Sunday, June 7, 2009

Female Reproductive Rights…and Wrongs (or “Lunacy Made Easy”)

A week ago today (Sunday) during church services in Wichita, Kansas, a church usher was shot dead. In this particular case and as church ushers go, this usher’s professional notoriety was a stark contrast to the relative anonymity of church ushers in general. The usher killed was Dr. George Tiller, a family man by reputation, and a medical doctor by profession. To the point, Tiller was an abortion services provider—late-term abortion specifically—and as such, was no stranger to being a public target for both religious and ideological-based animus.
In 1986, Tiller’s clinic was firebombed. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an anti-abortion protester. And earlier this year, he requested the FBI to investigate instances of vandalism at the clinic, including sabotage of the facility’s video surveillance system. One can only suspect as to the motivations behind someone willing to provide such a service that evokes such militant hostility towards its providers, and so politically and socially polarizing to nation at large.

Dr. George Tiller was shot to death during a church service last Sunday

This is not an easy subject for me to explore. Back in the 2002, married for only 6 months, I was going through a rather sour divorce; we were just too different. I was brought up (at least during the first 13 or so years) under a household of limited resources, but structure, rules, corporal punishment, and parents who were authority figures first, and “friends” second. That was the proper way of raising children as far as I was concerned. Her childhood was one educated parents, a stern disciplined father, and liberal understanding mother, material excesses, no spankings, and of children spoiled with things. As far as she believed, that was the way of raising children to be productive citizens. At the same time we were going through divorce, she became pregnant, already a mother of 2 boys from a previous marriage (something neither of us expected since she had already undergone a tubal ligation). She has wanted a girl, but that was not the design of fate. I told her that it was my wish that she would carry the child to term, and that I would take custody of it and go my separate way. She pleaded with me not to do so (in the even that it was a girl), but I was adamant about my wishes; I had no intention of allowing a child of mine to grow up around her unrelenting hedonistic ways which included marijuana smoking. But because of my intent and her questioning my ability to raise a child, she aborted it; as a man who couldn’t use the phrase, “It’s my body and I can do with it as I wish,” I had no say-so in the matter.
As you can imagine, it would be a little hard for anyone who’s gone through such an experience to be objective. But my personal view of life gives me a certain level of objectivity on the issue of abortion…all life is sacred, and should be protected. As far as I am concerned, Providence alone brought us here, and it alone should be allowed to remove us…not some structured system of jurisprudence that seeks to play God, and certainly not someone who gets paid to terminate life under the color of “medicine.” Even more than a philosophical basis, abortion is wrong is the sense that it is patently unfair to the silent participant in reproductive issues, namely men.
In my case, if my ex-wife had made the decision to keep the child—whether I wanted her to or not—I would have been stuck with the consequences. Based on what she alone would choose to do with a gestating child, I could have been forced to pay child support for a child I did not want, or standing by idly, with no legal or other recourse, watch her remove something which I helped create from existence. Throughout America, most men are faced with similar consequences borne of similar situations. The last time I checked, women could not unilaterally decide to bring a child into the world sans the man’s participation, no matter how much will or prayer they exert toward the endeavor. Being the case, why should they unilaterally decide to what they want to do with the child? Although men help create children, they have come to have absolutely no say-so in their birthing, except evidently when it comes to killing abortion professionals.
And oddly enough fervent anti-abortion crusaders, those who purport to champion the cause the “rights of the innocent” and all things “Christian,” are willing to resort to murder to prevent the “murder” of the unborn. I have seen and read the blogs and websites within the conservative sphere of ideological thought where comments frame the murder of Tiller as some form of divine retribution, Karma, or some such. The lack of philosophical consistency notwithstanding, I find it odd that these same would-be “Christian” crusaders are not forming a line to adopt any children that would be spared the fate of all unwanted unborn (and while in a better world it would be nice to see all undesired children carried to term and raised in proper nourishing environments by way of adoption or foster care, the reality is given the overabundance of children available for adoption, adoption’s prohibitively costly expense, and the already overburdened and under-funded foster care system, advocates of abortion do not entirely have a meritless position).
