I have an enduring interest in American culture and right now that automatically seems to mean politics. Is there American culture separate from politics? Right now it doesn’t seem like it. I am a people pleaser so I tend to keep what I think about the developments in the U.S.A. to myself, in an effort to keep everyone feeling good about Kathy Kyle. But I think I am done.
Its not that I am done with a particular party or a set of policies. Not exactly. I respect that there are different ways to do things. However when people are lying I am deeply offended and I think there is a lot of lying going on. Fundamentally, I think the decision to overturn Roe v Wade is not about protecting the life of the unborn. Its not about ensuring the unborn have a chance to live. The decision has the effect of taking power away from women, securing a block of votes for the Republican party and distracting from other matters, also urgent, that don’t cast a good light on the former president and his party. I think the decision is all about pandering, politics and power plays. Top of my mind right now are two things….
First, those who worked to get Roe v Wade overturned, are from the same group who voted against measures to ease the baby formula shortage in the United States. How can you say you are pro life, that is pro baby, but actively work against what would clearly reduce stress for baby and parent? Seriously? What would it have cost these lawmakers to vote in support of this effort? That is the tip of the iceberg. There are other policies that could be enacted and budget priorities made that would ensure a quality of life for every baby born, starting with decent parental leave. Why do these pro life loving United States grant parental leave that can best be counted in weeks, while most developed nations provide months and months of leave, more than a year in some cases. The policies and budget priorities that are truly pro life are demonized by the group who call themselves pro life and there is no importance attached to them when wooing voters. Those who seek quality education for all, health care for all, and social services to support the troubled are called socialist snowflakes. Don’t even get me started on the discrepancy that a human life should never be ended prematurely but if I was an American parent I would have to wonder, daily, if my kid and I would return safely from school, church, a concert or the grocery store, because it is everyone’s right to possess the technology to end life, to end multiple lives in split seconds. How is that pro life? Being excited about today’s decision doesn’t mean you are pro life, it means you are pro birth, I will grant you that, but wouldn’t being truly pro life mean a lot more than seeing a child able to emerge from the womb and take a breath?
I think policy makers are lying when they say this is about protecting the lives of unborn babies because every aspect of the effort to protect the babies costs women, not men, yet men and women are equally involved in getting the ball rolling. I want to make a spicy joke right here, but I am so perturbed I can’t. So….. Temporary sterilization of men is totally possible. Why is policy not even considered that has men temporary sterilized until they can commit to their readiness to parent and to provide for the children they father. You probably think I am crazy to suggest that. Why would that be crazy? Men can create a child more than once a day. Women about once a year. In an effort to prevent the conception of unwanted children, what about putting the onus on men? If you resist this, why? Do you feel that’s overreach? That the government shouldn’t be able to mandate what men do with their sexual organs? Okay, well then, how about this? If abortion becomes impossible, then it should be law that men must provide for the fruit of their loins. Those who don’t will get their property seized or go to prison for abandoning their offspring. Women have known the gift and wonder of motherhood since time began, but have also had to shoulder the risk, sacrifice and work of it. Wherever men share in the risk, sacrifice and work they share more fully in the gift and the wonder. There are proposed policies in some of the states that criminalize women for seeking abortion and release men from the equation altogether. This is very much about gender and power and not about justice, infant health and human wholeness.
These interventions you might think me crazy for suggesting will never happen. I know that, at least I think I know that. The unlikeliness of these kinds of things is what makes me say, this is not about protecting the lives of babies. Something else is going on. Its in someone’s interest to keep women pre-occupied with their fertility and its implications. Its in someone’s best interest to keep women and children very vulnerable to the harshness of life (rape, incest, maternal health concerns, poverty and lack of opportunity are at the top of my mind.) I am a Mom. In fact 20 years ago at this moment I was 3 hours from delivering my first child. Having children has been among the most wondrous things I ever did. The sheer miracle of this means I will never be cavalier about abortion. However, today, I am clearer than ever, that this supreme court decision is not about babies. Its about politics, pandering and power brokering. I want policy that is practical, legislation that reflects love, judicial power that is just and fair, policy that protects all, houses of government that are honest. This is what I see and what I long for. It’s a matter of life and death.
I want to thank Russell for listening to multiple read throughs of this and offering thoughts to round out my own. I have relied on him for perspective and courage. This is not easy for me to publish.