Abortion Rights – Presente!
David R. Weiss – September 4, 2021
As a man, a white man no less, I check the demographic boxes that are responsible for more suffering, exploitation, and callous brutality toward life than probably any other broad category of human persons.
So it’s perilous for me to presume anyone cares what I have to say about women’s reproductive rights. Yet it’s also important for me to speak … so the women in my life hear my support loud and clear … and so I do not miss the opportunity to openly reject the values of white men that have wrought such evil on the world.
Anti-abortion laws are foremost anti-women laws. They prioritize control of women’s bodies and lives and sexuality and future rather than ensuring women’s education and autonomy and health and integrity.
But it’s more than that. Scratch beneath almost any anti-abortion legal initiative and you’ll find its proponents are eager to use the death penalty, quick to invest in war, happy to look away from poverty, disinterested in responding to the climate crisis, unsupportive of the Covid vaccines, angrily anti-mask, against robust sex education and access to contraceptives, determined to preserve a health care system that cares first for profit, and hellbent on making it as hard as possible for persons of color to vote. (And more.)
Connect all those dots and anti-abortions laws are ultimately part of a worldview that trusts only white men to know what it best for anyone. (Yes, there are women and persons of color who are anti-abortion, but the overarching worldview is racist, misogynist, and ecocidal.)
There are a host of justice-oriented life-affirming ways to lessen the frequency of abortion that actually work. But those seeking to outlaw abortion are not ultimately interested in lessening its frequency; they’re interested in criminalizing women who second-guess their white male worldview and (in Texas, at least) anyone who aids them.
I am not “pro-abortion”; I am pro-life. But I recognize that life itself is messy, and sometimes a choice for abortion is the most “pro-life” choice a woman can make—and the instances where this is true happen more frequently in a manifestly unjust world (which is the very world that the larger anti-abortion agenda in fact seeks to maintain). And, in a manifestly unjust world, every assault on abortion rights makes that world even more unjust.
Finally, that choice belongs foremost to the woman in whose body … in whose life … it will play out. Is that position fraught with peril? Of course. Life is fraught with peril. But in balancing the needs of justice, it is past time to trust each woman to think and feel and choose for herself. And past time for the rest of us is to be publicly and passionately committed to building a world in which women find themselves respected, supported, honored, educated, and safe.
If we truly commit to these things, we will find ourselves more able to trust their choices—and we will find our world more ready to support those same choices, whatever they are.
To the women in my life, in this anxious moment, I see you. I hear you. I trust you. And I am dedicated to building a world where respect, support, honor, education, safety—and trust—are indeed the touchstones of your lived experience. Someday. Starting now.
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David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, doing “public theology” around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more at www.davidrweiss.com where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” Support him in writing Community Supported Theology at www.patreon.com/fullfrontalfaith.