A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
There are more than two sides to the abortion debate.
We know what anti-abortionists want. It’s one of the things pro-choice people want. Everyone’s heart would prefer no abortions ever. Would you ever want a woman to experience that horror? An abortion is an act of violence on a woman’s psyche and body, a choice she will live with the rest of her life, but abortions happen for many reasons, don’t they?
A first reason is popular culture. It teaches our young and old men to not respect women’s bodies and choices. It ignites and reinforces a primitive, violent aspect of masculinity. (Let’s remember that many ancient cultures, including some on this continent, would declare war and raid the neighboring tribe to kidnap women for sex; smart for the gene pool but still rape culture – not much better than the stories we hear about the sex slaves of today’s violent/misogynistic gangs.) Pop culture teaches women to participate in the over-sexualization of their bodies during the biological mating-period of our lives. Girls have sex to feel wanted and loved. Boys don’t like condoms. Rape. Incest. Illness….
…and let’s not forget ‘abstinence only’ training. It might work for the few frightened souls who have been convinced hell-fire awaits them if they indulge in pre-marital sex, but for the most part, it merely makes sex more intriguing and appealing (Learned it early from radio work in both news and commercial copy writing: the positive effect of negative publicity – the proverbial forbidden fruit).
Oh please, don’t talk about when the spark of human life actually occurs. Flash any pictures of fetuses screaming in the womb as they are being sucked out, or send along any of those other horror films. Abortion is horrendous and ugly. It is nasty. Yet neither defunding nor shaming is going to stop them. No law will ever stop a desperate and struggling woman from terminating a pregnancy. Neither will it stop the upper middle class career woman or elite socialite who is ‘not ready’ for a child.
How about a little preventative medicine? To prevent abortions should be the goal for both Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers (how I detest those labels!). Our job is to make abortions as rare as possible because we love our women and children. We love the women who have had abortions as much as we love those who managed to successfully raise ‘mistake’ children. Sadly, our societal compassion doesn’t seem to extend much to those who have the babies, can’t handle parenting for whatever reason and fail miserably by creating yet another confused, desperate and psychologically damaged human.
Again, defunding is not going to prevent abortions. Abortions will continue as we allow ourselves and our children to be inundated with distorted sexual themes (while millions are put into corporate pockets). Let’s stop that – not through censorship – but by recognizing how a base, profane and overt sexuality, permeating everything from the shape of your deodorant to the innuendos in children’s cartoons, has perverted our sexual natures. Folks talk truth when they speak about how our children have been ‘porned’ even before puberty.
Withdraw consent. Stop participating. Approach sex as a matter of fact in life. Take the embarrassment out of it (and do so before the kids are ‘porned’). Acknowledge that sex is normal and not shameful. Learn about how other cultures work with sex. Remind kids that you also felt sexual feelings when you were young. Heck, I can remember the first time I felt it – a late bloomer, 16 years old when kissing a boyfriend goodnight – scared the daylights outta me. Teach about those feelings and how to handle them. Acknowledge the strength of our sexual drive. Girls need to know that an eager penis makes boys lie. It’s not easy. We gotta git over our own shame (or arrogance) before we can listen to or teach the kids.
If you had sex early in life, maybe had a baby or an abortion – talk about it with our young. Tell them what worked, what didn’t, any mistakes, regrets or how you did or did not handle it responsibly. Teach the men. Teach the men. Teach the men. Talk, talk, talk. Tell kids that pop culture is messin’ with their attitudes. Learn, understand and teach why unwanted pregnancies occur without moralizing the issue to an impasse. Teach birth control (apologies to fundamental Christians and Catholics).
Work with the women on the “other side” to come up with solutions. Yes, even writing those words, I know the work is very hard when someone has stopped thinking and is functioning in belief mode – and that extends to ‘both sides’. I don’t have all the answers, but I know you do, we do together if we get out of the ‘sides thing’ and work to make abortions as rare as possible while keeping the safeguards in place. My gut says the problem or the objections Christians have with abortions would be solved with secular solutions. One doesn’t need to be religious to understand the sanctity of life – both of the mom and the fetus.
To use an old, worn out phrase “It ain’t rocket science folks.” But it does take an investment of care, intention and time, a getting rid of labels and the willingness to see beyond our own ‘belief’ systems to understand we are all pro-life.
Copyright 2018 Julianne Michaels
Julianne Michaels (J.T. Michaels) sometimes writes under the pseudonym The Garden Crone. She lives in Michigan.