So why did Wendy Davis filibuster the SB5 anti-abortion bill? For reasons that good old boy politics in the state of Texas just can’t get a handle on.
What’s at stake here by imposing draconian measures on women that will prevent unwanted pregnancies? Behind all of the pretense of any legislation that curtails a woman’s ability to abort an unwanted pregnancy, at the heart of the pro-life advocacy is the notion that abortions are murder and deny due process under the law to the potential human developing in the womb. Such were the claims of two men I had a recent exchange with on this issue. Yes, other men! Someone like myself who will never need to go through the experience of an abortion.
The first asserted the belief that abortions were tantamount to murder and deprived millions of children to live the life that Ms. Davis had achieved, mimicking the Rick Perry talking point that Ms. Davis “hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.” –
I raised the point then that should a 15-year old girl who was raped by a drunken uncle be tried for murder for ending the pregnancy her assault had produced? The other person, a white thirty-something christian male retorted, “But the child inside said 15-year-old did not ask to be brought about. Where are the rights of that child under due process? That’s still a selfish decision. All abortion is selfish.” Some people who are passionate about their beliefs often jettison words from their mouth before their brain has time to process the thought that produced them.
When Wendy Davis stood up to a bunch of middle-aged, mostly Christian white males in the Texas senate to defend women’s health care freedom, she was doing so to protect more than one man’s view about how life should be conceived and treated under the law. I can’t speak for Wendy Davis or for the other young girls and women out there who will have to confront the issue of abortion sometime in their life. As a man I could never fully grasp the hurt and emotional stress that a woman has to undergo when confronted with the dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy. But let me offer something on this subject to counter the men’s points above and suggest what Senator Davis might have had in mind when she filibustered a bill aimed at reducing the professional services offered in the state of Texas to perform abortions.
No one should be forced to accept consequences they not only didn’t plan for but are ill-prepared to handle.
T’is true. No child conceived asks to be conceived. So do they have rights under the due process clause of the constitution? Does a fertilized egg, an embryo or even a fetus at it’s earliest stages have rights comparable to someone who was carried to full term, born and experienced the touch of a loving parent and all that the world presents each living creature? Until we come to a clear and consensual understanding of this, no one should be condemned to end an unwanted pregnancy, at least in the first trimester. No one should be forced to accept consequences they not only didn’t plan for but are ill-prepared to handle.
If the yet-to-be-born has any rights at all, it should be the expectation of being conceived in love, not the result of a brutal rape by a man who will never be a loving father that child will need. Nor the results of a drunken orgy where conscious decisions were lacking and not even at a moment of weakness by a teenager when passion overrides clear-headed thinking.
A child who comes into this world has the right to be loved and wanted by two parents who have prepared a warm home environment for them. Parents who want children out of a mutual agreement between two consenting adults, not some forced obligation imposed by distant and disconnected laws and the people who make them. A child has a right to expect to be shielded and protected when things get ugly in this world, not placed here by some state edict that wounds up putting them in some orphanage only to be followed by foster care. They have a right to expect to be raised in a normal loving home where those who chose to bring them into this world will put their concerns at the forefront of their lives.
A child has a right to expect to be properly nourished and educated. Can a single mother do this without aid from family that may or may not be there? Does the state then have the obligation to fill this void where humans cannot or will not and if they choose not to, do they violate some right they proclaimed were inalienable under a document that men made hundreds of years ago?
Is it selfish for someone to want to bring a child into this world with the intent of providing them with the best possible life they can prepare for them? Is it selfish to want the father of your child to be the man YOU choose and who you deeply love and want to spend the rest of your life with rather than a rapist who physically and emotional scarred you for life? Is it selfish to want to have access to inexpensive birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy you neither asked for or have made no plans for? Is it selfish to expect your choices to be truly yours and not something forced upon you by people who will play no intimate part in your life?
If one or one-million unwanted children are not brought into this world from a pregnancy that was not planned, will the world gain or lose enough that will prevent it from evolving as it always has?
And finally, is all life so precious that any and all conditions that conceive a child should be carried out because someone else’s ideal about life is to be honored over those who have to bear the burden of not only carrying a child to full term but providing efficiently for that child for years to come? If one or one-million unwanted children are not brought into this world from a pregnancy that was not planned, will the world gain or lose enough that will prevent it from evolving as it always has? Who can read the future so certainly?
And are the unborn the only one’s needing our protection? What about the fragile lives of young women who have yet to make a life for themselves and fulfill some of their dreams? Many of these young girls haven’t had the types of conversations they need to give them a full understanding of the consequences that come with unprotected sex. They also face a stigma and social restrictions about birth control measures that can prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Should they be punished because of the actions of a rapist or an over-bearing boyfriend?
We all feel that life is precious but we know that it’s not under many conditions. That in fact unless we have properly planned and prepared for bringing a child into this world that the odds are likely they will not view or experience a life as precious as we hoped had we personally made the choice to bring children into this world when we were ready for them. How precious is the life that has been forced to be brought into a world of poverty and neglect?
There are no guaranties about life nor absolutes about how it should come about. We choose to believe what we do and hopefully those beliefs are based on realities, grounded in facts as we can best ascertain them, not superstitions. The law is an extension of the individual that should be designed to benefit the collective society we are a part of, not as a tool to beat us into submission to accept someone else’s faith belief or world view.
There’s no easy, black or white choices that arise in each case dealing with abortion. Education early and often is a possible solution that can prevent unwanted pregnancies which often lead to abortion. But right now the state of Texas has budgeted poorly for this nor does the government established to benefit all of its citizens feel they have an obligation to provide this type of need. Higher education is becoming out of reach for all but the very rich as student loans are becoming too costly and grant funds are drying up.
Too many leaders and people in position of authority in Texas feel no need to provide an adequate and safe means of contraception. In 2011 the state Legislature voted to cut Texas’ family planning program by two-thirds. 146 clinics lost state funds, and more than 60 of those clinics closed. You can’t be opposed to abortions if you’re not supportive of the means to prevent them.
It takes great courage for anyone to stand up to the brick wall built by outdated convention
Just like the child that didn’t choose to be born, people don’t choose to live in poverty and ignorance. In most cases they are forced to live this life by choices they had no real say in, if any. Until the social structure changes where there is real equality based on human needs, not good fortune or privilege, the state has no right to impose a condition on those people who lack sufficient resources to not only prevent unwanted pregnancies but to have the means to adequately provide for those they choose to carry to full term.
How easy it was for Gov. Rick Perry to stand briefly before a friendly crowd at the National Right To Life conference last Thursday and belittle Wendy Davis, referring to her as “the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day” as she stood up to a hostile, predominantly male Senate chamber for over 12 hours. Men like Perry and Senator Ted Cruz who joined Perry at the NRTL conference belittling the stand Senator Davis took are quick to denigrate those they share nothing in common with. They apparently have no idea either what’s it’s like to give in to one’s passions,or worse, be raped, and then be expected to carry an unwanted child full term because it seems right to someone else.
It takes great courage for anyone to stand up to the brick wall built by outdated convention; where most people remain silent even as they mumble to themselves how wrong those conventions seem. I don’t personally know any one woman who would take on this kind of challenge so when I see the likes of one in Wendy Davis, I tip my hat to her and am in awe of her courage.
Meet Wendy Davis
If you are unable to view this video, click on the link below.