Having a uterus is a fatal flaw. Most girls can say this from a devastatingly young age. I know I did. I know my sister did. I know my mom did. There are several reasons as to why having a uterus may lead to one’s downfall — all of which I’d need multiple hands to count on. But not being granted control over your own reproductive organ is dehumanizing and degrading. For as long as those in Congress use religious rhetoric to drive the law of the land, it will remain this way forever.
In a country that prides itself on its diversity and religious freedom, it is not acceptable to use religious rhetoric — especially of the Christian faith — to justify taking away an individual’s right to bodily autonomy. Whether this be a woman, transgender man or a non-binary person with a uterus, religious law poses a threat to their religious freedom and right to choose their own path in a “free” nation.
The first two provisions of the First Amendment state that there is to be no favored or governing religion and establish one’s right to practice their religion as they please. It is these clauses that ultimately separate the church and the state.
According to the American Bar Association, Supreme Court Justices have pondered the idea that the clauses are at odds with one another. That is to say that one cannot freely practice their religion without endorsement from the government. However, the argument among the Supreme Court Justices to intertwine with Christian religious groups and beliefs is incredibly biased when our current Supreme Court consists of six Catholics, two Protestants and only one Jewish individual.
This is exactly why the overturning of Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. The decision was made by lawmakers whose religious views weren’t reflective of their country. For example, according to the Pew Research Center (PRC), Christians make up 88% of Congress but only 63% of the entire U.S. population in 2023.
Now, as the Constitution states, anyone may be free to practice their religion. But it’s a different story when one common religion is practiced in the Capitol. This in itself poses a threat to religious freedom and plurality because there is a disregard for religions besides Christianity.
This turns to the idea of Christian nationalism: The political ideology that believes the U.S. is a Christian-defined nation with no separation between church and state. For individuals who follow any other religion or who don’t follow a faith at all, this idea is terrifying — especially when you know that your right to make decisions about your own body is on the line.
In 2022, Politico conducted a poll that asked respondents of each political party if they were in favor of making the U.S. a Christian state and 61% of Republicans voted yes. To put this into perspective, a Gallup poll conducted this year revealed that 76% of Republicans consider themselves pro-life. This ultimately confirms the tie between the Republican party, the Christian faith and the pro-life ideology.
Religion-based justification on the issue of abortion is simply unconstitutional. Despite the 469 Christians in Congress and eight in the Supreme Court, it’s a fact that not everyone in the U.S. is a Christian. So why should anyone have to subscribe to the agenda of a religion they don’t even follow?
The answer is that they shouldn’t. Everyone has a conscience and each one matters. People can say what they believe whether we agree with them or not. However, Catholics For Choice (CFC) makes an interesting argument that an institution — whether secular or not — can’t have a conscience, it has policy. This is what’s at stake if there’s no church and state separation: Personal beliefs and issues are no longer personal.
As a woman, my body is constantly a subject on the ballot. It shouldn’t be, as it’s a very personal matter in terms of what I choose to do with it. But the fact that decisions — ones that aren’t my own — about my body are constantly on the ballot proves that my body is now other people’s business. This is how it is for every other individual with a uterus — and when we ask why, a Bible verse is often thrown in our faces.
Now, I understand that the Bible is open to interpretation, a weakness in its own right. However, one’s own interpretation is no excuse to oppress another individual and take away their basic right to bodily autonomy.
As a supporter of one’s right to choose, I would also consider myself and every other pro-choice person to be pro-life as well. Being forced to carry a child, give birth and possibly need to give a child up to foster care jeopardize the livelihoods of both mother and child. I could never bring myself to advocate for the suffering of another individual — including putting a child through the foster care system, which is a highly encouraged alternative to having an abortion.
While this may be a positive experience for some children who have aged out of foster care, others face harsher truths. According to Foster Love, one in five children who age out of the foster care system will be homeless within a year, one in four will be incarcerated within two years, 54% will receive their high school diploma and only 3% will obtain a bachelor’s degree.
With this in mind, putting a child through this system is not the best alternative. Especially when this involves a grown child who can think for themselves and experience pain as opposed to a fetus that cannot. I would readily support this alternative if it wasn’t underfunded, which is its downfall.
I find it ironic that Republicans don’t believe in a welfare state and minimally fund social reform programs — including child welfare programs — but advocate for the foster care system in their abortion argument. According to the PRC, 46% of Republicans believe the government should provide less assistance to aid people in need and only 17% believe that the government should provide more assistance.
The irony in these statistics is appalling. One cannot claim to be pro-life if they refuse to support people who struggle. Despite what Republicans think of the American Dream, I can assure you that hard work will not help a child in such a cruel world.
With our bodies still on the ballot, it’s imperative to go out and vote in the upcoming elections. We must elect candidates who advocate for choice and who do not use religious rhetoric to drive their beliefs on abortion or any other matter. We must think of our mothers, daughters, sisters and anyone with a uterus when we go to the polls. This is the only way to achieve our full freedom enumerated in the Constitution.