*Reposted from Firebrand Progressives
Recently, a Facebook acquaintance asked for an explanation from me regarding how I could stand for what he sees as two conflicting issues. Sensible gun regulation and a woman’s right to choose. He believes that one cannot be “pro-abortion” and “anti-gun” when abortion kills children. (His language.) I’m not sure of his motive – he may have honestly wanted an answer – or he could have been trying to snare me into contradicting myself. What he did was allow me to solidify my stance on both issues, issues my friend believes to be mutually exclusive. I beg to differ. My response, with slight variations for editorial purposes, is below.
And now we have the fabulously ignorant, grossly uninformed ramblings of Trump and his lap-it-up Deplorables to contend with. Will it ever end?
Before you jump to conclusions and stop reading here, I would like to state that I am NOT against the 2nd Amendment. That is a common misconception. I support the 2nd Amendment, as it is written (A well-regulated militia…you know). I do believe that we need more comprehensive regulation and that we need to enforce many of the laws that are on the books, for the best interest of everyone’s rights, gun owners and non-owners alike.
Some of the most troubling are the laws regarding confiscation of weapons from domestic abusers and gun show loopholes . Those laws are rarely enforced. In addition, recent polls show that 92% of the U.S. population – gun owners and non-owners – feel the same way. Why haven’t the legislators moved on this issue if they are really concerned with the sanctity of life? I don’t believe that is their real concern I believe they are concerned with money, power, and control.
As the 2nd Amendment upholds a person’s right to own a firearm reasonably and responsibly – that’s what the “well regulated” bit means – under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and has been for 41 years. Roe v. Wade upholds a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion if she so chooses. Now would be a good time to clarify that being pro-choice doesn’t mean you are automatically in favor of abortion. No woman wants to be faced with such a heart-wrenching situation, ever. As a woman, who is in possession of the actual equipment, I am not so arrogant to think that it is my right to make blanket judgments for every female in the country based on my personal beliefs. And believe it or not, God doesn’t think it’s His right either. Unfortunately, there are circumstances where a woman and/or her doctor and family conclude that abortion is the best or only option. Her choice. I believe that should be the decision of each individual, her family (if she wishes to include them) and her healthcare provider. And so does the Constitution. Which is why I believe the comparison is an interesting but faulty one, made by someone with little knowledge of either issue.
Unlike guns, which continue to be increasingly unregulated, especially since President Obama took office, and the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, women’s rights are being systematically attacked by right wing politicians, religious groups, or in most cases, some unholy combination of both. There is no argument about that. Proof of the attack on women’s reproductive rights is in the news every day, as are the barrage of reports of violent and “accidental” gun deaths.
Interestingly, abortion rates have reached a 30 year low, according to recent data.
Let’s think about this. Abortions aren’t available at Walmart or any other retail outlet that I’m aware of. But you sure as shit can buy a gun at Walmart and many other stores in your local strip mall. I’m not seeing Facebook photos of proud parents posing with Mom’s sunken belly after they’ve received their first abortion. I don’t see fairgrounds hosting “abortion shows”, people advertising abortions on Craigslist or Facebook, or people selling abortions out of the back of their SUV in some dark parking lot.
Not to say that backroom abortions no longer exist, but they certainly don’t make the news every day like firearm murders, suicides, “accidents” (let’s call them what they are – gun owner negligence incidents), and active shooter events do. There were 7 school shooting in January 2014 alone. There is no “abortion lobby” equal to the NRA, hellbent on manipulating our legislators and disseminating out-and-out lies to their acolytes and using their misinformed, low information army to further their agenda.(No, that is NOT what Planned Parenthood does. But there are plenty of anti-choice nut-job factions more than willing to lie to your face.) In fact, the NRC has seen to it that the powers that be have been cutting off federal funding for research and stymieing data collection and sharing. The NRA has purchased our politicians and twisted the law so much that it is illegal for pediatricians to mention gun safety to their patients. The National Rifle Association has done its damnedest to keep the American public in the dark regarding the facts. When it comes to data and hard numbers, some of the gun lobby’s favorite arguments are a bunch of crap. And let’s not get started on the Open Carry terrorists who have recently crawled out of the woodwork.
Another reason Roe v. Wade exists is to ensure that abortion is a safe, legal, and regulated procedure – opposite of the trend toward extreme gun ownership in our society today. Unlike the attempts to undermine women’s rights, the same “Christian” Republican/Tea Party legislators are turning a blind eye to epidemic gun deaths and are going in reverse with sensible gun legislation. Look at the failed bill Mae Beavers (R-TN) recently introduced. Her bill proposes legislation that would make enforcement of federal gun control measures in Tennessee illegal. (States rights, anyone?) You may also want to consider the many guns in parks, guns in bars, and guns in churches and schools bills that have been introduced or passed this year, just for starters. (That passed since this writing,) Interestingly enough, Beavers and Marsha Blackburn have proposed an amendment to the Tennessee state Constitution that would make all abortions illegal – even in the case of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is threatened. Needless to say, this type of draconian legislation is being proposed across the U.S. Hypocrites. Both “fine upstanding Christian women”.
I wonder if these holier-than-though tyrants have read the Old Testament, particularly Number 5: 11:31. Spoiler alert – it’s a story of a priest instruction a man on how to administer an abortion to his wife.
