Saturday, October 21, 2006

so you want to stop abortion...

Democrats will always be fighting a losing battle if they make abortion an all-or-nothing issue. it boggles my mind that they, and many liberals, continue to do this time and time again after seeing the disasterous results - conservative Republicans are stealing millions of votes and elections with their anti-abortion stance (nevermind that their insistence on the sanctity of human life apparently ends at birth when it becomes not only acceptable, but laudable, to kill others to show that killing is wrong and to talk of innocent children as mere "collateral damage"... but the inherent hypocrisy of the modern Republican party, hijacked by right-wing zeolot extremists is a whole nother blog). winning elections by declaring anti-abortion views is mind-boggling in itself given that Republicans have never actually done anything to lower the abortion rate in this country, which is the highest in the world. but then, incompetence rarely seems to hurt them with their base...even when it kills. having the highest abortion rate in the world is not something to be proud of...and, contrary to popular conservative rhetoric, liberals aren't.

if Republicans were serious about stopping abortion they would not focus on criminalizing an already agonizing decision for many women. but that is the thing, they aren't serious about stopping abortion, because they would lose the single most effective issue they have for holding onto power. afterall, the American people are willing to pay higher taxes if it means better service, access to health care, improved educational opportunities...the American people do not like to be aggressors...the American people believe that big business is more of a danger than big government...basically, the American people by and large don't agree with a damn thing the Republicans stand for...and because of it, abortion may be the single most important issue for right-wing nutjobs to retain power as they are exposed as frauds on every other promise they have made (not that they aren't frauds on this issue...remember, we do have the highest abortion rates in the world...under conservative leadership).

you want to stop abortion? criminalizing it won't do a thing except turn good woman who are backed into a corner with nowhere else to turn into felons. afterall...has drug use declined in this country with stiff criminal penalties? did alcohol consumption stop during prohibition? has violent crime decreased with tougher sentences? no...no...and no. criminalizing abortion will only mean that women with no other choice, often abandoned by the man after he got his, will not only be told they must either ruin their lives and the future life of their fetus or find an unsafe, unsanitary corner and a coat hanger. it will push the gains women have made back in a major way.

we refuse to tell a woman that no matter the circumstances she absolutely must accept the burden of childrearing because she "must accept personal responsibility"...nevermind that men often get away without having to accept personal responsibility in the same circumstances. we refuse to tell a woman she must choose between having a child and going through the trauma of a rape prosecution. we refuse to tell a woman she must find a way to support another human being when, even after working hard and doing all that we ask, society does not provide her with enough to support herself. i refuse to add "criminal" to the stigma of an already devastating decision.

in the end, if conservative Republicans were serious about their anti-abortion stance and the sanctity of human life, they would support a plethora of programs that would help in shrinking the rate of abortion in this country. first and foremost, we need to get serious about kids having kids in this country rather than just giving it lip-service everytime Maury brings out a scantily clad 13 year old. teenage pregnancy needs serious attention...and the easiest and cheapest (since conservatives always complain about society spending the vast accumulated fortunes of the American aristocracy earned through the hard work of sitting on their ass and watching stock prices) way is through education about, and access to, contraception. one would think this would be obvious as teenage pregnancy rates have not kept pace with teenage sex rates...except when contraception is absent or not properly used. kids know this...they know that not having sex is the best way not to get an std or pregnant...but they are still having sex and need to be seriously told how to go about it without getting pregnant and given access to methods. no, giving a kid a condom won't make them immediately want to go out and have sex, they already want to immediately go out and have sex...it will make them want to use a condom when they have sex.

and education and access to contraception shouldn't stop with teens. women of all ages need access. and while a man could most likely get it to cover a pill to make his erection last for days...how many women have health care coverage that covers contraception? universal access to adequate health care will mean more women using contraception, less unwanted pregnancies, and fewer abortions. and it doesn't have to cost you a cent...it may cost those 2 percent at the very top that sit on their money and don't spend it a few cents, but they can do without the twentieth vacation home bought with money society helped them accumulate.

for too many women an unwanted pregnancy presents two options...have an abortion or lose your job or career. if a women is pregnant and decides to have a baby she must be free to do so without fear of losing her job, derailing her career or going without appropriate prenatal care (again lack of health care rears its ugly head) or even without electricity or food. give women options and the abortion rate will fall. take away their options, and we will continue to surpass every other nation in abortions.

so next time a conservative Republican tells you they are pro-life...tell them to put their money where their mouth is and support policies that will actually help abortion rates to decline...and remind them that "the sanctity of human life" means all human life...especially that after birth.

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