Although it’s been mentioned elsewhere recently, I want to put in another $.02 worth on the issue of abortion.

Specifically, I want to hear from the pro-lifers on this:

The pro-lifer’s worldview says that abortion is murder.  Period.  How many times have we all heard that?  “It’s the murder of unborn children”, etc etc ad nauseum.  You know the drill.

In an ideal universe, from the pro-lifer’s point of view, Roe v. Wade would be overturned and abortion would be illegal, making it more difficult for women to get one.  (Which wouldn’t change anything, really, because women who want to get an abortion will find a way.)

So my question is simply this – if Roe v. Wade were overturned, and since, to the pro-lifer’s mind, abortion is murder (murder, of course, being a crime), then to what extent should these women and doctors be punished?  How much jail time should a woman or doctor receive for taking part in this illegal act of murder?

I am not being flippant – this is a legitimate question.

I am pro-choice, but I don’t think, and certainly no pro-choice person that I’ve ever encountered thinks that abortion is this wonderful, joyous thing.  It’s never a “good thing”.  It’s almost always a belated response to a lack of responsibility in regards to sexual conduct.  It’s a big “whoopsy daisy!”   Certainly, there are fetuses that would have grown into children with severe disabilities and deformities that are aborted by mothers who wanted to forestall the child’s (and their own) suffering.  But let’s get real.  A lot of women who get abortions are women who just had a little too much unprotected fun and don’t want to be a mother as a consequence.  But hey, that’s OK with me.  I’d rather that every child that comes into this crazy world is wanted in the first place, not begrudgingly given its existence because of some religious guilt trip.

But no, not the pro-lifers.  They scream that it’s MURDER MURDER MURDER to abort that baby!  They want Roe v. Wade thrown out so that it’s illegal.

So, you big murder-screaming pro-life religious nutcases – what’s the minimum mandatory sentence going to be, then, for receiving or performing an abortion?  And who should get the stiffer sentence?  The doctor?  Because he/she actually did the murdering?  Or the woman?  Is she the real murderer because she  premeditated the whole thing?  Who is the murderer and who is the accomplice to the murder?  Or are they both equally guilty of the same offense?  Should the doctor be considered a serial murderer and receive consecutive life sentences?  And would there be officers working undercover to catch these women and these doctors?  Can you imagine the courts being clogged with this kind of nonsense?

I know, I know, the pro-lifers say: “It’s between a woman and god”.  OK, then fine.  So why does abortion have to be illegal, then?  The answer is – there is no reason.  The pro-life camp are  just a bunch of people who think, “Oh, look at the cute little baby” and “children are a gift from god” and they’re just thinking with their emotions and not with their intellect.

Once again, I really am not being flippant when I ask these questions.  I am merely trying to follow the pro-lifer’s logic and quickly realizing that there is no logic to follow at all.

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South Carolina Roman Catholic priest Jay Scott Newman is stomping all over the line between church and state by telling those among his parishioners who voted for Obama that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion for doing so.  Why, do you ask?  Because Obama is pro-choice, and any good Catholic should know that voting for a pro-choice candidate “constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil”, as Newman put it.

Are you kidding me?  So, if you are a Catholic living in Greenville, South Carolina, and you voted for Obama, you don’t get to stand in line at church and have the dirty old man in the robe and big hat stick a stale cracker in your mouth – which is apparently some huge spiritual honor?  Honestly, I don’t get these people.

Isn’t this Newman guy stepping out of bounds here?  Overstepping his authority?  Making a very pointedly political statement from what is supposed to be a politically neutral post?  Isn’t this precisely why we don’t tax religion, so that we can have this clear separation?

TAX RELIGION! TAX RELIGION! TAX RELIGION! TAX RELIGION!

(Sorry, couldn’t help myself there…)

The Associated Press reported that “[d]uring the 2008 presidential campaign, many bishops spoke out on abortion more boldly than four years earlier, telling Catholic politicians and voters that the issue should be the most important consideration in setting policy and deciding which candidate to back. A few church leaders said parishioners risked their immortal soul [emphasis added] by voting for candidates who support abortion rights.”

So, let me get this straight – abortion, a private and legal medical procedure, is more important than the state of the economy, or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or education, or the environment?  What planet are these people living on?

What I’d like to know is this – if Newman thinks that voting for the black guy puts your immortal soul at risk (because you know, coming from the South, this probably has a lot to do with all of this) because the black guy happens to support the idea of, for instance, gang-raped teenagers ridding themselves of unwanted pregnancies, then where do you draw the line?  What if you are really good friends with some guy at work, and then somehow over the course of your friendship you find out that he knocked up a girlfriend in college and they had an abortion?  Does that mean you can’t be friends with the guy anymore?  I mean, by your own dogmatic definition, didn’t this man take part in something “intrinsically evil”?  What if you find out that the doctor who performed the hysterectomy on your mother that saved her life also performed an abortion on some woman who didn’t want to give birth to a Down syndrome baby?  Does that mean you and your mother took part, by association, in something evil, by supporting the work of a doctor who was involved in evil, naughty stuff?

