It should come as no surprise to anyone that a Tennessean is leading the charge of the Dark Brigade in its latest attempt to return women’s rights to the Middle Ages. According to a Democratic Underground article, “Rep. Marsha Blackburn found herself at the center of an emotionally charged debate over abortion Tuesday, as she led Republican efforts to pass a bill prohibiting the procedure more than 20 weeks into a pregnancy.”
An Associated Press dispatch noted that the House passing the “far-reaching anti-abortion bill” was seen by conservatives as a “milestone” in their “40-year campaign against legalized abortion." Of course many conservatives see the bill as a steppingstone to eventually banning all abortions. After all, that has been the GOP’s official stance for years, and it was just reaffirmed at the last Republican presidential convention.
According to Blackburn’s medieval “logic,” in her own words, the bill is “an appropriate response to Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors.” Now I am not going to defend Gosnell or any doctor who breaks the law of the land, especially the law against murder. But if my neighbor murders his children, I don’t launch an attack aimed at someone else’s wife. In the same way, there is no need to punish pregnant girls and women for Gosnell’s alleged crimes. Doctors should be held accountable to proper medical practices and the law of the land, but the crimes of doctors must not be used to rob other people of their rights.
According to Blackburn’s way of thinking (I use the term loosely), if a black gang member commits a crime, we should be able to pass legislation that strips black women of their constitutional rights. Of course that makes no sense. In the case of abortion, I believe there are two overriding questions. The first is: “Do women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies?” The second is: “Can abortion save unwanted babies from pain vastly greater than the brief pain of an abortion?” If the answer to both these questions is “yes,” we obviously don’t need legislation that makes abortion illegal, or puts a time limit on it.
To me it seems perfectly obvious that girls and women should have the right to decide whether they want to risk their lives, health, mental well being and futures by bringing children into the world. The decision to become a mother is a monumental decision, and I don’t think Marsha Blackburn, or anyone else, has the right to tell a young girl that she has no choice except to risk her life in childbirth, for a baby she doesn’t want.
And it also seems perfectly obvious to me that many unwanted babies born to mothers who are strung out on drugs and living with abusive men, are going to suffer vastly more than an aborted fetus. Life on earth can be incredibly difficult with the best of parents. It can literally become hell with neglectful and/or abusive parents.
Of course no caring, thinking person wants any baby to be aborted. Of course if there is going to be an abortion, we would all prefer for the abortion to happen before the central nervous system has developed to the point that a fetus can feel pain. But still, we have to carefully consider the nature of reality, the “nature of nature.” And the nature of this world is that it can be incredibly hard on unwanted babies. There is no law that can force a prostitute with AIDS, who’s strung out on heroin and being beaten by her pimp, to be a good mother. There is no law that can force her to be responsible, and seek an abortion in the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy. So why should there be a law that forces her baby to enter an incredibly difficult world, with a terrible disease and a terrible addiction, into the arms of an unfit mother and an abusive father? Why should multitudes of unwanted babies be punished, along with multitudes of American girls and women facing incredibly difficult choices, for the crimes of a single doctor, or a handful of doctors?
There are many girls and women who are unfit to be mothers. I would not want to be born to them. Would you? In my opinion, Marsha Blackburn is unfit to be an elected official, because she is working to strip American girls and women of their rights, while condemning unwanted babies to hell on earth.
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.