Abortion is not an easy subject for anyone who harbors intense passions to discuss, but discussion is exactly what is lacking. The airwaves are brimming with rants, soliloquies, and worthless opinions about how either un-Biblical or immoral abortion is, or how much it is necessary to protect a “woman’s right” to be able to decide to terminate and unwanted pregnancy. There is no talk about how hypocritical it is one whose faith is predicated on the notion of human compassion and mercy to murder in order to express how dedicated they are to those same notions (which seems to indicate a level of self-centeredness, not selflessness). There are no policy proposals about how to deal with unwanted children who are allowed to come to term, such as the anticipated need for institutions to house the parentless or increased funding for foster care (and I’m sure there would be blabber about how government shouldn’t be in the business of raising children or questions of where do we get the funds to the increase in foster care need?). There is no talk about how to foster better parenting among parents who do decide to carry and bear their children (no talk of establishing a stable network or support group not subject to dissolution due to lack of funding). And—as previously hinted—there are not nearly enough people willing (or able) to adopt any children allowed to live, especially in a troubled economy where families are stretched financially thing as it is (come now Christians, where is the faith to feed the Multitudes?), so where are the propositions from the self-righteous?
It’s obvious that the lack of dialogue indicates a lack of ideas on the issue. And given the insanity of many aspects of the child support system (jailing biological fathers who can’t/do not pay child support…hard to pay when you’re in jail/prison; creating felons for the offense…which doesn’t make them any more employable; and suspending any licenses they may have…again, which doesn’t help them any toward paying their obligations) any ideas in regards to creating a remedy would probably be just as "logical" or “effective” (yes defenders of the child-support system, that is sarcasm).
Of a certainty, the policies regarding reproductive issues are polarizing, and tend to spur much in the way of ideological rhetoric…but that’s all that comes of them. Women are made to be tokens of ideology, men are emasculated from a lack of say-so, and human life stripped of its humanity; it’s reduced to simple decision to be made rather than a sacred gift to be appreciated. Sides are chosen and only token gestures are made in regards solutions.
For individuals like myself, there should be a system of rules and laws in place which gives us some input into whether or not we choose to be parents. I’m sure to make enemies with this suggestion, but perhaps pregnant women should be made to obtain a waver from the father in order to get an abortion--just like in adoption--with the stipulation that the father WILL be an active participant in the child’s life (and not just in a financial obligatory sense), or even be willing to take full custody of the child.
Men who father children by women of limited means, and who have a legitimate level of concern about their child’s well-being should also be given the option of deciding to have the child placed in the custody of some (other) legal custodian, or into forcibly removed in lieu of adoption.
Those wishing to see all unborn children spared the machinations of the abortionists (most notably Christian Conservatives) had better be prepared to remove the phrase “fiscal restraint” from their ideological lexicon, as it will no doubt take a great deal of money to deal with the infusion of unwanted children into a welfare bureaucracy that many are already calling for a reduction of.
Most obvious, individuals need to learn and adopt the concept of foresight…learning to anticipate the consequences of their actions. We need to look beyond our hedonistic desires for momentary pleasure and measure the repercussions they have for ourselves and the lives that may result from them. The decision to eradicate a life should not be made with the same abandon as the decision to create one, not without consideration of whether or not we are willing to be adults and accept the consequences of our actions. And in accepting consequences, learning the lessons that restraint can teach us about how to deal with ourselves and each other.
Insofar as "punishing" those who would take a human life, that particular endeavor should be left up to whatever system of justice the universe was designed to mete out, in the way that it was designed to do so, not us.


  1. Hi there!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my spot and adding to the discussion! I realize that it gets a little intense over at my house....and I appreciate your courage and willingness to step into the fire!!

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!