Thursday, May 16, 2019

Thoughts on Recent Anti-Abortion Legislation

In recent months many US states have passed legislation severely limiting access to abortion or making it illegal all together (read about some of this legislation here).  Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

1.    Abortion is going to happen and has been happening for thousands of years.  I’d rather have it be safe and legal.
2.    Personhood is a super complicated issue. I recently taught a whole class on what it means to be a person.  My own inclination is that an embryo or a fetus does not meet any reasonable criteria for personal identity.  But almost all human beings capable of being pregnant clearly do meet these criteria.
3.    Pregnancy can be dangerous and has vast effects on a person’s body, health, and life.  It usually ends with hours and hours of pain the rest of us can’t imagine.  Nobody should be forced to go through with that.
4.    Pregnancy is caused by men.  It’s weird that people seem to forget that, especially people who like to talk about “personal responsibility.”
5.    Casual denigration of the South is no solution: first, prejudice against the South is dumb and helps nobody, and second, the whole anti-abortion strategy is to use these laws to force challenges in the Supreme Court, so this should alarm all Americans.
6.    It really is about respecting women’s autonomy and recognizing women’s humanity.  The same goes for people who do not identify as women but who can become pregnant.
7.    I tend not to feel or express anger or outrage in conventional ways.  I also have a lot of misgivings about how many people these days express anger and outrage, especially on the internet.  But rest assured that I do feel both anger and outrage about recent restrictions on abortion.  It’s appalling and we should all be working to protect abortion rights.

8.    Fellow men, most of us have not said enough about this or done enough to stop what’s happening.  We can do better.  This is our issue, too.

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