To this outsider, the recent decision by the US Supreme Court that makes it possible for states to declare abortions illegal does not appear to have been decided based on law. Instead, the majority opinion began from personal and religious convictions and then extended to legal justifications.
I say “justifications” because that’s what happens when you have a theory in search of evidence. If that sounds familiar, it is. That is precisely what Trump, Giuliani and their cohorts had when they tried to overturn the 2020 election. It is not a coincidence that I learned of both those things this week; they are connected.
In the hearings into the January 6th, 2020, insurrection and in today’s fallout from the Supreme Court decision regarding Roe v Wade we have seen what happens when religion-related beliefs are given avenues to political power, and it is not good. Worse, it is scary, especially for women.
I am old enough to remember what it was like before abortion was both legal and readily available. You don’t need me to spell out the gory details, but the choices for girls and women were all bad. Sometimes the choices were deadly. Even if they weren’t deadly, they were never talked about.
Sometimes girls went away to “visit an aunty” for a few months. Sometimes, a girl got married quickly and then a baby was born “prematurely”. When a local woman provided medical services in secret, that knowledge stayed with only the neighbourhood’s mothers. Occasionally, a family doctor would provide a “routine D & C” (dilation and curettage) just to make sure everything was hunky dory in there. The word “abortion” was never uttered. That’s an awful lot of quotation marks for words that were never spoken.
That is where some American states are now headed, a land of secrets, subterfuge, and shaming. And who takes the weight of all that societal disapproval? Desperate girls and women, that’s who. If this is Christianity, it is very Old Testament. There is no Jesus in any of this.
So, with the spirit of Jesus in mind, I would like to recommend a few possible countermeasures.
- A non-profit could be set up to give people the opportunity to donate their air miles to enable people to fly to states that permit abortions, similar to the Miles for Migrants program.
- In the affected states, groups could be established online where individuals volunteer to drive girls and women to facilities that provide abortions.
- Individuals can offer moral and practical support, online or in person, to anyone who has been shunned or outcast.
Clearly, more should happen politically and legally, but we can all do something in our own neighbourhoods. The spirit of religious faiths lives and breathes in how individuals interact with those in need. For those of us who, like me, have abandoned organized religion, it is just normal human compassion to want to help others when we can. In the USA from today on, there will be lots of pregnant people who will need us.