I’ll tell you what the real evil is – it’s the mind control, mind control, mind control practiced by the leaders in the Catholic church.  Think this, do that, eat this, drink that, avoid this, uphold that.  On and on rambles the list of arbirtrary rules – and as long as people will tolerate it – namely, the moderates, who don’t dare rock the boat or point the finger or *GASP!* question their faith – the sheep will nod their heads, and the tax free money that subsidizes the lives of assholes like Newman will just keep rolling in.

I’m sure you’ve seen this bumper sticker:

“SMILE!  YOUR MOTHER CHOSE LIFE!”

I saw it again the other day, on a mini-van which was also sporting one of those “Support Our Troops” ribbon magnets (of course it was!), and it finally hit me why that bumper sticker offends me so.

It’s not just that I can infer that the driver of this van is a pro-life nut, which means they are probably a religious nut (and that all presents a whole slate of issues that I can easily poke through with reason and intellect) –  it’s that the logic of the sticker’s message is entirely flawed.

I understand, emotionally, that this message is supposed to make me feel grateful toward and indebted to my mother for not aborting me when I was in her womb.  I am supposed to think, “Oh yeah, that’s right – if my mother had had an abortion, I wouldn’t have this great life and I wouldn’t get to… etc. etc.”.  The message of the sticker is supposed to elicit a feeling of loss – how I wouldn’t have gotten to experience my life if my mother had chosen differently.

But this, my friends, is entirely my point.

Just think about it intellectually – if you had never been born at all, you wouldn’t have this sense of loss.  You wouldn’t have anything!  No consciousness, no brain, no memories – nothing.  So, you wouldn’t even have any comprehension of what you were missing out on.  So, if your mother hadn’t “chosen life”, you wouldn’t even know the difference!  Death of the ego!  Isn’t that what all the Buddhists are always clamoring about?  Well, there you have it!  Ponder that puzzle for a while!  You didn’t ask to be born (unless you believe the rantings of some of the New Age wackos).  Your mother simply chose to be a mother, for whatever reason – because her religion and/or family demanded it, to keep her man, to have a little baby to love and cuddle, to simply do what her mother did – whatever the reason.  And contrary to the charge delivered by the 5th Commandment, honor and respect of one’s parents should not be automatic, as George Carlin once said – rather, “it should be earned.  It should be based on the parents’ performance.”  Some people, like in Nepal, for instance, sell their daughters into the sex slavery trade of Calcutta’s red-light district.  I’m quite sure these girls are not smiling about the fact that their mothers “chose life” while some guy named Habib is shelling out rupees so he can rape them.

So, lady in the minivan – quite frankly, you can go fuck yourself, because my mother chose to be a mother.  Period.  End of story.  And so here I am, left to sort this all out for myself – as we all are – and ponder the oblivion from which I sprang forth, and which awaits me when my carcass finally gives out.

Thought that might get your attention.

Faithful readers – I know this topic has been beaten to death in the blogosphere (and elsewhere), but I cannot help but chime in with my 2 Lincoln cents worth.

I know someone who volunteers for one of those faith-based places that “counsels young women who are pregnant”; i.e., talks unwed mothers (and others) out of having abortions.  This friend believes, absolutely, that life begins at conception (that delicate moment when a man ejaculates inside of a fertile woman and says, “Oh, GOD!  HOLY SHIT!” or something else just as romantic).

I once asked him how he felt about this scenario: a young teenage girl is raped by her father, or brother, or, hell, any man, regardless of who it is, and then this young girl is then impregnated.  Would he expect that young woman to give birth to this child?  His quick answer was, “Well, yes, of course.  She could always give this child up for adoption.  Someone would want that child.”  Heh, yeah.  Tell that to the 143 million orphans in the developing world.

OK, back up – rape of a young woman by any man is bad enough – but incest rape?  That’s gotta take the cake for Most Evil Act.  And to bring that already unwanted, inbred child into the world, complete with his rapist daddy’s genetic makeup, to me, is a sin in itself.  Can you imagine being told that your father is also your grandfather, or uncle, or whatever??  Holy shit, talk about years of therapy to sort that one out.

I guess these pro-lifers don’t care much about the quality of life, only the quantity of it.  Just keep shitting out them kids – and, if those over-fertile parents keep voting Republican as they usually do, then there will be no WIC programs for these kids, or food stamps, or any assistance of any kind, or even enough money for a good, arts-enriched public education (well, only if they’ll play football or be a cheerleader like real American kids).  These wackos usually start giving a shit about kids again when they’re old enough to enlist.  Well, then, they’re heroes – yeah, too bad you threw them under the wheels of the underfunded school bus.

What the pro-lifers fail to acknowledge is that, as Sam Harris put it, god is greatest abortionist of them all – that 20% of all pregnancies miscarry.  That’s a whole lot of baby killin’ going on at the hands of the supposedly benevolent father up in the sky.

Oh yeah – and when I asked my friend, who believes that every pregnancy is god’s will, why god would allow that child to be raped in the first place, he said….. can you guess?

Yep!  You guessed it!  The stock answer: “God works in mysterious ways.”

Yeah, I’ll say. I’ll take Roe v. Wade over that kind of god any day.