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abortion

RIP Roe v Wade

As a small child, I never heard about abortion, though I and Roe v Wade were born the same year.

As a young child, I heard arguments about abortion that convinced me it wasn’t murder.  Then I read something in a circular in the church bulletin that changed my mind.  These Focus on the Family circulars were a trusted source of Christian wisdom to me.  But there was always the caveat of rape/incest/life of the mother being acceptable reasons for abortion even to Christians.

As a teen, I started watching the 700 Club and listened to Christian music, and became convinced that Operation Rescue was heroic and that abortion was a great evil, a holocaust, that had to be stopped, that most abortions were sociopathic and not for the accepted caveats.

In my 20s, I had trouble driving past a protest outside a Planned Parenthood clinic that didn’t even do abortions.  As I told a friend, even though I agreed with them, the disgusting signs and the protest itself really bothered me.  I couldn’t put my finger on why.

In my late 20s, I was moving away from conservative politics and religion and into a more moderate camp.  I was influenced by various Evangelical and progressive Christian voices I heard over the years on a variety of political, moral and theological topics.  There were solidly conservative groups who worked with the poor and minorities and talked like liberals on their issues.  I kept taking quizzes that said I would be Democrat except for the abortion issue.  I read in Time-Life history books about reformers in various cultures who would begin to make changes to improve the lives of the people, only to have conservatives come in and roll them all back again.

I was pregnant for the first and only time that I know of for sure, though there were other times I wondered about.  I was so sick that I couldn’t keep anything down and was very weak.  I feared that abortion may be necessary to save me from dying of starvation.  Fortunately, medication got my stomach under control.  I told the doctor that I didn’t want the baby aborted if anything went wrong during pregnancy/labor.  I watched a chart of how babies develop, and wondered how anyone could abort a baby.

But I agreed with George Bush that abortion could not be legislated away.  I helped in the youth group, where the pastor read a poem or lyrics about the trouble with abortion protest signs.  It was okay to question, and I was questioning all sorts of Evangelical controversies, such as Harry Potter and homeschooling.  There were Democrats in the church, even.

In my 30s, with a healthy baby in the family now, we had moved to the PCUSA, and their views on abortion were different from what I was used to in evangelicalism.  They wanted it to be rare, but legal.  I thought their reasoning for this was sound.  I learned that the medical community defined pregnancy differently than I’d always heard it.  I became Orthodox soon after, but never stopped my liberal-moving progression.

In my 40s, I learned that many things I’d heard about abortion and contraception from conservative sources were simply wrong.  I learned that making abortion illegal only leads to the deaths of women/girls, NOT to the end of abortion.  I learned that late-term abortions are done because something goes terribly wrong, NOT because the mother or doctor is a murderous psychopath.  I learned how women in Ireland couldn’t get proper health care even if they weren’t pregnant, because doctors were so frightened of causing an abortion.  I learned that the callous woman I’d always heard about who got an abortion because she wanted to look good in a bathing suit–that this was a strawman.  I learned about the various actual reasons women and girls feel compelled to get an abortion.

I learned that abortions actually go DOWN under Democratic leadership because they address the reasons for abortions instead of just outlawing abortions.  So on every count, the Democrats are the true pro-life party.

I voted in every election instead of playing purity politics; I didn’t stay home just because I wanted Bernie instead of Hillary, while I saw other Dems stay home election after election, apparently trusting that everything would stay exactly as it was.  I knew, after all, that on the conservative end, the big issues were abortion and gay rights, and that they had never given up.

Then just days after I turned 49, abortion became illegal in much of the USA.

All these years we’ve heard from the radical right about loss of freedoms and activist judges; turns out they’ve been projecting this entire time.  The party of freedom and democracy and Life is the Democrats!

From Orthodoxy in Dialogue: Trouble in American Orthodoxy

The blog Orthodoxy in Dialogue recently criticized the standard conservative Christian response to legal abortion.  The more I read this blog on various issues which are big in politics and religion today, the more I see kindred spirits:

For a while, back in the early 00’s, I was becoming more and more liberal.  But I also wanted to find out what the original Church believed about various theological issues and practices.  That led me to Orthodoxy, which led to a period of time in which I was much more conservative about many things.

But then I realized I was, in a sense, being brainwashed:

First there was the very persuasive and charismatic person who first suggested Orthodoxy to me: Richard.  He was a convert from the Foursquare Church; time eventually revealed that he’s also a narcissist.  Not sure if he’s malignant or not, but a lot of those narc traits are there.  He did a LOT of talking to me about Orthodoxy: not just about its beauty, but about the many things which the local church did wrong because it wasn’t “Orthodox” enough, and how I was wrong for not being “Orthodox” enough.

Then there was the constant presence on the Net (where, in the early days, I spent most of my time with Orthodoxy) of “Netdoxy” and “Ameridoxy.”  Orthodoxy has been getting a lot of converts in recent decades from American Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches.  I wanted to get away from Evangelical/Fundamentalist influences, but many are bringing them into Orthodoxy.

OID’s most recent post,  Notes from Underground, describes this phenomenon as a peculiarly American “mob mentality,” where you get attacked for disagreeing with the prevailing views of the group you’re in.  You see it in politics; you see it in discussions on social issues; you see it on narcissism forums; you see it within Evangelicalism; you see it on Orthodox forums on the Internet.  This is one reason why I stopped going to such forums some years ago.

Anyway, I finally began to break away from Netdoxy and, with it, away from the conservatism which had been pulling me back in.  I began to move back toward liberalism.

But by this time, I had already become a full Orthodox Christian, so it wasn’t as if I could just pick up and leave.  I still saw many things in worldwide Orthodoxy (as opposed to Ameridoxy or Netdoxy) which were refreshing and did not hold to American Republican politics.  For example, the Ecumenical Patriarch actually believes in climate change and working to get along with Catholics, Muslims, and others.  But the more I examine issues such as abortion and gay marriage, the more I agree with liberals–which means a huge disconnect with official Orthodox positions.

This has made me wonder if I should’ve stayed in a liberal Protestant church all those years ago.  I’ve often wondered if I’ll be allowed to stay Orthodox, if at some point I’ll be excommunicated for my views, especially now that I’ve discovered an Orthodox friend is LGBTQ–and I sympathize rather than telling this person to change.

But finding OID is reassuring.  Finally, I feel like, if there’s room for the writers/editors of OID, there’s room for me in Orthodoxy.  Maybe I can still stay in, rather than leaving all the richness of Orthodox tradition.

Anyway, OID also has insightful posts on abortion and how the usual “Right to Life” response does nothing at all to stop abortion, while pro-choice policies have actually caused a huge decrease.  In the past I posted a link to a blog post by someone who is now atheist and made the same points, but I suppose some Christians may not give her any credibility because she’s an atheist.  Well, here’s a Christian saying many of the same things.

Basically, that money on marches is wasted, when it could be spent on helping women afford contraception or afford to raise a child, leading to fewer abortions.  That when abortion is against the law, women die along with their babies from backroom butchers and coat hangers.

The response OID received to these posts was enlightening–but, sadly, not surprising: Orthodox women were grateful.  Orthodox men were furious.  And Netdoxy attacked it as well.

Chew on that for a bit.

Here are the posts on abortion:

Abortion, Contraception, and Christian Faith

Another January, Another Celebration of our Moral Superiority

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