General

No one should have a say in a woman’s reproductive health except for her.

I wasn’t going to give my opinion on the overturning of Roe V. Wade by the United States Supreme Court.

I wasn’t going to give it for the simple reason that I am a straight, white, cisgender, male. We all get to have opinions, but there are times when our perspective shouldn’t be the one sought. I am not sharing my thoughts because I think that my opinion should have any bearing or should be taken as anything more than a grain of salt. I am only sharing my thoughts because there are not enough men speaking up about the decision that was handed down today.

What is not an opinion is this:

When it comes to the choices a woman makes about her reproductive health or anything concerning her body, no one should have a say in that except for her. This is not my opinion; this is a fact.

We are a country divided. We have always been divided. We always will be divided. It is in our nature to create conflict with each other. There are points of view that can be debated. There are times when we can “agree to disagree.” There are going to be aspects of our day to day life where there is no correct answer. There are going to be times when the answer lies not in stark black and white contrast but in the gray areas of circumstance.

This is not one of those times.

In our division, it’s easy to become prone to hyperbole in defense of side of the argument. There is no greater example of this than the arguments made by those wishing to weaken a woman’s sovereignty over her own body.  The biggest lie you’ll hear spouted is that this is an escape from responsibility. That by terminating a pregnancy, a woman is somehow avoiding the consequences of her actions, even if those actions were out of her control. You’ll hear horror stories where women have decided at the last minute to have an abortion because she simply does not want the baby.

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is by no means the avoidance of consequences. It is just not the consequence that opponents of a woman’s right to choose are willing to accept. The choice to terminate a pregnancy is never an easy decision. It is an agonizing decision that can and likely will have physical and mental ramifications for the rest of their lives. It’s not a decision that anyone makes lightly. As it is her body though, she should be the only one making that choice.

My opinion shouldn’t matter though. It’s not a position I will ever have to be in. I will never make what is likely the hardest choice any person could ever possibly have to make.

There is, however, something that I want to say to all women today who are worried about what today’s decision will mean for them. Not just women, but every member of the LGBTQ+ community and every person of color wondering if their rights are the next to be stripped away.

I am sorry that we have failed you.

We have failed you through our division. We have failed you with our lack of compassion. We have failed you by allowing hate to drive our decisions. We have failed you with political apathy and complacency. We have failed you by allowing radical evangelical ‘Christians” to trample your freedoms. We have failed you by allowing bigots to have a voice and hide behind antiquated ideals penned by ignorant men who could not even begin to understand the complexities of the future. We have allowed people to twist concepts like Freedom and Justice. We sat silent as friends and family support some of the most vitriol and disgusting beliefs to avoid conflict. We agreed to disagree as people we love shed their integrity while cowardly hiding behind the pathetic argument of “the lesser of two evils,” despite them knowing exactly the evil they supported. We tweeted and posted and wrote pithy comments all while taking responsibility for our own apathy.

Make no mistake, this happened on our watch, and we dropped the ball hard.

We’ve allowed politicians to put “wins for their team” and staying in power well ahead of the needs of our nation. We’ve allowed ourselves to be consumed by small meaningless victories. We’ve prided ourselves on polishing the buttons on a uniform that we never wore into battle. We’ve picked and prodded so much at the minor cosmetic injustices that we’ve built a fortress of cards so weak that it couldn’t survive even the weakest breath of oppression let alone the onslaught of tyranny sought by those who celebrate today. This is a blow strengthened by the momentum of unchecked intolerance and ignorant conviction masked as the love child of patriotism and evangelical conquest. A conquest so far from what the promised dream of Freedom blindly championed for 200 years.

Today’s decision will be justified by the throwing up of its proponent’s hands claiming that what has been done was not a disparaging of freedom, but rather an exercise in its purity. That the centuries old document is infallible and must be taken at its exact word no matter the circumstance. That if it is the will of the people, then there is a process for rectifying those mistakes. Unfortunately, that belief is founded on the naive belief that those in power are as concerned with the future of our nation as they are the future of their own political aspirations. Yet where we are as a society, with the threads of liberty being pulled away from the fabric of our nation, would seem to prove just how misguided that belief is.

It will be justified as a win for the Christian God. They’ll envision their blonde haired, blue eyed Jesus spiking the ball in the faces of non-believers and heathens who only seek immoral pleasure outside of the tight confines which their ideology allows. They’ll plug their ears in willful, ignorant bliss. Blindly shutting their eyes to the possibility that their favorite book is the only book that matters. With the steadfast belief that science and religion cannot exist within the same universe. They’ll manufacture evil in other’s hearts. They’ll fan the flames of intolerance in the name of faith, picking and choosing the pages that empower them while ignoring the message of what it really means to love thy neighbor. The message of compassion is just a whisper against the screams of manufactured morality.

The question becomes, where do we go from here?

Will we counter this strike against freedom with apathy?

Or will we stand up and made our voice heard. Will we vote in every election? Will we champion candidates who will fight for what is right and not that which is simply a means of staying in power?

Will we whisper our pleas for a better tomorrow? Or will we stand up in defiance of injustice and make our voices heard.

We may have failed to live up to our responsibility of leaving this world a better place than we found it, but the fight is far from over.

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