Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Right to Heal

Ours is in no way a society of oppression.  Our rights here are abundant and generously protected.  The U.S. is so far removed from places like Sudan that we might as well be another planet.  Neither are we anything at all like India, Saudi Arabia or Nigeria where millions scrape by in abject poverty while the elite give new meaning to the term “the 1%” and many must grimly face persecution of various sorts on a daily basis.  Even compared to the more “liberal” countries where economic distress is ebbing, such as China, Indonesia or places in Latin America, our nation just doesn’t possess the man vs. man hardship that plagues the majority of the population.  Regurgitate whatever you want from your pot-smoking, conscientious professor, we just don’t have these problems in any real sense.

There is no amount of inner city chaos you can show me in America that comes close to meeting any standard of true oppression; it’s even rare among criminals.  There is no amount of turmoil among poor whites that rises to this level.  Among Mexican immigrants in the U.S., both legal and not, anything resembling tyrannical depravation is temporal at worst.

All Americans have rich people problems.

At the top of the list of our rich people problems is the unwanted pregnancy (NOTE: there may be an “unplanned” pregnancy, but in the instant it’s unplanned it becomes either wanted or not).  The unwanted pregnancy is a greater shackle on the American mindset than addiction, ignorance, lack of resources, family discord – everything.  Why?  Because the unwanted pregnancy, for either father or mother, represents a human being’s most uncontrollable experience.

The unwanted pregnancy offends a rich society’s ability to chart its own destiny.  But more than this, the unwanted pregnancy is a divine affront to the human ego.  Even Carl Sagan, the renowned atheistic scientist, admitted that sexual reproduction is counter-intuitive to a basic model of evolution, as one or both parents become virtually defenseless against the cold, hard world at some point in the process.

I know a young man who experienced this shaking fear once.  Although an abortion was fairly distant from the mind of this young man and the mother, the affront hurtled the father’s ego into the stratosphere.  As his ego was amputated from his sense of self, shame enshrouded him.  He became a fully justifiable target of anger.  Pain was in his handshake, in his presence; it ground up the hearts of those who loved him the most into hamburger.  Alcohol became the only salve to his mangled dignity, which of course only made things worse, both in the near and long term.

There is an ego in our society – in each of us - that wants to protect itself with the logic of:  it is wrong to bring an unwanted child into the cold, hard world.  By this logic, the perceived oppression around the earth I discussed earlier becomes an excuse for the wealthy.  There is no reason to terminate an unwanted pregnancy in the U.S. – NONE!  For the same reason that we are a grand experiment in listening to our better angels, America possesses the resources for every life to live and excel.

Proponents of abortion try to point out that where there is limited access, there is greater poverty and backwardness, that wealthy societies honor and protect a woman’s right to abort.  Well, the world’s most powerful economic engine, China, also performs the most “legal, safe” abortions (even state-paid and mandated).  In the past 40 years, more than 335 million Chinese babies have been killed.  By contrast, 50 million American children have been killed during the same time period.  Put another way, if none of these abortions would have occurred, China’s population would be 25% larger, while the U.S. would be 16% bigger.

But the truth is that the mark of a wealthy, mature society is that it protects life.  The best case in point is how even the most secular nations of Europe, like France and those of Scandinavia, all ban second and third trimester abortions.

But what about the health of the mother?  Irrelevant and inconsequential.  Pro-abortion advocates are eager to point to a dubious statistic based on a flawed, 75-year-old study which says 5,000 women died of unsafe abortions in America prior to Roe v. Wade.  Do the math.  Even if true (which it isn’t), that’s 200,000 women over 40 years.  Even from a utilitarian standpoint, this is no comparison to what has been done to children in this country.

Putting a mother’s life over a child in this case is completely beside the point.  Life must be protected using the maximum extent of the law.  Is a troubled woman a murderer for the abortion her child?  I would submit that she and the parties involved are guilty of a lesser category of manslaughter, because the circumstances of an unwanted pregnancy are complicated and often murky.  The mother is NEVER the only party involved, obviously.  It is unjust to single her out, even if she is or becomes pathological about obtaining abortions (the statistics on women who get multiple abortions after the first one will take your breath away).

Yet there is a deeper reason why life must be protected.  The power to reproduce is the power to heal.  A family, even in its loosest, most basic definition – a male and female who produce an infant – is 100% influenced by the father – and a heterosexual one at that.  In the past 150 years or so, our society has over-emphasized the mother.  But the presence or absence of the father completely determines the outcome of a family unit and the heart of a human being at all stages of life (the best that scholarly literature can say on the subject of donor inseminated children or the children of same-sex families is that the jury is still out).

The most lost, confused, afraid father has little chance of finding healing and redemption if his child is killed.  The term, right to life, so often used in public policy debate is synonymous with the right to heal.  Recapturing the father is the antidote to all of society’s ills, whether they be real or just rich people problems.  When abortion advocates complain about patriarchy and demand their “rights,” what they are really crying out about is the pain they’ve experienced from bad, weak or misguided men.  Good men can be agents of healing to this hostile spirit.

The young man I mentioned earlier became a father of a son who will be entering high school in the fall.  He is also the father of another son, a daughter, and two stepchildren.  There have been many mistakes, but there have been far greater moments of victory.  Not long ago, the oldest son said something very simple and profound to his father as he walked into church to help lead the youth group music.  "I love you," said the 14-year-old.

For those of us involved in the public square, a fight comes along every now and then that reminds us of why we got involved in the first place.  In Texas, we are poised to pass one of the toughest anti-abortion, pro-women’s health laws in the United States.  HB2 is an elegant blend of law and grace, and it fits within the current Supreme Court interpretations of the aforementioned women’s rights.  True, by next week abortion proponents will be rushing into a friendly federal courthouse for an injunction, which they will probably get.  But with our system, this moment is one for which many of us will be held accountable one day in much different court.  And outside the sphere of lawmaking, all of us will be held accountable for how we defend each other.

Please don’t infringe on my right to heal.