The Church is Not the State

Since Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into the Supreme Court, many have been concerned with the future of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that decided women have a constitutional right to abortion. Since then several states have passed their own bills limiting the scope of when an abortion can legally happen.

Within the past week, Georgian Republicans have passed the “heartbeat bill,” which would effectively ban all abortions after six weeks, a time at which most women don’t even know they’re pregnant. Georgia is the third state to pass such restrictive regulations on abortion, joining Kentucky and Mississippi. State Senator Jen Auer Jordan detailed her own difficulties with pregnancy on the floor as a rebuttal to the severe bill.

As far as I’m concerned, the abortion debate should neither be on the floor of a majority male government nor debated by politicians serving their own and their constituents’ religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court deciding that women were guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion was a monumental decision. The numbers of unsafe, fatal abortions decreased significantly between 1969 and 1973 because, as states increasingly legalized abortion, women could go to their doctors to safely receive said procedure. They were able to avoid drinking harmful teas or using a coat hanger. The oldest pro-life group, the National Right to Life Committee, was spearheaded by Catholics. It is important to understand that their goals stem from their religious morals.

Male governmental officials have demonstrated numerous times that they have no understanding of female anatomy. Todd Akins, a Republican Senate nominee, said that a woman’s body has ways of “try[ing] to shut that whole thing down,” in reference to his severe beliefs about the immorality of abortion even in the instance of rape. He is entitled to his beliefs, but too often in this abortion issue does the line between personal beliefs and law become damn near nonexistent. These politicians are presenting legislature in accordance with their faith, a clear demonstration of the lack of true separation between church and state.

Let me repeat–the church is not the state.

When restrictive abortion laws like these are passed, we deny women their right to decide for themselves. Every person in this country should have the freedom to decide what they will and will not do to their bodies, and yet state governments seek to limit women from exercising said freedoms. The female body is so heavy monitored but there is no equal scrutiny on male bodies. State governments who seek to defund female healthcare fail to realize that said deductions don’t solve the problem. They refuse to accept that the conversation is one-sided, that an exorbitant amount of pressure is placed on women to be sexually conscious and fail to include men into the dialogue. Where are the well-rounded sex education classes? Why is there no pressure on the men who get these women pregnant to take responsibilities for their actions? 

What baffles me about this debate is that there is outrage over killing an unborn child but none about already born children who are mistreated, neglected, and altogether forgotten. According to the AFCARS report, for the 2017 fiscal year over 400,000 children were in foster care with over 100,000 waiting to be adopted. The adoption process in the US is not a short one; some people have to wait up to seven years for a healthy infant.

It is infuriating that these states are attempting, and have succeeded, in limiting a woman’s right to choose. Whether one believes in abortion or not, for whatever reason, extending that belief into the political sphere is unjust. America puts so much pressure on women because of the blurred line between secularism and religion. In spite of the separation of church and state, the pledge of allegiance still carries the line “One nation, under God.” When politicians, judges, and those in the legal spheres are sworn into office, they place their hand on the Bible; for recent Muslim House Representatives, they swore on the Quran. Are our lawmakers not supposed to protect our legal and civil rights? 

I cannot consider myself pro-life, simply because pro-lifers tend to only concern themselves with the fetus inside of the womb as opposed to everything living outside of it. Pro-lifers do not care about Black lives, female lives, Muslim lives, LGBT lives, and all the lives of other marginalized groups. Pro-lifers do not care about the women who make the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. There are a plethora of reasons as to why she chooses to do so; don’t boil her circumstances down.

Despite the 116th Congress being the most diverse, it is still a male majority.  It makes no sense to me that the decisions of what I will and won’t do with my body are up to what they decide. There are men who believe that a woman’s body will somehow reject the fertilized egg of a rapist; there are men who believe that if a woman experiences an orgasm during rape that she wanted it. Instead of the medical opinions of doctors, physicians, OBGYNs, nurses, midwives, policy is created off of these misinformed beliefs and somehow hold more weight than a medical diagnosis. Beyond fueling the flames of misinformation about female anatomy, the rights of women are weighed on a Christian scale. Christianity is projected as the standard for which Americans should strive for, ignoring all of the other Americans who believe differently.

As a woman, it terrifies me to think that Roe v. Wade is being threatened, that the rights of women are still seen as expendable. Whether one believes in abortion or not, let’s agree that policy should not be made on the basis of one’s religious affiliation. When we make laws that affect a group of people, let’s provide facts and statistics by those who are experienced in the field.

Keep your religion out of the government and talk to your spiritual leader about it instead.

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