Thursday, July 12, 2018

Roe, Roe, Roe your Court


With the current Supreme Court nomination in the news, the concern over Roe vs. Wade is popping up again.

I have issues with "both sides" of the aisle. First of all, I don't like the names -- I think they are both misnomers. The pro-life side is only pro-life when it comes to unborn babies. Once the baby is born, they don't seem to care. They are, for the most part, in favor of dumping welfare programs even though most of the people on welfare are children. They also don't seem to know (or want to know) that a high percentage are on welfare for under 2 years (Between 1999 and 2008, 73% were on welfare 1-2 years and only 8% more than 6 years). But I digress.

The pro-choice side, on the other hand, is often led by people who aren't pro-choice at all. They often neglect (or downright refuse) to tell pregnant women seeking advice on the matter that they have options. How can you call yourself pro-choice if you don't offer options? Apparently, the only option they allow for is abortion.

In any case, I was reading an article this morning that helped me to understand my own position. The article is called The Abortion Debate is not about When Life Begins. With that title statement I agree. And I agree with several points the author makes, one being that biology is not the crux of the argument.

But the article, clearly written with the "pro-life" point of view in mind, misses some points. First of all, it totally misses any religious argument. From my perspective, that there is a debate at all stems from religion. It stems from the members of the Christian Right's belief that they are the only answer and what their religion tells them should be the law of the land.

As an Orthodox Jew (who has learned a bit about the Jewish view of abortion) I can tell you that if abortion is outlawed per the Christian view of abortion, abortions that are not only halakhically (Jewishly legal) permitted but even some that are ordained would be prohibited by American law.

My arguments with anti-abortion camps and laws are many. But one of my main arguments is that by giving full "human rights" to unborn babies, you are impinging on the rights of the mother. Think about this -- in the case of rape or even danger to the mother's life she could be forced to carry a child. Judaism puts the life of the mother (and her health, physical, mental and emotional) ahead of the baby's until any part of the baby comes out -- then they are equal. But as long as the baby is still in mother's uterus, the mother takes precedent. (Keep in mind, if the mother wants the baby, it is considered a baby but if the mother doesn't want it the fetus represents a threat to her well being.) That is not true of Christian theology.

Part of what makes it easier for me to support true choice (with abortion being only one of the possible choices) is that I believe in the soul and I believe that the soul enters the body at birth, not in utero. For any fetus that doesn't get born, the soul is there for the next baby. I am certain that G-d doesn't leave the decision of what souls need to come into the world to us.

Keep in mind, also, that by passing laws outlawing abortion on the federal and state level, we are only denying abortion to people who can't afford to go to Canada or Europe and have an abortion there. Most Northern countries have liberal abortion laws. It would be easy for any "woman of means" to find a place where abortion is legal (and safe). Before Roe vs. Wade, desperate women of no means sometimes used "back alley abortionists" or coat hangers and often lost their lives.

To be honest, I somehow doubt that even a pro-life court will completely overturn Roe vs. Wade. I think some form of safe abortion is here to stay. What I would like to see is laws that require advisers to women with unwanted pregnancies to give them a list of options, only one of which ought to be a safe abortion.