I used to believe the basis of our constitutional republic was rock solid. I truly did. And perhaps it was at one time. The series of built-in checks and balances supposedly guaranteed it. So that even if there was a corrupt president or a run-amok Congress, the judicial branch – the Supreme Court – could rein them in. I never envisioned that the highest court in the land would be the problem. Yet here we are.
Now even with three women on the bench, the constitutional rights of all women in America are being glibly stripped away, much like a sexual predator might strip a victim’s clothes then tell her she’s not really being raped, but that she did have a choice – She could fight or she could lay back and enjoy it.
So now in Texas, it’s perfectly acceptable to report anyone who tries to get an abortion or helps someone who gets an abortion for a bounty. Yes, turn them in for money. This is a sleazy way of getting around stopping clinics from performing abortions because anyone could sue the woman, the clinic, even someone who drove her to the clinic. So they won’t even try. And some members of the highest court in the land are good with this. It’s like we’ve devolved by 160 years where anyone who helped an enslaved person escape to the North was charged with a crime.
But the truly grotesque part of this horror show is how baby-faced Amy Coney Barrett, the darling of the conservative set, who (not coincidentally) is also an adoptive parent, blithely conflated abortion and adoption with:
“So petitioner points out that in all 50 states you can terminate parental rights by relinquishing a child after [birth], and I think the shortest period might have been 48 hours, if I’m remembering the data correctly. So it seems to me, seen in that light, both Roe and Casey emphasize the burdens of parenting. And insofar as you and many of your amici focus on the ways in which forced parenting, forced motherhood, would hinder women’s access to the workplace and to equal opportunities, it’s also focused on the consequences of parenting and the obligations of motherhood that flow from pregnancy. Why don’t the safe-haven laws take care of that problem?”
Because, you insipid twit, you cannot leave a 15-week fetus in one of those goddamned baby boxes.
“It doesn’t seem to follow that pregnancy and then parenthood are all part of the same burden. And so it seems to me that the choice, more focused, would be between, say, the ability to get an abortion at 23 weeks, or the state requiring the woman to go 15, 16 weeks more and then terminate parental rights at the conclusion.”
So, we’re not saying you can’t terminate, we’re just saying what you can terminate. And when. And how. Oh, and by the way, you cannot have an abortion, no matter what. But you can give birth then abandon the baby at a fire station. That’s perfectly fine. In fact, it’s preferable to keeping the child yourself because this way some desperate couple will get to pretend it’s their baby with no nebulous “birth mother” in the wings who might muck everything up by taking the child back.
Somewhere along the line, we slid into a dystopian nightmare, an alternate universe where this makes sense. Where women or even girls are forced to carry their pregnancy to term no matter the circumstances. Where the only thing that matters – the one goal – is for a baby to be born. So she has to continue her pregnancy – What’s another twenty weeks when you’re already been pregnant that long? Isn’t it all the same in the end since we’re misusing the word “terminate”? It practically makes, “If it takes one woman to be pregnant for nine months, wouldn’t it be more efficient for nine women to be pregnant for one month each?” sound like the next step in eugenics rather than a joke. A member of our Supreme Court is not dealing with reality and is making decisions based on some twisted belief of what she thinks is fair and good. To the Honorable Judge Coney Barrett, there is no difference between terminating a pregnancy and terminating parental rights, so forced pregnancy is fine. Just like dumping your newborn anonymously is just as good as a careful, planned relinquishment. The answer to abortion? Adoption! Dangerous pregnancy? That will clear up in just nine months. You can terminate as soon as the baby is born. You and/or the baby will suffer physically or psychologically? Well, life is full of suffering. We all have pain. At least this way the child will be alive to suffer rather than being saved from it.
You cannot abort because you would be killing someone else’s wanted child. You mean you would rather terminate than go through a full-term pregnancy and childbirth and then relinquish your flesh and blood to strangers? How can you be so selfish? What do you mean if you are forced to go through with the pregnancy that you would never relinquish? Adoption is beautiful! We are all adopted by God!
See how we got here? With a lot of doublespeak. We aren’t only living with aspects of The Handmaid’s Tale, we’ve also got 1984. Let’s get back to the basics. I will make it easy with some alliteration:
The only alternative to abortion is pregnancy.
The only alternative to adoption is parenting.
No to pregnancy? Then abortion. No to abortion? Then pregnancy.
No to parenting? Then adoption. No to adoption? Then parenting.
I hope I made that simple enough. If you do not believe in abortion, then by no means should you have one. And that is exactly how far your control should reach.
And now, we will have the customary push-back:
“Well YOU could have been aborted.” Oooh. Scary. You also could have been aborted. What’s your point?
“Your mother chose life.” My mother did what she had to do in a very difficult situation, but she did not “choose life” just like she did not “choose to make an adoption plan.” She dealt with an unplanned, traumatic pregnancy the only way she could at the time. She had few real choices. She could have, as part of an influential, upper-class family, had a “therapeutic abortion” since this was afforded to white women of means even then, but she never considered it for more than a moment. So I was not “saved from abortion,” since abortion wasn’t part of the equation.
“Life begins at conception.” Thanks for stopping by, God. Got a minute? I would like a few words with you about why you orchestrate millions of miscarriages. What happens to those lives, those souls? Where is the much-wanted baby I lost to a spontaneous abortion? Is it okay I had an abortion if you were the one who caused it? Get back to me.
“Seriously, life begins at conception. Or when a heartbeat is detected.” Or when the baby takes its first breath. Or when the baby laughs for the first time.
“That is a living child.” A newborn is a living child.
“What about the parents who want a baby so badly? What about their pain?” Parents don’t make children. Children make parents. No one is owed a baby. Especially if the child is not their own. And again, the alternative to abortion is not adoption. Most women, if forced to continue a pregnancy, will raise the child themselves. And yes, the pressure on potential “birth mothers” by the predatory adoption industry is intense, so these women are brave.
“I wish I had been adopted, because then I would have been wanted.” And people tell me I need therapy? Look, I’m sorry for whatever brought on this sad comment, but your feelings do not justify violating the constitutional rights of others. In fact, your feelings don’t justify anything. And again, just in case you missed it – Adoption is not the flip side to abortion.
“Think of all the wonderful people the world has lost because of abortion.” Well, I can’t, because it’s impossible to imagine someone who never existed. But if we’re going to “go there,” what makes you think they would have been exceptional, or even good? It could be just as likely we were spared another serial killer or drug lord.
“You’re speaking from a place of privilege because you were never faced with the decision of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy.” Please run that line past your elected officials and judges – especially the men.
“Why do you hate children?” I’m not making this up. I have been asked this.
“I bet if you ask anyone who’s been adopted if they had rather been aborted they’d tell you they’d rather be alive.” Have – Have you listened to anything I just said? Oh, nevermind…
Elle Cuardaigh is author of The Tangled Red Thread and is really tired of this fake “conversation.”