To Abort or Not to Abort…

I don’t normally talk about birth control, it isn’t a subject that’s generally on the radar screen of a gay man – although I am fully pro-choice.  Gay men (at least those with a healthy sense of survival) are decidedly pro-condom.  The very existence of the survivors of my generation are as a direct result of condom use.  It only takes one slip-up for a person to seroconvert and once that’s happened, there’s no turning-back to a negative-status.  I lived through the early days of the AIDS epidemic where the only time I got to see my friends was either at their hospital bed, laid-out for a viewing or in the receiving line at a funeral.  Living through a period like that changes a person’s perceptions on sex and the exchange of bodily fluids.  For women, semen is a fluid with at least 3 or more possible consequences, pregnancy, STD exposure — or both.  But the ‘pious’ of the political world have seized on all aspects of sexual-responsibility to demonize it as a wedge issue for anyone gullible enough to buy into their propaganda.

FOX New’s Nasty Misinformation Department once again diminished itself last week when conservative pundit, Cal Thomas referred to MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow as being “The strongest argument for contraception.”  He has since apologized, and Rachael herself was gracious in accepting his apology.  In my opinion, a world without Rachael Maddow would be like Bedford Falls without George Bailey.  Ms. Maddow (as opposed to Mr. Thomas) is a Rhodes Scholar, not to mention the voice of intelligence and reason — 2 qualities that always make the FOX crowd cringe.  Cal Thomas’ thoughtless gaff once again exposed the rampant hypocrisy of FOX News where such a cold comment could be uttered, even in jest.  Not to mention it was a pure contradiction to his stand on the issue.

Recently the Susan G. Komen foundation split-open at the seams over the subject of abortion funding for Planned Parenthood.  This prompted the usual rantings from Rick Santorum on abortion which plays well to his base…ahhh…instincts.   Santorum and other neo-conservatives made false statements about there being a “War being waged on the Catholic Church.”  There’s not a war on the Catholic Church – there’s a backlash against archaic mythology, and if Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and the Catholic Church want to identify themselves with archaic-backward thinking, let them own-up to it.  Meanwhile it would be wise for Catholics to recall how flat they once defended the world as being — imprisoning Galileo for sharing the audacity of truth — then look historically at how well that played-out for them…

Anyone who was paying attention learned a lot over the last couple of weeks – for instance – only 3% of all functions performed by Planned Parenthood are abortions.  The remaining 97% are women’s health-screenings for vital concerns like breast cancer through mammograms and other preventative cancer tests — often supplied to America’s poorest and most underprivileged women — in turn saving taxpayers money.  Taking a stand against Planned Parenthood is tantamount to admitting to a sorrowful misinterpretation of the organization’s mission: Women’s health and contraception so as to avoid disease and unwanted pregnancies before abortion or illness become an issue.  (By the way further saving taxpayer dollars.)  I don’t actually care that much about the taxpayer money component — but conservatives claim to.

The most pressing problem in the world today is over-population.  No one in their right mind thinks of abortion as a viable large-scale ‘birth control method.’  Abortion is a very personal and painful decision that belongs solely to the woman in who’s body that seed has been planted.  There’s statistical evidence that crime per capita decreased proportionally to the rate of abortions performed since Roe v Wade went into effect.  Dysfunctional homes filled with unwanted, unloved, improperly supervised children make for miserable lives that often grow-up to become adults who perform acts of desperation and ruin — leaving in their wake more and more unwanted offspring.  But that is only part of the story.  We are rapidly becoming an over-populated planet where food and water riots are already happening in poorer nations.  Does the Catholic Church prefer to take-up the mantle of mass-genocide, war, plague, starvation and street murder as the humane answer to over-population?

I certainly hope not.

The answer is to gain cooperation within all nations to provide contraception — because people are going to have sex no matter what…  The challenge is to impress on less advanced cultures the vital human health value in halting the spread of disease and unwanted pregnancies.  Invariably religion will stand in the way, be it Catholic or Muslim.  Face it, most people on this earth were born as a result of recreational sex without a moment of forethought going into the life that resulted.

Teens, obviously, no matter how you may caution them will always experiment with sex.  There’s a notably higher number of teen pregnancies among Christian families preaching abstinence than among better-educated families less concerned with religious mores.  Take the Palin clan for instance:  First Bristol gets knocked-up during Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential run.  Bristol then makes a bundle of money speaking at Christian “teen abstinence” conferences.  3 years later, Bristol’s younger brother goes and gets a neighborhood girl pregnant.  How’s that abstinence thang workin’ out for ‘ya, Sarah?

