This is a monumental week in terms of abortion rights and reproductive freedom. Thanks to Ohio Issue 1, Ohioans are now granted abortion access and the right to carry out their own reproductive decisions. Virginia voters elected a Democratic majority in both chambers of the general assembly — knocking out Glenn Youngkin’s 15-week abortion ban. In Pennsylvania, Judge Daniel McCaffery conquered anti-abortion Judge Carolyn Carluccio in the Supreme Court race.
Upon these events, it is safe to say abortion rights are a prominent issue for voters across the country — and they are ready to fight if it means achieving basic freedom.
I am too, but I’m growing tired of it.
As an ex-Catholic, one of my earliest memories regarding the topic of abortion was in youth group. I recall sitting at a table, laughing with my friends, when a priest walked in. As he began to give his thrilling rhetoric, three words he used popped into my brain: “abortion,” “murder” and “hell.”
First of all, I had no idea what the term “abortion” meant — my friends and I, being our 9-year-old selves, thought the word sounded robotic and futuristic. Because of this, we laughed because we thought he was telling us that robots are murderers and that they’re going to hell.
This proves the innocence of children. That they shouldn’t even have to know what abortion means. One thing about being a girl is that our childhoods are taken from us early, as we are forced to face the loathsome truths about what it actually means to be a girl in this world.
We learn from a young age to dress a certain way so as to not distract the boys, we are told to sit certain ways so as to look more lady-like and we are presented with double standards that keep us from being our true selves. But I hadn’t realized that I’d fallen victim to another terrible truth until my mom explained what abortion was to me.
At first, I connected the dots between what my mom told me and what the priest told me — so of course I thought abortion was bad at first. When you’re a child, it’s easy to believe something is bad when you’re told that it’s bad — especially if it’s from a person of importance like a priest.
But growing up is moving out of sync with the world and being able to form your own opinions. In hindsight, I am appalled at my former church for giving such a heavy lecture to a bunch of 9-year-olds who still cried to their mommies when they scratched their knees on the pavement.
I can’t help but wonder what kind of person I’d be if I had lived in a bubble — no friends, family, classmates or teachers to offer multiple perspectives on a number of different topics. Living life inside a bubble is dangerous. In the grand scheme of things, the world does not flow in one direction. Concepts, ideas and issues converge and diverge in a frenzy of madness. There is no one way to think, though we all have our own personal opinions and biases.
However, to believe that your perspective on an issue is the only correct one without hearing the variety of existing perspectives is dangerous — and quite frankly, terrifying.
It’s terrifying because these people can vote to utterly ruin the lives of the people they refuse to listen to. I understand that religion is the guiding star of many individual’s lives, and in a lot of cases, I think that’s really beautiful.
But to push religion on other people and use it to pick and choose who to oppress is unjust. Especially in a country that — supposedly — is not ruled by any one religion.
Pro-lifers tend to refer to scripture to support their argument. For example, they refer to the command of God in Genesis 9:6, which reads, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
This essentially states that murder is to be punished with murder — which for an ancient civilization without active police or a developed justice system, was a firm legal code. However, this is clearly not referring to abortion, but rather about one live individual killing another live individual.
Another verse pro-life advocates tend to use is Jeremiah 1:5, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” This verse is not referring to simple biology and reproduction, but to the destiny of one man and the vision of God — highlighting the importance of Jeremiah and his journey.
Now, I understand that the Bible is open to interpretation. However, one’s own interpretation is no excuse to oppress another individual and take away their basic right to bodily autonomy. This is our reality as women, and I’m sick of it.
The little me who laughed in church about robots going to hell now feels stuck in an endless loop of winning and losing this abortion race. This was a good week for abortion rights, tremendous even. But how long until the next male politician takes away our reproductive rights?
Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens has stated, “The Legislature has multiple paths that we will explore to continue to protect innocent life.”
I suppose that’s democracy. We fight over and over until we attain what’s right. But what is right? That may differ between you and me. Nevertheless, I will fight and I’ll continue to do it for the rest of my life — not just for my rights, but for the rights of women who think with their heads and feel with their hearts about the presents and futures of other women. That’s pro-life.