When I’m standing in front of Planned Parenthood in Portland, Maine, where I’m a patient escort, the protesters go on and on about sexual immorality and not punishing babies conceived in sin (fornication), etc. If a woman has been raped, she should carry her attacker’s fetus to term and give the baby up for adoption. Same if the pregnancy is the result of incest. And if her or her fetus’s health or even life are in jeopardy, she should carry to term and put her trust in God that He will deliver a miracle. When a woman—who happens to be the author of a memoir about her late-term abortion—passed by the clinic and asked protesters what she should have done when she found out at 20 weeks that her fetus had genetic defects that would cause it to die a painful death shortly after delivery, this is what they told her: Trust in Jesus Christ. These self-righteous picketers seem convinced they alone have a direct pipeline to divine knowledge.
Now, it’s one thing for religious zealots who have nothing better to do on a Friday morning than to stand outside in often-terrible weather for hours (with their homeschooled children in tow, I might add), harassing patients who are often already feeling pretty lousy. It’s quite another for the United States government or any state government to pass legislation that aligns with their myopic worldview.
What it comes down to is this: Population Connection doesn’t believe that anyone is more of an expert on any individual woman’s life than she is herself, or that the government should exert false authority over women’s bodies by making the most personal decisions for them. The government certainly shouldn’t take it upon itself to punish women for “sexual immorality” or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as so many politicians are wont to do.
When anti-choice people (including politicians) find themselves in need of abortion services—sometimes from the very doctors they scream at from the picket line—they say their situation is different and that they made an exception for themselves because of the unique burden an unplanned pregnancy and birth would create for them. The reality is, no situation is unique.
And at the same time, every situation is unique. We can’t presume to know what goes on in the lives and minds of anyone besides ourselves.
Politicians don’t have to agree with every constituent’s personal choices, but they do have to abide by the United States Constitution, and that document guarantees citizens the right to personal privacy through the Ninth Amendment. Pregnancy and its continuation or termination is the most private of all matters, and it belongs far outside any government’s lawful domain.