Gordon Robinson | Abortion: whose choice is it?
I see the on-again, off-again abortion debate was on again for nine days or so.
According to media reports, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, moved by experiences of her constituents which they relayed to her (THE reason for any MP to move ANY motion in Parliament), brought the debate to Gordon House in what sounded like a heartfelt plea to decriminalise abortion. Since then, the usual talking heads have chipped in, including tiresome faux-scientific gobbledygook from Peter Espeut and equally tiresome regurgitation of religious dogma from Saint Shirley.
Many aspects of this boring, repetitive debate annoy me in my capacity as Jamaica's self-appointed protector of the language and Grumpy Old Hermit. First, my English language and clear-thinking foundations recoil at the politically correct titles both sides to the argument have given themselves. 'Pro-life'? What the granny gungus natty is that? Not only does it invite an endless, senseless, irrelevant fight over what is life and when it starts, BUT it's horrendously hypocritical, since the overwhelming majority of 'pro-life' advocates are staunch supporters of the death penalty.
'Pro-choice'? Oh, for Pete's sake. The worst part of this stupid title is that it permits radical feminists everywhere to trumpet that they have the right to decide issues of their own bodies. Yawn. Ladies, this assertion, in a vacuum, is incontestable. But the reality, like it or not, isn't just about your bodies. What's to be decided is whether an attempt is to be made to bring a conception to birth in the way nature planned it or whether that conception is to be aborted.
This is going to come as a shock to radical feminists, but no female has ever conceived alone. I have an even more shocking revelation to make. My spiritual journey has taught me that no conception takes place without divine infusion by God, whoever or whatever you 'conceive' that entity to be. Have you ever wondered, non-scientifically, why some couples conceive and some can't? How many ob-gyn specialists have scratched their heads when a completely 'normal' couple just won't conceive despite all medical tests proving they can? How many know of couples who give up and adopt, only to conceive naturally almost immediately thereafter?
I know of a couple with a rocky marriage who never conceived despite eschewing any form of birth control. Doctors told them what to do, but nothing worked. After a divorce, both remarried, and both couples now have beautiful children. So don't give me that nonsense about 'a woman's body'.
Wider moral issue
Christ on a crutch, why can't everybody just call a spade a spade and stop trying to find shovel-style synonyms to the point where the reality of individual positions becomes so obfuscated that all and sundry are carried wide at the bend trying to find the correct path to sensible disagreement? The subject matter is abortion. Please don't hide from that or try to paper it over. Either you're pro-abortion, or anti-abortion. Don't try to make it into some wider moral issue about 'life' or 'choice'.
Let me make my personal position clear: I'm 150 per cent against abortion for the simple reason that I believe life begins at conception, and I'm against the taking of all life, except in self-defence or defence of others. Accordingly, I also oppose capital punishment for any reason. As a result of my personal position, I guarantee readers that I'll NEVER have an abortion, no matter how I become pregnant (look, with all this modern stem-cell science about, you never know).
However, I have no plan to impose my personal opinion on anyone. Worse, for the State to get involved in a spiritual process involving mother, father and God alone is an arrogant overreach of Petrojamic proportions. The State has already invited itself into the dissolution of marriages it had zero interest in when they were being created. Now it wants to dictate couples' family-planning strategies? C'mon, man!
To those anti-abortionists making this an issue about when life begins, I propose you get over yourselves. Accepting, for the sake of argument, your view that life begins at conception (which is also my view, but there are intelligent and credible alternative arguments), the dishonesty in your argument is that not every taking of life is murder, and you know it.
A woman impregnated by rape has every right to a personal belief that the child would be a permanent, continuing physically and psychologically debilitating assault on her body and mind to the point of life endangerment (including possible suicide) and wish to (using anti-abortionists' words) kill that child in the womb in self-defence. Many times, this belief is supported by medical opinion. There are other justifiable homicides, so the lynch pin of the argument is never whether life begins at conception, but whether abortion should be a matter of choice.
Of course, it should be a matter of choice. I choose not to have an abortion, but others may choose the opposite. But the question is: Whose choice is it? Pro-abortionists insisting the choice belongs to the woman alone are promulgating a myopic view of the situation. No woman is alone in any pregnancy, no matter where the biological father may be at any given time. It's the woman who must bear the burden of being 'enceinte' (carrying the unborn offspring to birth). That's one of her roles in the process.
But she's never alone, whether during conception, pregnancy or delivery. These days, the putative father is often in the delivery room, some idiots with a camera. No matter where that father may be whenever, the God within her is always there. She's everywhere and speaks to the expectant mother in many ways.
Rise up this mornin'
smiled with the risin' sun.
Three little birds
pitch by my doorstep
singin' sweet songs
of melodies pure and true;
saying, 'This is my message to you'.
So, I've some unsolicited advice to women considering abortion. Consult with the same team that worked on the conception together, namely the unborn child's father and God. If the father is unavailable for whatever reason, God isn't. Seek Her deep within. You'll find Her there (not in Church). Talk to Her about the reasons you feel threatened by the pregnancy. She will guide your decision-making.
However, every team has only one captain. In this team, that captain is the prospective mother. She must decide. I promise her that once she engages with that important consultative process, whatever decision is eventually made is the correct one and one in which the State oughtn't to be involved, save to ensure that safe, practical abortions are available to those who need or wish them.
Don't worry about a thing
'cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singing' don't worry about a thing
'cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Everybody knows Robert Nesta Marley (OM) as a revolutionary singer/songwriter whose protest music has been covered by some of the world's most popular recording artistes. The early Bob (pre-Island Records) was happiest singing love songs in the mould of his hero Curtis Mayfield. So it's ironic that despite his many protest songs like Road Block, Exodus, Revolution, Buffalo Soldier, Africa Unite and Zimbabwe, it's a love song (One Love) that's his anthem, and he's best remembered for other love songs like No Woman No Cry, Waiting in Vain and, of course, Three Little Birds, the song that teaches us to listen to nature for spiritual guidance.
Peace and love.
- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law.
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