Yesterday, January 22nd, 2013, was the 40th Anniversary of the controversial Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that, among many seldom mentioned effects, made it possible for women all over the country to legally and more safely acquire an abortion. While some rejoiced over the medical and feminist victories of having more above-the-table options available to women, others writhed over the potential moral and reproductive implications – many of whom continue to writhe to this day.
It’s hard to find moderate positions on this topic that haven’t been suppressed by religious and liberal extremists. What I find most fascinating, or telling, about the Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life argument is that the loudest voices in the Pro-Life set…camp…are overwhelmingly male. Conservative men who never have and never could go through an abortion tend to take a very strong stance against it. I could speculate (or evaluate) the patriarchal forces at play in this peculiar phenomenon, but as an act of restraint, I will limit my feelings and observations to “I” statements.
On January 22nd, 2013 I didn’t read a single “pro-life” opinion produced from the mind of a woman. However, on that same day, I read male pastor after male pastor’s statements against abortion. Of those statements, from people I was not following, only one was retweeted into my timeline by a woman. While others might find this acceptable, I find it troubling. When it comes to matters regarding my reproductive organs, I am slow to consider the thoughts, opinions, or suggestions of individuals for whom my experiences as a woman are biologically impossible. However, there are areas in which I would love to hear more male voices.
When politicians try to cut funding towards programs that support the basic needs of unaborted children and their parents, please, speak up. When public figures make inaccurate statements about women’s bodies having the ability to “shut down” during rape, please, speak up. When popular artists glorify sexual promiscuity and boast about “going raw,” please, speak up. Have you considered adoption with your spouse? Do you support organizations that service low-income, unwed mothers? Have you lead or suggested discussions about reproductive health and sexuality at your church? Will you educate your children on the proper usage of various contraceptives? There are plenty of ways to work towards the prevention of abortion that don’t subjugate the voices of women. I would love to see more pro-life men step up in these areas where their voices are less prominent.
I’m not suggesting that any of these approaches will eliminate abortion altogether. However, I am suggesting that these are far more productive uses of time, money and influence than trying to shame women out of making an already difficult choice. I haven’t read one scripture that would make me believe picketing abortion clinics and reposting graphic memes is what Jesus would do. In fact, I imagine he’d be gentle and empathetic as he was in most of his documented encounters with women. When it comes to protecting the fruit of everyone’s loins, Christians could certainly stand to employ more fruits of the Spirit.