My feelings on abortion are ambiguous. There are far too many personal morals for me to decide on either camp, be it pro-life or pro-choice. I will not divulge any details of my own thoughts; it is neither my intent nor my place to preach right and wrong. But I will simply state that, to me, abortion is a privilege, not a right. Its excesses and limits cannot be confined to restrictive words nor can a single legislature or individual simply decide upon it. No amount of print can dictate a definitive stance and no amount of debate will ever produce a clear moral victor.
But on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2003, President George W. Bush signed a bill banning intact dilation and extraction or, as it is more commonly known in right-wing propaganda vernacular, partial-birth abortion. Encompassed within a tight circle of supporters, Bush scraped pen upon paper and then stood to bask in the glow of his moral righteousness yet again. His colleagues rose with him, lauding him with handshakes and wide grins as they congratulated themselves on continuing their reign as lords of the universe and defenders of God; the truest of Christians in such trying times as these.
And it was all I could do to keep from hurling my television through the nearby window.
As I see it, abortion is almost exclusively a woman’s decision. While it’s never as simple as the pro-choice tagline of “her body, her choice” or the pro-life angle that abortion is murder, in many instances the ultimate course of action is left in the hands of the woman. Yet it is now men who are making an intensely personal, spiritual and physical decision for women, before the choice is even theirs to make. In terms of American values, there is nothing more indecent.
How is a body of government, the vast majority of whom are white males 50-years-old or older a fair representation of a female populace that makes up more than 50 percent of this nation? How could any man honestly state that his scope of comprehension is so great that he is able to better understand a woman’s rights than she is herself?
And, in what is perhaps the most vexing question of all, why is nobody doing anything about it?
In today’s society, women enjoy a vast array of civil liberties. They are in far more positions of power and influence within the economic, political and social worlds than ever before. Yet despite such advances, men continue to dominate both bodies of Congress and in doing so, maintain firm control over the fate of female reproductive rights. What gives them the right to dictate moral policy for women is beyond me.
Both pro-choice and pro-life advocates expend a considerable amount of energy and passion into their personal moral crusades, yet their efforts continue to be a serious misallocation of resources. Instead of engaging in vicious battles amounting to nothing more than mere grudge fights from which neither side will emerge victorious, why not promote female politicians and encourage women nationwide to support them? Women, through sheer numbers alone, have the potential to alter the face of American politics by establishing a greater balance of gender representation on Capitol Hill. Regardless of their stances on abortion, the potential that exists for a strong feminine presence in Congress is essential. For when decisions will be made on behalf of women, they will be made by women.
In the end, that is what is most important. The life decisions facing women are not to toil under the yoke of a patriarchal system; they are to be faced head on by those whose lives they most directly effect. So go and do something about it. This is your life and your decision.
Noah Potvin can be reached at Redfloit5@hotmail.com.