Monday, July 4, 2011

America's Collective Uterus


by Fay Paxton

Few things anger me more than the men who actively campaign against abortion. Oh, I know all those moral, come-to Jesus arguments about men and fatherhood. But frankly speaking, unless the unborn considered for abortion is a product of the protesting men's sperm, as far as I'm concerned, they don't have a dog in this fight. So before you get your undies in a twist, I am neither advocating for or against abortion. My issue is with men who drive the argument.

Like Congressman Pence, who is one outspoken manperson on the matter.  Quite frankly, Congressman Pence's personal emotions, moral convictions and articles of faith are well placed in the Church he attends, but they don't belong in Congress. His job is to represent those who voted for him and those who didn't, the faithful and the faithless, pro-lifers and those who support pro-choice. Like it or not, the right to an abortion is the law and we should be able to expect that our legislators will respect and obey the law.

Personally, I'm more than a little put off by what I consider the hypocrisy of men who claim to cherish life. We live in a country that believes in the death penalty, has no problem supporting acts of war that obliterate innocent children, and demonstrates little concern for the children who have been abandoned and reside in foster homes and orphanages all over the country. Two million children go to bed hungry every night. The richest nation in the world has an unseen population of children who are homeless, hungry, diseased, poorly educated, and victims of violence. What about their right to life?

Supposedly, they are concerned about the ability to regulate the use of federal funds. While a law already exists which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions, according to detractors, it can be circumvented. Why stop there, chances are, every hospital and clinic in this country has received some kind of federal funding and Doctors and nurses have most probably funded their education with a few Federal Pell Grants. What should we do about that? And since they believe in the "natural progression" of life, shouldn't we outlaw vasectomies and Viagra?

Just to be clear, the act of abortion is not a personal, moral, heart throbbing issue for me. I certainly understand and accept those men who are informed by their faith, but the road to heaven is not theirs to pave for anyone but themselves. I am incensed by the idea that the very same men who rally against government because of it's invasion into their private lives, are often the same men who believe Congress should legislate a woman's uterus. It doesn't get more private than that.

Congressman Trent Franks said, "Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery."

Rep. Franks can stand a little clarity about the "slavery policy", as it relates to the babies he is so concerned about. I wonder if Congressman Franks  knows that the health and diet of slave mothers' during pregnancy caused high rates of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and deaths shortly after birth. If the infants survived, they were often taken from the mother's and sold to other slave owners.

The diets of infant slaves was so deficient in nutritional value; they often suffered from night blindness, abdominal swellings, swollen muscles, enlarged livers, skin lesions, muscle spasms and convulsions. Slave children were victims of beriberi (inflammation of the nerves), pellagra (skin lesions, diarrhea, mental illness), tetany (malfunction of the thyroid gland), rickets (softening and distortion of the bones), all diseases caused by protein and nutritional deficiencies.

Surely, Congressman Franks didn't know that slave children as young as two had chores and received harsh punishments. They might be whipped or even required to swallow the worms they failed to pick off of cotton or tobacco plants. Nor did he know that most slave children grew up apart from their father, either because he had been sold away, or was white.

Throughout the 1840s,  J. Marion Sims, "the father of gynecology", performed surgical experiments on pregnant enslaved African women, without the benefit of anesthesia even though it was readily available. The women regularly died from infections. In order to test one of his theories about the cause of disease in infants, he used a shoemaker's awl, a pointed tool used to make holes in leather, to move around the skull bones of their babies.  All men need to read  Vaccines and Medical Experiments on Children, Minorities, Woman and Inmates (1845 - 2007) .

It may be perfectly fine to force mothers to birth unwanted children, but then what? I wish women never made the choice to abort an unborn child, but I'm not going to raise a single one of them and I know that just as women obtained abortions before Roe v Wade, they will continue to obtain them if it is overturned.

Men have the right to their beliefs, I just don't want them imposed on me. I respect the opinions of people who speak from experience and have a stake in the outcome of the problem they seek to resolve. To my way of thinking, if they really want to have credibility about the abortion issue, then men should get knocked up. Until then, I for one would appreciate it if they would just shut-up.

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