100 Answers in 100 Days

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Sharing answers to the various questions of faith I have faced, and which others have been challenged with also.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Should Men be Making Laws About Women's Bodies?

Internet Meme
“Men shouldn't be making laws about women’s bodies” reads the meme. The image has been posted all over Instagram in response to various states in America passing laws, or attempting to pass laws, which limit women’s access to abortion, such as reducing the time frame permitted for abortion to the first sign of a heart beat; around six weeks. But this statement, to me, presented as though it is the pro-choice movement’s best opposing argument, makes the least amount of sense for justifying abortion. In this day and age it seems that every new scientific discovery becomes a justification for some cause, and yet in this case people seem to be forgetting something that science has known for hundreds of years… that a fetus is a separate body from the mother. How are we concerned only for the body of the mother and not for the body of the child? Are we saying that those who desire an abortion are justified in making a decision to destroy an innocent child’s body because of how the presence of that child affects their own body? Of all the reasons one could use to try to justify abortion, this is surely the weakest.

If we turn this into a question, “Should men be making laws about women’s bodies?” and consider this as a question about laws in general, then the answer is clearly yes. We should be making laws that prevent harm to women’s bodies. We should make laws that prevent women’s bodies from being stabbed or shot or beaten, or raped. A law which bans abortion is not so much a law which prevents harm to women’s bodies but rather it prevents the death of children’s bodies. A fetus has its own body, after all. And just as we should indeed make laws to prevent the harm of women’s bodies, we should all the more create laws which prevent the death of children’s bodies.

By making the statement “Men should not make laws about women's bodies” rather than asking the question “Should men make laws about women's bodies?” people are led by their emotions to oppose these laws rather than their intellect to consider them. Not only is it nonsense to assert that we shouldn’t make laws to protect human life, the statement subtly points the finger at men in order to provoke the emotional connotations that the feminist movement lends society. It is equally nonsensical to assume that women aren’t involved in the discussions and proposals of these laws, or that the motivation behind these laws has any kind of chauvinistic basis. The concern is for the children.

Another slogan I have read states “Abortion is a human right!” How so? What makes something a human right? Is it the fact that an Internet meme says it is? What makes something a human right is that people have decided that it is, in much the same way that people have decided that it is legal to have an abortion. And we can challenge what is and isn’t a human right in the same way that we can challenge what should and shouldn’t be legal. But we don’t even need to dig into the technicalities of what human rights are. Let’s just concede that is abortion is, in some way, a human right. We also know that humans have a right to life. And when two human rights conflict, surely the right to life outweighs this right to choose an abortion, no? But what of a woman’s so-called “right” to have an abortion? Am I insensitive to their motives to abort their child? When you consider, as I do, that abortion is the killing of a human being, then it is difficult to see how a woman has the “right” to do this. This right was established on the basis of the right to privacy. Again, the right to life surely outweighs the right to privacy. If someone commits murder the police will search their home for evidence of guilt purely based on suspicion. The right to privacy does not supersede the right to life.

I do not deny that there are difficult cases. Abortion may potentially be justifiable in the case where the delivery of the child has a high probability of killing the mother. And that’s only an example of a hard case; one which doesn’t necessarily have a clear answer. In the majority of cases the answer isn’t so difficult. The inconvenience of being pregnant or the financial burden that raising a child might impose do not justify the death of the child. And we know this to be true because we do not allow the death of the child after the delivery. The fact that there are a few inches of flesh between the child and the outside world shouldn’t justify the death of the child, in the same way as putting a baby in a box and throwing it in a river wouldn't justify its death because “there were a few inches of wood between the baby and the outside world.”

But at this stage in society the resistance towards laws which ban abortion exists not so much because there are valid logical arguments for aborting for whatever private reason, but because by creating these laws or declaring abortion legally as murder, society is saying to all the women who have had abortions in the past, “You committed murder.” No woman wants to be told that or admit that even to herself. At the moment she justifies what she did by saying “Hey, it’s legal. And if it’s legal it must be ok.” And what makes this so much harder is that we now live in a society where the greatest faux pas is to offend somebody. But praise be to God that He is a forgiving God. In Biblical times idol worshipers would offer their children as sacrifices to their idols. And even so, God said to the people, “They shall be my people and I shall be their God.” (Jeremiah 32:33-38) By way of explanation of this passage, sin does not go without punishment, but there is also forgiveness to be found. We, as a society, must learn from history and must change for the better. Even if you reject the Bible, you must see that a society that made it legal to sacrifice your child to an idol had an unjust law. Laws must change when they allow that which should not be allowed.

As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. (Ecclesiastes 11:5)