The rampant and illogical fanaticism of evangelicals and others influencing the government to regulate women’s bodies is a disgrace to this country’s values. There are several main issues when it comes to the government regulating women’s bodies. The lack of scientific understanding, the increasingly blurred line between church and state, and the threat of a women’s health crisis are just a few of the plethora of issues with banning abortion. Ultimately, the right to choose must be left as a decision between a woman and her doctor.
President Trump is clearly pro-life, and has made some terrifying statements. The most jarring instance was when Chris Matthews asked President Trump about potential consequences for the women who have abortions: “The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment,” (Politifact). And now, the reality is setting in that abortion rights could be significantly impacted due to his nominee for the Supreme Court. Therefore, it is the public’s responsibility to be informed about the facts of the issue, thus preventing misguided thought to be the downfall of a significant part of women’s rights.
There are three problems with the policy to ban abortion in the U.S., whether that be by reversing Roe v. Wade, or by allowing the states more power to create even more restrictive laws than those already in place.
The first major issue with the pro-life movement is the lack of scientific knowledge. While it can’t be expected that the general public has a comprehensive understanding of fetal medicine, there is a basic fact perpetually ignored: life does not begin at conception. Evidence has shown that roughly 50% of fertilized eggs do not make it to a full pregnancy (Newsweek). If life beginning at conception is used as a standard, it not only shows a lack of scientific understanding, but also makes the argument apply to the many women who have unknowingly failed to have their fertilized egg make it to a full pregnancy. How can the Trump administration prosecute every woman who has ever lost a pregnancy using this misguided standard that life begins at conception? Unless they are able to change the laws of nature, there is no way for the pro-life movement to use science as an argument.
Additionally, bringing religion into one’s legislative duty is against a foundational value of the U.S.: the separation of church and state. Particularly, the issue of blending religion and governance seems to split down party lines. For the most part, Republicans tend to have difficulty separating their religion with their way of governing. For instance, Paul Ryan has stated that he “..[doesn’t] see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith,” (CNN). This is a major issue that a lawmaker places their personal religious beliefs over the wellbeing of their constituents. On the other hand, Democrats respect the line between their private life and their role in the government. Senator Tim Kaine states, “…I don’t think my job as a public official is to make everybody else follow the Catholic Church’s teaching, whatever their religious background or lack of a religious background…We will not put one set of religious doctrines higher than others,” (NPR). Senator Kaine’s stance shows how a person of a deep Catholic faith can put aside their beliefs to uphold the protection of everyone’s rights, making Senator Kaine is a fine example of the American values of the separation of church and state, especially in respect to abortion.
Finally, the issue with banning abortion will be that women who desperately need this basic health service will go underground. Before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, it’s estimated there were up to 1.2 million illegal and unsafe abortions per year (Huffington Post). If abortion is banned, instead of undergoing the procedure in a comfortable place with professionals, abortions will again be done by some medical school dropout in a dirty apartment, using coat hangers, knitting needles, and turpentine. Many women who underwent these procedures before Roe v. Wade got infections, became infertile, or died. How could lawmakers live with themselves if this becomes the standard of care for women with unwanted pregnancies?
At the end of the day it must be up to women. If women allow the government to regulate their intimate choices, they give up their fundamental freedoms. The fear of having no say over one’s body is not a fear that any woman should have to live with. If evangelicals, Republicans, and others are so concerned with a life that isn’t even formed, they should focus on improving the lives of the orphans, poor, hungry, outcast, and homeless first. As Bill Nye frankly put it: “Nobody likes abortion but you can’t tell somebody what to do…Get over it,” (Newsweek).