Blue in a Red State: Abortion

It’s that time again. Who’s ready to talk about some more backwards politics from backwards politicians who operate under the “moral” guidance of extreme conservatism? If you saw the first episode of my new Facebook Live show, Let’s Talk, last week, then you know I’ve got some pretty liberal views on abortion.

To be clear: a woman deserves the right to choose. Full stop.

Well, if like me, you live in a conservative area, you know full well that not everyone supports that — particularly not right wing politicians.

Take for instance this lovely moment in politics — when Idaho state senator and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Bob Nonini suggested that women who get an abortion should face the death penalty.

Talk about 0 to 100.

Criminalizing abortion is problematic in and of itself, but saying it’s tantamount to first degree murder and calling for the injection is taking it to a whole new level. Historically speaking, the legal ramifications of abortion in the U.S. have always fallen on the doctor or institution providing the procedure (and when TRAP laws are in place, that usually means clinics get shut down). But a law such as this would be the first (recent) direct punishment of an American woman for having an abortion.

In other words: bodily autonomy would not only be politicized but criminalized.

Disagreeing with abortion is fine. Not everyone has to be comfortable with it — it’s a touchy subject. Saying you yourself would not have one is fine — it’s not a decision everyone's comfortable making. However, when anyone, but particularly a man, wants to punish women for acting on their right to choose, that’s when I draw the line.

How people get away with believing they have enough of a moral high ground to tell others what to do with their bodies and their lives is absolutely beyond me. Also, if you have the ability to question your own assumptions, you could understand that religious imperatives are not the only piece of “morality” impacting abortions.

Perhaps a single woman already living on welfare to support herself doesn’t want to bring a child into a life of poverty, or maybe a rape victim doesn’t want herself or her child to go through the relived trauma of knowing its parentage, or perhaps a woman doesn’t have the time to care for a child and does not want to carry it to term simply to put another person through an already broken foster care and adoption system.

The reason doesn’t matter.

A woman could have any number of reasons to choose an abortion as the right solution for an unwanted pregnancy. That does not mean anyone has the right to judge, particularly not a politician whose motives for opposing that decision are entirely based on religion.

First of all, there is no one true religious doctrine people are required to follow, so foisting your religion on someone and confusing that as some sort of objective morality is BS.

Second, take a moment to put yourself in that woman’s shoes and try to tell me that you think she should face a lethal injection because she does not feel ready to have a child.

And finally, it is not your body. It is not your life.

You do not get the right to choose what others do with their bodies and their lives. And you can go ahead and argue the right to life with me. Tell me that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose whether she carries her baby to term. Call her a murderer because she chose to terminate a group of cells that just so happened to combine in such a way as to create a bundle of DNA that would eventually become a child.

I will defend her.

And you should too. Because the right to choose one’s own fate is not a partisan issue. It is not a conservative or liberal issue. It is not a moral issue. The right to bodily autonomy is freedom. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from fear. Freedom from persecution. And that, my friends, is supposedly the American way. So for all the pro-lifers out there I will leave you with this — whose life are you for? Think on that and get back to me. And until next week, stay cool snowflakes.  

Kelly Livingston is a freelance writer with a passion for intersectional feminism. After four years studying English and Anthropology at the University of Florida, she remains fascinated by the ways we can use writing to comment on and change our culture.