The burgeoning novelty of such an overwhelming desire as the youthful sex-drive will always lead to a certain number of teenage pregnancies.  What happens to those girls?  They find themselves traumatized, with their lives completely thrown off course — generally without the assistance of a father to help share the burden and the responsibility.  Some give-up the child for adoption, which in turn haunts them forever.  Others fail to realize their own life’s dreams in deference to raising a child.  How sad is it for a child to be left to raise a child?  Or desert that child to the care of an aging grandparent?  These are preventable human tragedies.

Having an abortion is not an easy choice.  Ask me – believe it or not, I know.  Before I came-out as gay, back in my college days, I got my girlfriend pregnant.  She had an abortion.  I’d be untruthful to say it didn’t bother me, or that I’ve never thought about it since.  I have.  Initially I wanted her to keep the baby, but I was 19 going-on 20 with a completely unrealistic worldview.  She did not want the baby. My mother who was anti-abortion at the time — insisted on lending me money to send to my girlfriend and pay for the abortion — which took place only a month or so after abortion was implemented as legal.  My mother didn’t want to discuss it ever again, because things like that simply didn’t happen in OUR family.  I did pay my mother back.  I didn’t like my role in that drama — but the brunt of the real trauma was borne by my former girlfriend who in addition to physical and emotional pain, was harassed with hateful, threatening phone-calls from people — who through whatever means — procured her name and contact information.  She was told “It would be God’s will if she were killed.”  She was barraged with a relentless campaign of hate mail and telephone calls from the so-called religious “right.”  From that point on, I lost all sympathy for the anti-abortion movement.  Curious how so many of those same people cling dearly to their guns, and justify murdering the living…  Facts are, the ‘Right to Life’ movement does not appeal to a particularly bright bunch.

The world now boasts a population of SEVEN BILLION people and counting…  A projected TEN BILLION by 2020.  The soul of decency itself dictates by common sense that a family should only plan on having as many children as they can afford to comfortably house, feed, clothe and educate.  Family planning is the way to slow-down population growth and lead to happier, healthier families.  Rationally speaking, it’s the anti-contraception/anti-abortion people who are the cruel, primitive thinkers.  The human race — whether we like it or not — are the collective stewards of this earth — and the first thing we must do to insure our future is to curb the exponential growth in our numbers.  Killing people after they’re already alive — conscious — lost in a world falling short of basic human necessities — robbed of purposeful lives — is a far greater form of mass cruelty — and dare I say it — sin.

In closing, the sheer brilliance of Barack Obama was demonstrated this week when he managed to broker a deal that was satisfactory to both the Catholic hierarchy AND Planned Parenthood.  Obama devised a method where mandated healthcare can still be provided to female employees of Catholic organizations while not denying comprehensive women’s health care to those individuals who may or may not themselves BE Catholic.  Those services will be paid-for in full by the insurer with a government copay.  No alleged ‘blood’ on the Church’s hands.  It’s time to clear this particular wedge-issue off the table — snatch it away from the jaws of conservative diversionary tactics and start concentrating on the things that really matter:  A healthy population enjoying a healthy economy — well educated — competitive in today’s world — contributing toward a collective healthy future — unburdened by mythology, falsehoods and shame.

8 thoughts on “To Abort or Not to Abort…

  1. Sadly, no, Obama’s brokered compromise did NOT satisfy the vile, putrid pedophiles of the Catholic Church because now they are raising Cain that an employer would have to pay for insurance that covers contraception even if the insurance is the same cost as one that does not. They want to prevent ANYONE from preventing a pregnancy. The Catholic Church STILL is of the opinion that all births are “Gods Gift” and they want ANY excuse to keep those pews full of collection plate fillers.
    Despite the press they pay for, the Catholic Church is NOT a compassionate, caring organization pushing for peace and well-being in the world. They are a multinational conglomerate designed to pump money to the Vatican. Their product is self-righteousness, the belief in salvation, and the myth of an afterlife. The by-product of their business is over-population that creates the very problems they CLAIM they are raising money to help.
    They cannot, or WILL not see that they are one of the leading contributors to hate, famine, want, pestilence and despair in this world, just as Big Oil/Big Coal will always refuse to recognize that the by-product of their business is pollution, revolution, slavery, and death.
    The IDIOT Rick Santorum claims that Obama is enacting a war on religion that will lead to people of faith being led to the guillotine just like the French Revolution. No, Obama is not doing it, the growing realization by so many rational people that “Faith” is destroying our ways of life, is pushing to continue the hatred, bigotry, sexism and mistakes of the past, is pushing for a war on people of faith. Or at least, organizations of faith. Which have absolutely NOTHING to do with real faith.
    Organized religion is already at war with intelligence. We are being told we have to follow the dictates of ignorance, Dark Ages ignorance, and the dictates of a patriarchal organization that was founded on a hatred of women, and anything “not” of the faith.
    It is so hypocritical that the Church screams hatred of gays when the evidence suggests that Saint Paul, one of the early leaders and formers of the early church, may have been a homosexual. It is HIS misogyny and hiding of the writings of Mary Magdalene that are the basis for the myth that Jesus was single. (He is addressed as Rabbi throughout the Bible, and in the Old Testament is states that a Rabbi must FIRST be a good husband)
    The tactics of the Church are the tactics of abuse and control. There IS no place for the Catholic Church in the 21st Century. IF there is a lashing out at the Church and people of faith, it will not be the doing of Obama. No, the blame will rest squarely with the church that wants to hold us all in ignorance, in fealty to stupidity and an outdated, flawed mentality.
    And maybe someone could answer for me this one really central question. If we are to follow a faith of our ancestors, why do we not follow the Celtic/Aryan religions of Europe, as the majority of us are European, instead of a “persecuted” religion of the Middle East? The European religions go back to the Paleolithic ages (early stone age) and archeologically, are far older than the upstart Judeo/Christian faiths out of Palestine.
    The were a matriarchal, relatively peaceful faith, that lived in harmony with the earth, instead of against it. There is a lot in those faiths that could make so much of modern life better, if we looked to their patterns rather than the Palestinian one.