Attacks on women’s rights are extreme behavior and those attacks are happening daily, all over the country. To right wing religious extremists like Huckabee, Paul, Santorum, Blackburn, Kincannon, Akin, Martin, Pearce, etc., their attack on women’s rights issues aren’t so much about saving children as they are about subjugation and control of women- IRS audits on rape victims – really? We (women) are now the majority in the U.S., so I think these guys are getting panicky. Girding their loins.
Right wing extremists are also attempting to foist their fundamentalist religious agenda on an entire nation. An act that is actually unconstitutional, and at this point, unregulated. Do a quick internet search on all the anti-LGBT legislation of late. Attempts to legalize discrimination in the name of Jesus. See for yourself.
The hypocrisy of the right wing push to overturn Roe v. Wade under the pretense of being pro-life is sickening. They claim to be against abortion at all costs yet they are also against birth control, sex education, and are actively fighting to keep those tools away from women and girls, all the while doing their best to shame us for having normal, healthy sexual impulses.
They claim to be pro-life and want to insist that every fetus – even those conceived by rape or incest – be carried to term and born, yet they offer no options of assistance to the mother, no prenatal programs, no mental health care, nutritional assistance, no housing, education or job assistance, no adoption programs. After the child is born – same story. They’re cutting programs for head start and public education, nutrition, transportation – you name it.
If these holier-than-thou anti-choice hypocrites would actually back up their so-called pro-life stance with real substance and viable alternatives to abortion, perhaps we pro-choicers might be more inclined to entertain the idea of taking them seriously. Give women an opportunity for true choice. A real chance. Without that follow-through, the argument merely looks like exactly what it is – hypocrisy, subjugation, disrespect, oppression and religious battering.
In addition, if these people (mostly men, strangely enough) were really pro-life, they would be doing every thing in their power to stanch the epidemic flow of gun violence that has overtaken our country. Gun violence is no longer a political issue. It is a public health crisis. Yet the right wing/tea party/Christian/Republican politicians prove regularly that they value the cold steel murder weapon over human life. They value the money the NRA is handing them. Their perceived power over the “weaker sex”.
Here are the questions that should really be asked – “How can you call yourself a pro-life Christian and allow rampant gun violence to continue? Allow mothers and children to live in abject poverty with no hope for a better future?” That is NOT pro-life. By my estimations, my understanding of the definition of Christianity, and Jesus’ teachings, that is not the behavior of Christians, either. And FYI – God was the original AUTHOR of choice and free will.
Here’s a message to the Religious Right: Yes – Freedom of religion is a constitutional right. By all means, believe what you like. But you will not be allowed to cherry pick and turn what is supposed to be a loving message into a judgmental verdict to suit your argument. An argument that seeks to oppress 51% of the population. Remember that statistic. We sure will come election day.
Christians are followers of Christ, by definition. Jesus had a lot to say about how children are to be treated, the less fortunate, sinners, our enemies, our neighbor – and especially “the least of these”. Until there is evidence of Jesus’ teachings in your actions, don’t call yourselves Christians. You are tainting the moniker for those who actually exhibit those qualities and live by the doctrine. Those who seek to do good in the world.
It should also be noted that many of the anti-women legislators and their followers are also gun hysterics. (I’m NOT speaking every gun owner, mind you. There are many responsible, law-abiding, reasonable gun owners out there.) I’m referring to the extremists who are aligning with the likes of Ted Nugent, and are pushing to move toward no gun regulation whatsoever. They believe their God endowed Americans with the right to own a personal arsenal, and believe that they have the right to purchase, carry, brandish and operate their weapons in any unfettered way they see fit, anywhere they see fit, regardless of possible consequences. They will have NO government interference. Facts and statistics mean nothing to them. They will not even discuss the issue without becoming belligerent, insulting, bullying, misogynistic and threatening. At least that has been my unfortunate experience.
Any mention of regulation or change immediately translates to “The government is coming to take my guns!!!” The issue is completely black and white to these elected extremists. They are incapable of compromise or seeing any type of gray area. And every political or social issue resides in the gray area. A common taking point among this group is that background checks and regulations on assault weapons will have no effect on the instances of gun violence. That the law will not keep guns out of the hand of the insane or the criminal. So we shouldn’t have laws. At all. Because no one follows them. There is also the evergreen argument/NRA talking point that “cars kill more people than guns”. Not anymore. Those statistic have changed. That is why we have age restrictions, testing, licensing, registration, and insurance – an entire system set up for automobile ownership. Suggest we do the same with firearms, stand back and see what happens.
Perhaps we should make this analogy: The major argument from the firearm extremist/hysteric is that the 2nd Amendment secures every American’s right to own guns – as many as they want, any variety.The consensus among this demographic is that they desperately need an arsenal for personal protection. I understand those feeling of fear and vulnerability. And I sure some people do feel safer with a firearm in the home. I would like to offer this challenge. Consider that women might feel the same way about their rights to control their own reproductive health and their own bodies. Keep government regulation fair and reasonable.
Fortunately, extreme government interference and prohibition will never happen in either circumstance. And it never should. We need fair-minded, sensible regulation on both of these issues, not government over-reach. History has shown us that prohibition is not successful. But the only people speaking of prohibition of both guns and women’s rights belong to the party on the right. Why is that?
I know that you can be pro- choice – which doesn’t only encompass abortion, hence the word “choice” – and pro-sensible gun regulation. Because I am. And I don’t think that hypocritical Conservatives get to use the term “pro-life” anymore. Because they are anything but.
For more information and further reading:
Also see The Bible – Numbers 5:11-31