All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.
By Blaney Pridgen
Since the spirit of Oliver Cromwell has taken up residence in the Supreme Court, I have thought a lot about the plight of women. I truly love women. I enjoy their company and counsel, often more than that of men. Perhaps this is because I have a wife, daughters, granddaughters, and a sister. Anyhow, I hope I do not have a chauvinist bone in my body. I am a devotedly and happily secure man who empathizeswith the struggles of womanhood.
Not sometimes but oftentimes it’s hard to be a woman. Women have a tough life contending with the biological complexities of their southern hemispheres, tougher than men do with their own. Both women and men have difficult seasons dealing with their raging hormones, but women have the short end of the stick with that. They not only have their own challenges, but they must also suffer with the violent vagaries of male testosterone and the havoc that brings to their sons, marriages, and Saturdays, not to mention wars and rumors of wars throughout the world because of men. And it is harder to be a mother than to be a father. Motherhood is much more demanding, difficult, and fraught with emotional minefields than fatherhood. The lonely strapped single parent more often than not is the mother. Then consider the risks and travails of childbearing and birth. I believe that an ancient cabal of beer-soaked rascals, moon-struck preachers and prelates, and adolescent old men befuddled by sex came up with the notion of a weaker sex without looking in the mirror. Yes, I have thought a lot about the plight of women.
Women sit at the epicenter of creation upon the birthing stool. A human being becomes a human being when she or he is born and given a name. Until then the uterus and whatever is in it is a female organ, a significant part of a woman’s body, essentially herself, her living and moving being and no one else. Until then no man, not so innocently standing by with his repository of wiggling sperm, has any right whatsoever to decide what is a woman and what is not, any more than a woman can own, define, and control a man. Ultimately this is a matter of whose rights are important, not more important but entirely important. Is it a part of the body which cannot live to be named outside the body or the woman herself? Reasonably it cannot be both. Either the woman is important, or she is not.
On the other hand, I fully respect the rights of the right-to-lifers, just as I respect their religions and their right to practice them, as long as they do not encroach on the rights of others. But the right to life, fully understood and sensibly expanded, also addresses the life of a woman who does not choose to carry an unviable fetus to term. She has a right to her life, which is not solely defined by motherhood or defined by it at all unless she chooses it to be.
If the anti-abortion folk prevail, I suggest we restrict the rights of men in similar fashion. Perhaps condoms and vasectomies should be outlawed. Perhaps impregnating a woman entails his becoming a father in absolutely every sense especially financial. Otherwise, the father must spend 18 years in jail and significantly fined if he is to be released. Chastity must return by law for men and women. Taxes must be raised for more and better childcare, education, foster care, orphanages, and Medicare for children. Pro-life absolutely means higher taxes when we swell the population especially with unwanted or poverty-stricken children. And if the pro-lifers win the day, one would hope they extend their love of life to prison reform, the homeless, gun control, student debt forgiveness, affordable healthcare for all, etc. Otherwise, pro-life is merely pro-birth and an attempt to control the full rights of women.
I regret that there are too many men with high control needs where women are concerned and too many women who buy the edicts of antique paternalistic religions. They want to limit the reproductive rights of everyone, men, and women. But it will be harder on the women.