Healthcare vs. Religious Morality in Relation to Reproductive Rights.
Why religion has no place in this conversation.
Amidst political discourse, all too often legitimate debate has been hijacked by arguments that begin and end with God, faith, or morality — reproductive rights being one of the topics. Conveniently, we see the Bible slipped in to the conversation as a crutch of sorts for those on the right to lean on when they have no scientifically driven basis for their arguments.
When discussing reproductive rights, many on the right point to the Bible in reference to their belief that life is a sacred phenomenon that begins at the very moment of conception. While it is true that “life” does begin at that moment, it would be dishonest to ignore the fact that the life form existing at that very moment is no more of a life form than any other microorganism we might find under a microscope. When those who believe in life at the moment of conception equate that microorganism to a living, breathing human, intentionally or not they are turning the conversation in to a unnecessarily moral one, as opposed to a practical one.
The truth is up until the point of viability outside of the womb, reproductive rights should have nothing to do with morality but everything to do with healthcare. Religious morality has no place in a conversation concerning something that occurs naturally in our biology. According to the March For Dimes:
“As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage.”
While of course a miscarriage can be devastating for any expecting mother, that staggering estimate is due to the fact that many miscarriages happen before a woman even really knows she’s pregnant. So yes, any time you had a pregnancy scare and suddenly got your period, you may indeed have actually had a pregnancy that resulted in miscarriage. Women can be pregnant and go on to miscarry without even knowing it. A miscarriage most oftentimes is the body itself terminating the pregnancy, and occurs naturally within our reproductive system. Of course, morality immediately enters the conversation as soon as the question of controlling our own bodily autonomy and reproductive rights is brought up. Suddenly, the termination is no longer a natural occurrence within our reproductive system. Some would have you believe the choice makes it murder.
But if we are going to make abortion an issue about religious morality and murder as opposed to reproductive rights, then shouldn’t the bare minimum requirements for making such bold, harsh claims be that they only apply to something that can live outside of the womb? How can we murder something that isn’t even able to exist as it’s own independent being? Of course we can’t, so logically abortion is first and foremost about healthcare, and to deny that is to deny the humanity of the people who are able to get pregnant. Having the right to an abortion is simply about allowing people to make decisions pertaining to what develops inside their bodies.
There is very little consistency when it comes to the religious moral argument against abortion, and it doesn’t take long to see how it is deeply rooted in nothing other than the desire to control our reproductive systems. Unsurprisingly, these objections go beyond abortion itself. Many staunchly conservative Christians who oppose abortions on those grounds extend that view to birth control and morning after pills as well, products specifically designed to prevent pregnancies and therefore by extension preventing abortions themselves. They extend that believe in full faith of the idea that they’re proving themselves consistent and principled, but if you truly feel abortion is the murder of a baby, wouldn’t you then be in favor of those products that prevent that “murder”?
To be fair, it is virtually impossible to be consistent in objections based on religious moral grounds because religion itself is fundamentally inconsistent. So then why should it be given serious consideration at the government level? The answer of course, is that it should not. And yet, these objections are all that stand in the way from abortion being viewed as an issue of healthcare as opposed to an issue of morals.
Men who have no idea that women take birth control for a variety of reasons, including the regulation of their periods, are actively working to take that product that’s vital to their health away from them because it goes against their own personal religious morals. In the end, all of it comes down to the fact that the ultra religious are uncomfortable with the fact that women are sexual beings with reproductive healthcare rights, and in no way should forced pregnancy and childbirth be a punishment for that.