Pro-Enslavement: The dark side of ‘pro-life’

Last week, one of those news items floated past on my computer screen, the kind you skip when you’re looking for something else. “Mother kills 3 children, self” was its essence. I went about my business, but the headline stuck with me. Days later, when I went back to search for it, googling “mother kills three children,” a long list of headlines appeared from recent news across the country: July 28 in Danbury, Conn.; July 7 near St. Paul, Minn.; June 27 in Rockmart, Georgia; May 11 in the Los Angeles suburb of West Hills. I stopped reading, did not search on different numbers of children.

What caused me to search was the question that rose in my mind whether the mother, whoever she was, might have been saved from taking such devastating action had she stopped having babies after the second child was born. There’s no way to know, of course, but let’s say she might have been able to handle her life if only two young ones were needing her constant care and attention. Then three of the four people would be alive today, not four dead.

Which brings me to the struggle over abortion. I have long felt that there’s something very anti-life hidden within the pro-life position. I am thinking here about people who adamantly defend the fetus from the moment the sperm finds and enters the egg, but then subject adults to jail time for risking that fertilized egg’s life. Does the life of the woman not count, or the lives of people offering decent health care to manage her reproductivity?

In the late 1980s, when I lived on Long Island, I frequented a camera shop owned by a father and son, who were friendly shopkeepers and welcoming to me. They were Catholic, and one day they were discussing the shameful death of fetuses thanks to the new abortion laws under Roe v. Wade. I asked them if they had any idea how many women died from illegal, unsafe abortions, and whether those lives counted under their pro-life umbrella. The father and son were beautiful in their response: they looked surprised, even chagrined, and said “you’ve got a point there.” We stayed friends. But would we have in this charged environment?

Short of homicide/suicides, death by dirty knives, and turning women and their health care providers into criminals (again), I see something even more pernicious. What the pro-life radicals are projecting and working toward is a world where poverty reigns. Even in this day and age when we have accomplished slightly more wage equality between women and men, the weight of child-bearing and child-raising subtracts from income production as well as adding expenses. Single-mother households are chronically poor, which means not only is the mother saddled with financial stress for the rest of her life, but the children come up through the system economically disadvantaged, increasing the pool of cheap labor. 

Cheap labor is convenient for many people in the wealth-generating industries. I can see why the most thoughtless moneymen can find themselves mouthing the pro-life mantras, as well as funding the vicious movement. What I find more difficult to witness is ordinary working people, people of faith, buying into their program. That the pro-life radicals think we women should bear and raise children forced on us by rape and incest defies their pro-life definition. These people are not pro-life: they are pro-enslavement.

It could be argued that the Thirteenth Amendment guarantees women’s freedom in this matter. Section One says—in full—“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The one-sentence second section states that “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” It does not say that Congress has the power to dissolve it.

As citizens of the United States, women should be given back their legal right to control their reproductivity. It is a necessary step toward greater equality between the genders and classes. It is pro-life in reality, and a defense against the deathly impacts of increasing inequalities in income and wealth that are degenerating our great country now.

Trudy Wischemann is a woman who writes. You can send her your thoughts on abortion c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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