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Donald Trump has done it again. How one person can stick their foot in their mouth so many times and still be the GOP frontrunner is beyond not only me, but most of his own party.
On Wednesday, March 30, Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that women who seek abortions should be held to “some kind of punishment” for doing so—a statement he later recanted, in part.
He also attempted to defray the “complicated issue” by asking Matthews if he supports the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion. Matthews appeared to want to differentiate between accepting moral authority of his church and passing laws to regulate morality, but in his typical debate style, Trump interrupted and didn’t allow him to make that point.
It is interesting that someone can insist that less government is more when it comes to firearms regulation and social programs, yet call foul when women exercise their own choices about their own bodies and lives. Trump isn’t alone in this issue, of course. The GOP typically calls itself “pro-life,” yet chooses whose life (the unborn) to support and whose (the mothers and those already born) to forget.
If we really cared about life, we’d spend less time judging women as they walk into abortion clinics, and more time holding them when they come out. We’d spend less effort blaming mothers who can’t afford to raise their children, and more money and time being the village that it takes to raise them.
But all this really doesn’t matter in the debate over choice. The issue of abortion and right to choose has already been decided by the Supreme Court. Women’s bodies—and what we do with them—are no longer up for grabs, nor are they a topic for political gain.
The war on abortion has been raging for the last century or so, but the head-on attack against women’s right to choose for themselves whether or not they have the capacity and support to parent a child has failed time and again. Women are not pawns; we are capable of making our own decisions based on our own values and circumstances.
I have never had an abortion, even though I certainly could have. I don’t judge women who have made this choice, because I know it is a difficult one, and that every woman has her own story and reasons.
And, as women, none of us should ever have to ask our lawmakers what’s right for us.
The battle over the legality of abortion has already been fought and determined. The U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld a woman’s Constitutional right to obtain an abortion based on individual rights protected by the Ninth and 14th Amendments in Roe v. Wade.
For those who didn’t learn about these two amendments in history class, here’s how they apply:
The 14th Amendment has several sections, but the applicable one in Roe v. Wade is a section known as the Due Process Clause. In a nutshell, the court decided that even women obtaining abortions have a right to privacy. At the time of the ruling, Texas had criminalized abortions, except for when the life of the mother was at stake. The 1973 decision told the Texas legislature, and every other state, that why a woman wanted or needed to obtain an abortion was none of their business, and they couldn’t pick and choose when it was okay.
The Ninth Amendment basically says that there are certain rights that are not covered by the Bill of Rights that are still protected. In his Supreme Court decision, Justice Blackmun noted that abortion was “resorted to without scruple” in Greek times and during the Roman Era.
In other words, according to the highest court in our land, abortion has been around a long time, and is something that—within reasonable limits (which are already in place)—should remain a personal choice.
Speaking of free will, interestingly enough, well-meaning Christians are among the loudest groups demanding criminalization of abortion. Pro-life advocates often use verses about murder as fuel for their argument.
Abortion has been around since before Christ was born—mostly in the form of eating or drinking dangerous herbs, a process still used in many countries. Yet abortion is never expressly forbidden in the Bible.
Of all the things that are covered in the Bible, doesn’t it seem a little odd that disallowing abortion or equating it with murder was left out?
The topic of abortion plays on the emotions of all involved. Those against choice cite their moral obligation to protect life. Oddly enough, so do pro-choice liberals. Few people, if any, would label themselves as “pro-abortion.”
The truth is, there is a choice, and that choice has been decided. No one bears the brunt of pregnancy or holds the financial and emotional responsibility for raising children like women. No one knows individual circumstances like each individual woman. No one should be punished for making that choice, or for providing those options.
That’s not my call—that was the Supreme Court’s call years ago.
Whether or not a woman pursues an abortion is not a decision for lawmakers to decide. It is not a decision for someone else’s church to decide. It is not a decision for you or me to decide. No one else should be allowed to make decisions about a woman and the trajectory her life must take.
It is a choice she must make for herself, and choosing is each woman’s right.
Author: Amanda Christmann
Editor: Toby Israel