This blog explores and examines the intersections of rhetoric, race, and religion.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
It's Time to Talk
All too often, abortion debates focus almost exclusively on the potential life growing inside a pregnant woman, rather than on the woman herself. It sometimes seems that a woman, upon becoming pregnant, ceases to be a full and complex human being. Instead, the fertilized egg, zygote or embryo in her uterus is valued more highly than her actual life.
This happened recently in Texas, where a brain-dead pregnant woman was put on life support for weeks against her own wishes and those of her husband and parents. Marlise Muñoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed on the kitchen floor and suffered oxygen deprivation to the brain. Because she was pregnant, machines kept her heart and lungs working in order to keep her fetus alive. Only after tests revealed severe fetal "abnormalities" did a judge overrule the hospital's directive and order Muñoz to be disconnected from the machines.
Such a tragic incident spotlights the horrible impact of intrusive laws that claim to be pro-life but actually trample on the lives of women and their families. Unfortunately,many people who promote these laws often claim religion as their justification.
Given this connection, one might assume that to be religious is to be anti-choice -- and conversely, that one cannot be both a person of faith and a supporter of abortion care. But in reality, people of faith have long supported a woman's right to make the complex decision about whether to have a child, trusting that she will discern what is best for her. Many Christian religions, as well as Judaism and other faiths, consider reproductive health care to be a justice issue. And 7 out of 10 women who get abortions are religious.