The matter of a woman’s right to decide her reproductive future is once again before us as a society. The usual arguments are being made from both sides of this deeply personal debate. As things work in this democracy, the side with the most votes at the end of the day will have things their way, to some extent.

But I wonder, is this simply about a woman’s right to choose to obtain a legal and supposedly safe abortion if she wishes? I contend that this is really about giving a woman the right to make a “choice of despair” given to her by men in society who do not want their lives changed and burdened by that life that is within her. The choice of despair is this (and fathers, husbands and boyfriends will happily pay for it): Abort the unplanned life within you or lose my love and support if you choose to bring that child to term.

Sadly, untold millions of women have chosen to terminate their pregnancies in order to keep their men happy. I wonder how many women who have had abortions would not have had them, if in each case, just one man had chosen to fully support her and their child in life.

Now, despite men’s withdrawal of their “love” and support, some 11 million single mothers in the U.S. chose not to have abortions, thus today unfairly raising some 18 million children on their own. Why are women not calling us men to task? Why are we being let off the hook so easily?

Strangely, I have never heard this perspective in the national debate. Why not? Oh, that’s right. We were the ones who gave women this “right” in the first place. I wonder who celebrates this “right” more.

The Rev. Jim King

Portland


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