Whatever label people choose regarding the issue of abortion, it is probably not an accurate definition of their beliefs. Abortion is a medical term for a medical procedure, and most people would not define themselves as pro-abortion any more than they would call themselves pro heart surgery. Most people would also define themselves as pro-life regardless of how they feel about abortion. Who walks around being pro-death?

The majority of people feel abortion should be legal and that women should have the choice over this medical issue just as they would any medical issue. Is there any other medical procedure where the general public feels they have the right to tell others what they must or must not do? The closest thing in U.S. history has been vaccinations, and those affected public health and safety.

It is entirely possible to be pro-choice and pro-life. The mother’s life matters. She is not merely an incubator for a fetus that may one day be a child. She is a viable human being getting tossed aside in the fetus fetish of the anti-abortion people with little regard for her life. It is a slap in the face of any kind of loving deity to see these sanctimonious people hide behind their holy books and imply their God cares only about the fetus’s life, and not the mother’s. Christians say “Thou shalt not kill,” and yet many have no problem with war, the death penalty or allowing the poor to die from a lack of food or medical care. So, how is that pro-life?

Many anti-abortion people are no more pro-life than the Moral Majority was either moral or a majority. This is really all about the control of women. The conservatives never wanted women to be equal citizens. If they had, women would have had to right to vote long before 1920, and the Equal Rights Amendment, which passed 50 years ago, would have been the law of the land decades ago. Women would already have equal pay, equal opportunities, and the right, as men do, to make their own health care choices.

From the days of the cavemen, men have tried to exert control of whatever they feared. It is the reason they slaughtered the indigenous people, chained up their slaves and denied the evidence that being homosexual is no more a choice than being heterosexual. During colonial times, men insisted women were too weak or stupid to be in politics or run the churches. Many conservatives still feel women should not be educated beyond high school or whatever is necessary to raise kids. They know that anyone strong enough to bear children might be dangerous to the status quo if they got educated. They even use religion to keep women in their place.

Republicans speak out against the Taliban and Sharia law, calling them barbaric and anti-democratic. These same men want to similarly control every aspect of women’s lives in this country. A Christian version of Sharia is better? These men are better than the Taliban?

If conservatives actually wanted to stop abortion, they would increase sex education, fund women’s health care, stop domestic violence and provide children who are born into poverty with the food, shelter and healthcare they need to thrive. Far fewer maternal deaths come from abortions than from ignorance, lack of health care and poverty. If anti-abortionists are pro-life, they will fight for the rights of women and the already existing children as much as they do the fetuses.

Susan Chichetto lives in Bath.

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