Remix Essay for Pro-Lifers
In eighth grade, I heard a story of a classmate, Melody, who was pregnant. With the little information on sex education Mel had available to her, she realized that abortions were expensive. Being too young to get a job, Mel had no choice but to take matters into her own hands and ask for help from someone else. The under-the-table abortion operation she recieved at some girl’s house ended up Mel’s unborn baby ripped away from her, but also ripped away her chances of ever having kids again. It was also heartbreaking hearing the story of the 11-year-old little Syrian girl who was raped and forced to give birth to her child, being just a child herself. It’s because of stories like these and me being a woman myself, that I set out to change the opinions of those who see it as a shameful act. This mindset is problematic because it puts women in harm’s way when they are trapped into making bad decisions.
Many of the ideas we have about abortion are taught to us by our family, the previous generation. My family happens to be from the Soviet Union, and carries conservative ideas about abortion, especially my grandmother. While doing field research for the research paper, I was able to interview her about this topic. I first asked her a question about how many kids she has just to get her to think of her own pregnancies and how those experiences were. When I asked for her opinion on abortion, she called it irresponsible and murder. She said that if a woman is old enough to have sex, she should accept all the consequences of doing so. I wanted to find out more about why people think this way. She told me that the reason she thought so is because murderers aren’t supposed to be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven. At this point it was clear her opinion was almost fully based on a religious standpoint, and this frustrates me a bit because this is something I was never really taught about and can not really relate to. The idea of religion will come up again, but it’s important to recognize that these are ideas coming from someone who grew up in a totally different environment than we are in. My grandma left the USSR because there is no opportunity there, but still carries the harmful ideas of her past life. Times have changed, and now more than ever people are having casual sex and should have the option to decide wether they want to keep their baby or not. These judgmental attitudes towards abortion need to stop, because women too ashamed to get an abortion end up having kids that feel unwanted for their whole lives.
It is crucial to look at the Bible as a cultural source as I seek to find out why people feel the way they do about abortion. I am obviously pro-choice, and when I think of people who are pro-life I think of steryotypical Bible-following Christians as the main group of people who have a problem with abortions. I myself don’t agree with the ideas of Christian religion, the Bible, or the church, but the Bible can not be overlooked as a resource in this specific research question. Two of these quotes are very similar- Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.” and Proverbs 6:16–19 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers”. In reading these two quotes, it makes sense to me why Christian pro-lifers always say, “Abortion is murder”. The Bible does explicitly condemn murder, but this is where the whole argument about if abortion counts as murder or not comes up for me. Personally, I think it does not because a fetus in the first trimester is just a clump a cells, and in general abortion is performed early on in the pregnancy (even if it isn’t, I just think that’s the women’s business). However, where people draw the line from a clump of cells to a human being is up to each individual person and these quotes help me get some insight in why pro-lifers think the way they do. A bit further down the list, Proverbs 31:8–9 reads, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy”. This is another quote that also can be interpreted as talking about unborn babies who theoretically may want to live, but can’t defend themselves. Again, I can see how this makes sense but it makes me think, what about the people who are already born living in poverty and who need the same rights? Why do white Christians condemn abortion and feel like they have a duty to stand up for these unborn babies when there is so much other suffering going on in the world? Should we then ask these pro-lifers to adopt the unwanted babies and raise them until they are 18, since they care so much about their rights to live? The truth of the matter is, sometimes people just aren’t ready for a baby and it would bring more suffering into the world. These people would advocate for the same baby, up until it is born. Then, it is the mother’s responsibility and ultimately it is. People only seem to care when they want to, and this quote helps me understand why they have the hero mentality that they do when it comes to unborn fetuses. Furthermore, the Bible never specifcally says the word abortion. All of the quotes that I have mentioned could be interpreted as something else. I think that religious people also fail to realize that most abortions are just a pill that detatches a clump of cells from the mother’s uterus- not babies being torn apart limb-by-limb minutes before they are due.
The group of people who live by the Bible in terms of their ideas of abortion also often overlap with another group- Trump supporters. It’s not difficult to find videos of Trump making his views on abortion known. However, as you listen, it’s clear to see that he uses manipulative language to evoke emotion and support from his audience. One thing I noticed right away is that Trump uses very particular language in his speech. When he says, “We’re here for a very simple reason. To defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential,” it’s interesting that he uses the word “children,” which we associate with being playful, innocent, family, and pure. He says things such as “the destruction of human life,” to evoke emotion in his audience. He also somewhat brings religion into it when he says “God-given” potential. He knows exactly who his audience is, and uses these words to get a reaction out of them and rile them up to carry these ideas. His use of this type of language to evoke emotion is seen again when he says, “Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God”. It makes me think again back to the ideas that the Bible quotes were giving me. Why do they care about children only when they are unborn? Why would God give a “gift” out of something like rape or a child that no one wants? However, other questions of mine are answered such as why pro-lifers, Christians, and Trump supporters think the way they do. Trump is someone who appeals to all of these groups of people, and all of these ideas intertwine to essentially cause harm to lower-income women. We need to see the patterns in where we are receiving these messages from, and question where they come from.
In conclusion, I have touched on why anti-abortion mindets are outdated and harmful, why not to pass judgment on abortion based on the Bible, or in support of Trump. All of these sources are flawed and disapporoving safe abortions is actually causing more deaths by unsafe abortion, because women are put into positions where they feel they have no choice but to risk their lives and fertility or are forced to have a baby that ends up questioning its worth or not having the best quality of life. Abortion may not be a pretty aspect of life, but it happens and women should have safe, judgement-free options if we really want to keep our young women safe like we say we do.