Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Modest Proposal to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence Regarding Abortion

 We can end abortion in ten months—if we do one simple thing.

Dear Governor Pence, 
In 1729, Jonathan Swift proposed a solution to
unplanned pregnancies. In 2016, I have a better
idea. One that does not involve cannibalism.

You and I don’t have much in common. I didn’t vote for you. But you’ve suggested that you are interested in being a vice president for all Americans, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. We both love America and want the best future for our country, even if we don’t agree on the specifics.  From what I’ve heard about you and your record, I do think that we agree on one thing: Abortions that terminate unplanned or unwanted pregnancies are morally wrong.

As my progressive feminist friends fall off their chairs and prepare to block me on Facebook, let me repeat myself: As a mother of four beautiful children, I don’t think women should ever use abortion as a form of birth control for an unplanned pregnancy. I’m not alone in this view; about half of all Americans agree with me.   

Now, we—stronger together—finally have a chance to end abortions of convenience once and for all. We can ensure that no woman ever aborts an innocent child simply because she doesn’t want the hassle of pregnancy and child-rearing. Even better, we can also end unplanned pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

We don’t even have to overturn Roe v. Wade to accomplish this miracle. Thanks to the wonders of science, there will soon be a better way.

We will have to pass a new law though. To end all abortions of convenience, we should immediately urge Congress to pass legislation mandating male birth control. Under this brave new law, all males between the ages of 12 and 112 will be legally required to get regular birth control shots for the rest of their lives. The men will only be permitted to stop taking the medication, which by some accounts causes some pretty serious side effects like acne, mood swings, and depression, when a heterosexual woman obtains a court order expressing her affirmative consent to reproduce with a specific man, or alternatively, when, at the age of 40 or older, men affirmatively seek and provide the court with evidence of permanent sterilization. Men who do not comply with the requirement will potentially face penalties and jail time.

It will totally work. Abortion procedures to end unplanned or unwanted pregnancies will effectively end. Taxpayers will save all that money we currently spend on social support services for children of singlemothers.  And women will take charge of their reproductive rights—not by wearing modest clothes, or taking purity vows, or avoiding dangerous situations, but by controlling the real cause of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies: men. 

Since you’re a man, you’re probably saying, “That’s not fair! The government doesn’t have the authority to control my reproductive rights!” I tend to agree with you. But if you’re comfortable trying to control women’s reproductive health but not men’s, I want to know why. Why is it acceptable to pass laws that affect women’s access to reproductive healthcare but not to do the same (but much less invasive) thing to men?

And now you know how many women feel when men like you talk about overturning Roe v. Wade.

Governor Pence, it’s time to admit that your stated opposition to abortion isn’t actually about ending abortion. It’s about controlling women.

No pro-choice woman I know wants to have an abortion of convenience. Not one. But pregnancy, in addition to creating the Miracle of Life, is also a medical condition for the woman involved, one that comes with very real risks including the risk of death to the mother and/or fetus. While I believe that abortions of convenience are morally wrong, I also think abortions of necessity are an unmitigated tragedy for all involved. These babies are wanted. They are loved. But a serious medical emergency occurs, and mothers have to make unthinkable choices. For them and their families, we should have nothing but compassion—not laws threatening punishment or preventing necessary and life-saving medical care

It basically comes down to trust. We should trust that all women, when provided with education, options, and support, will make the right choice, the moral choice. In fact, when women have access to reliable, affordable birth control, abortion rates plummet. While I think that abortions of convenience are morally wrong, I also think that no abortion should ever be illegal.

And this, Governor Pence, is precisely why I support PlannedParenthood.  Because you know what? I don’t care how we do it. I just want to end abortions that terminate unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. And Planned Parenthood, which provides affordable reproductive health services to men and women, does just that. 

Since I doubt you’ll accept my proposal for mandatory male birth control, I hope that instead you’ll take action that will actually end abortions by fully supporting women’s—and men’s—access to reproductive healthcare. To my mind, that’s the only moral choice.

P.S. Just in case you don’t want to donate to Planned Parenthood yourself, Governor Pence, 20,000 people took the literal liberty of donating in your name.