Saturday, April 9, 2011

God’s Will

The U.S. government nearly shut down today because of political pressure from some right-wing fanatics.  These would-be saboteurs of American fiscal continuity are opposed to abortion.  They are determined to destroy any organization that would make abortion possible, even though abortion is legal in this country, and most American citizens want it to remain legal.

I believe that anti-abortion fanatics are acting on what they believe to be “God’s Will;” that is, the notion that if a zygote is formed by the fusion of an egg and a sperm, somehow, this is the Will of God.  Perhaps this conviction comes from the biblical injunction in Genesis:  “Go forth and multiply,” or “Be fruitful and multiply.”  It should be noted that this same passage declares that man and woman were made in God’s image.

So we are all little gods.  According to this passage, we were designed and destined to control our environment – the “fish of the sea and the birds of the air,” etc, etc…  Should such control extend to a woman’s desire to control her own body and the fruits of it? 

I, personally, have not had, nor would I have had, an abortion.  That was my decision.  At one point, I had a long dispute with a boyfriend over the issue, telling him that, if I ever became pregnant, I would not have an abortion, and if he insisted on it, I would leave him, no matter how difficult that might make my life.  He was appalled that I wouldn’t take his opinion into consideration on the matter.  However, it was my body, and I felt that I should be the person to make such a decision.  Fortunately, the decision never was necessary; I was fastidious about birth control – and probably lucky, too.

But I know well several women who have had abortions. In all cases, their decisions were made after agonizing consideration, and what they decided seemed necessary if their subsequent lives were to be socially and financially tolerable. 

Two of those abortions occurred before “Roe v Wade” and two of them happened afterwards.  I was involved, reluctantly, in arranging one of each – one before and one afterwards.  While abortion is always extremely unpleasant, the agony and deceit necessary before Roe vs. Wade was appalling.

If a woman was well-to-do, her physician might simply have “helped out” with a D&C (dilatation and curettage), and the pathologist would note "evidence of  conceptus," or "placental material" in his report and that was the end of it.  I worked in a pathology lab while in college; I sectioned many D&Cs and heard those phrases dictated by the pathologist on several occasions.

If a woman was poor, she had to arrange for a “back-street” abortion, or else try her own “procedure,” perhaps with a hanger, to rid her body of the unwanted growth.  These efforts often led to the death of both the mother and the fetus.  Is this what “pro-lifers” want?  Do they want to punish women for what is so often the result of male coercion? 

My roommate was lucky.  I happened to know someone (a fellow student in medical school), who knew somebody who had had a safe abortion with a caring physician, one who lived and practiced in a large city several states away.  Another friend flew with her for support during the ordeal.  It was enormously expensive, even with the pooled resources of several fellow students.

I appeal to the “pro-lifers” to consider all of life when they talk their game.  Think about the diffiicult lives of women made more difficult by unwanted pregnancies, often incurred despite use of birth control.  Think about increased poverty and increased crime that can occur if poor women are not able to obtain reasonable abortions.  And think about the lives of animals and plants on Earth that are threatened by human over-population. 

If you are truly interested in doing “God’s Will” by avoiding medical intervention in unwanted pregnancies, I would urge you to avoid all medical intervention.  Don’t go to a doctor if you’re ill.  After all, the disease is God’s Will.  Don’t seek surgery if you have a tumor.  Remember, your tumor is also living tissue, and its existence is God’s Will.  Don’t take medication for a life-threatening condition.  Isn't that condition God’s  Will?  Don’t have bones set if they’re fractured after an accident.  The accident must have been God’s Will.

Be consistent and bow to God’s Will in all things. Don’t be a hypocrite. Perhaps Christian Scientists are the only ones who are honest on this issue.