Obama’s recent statements on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, remind us all (like it or not) of the immensely divisive issue of abortion. The article says…
Obama says everyone needs to work to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make.
Before sharing my (hopefully wise) perspective on the issue, I’ll just say that I agree and disagree with the above quote. Indeed, the need to work together to prevent (or at least reduce) unintended (perhaps a better term than ‘un-wanted’?) pregnancies is most certainly at least some ground that all can stand on together. But the statement that we should ‘support women and families in the choices they make’ is too vague. Not all choices are good, therefore not all choices should be ‘supported’. For example, many did not ‘support’ the decision to go into Iraq (and whatever position you hold on that matter, the point still stands – uncritical ‘support’ for just any decision would be advised by no one).
As for a brief – and I think wise – perspective on the issue, consider this:
What is needed most urgently with this issue is respect and self-government.
Respect in that…
- Men who are raping or using women or simply leaving them alone and scared need a new-found respect for women. Women are not sex objects.
- Men need to respect the potential life they could be causing. Sex, while fun, should not be reduced to recreation only.
- Women who casually have unprotected sex (obviously rape does not apply here) need a new-found respect for their own bodies. Stop letting men use you.
- Women and men both need a healthy respect for the life-creating power of sex. It’s not a game to play with, nor a drug to be controlled by.
…and self-government (or ‘self control’) in that…
- Men and women need to self-govern their own body in general and their sexual desires in particular. Laws and more government will not (nor could they) help people do this.
To any readers who potentially may have gone through an unwanted pregnancy and/or an abortion, the purpose here is not to condemn you or label you a killer. Nobody plans to have an abortion or an unintended pregnancy, and your experience would be no different.
I don’t think we need a bunch of laws to change things. I think we need wisdom. Wisdom is simply to learn from our past, not to repeat it – to read life’s patterns well. However, to learn from our past mistakes (and I continue to seek to learn from mine), we must at least acknowledge that there were actual mistakes made .
And by the way, all abortions happen because of a mistake – and most certainly not only the woman or only the man, but often (or always?) both. The rapist makes the dehumanising mistake of failing to value the dignity of a human being – while (in at least some cases) some raped women have made the utterly tragic mistake of getting drunk at a party. Those not emotionally or financially ‘ready’ make the unthinking mistake of having sex (‘protected’ or not) knowing what could – at least possibly – happen. As a culture, we can also be to blame – making the devastating mistake of valuing so-called ‘sexual freedom’ (which often turns out to be not freedom of sexual expression, but slavery to sexual desire) above any notion whatsoever of – shock, horror – personal responsibility or – gasp – self control.
In summary, I don’t think laws (or much less Obama) can ‘fix’ this issue. This issue will be fixed – person by person, family by family, community by community – by the learning and loving of wisdom (philosophy: philo[love] + sophia[wisdom]). This wisdom – however hard for some to hear – will help infinitely more than passing some laws.