us, not apoplectic about how children are dying in United States detention centers? Just yesterday, the fourth child died in U.S. custody since December. December! The circumstances are not yet known but let’s just say that a 2 1/2 year old has no business being “apprehended”. A toddler should be cared for, nourished, and at worst, lose in a game of tag. The right wing will blame the kid’s parents, but if we’re all about caring for the kid, who cares how he ended up at the U.S. border? Our job is to care about the life of the child, right?
The “pro-life” movement’s silence on the United States’ treatment of immigrant children and refugees tells you all that you need to know about how much they really care about life. How can people profess to care about life when they’ve advocated for ripping families apart? Want to go further? The Trump Administration wants to take in zero refugees. Where is the “pro-life” hysteria? Are people fleeing violence and famine not vulnerable? Are their lives not worth saving? How can you watch the videos of those Syrian children and not want to help them if you’re for life?
The answer for all of this is simple. The people claiming to be “pro-life” are not always what they claim to be. It’s a lot easier to tell someone else that she has to have a baby than to go out and build houses for people, or to give money to the needy, or to let refugees come live with us even when they don’t have the means to do so. But if you care about life, it should be a zero sum proposition, especially with the way these anti-abortion folks talk about women and what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
The part that isn’t so simple is the issue of abortion itself. While many “pro-life” people are really just anti-choice and pro-birth people, we cannot profess to know why someone is against abortion. I’ve read all kinds of reasons, but a common one is that all of the anti-choice people want to control women’s bodies. And you know that how? Maybe some of the anti-choice people are good people with good intentions who just disagree with you on an important issue.
Remember, you don’t know what’s in someone else’s heart. And you don’t know how they’ve come to their beliefs unless you talk to them. I had a very respectful conversation with an anti-choice person on Twitter the other day and it was just clear that we both held deeply-held beliefs that were counter to one another’s. Abortion is hard.
To conclude, I believe in a woman’s right to choose and I believe it with all my heart. That doesn’t mean that I came to that belief easily and it doesn’t mean that I think anyone who disagrees with me is evil. You never know whether you might be dealing with a Clayton Kershaw or a Tim Tebow. You can’t assume everyone against you is Donald Trump. As a society, we should have conversations about abortion and reproductive rights. We should just do so civilly. But, in the meantime, please vote, because if you don’t, you might have a President who takes something you believe so strongly in away from you by putting Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the United States Supreme Court.