Happy Valley resident: Zealots on right don't really care about life
I no longer refer to myself as a pro-life Democrat. The actions of the U.S. Supreme Court, in overturning Roe v. Wade, has struck at the privacy rights of all Americans. It has stripped personal autonomy from a large percentage of Americans.
As a former religious studies major in college, as well as an M.Div. student in graduate school, I strongly dislike abortion. I believe that we are all created in the image of God. That means the child in the womb, the homeless community living in tents, victims of police shootings, as well as those on death row. Unless life is viewed in its full context, it becomes a cheap and vapid soundbite of the right.
In the summer of 2021, I tried to raise awareness about fatal police shootings in Happy Valley. Why? Because human life was taken. I initially wanted to believe the police and prosecutors, but they have refused to provide any evidence surrounding the shootings: no police report, no autopsy, no redacted grand jury transcript. Where was the pro-life community? Sure, the men shot may have been drug-addled criminals, but they are still human beings, created in the image of God. Don't their lives count, as much as the fetus in the womb?
Not one pro-life Republican asked questions about the police shootings. They simply didn't care. Fully grown, sentient human beings must not fall under the life category. This reminds me of what former Congresswoman Patty Schroeder said about the pro-life movement: "Life begins at conception and ends at birth." The Congresswoman is correct, the right stops caring once life is born.
There are only two ways to end abortion in America: moral suasion or criminalization. I have tried to embody the former in my life. I will always try to peacefully persuade a woman not to have an abortion. I will not belittle or cast aspersions. But, if I cannot persuade, I refuse to drop the hammer of criminalization.
The pro-life movement is lazy. They have given up on moral suasion and have instead run to the courts. They only talk among themselves. Where are their convictions, outside of their religious community? Why don't they attempt to persuade, instead of seeking the legal abolition of abortion? Easy answer, they are unequipped to engage in dialogue.
You don't get to call yourself pro-life if you oppose Medicaid expansion or favor cutting food stamps. You don't get to call yourself pro-life if you shrug your shoulders when you read about a U.S. military jet accidentally killing 50 villagers in Afghanistan. I learned as a soldier that the right doesn't give a damn about collateral damage. I guess an Arab child isn't the same as an American child. Or how about Syrian refuges? Don't their lives count? Shouldn't they be able to choose life in America, and not die at the hands of Assad's barrel bombs? I guess not.
The rank hypocrisy has caused me to drop affiliation from the pro-life movement. Until and unless the right engages in pro-life for the whole life, they really don't care about the totality of creation. They live in a cloistered world of zealotry. No thanks. Count me out.
I'll still oppose abortion in my personal life, but I will never support the criminalization of abortion. Women have the right to personal autonomy. Abortion should be legal in America.
Brian Fitzgerald is a Happy Valley resident.
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