  2. You hit all the nails on the head, my friend. It’s hard to believe in 2012 that we are still having this argument. I am sick and tired of other people telling me what I can and cannot do with my uterus. They’re quite welcome to do whatever they want with their own. It is unnerving that all they can think about is abortion; yes, a difficult topic, and an activity that should optimally be kept to a minimum – which is what responsible and affordable use of birth control would do. They focus solely on Planned Parenthood as an abortion provider, conveniently overlooking the vast amount of health care that organization provides for hundreds of thousands of women who otherwise couldn’t get the care they need. Sheesh, I could go on and on but it’s past my bedtime :) More later!

    • Romy – I thought a lot about writing this piece. I thought about whether I had a right to express these thoughts, but they’ve been stuck in my mind me for decades. If I were a father today, I would have a 41 year old offspring. I’ve wondered who and what that person might have been like. I also would not have been a good husband or father, at least not at that age. I’ve also realistically faced how naive I had been in my thinking — knowing secretly that I was gay — I didn’t think my seed was capable of actually impregnating anyone. I was suffocatingly sheltered from the facts of life growing-up, which is the most negligent thing a parent can do to a child.

      I do think about that child who never was, but with all I know today, and as much as the decision remains painful — my college girlfriend and I did do the right thing. She is now happily married, living on the west coast and has grown children. We’re only in contact through a mutual friend who sends good wishes back and forth from time to time.

  3. well said, beihl and mark.

    what has always puzzled me is the catholic church’s interpretation of “be fruitful and multiply.” shouldn’t that be taken as a blessing rather than a directive?

    • That does sound closer to what should be an intelligent view of that line from Genesis. But then, as I said, why as Americans of European descent, are we following a Judean religion anyway?

  4. Bill, what an excellent & exceptionally well-written commentary on a topic that needs to be addressed head-on without pulling any “punches” or bowing to “political corrrectness.” You have done just that in a few paragraphs. And to Mark, your comments are also excellently presented. I whole-heartedly agree with & endorse both outstandingly astute pieces. Kudos both!

  5. Today Christine Gregoire signed into law the Marriage Equality Act, making legal same sex marriage in Washington State. The Religious Reich is warming their tar and plucking feathers and calling her Satan.
    I have issued a challenge to ALL CHRISTIANS. I want one to show me where in their Bible it says “Thou shall hate all those who are different than you.” I’d even take a reasonable facsimile!
    Meanwhile more and more cases are coming to light of Catholic priests raping young boys, including one telling the boy he was raping that this was what “God’s Love” felt like, and another forcing a boy to fellate him that to swallow was the same as receiving communion. To which the church responds by shuffling priests around to avoid prosecution, and to ensure the statute of limitations expires before anything can be done.
    It is time to break up the Catholic Church and give it’s assets to the children whose asses the priests have violated. (Or any other part of their anatomy) This hypocrisy has reached DISGUSTING levels. “Thou shalt not sin, unless you are a priest, then all is OK”

    • I’ve long held that the Vatican should hold a basement yard sale and cure world hunger and disease – but they love having all that cool stuff. And stuffing choirboys.

      Generally speaking “out” gay men are harmless – closet-queens are treacherous – as is any beast that’s trapped and cornered. I’m glad Governor Gregoire had the courage to sign gay marriage into law. Progress is made in inches not in miles. Kudos for moving to a smart state.

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