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Lamrot Hakol (Despite Everything)

Musings and kvetchings and Torah thoughts from an unconventional Orthodox Jew.

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"I blog, therefore I am". Clearly not true, or I wouldn't exist except every now and then.

Friday, September 03, 2021

On Abortion

Did you know that there’s never been an actual case of a woman getting pregnant without having sex?* (Christian claims to the contrary). What the whole abortion thing comes down to in 99%+ of cases is that women want to be able to have consequence-free sex.

“It’s not my fault I got pregnant. It just happened. All by itself. So why should I have to carry the child to term? It could be dangerous. And it’ll certainly interfere with my plans.”

And yes, there are cases of rape, in which it really wasn’t her fault she got pregnant, and we can talk about them, but anyone who wants to pretend that this isn’t an infinitesimal percentage of abortions is being disingenuous.

“I should be allowed to kill the baby because there are other women who have gotten pregnant through no fault of their own.” Really?

And yes, there are cases of misformed fetuses with no chance of survival. Would you like to know who the doctors said was a diseased fetus with no chance of survival? My amazing daughter Tova. But even dismissing misdiagnoses (maldiagnoses?), this is also an extremely fringe case. Almost all abortions are done because carrying a baby isn’t convenient for the mother.

And that sounds rude and uncaring. Many women agonize over the decision to have an abortion. Maybe even most women. But that doesn’t change the fact that the primary considerations when women have abortions are, “I can’t afford it.” It will prevent me from living my best life.” “I can’t do this alone.” “I’m not ready to have a baby.”

But not a single one of them, before having sex, thought, “Maybe this is a bad idea, because I could get pregnant and I can’t afford it.” “Maybe this is a bad idea, because I could get pregnant and it will prevent me from living my best life.” “Maybe this is a bad idea, because I could get pregnant and I can’t do that alone.” “Maybe this is a bad idea, because I could get pregnant and I’m not ready to have a baby.”

And it seems unfair. Because men can have sex whenever and wherever and with whomever they want, and they never get pregnant. And frankly, I think that a guy who gets a woman pregnant should be held 100% responsible for that, and be forced to make sure she’s safe and emotional and financially cared for. And I’m okay with forced paternity tests to ensure that. Though if a woman is unwilling or unable to say who the father is, she probably shouldn’t have had sex with him.

But when it comes down to the bottom line, while I don’t believe that a clump of cells is a person, I also have a hard time saying that a human fetus with a heartbeat is not a person. And no matter what the impact carrying a baby to term may have on a woman’s life, you don’t get to create a person and then kill it because maintaining its life is an inconvenience. And the idea that doing so is a “fundamental human right” seems like a mockery of the whole concept of rights. Because you can’t have a right that violates the rights of others.

And if you want to argue that the fetus, therefore, can’t have a right to live that violates the mother’s right to do what she wants with her own body, that would be true if the fetus just magically appeared without any volition on the mother’s part. That’s unfair to her. But it is not unfair to her to say that actions have consequences. It is not unfair to her to say that having sex, no matter what kind of birth control you’re using (and I’m 100% fine with birth control, including the morning-after pill), can result in pregnancy, and that voluntarily having sex means voluntarily risking the possibility of getting pregnant. And that this act of volition incurs a responsibility towards the life you’ve created.
*Except, obviously, for artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization and implantation, which almost never result in abortions.


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