A “Righteous” Cause That’s Deeply, Dangerously Wrong

When George Bush first became President, his initial act was to deny the use of U.S. aid money to foreign health care providers that either performed abortions or, in any way, suggested that terminating an unwanted pregnancy before birth was a permissible option, even if strictly their own funds were used for such purposes.

The American anti-choice movement was ecstatic, claiming it represented a tremendous victory for “life.”

In cruel reality, it was anything but.

Completely overlooked was the grim fact that, throughout the impoverished Third World, clinics and other entities offering females vital medical attention were also, frequently, the only sources of health care for the general populace.

Thus, when U.S. assistance dried up, those facilities often either dramatically reduced what already inadequate help they were giving — in areas well beyond just women’s issues — or had to close their doors altogether.

We can only guess how many tens of thousands of people, sick from many causes, either suffered grievously or died because of this objectively destructive policy decision.

Thankfully, Barack Obama immediately reversed Bush’s horrendously wrong-headed prohibition, restoring hope to multitudes around the planet.

But anti-choice zealots, typically bereft of reason and rationality, are now viewing our new President as a facilitator of “murder”!

Their misplaced horror over what Obama did was doubled when the White House also rescinded a Bush-era proscription against embryonic stem-cell research, which is key to possibly finding cures for a host of diseases ravaging the human species.

All the anti-choicers can focus on is their fetish-like belief that even a simple zygote can and should be equated with already-born, living, breathing, socially functioning souls suffering in myriad, painful ways by the millions because progressive socio-politico-economic-scientific notions that would be their salvation are thwarted…by powerful reactionary forces of which the “pro-life” cause is a pivotal component.

We’ve all seen how this de facto barbarism works in our own country.

Women or girls who find themselves pregnant against their wishes and then seek abortions are deemed selfish and irresponsible at best, or full accomplices in murder at worst. Their alleged ethical failing is counterpoised with the heavily emphasized innocence of the “baby,” never mind if it’s just an early-stage fetus.

Always absent from this facile fixing of blame is the possibility, very real in countless instances, that the pregnancies in question might be the result of outright criminal rape, or that reprehensible male exploitation of females for sexual use, the “you’ll do it if you really love me” quasi-crime of date rape.

But we’re not supposed to think of such things. They’d rather have us just drive down the highway and be propagandized by those big billboards of cute babies well past birth happily playing with a top or a ball, in a cynical deception that they’re synonymous with what’s “killed” when a desperate female elects to have an abortion.

And don’t worry about the fact that, even before our current economic meltdown began taking a terrible toll on U.S. living standards, a new American baby was born into poverty every 33 seconds.

That circumstance is in no small measure the result of how conservatives, so piously devoted to embryonic life, commonly abandon all concern for life after birth, as it ought to be properly manifested in governmental/societal programs that would eliminate overall poverty, erase male-female income disparities, guarantee affordable day care and health care, or reverse any of countless other incredibly burdensome injustices that, combined, are a leading reason for females asserting, “No way can I have a baby now!”

Clinging to untenable positions wildly at odds with reality is the anti-choice movement’s sad hallmark, along with incendiary rhetoric that leads to violence against abortion providers.

Comprehensive sex education and ready contraceptive availability would unquestionably result in far fewer unwanted pregnancies, plus a great lessening in AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The very mechanism that would largely obviate much of their almost hysterical abortion concern, quite incredibly, is actually rejected by the anti-choice movement.

Clearly, abortion absurdity and intolerance need to be firmly resisted.

As anyone who just stops to think for a moment can quickly grasp, it isn’t right for somebody else, for whatever imagined reason, to force another person to not have (or have, for that matter) something so personal and difficult to decide upon as an abortion.

It has to strictly be a matter of each pregnant individual’s own decision, based on her assessment of all factors bearing on the situation.

There should be no Taliban-like moral imperialism that effectively demands, “I know what’s best, and you’ll do as I say!”

No deranged “justice” that kills those who actively prioritize women’s rights and health by appropriately and quite morally acceding to females’ pained need to obtain abortions.

We can respect, however, those who wouldn’t have abortions themselves, out of principle, but who are themselves tolerant enough to permit others to reach a possibly contrary decision regarding their own pregnancies.

May we speedily move forward to the badly needed enlightenment that this whole question unquestionably deserves.

Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the '60s. Read other articles by Dennis.

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  1. Veganactivist said on June 16th, 2009 at 4:51pm #

    Thank you for this article, I am glad that you are drawing links like this. A well-reasoned, well-articulated point of view that should shame those peddling anti-abortion hysteria.

    I think it passed over many people’s heads the withdrawal of funding from international women’s health organizations, and yet as you said it was a shockingly irresponsible and deplorable move which denied aid to thousands. And now we have the blood of another doctor spilling all over the pulpits of the righteous.

    “May we speedily move forward to the badly needed enlightenment that this whole question unquestionably deserves.”

    Yes!