Throughout my university degree so far with a Political Science major, I’ve heard a lot of opinions that I really don’t agree with. However, I quickly learned that an open mind is an educated mind, and you will never expand yours if it’s always cut off from hearing an opinion that is on the opposite side of the spectrum to yours. So, I always agree to listen. As one of my professors have recently said, “I’ll hear you out. No matter what the degree of discrimination in your stance, I’ll at least give you the benefit of listening.” Everyone deserves to be heard, I mean hell, isn’t that what a large part of the American constitution is built upon? Freedom of expression, yes – I will support every individual’s right to express their opinions no matter where they happen to fall on the spectrum. But, do you know what else my professor said last week?: “You could be saying the most racist damn thing using the most discriminatory language…” he laughed and then immediately became serious. “No. I’m not going to let you speak if it ever gets to that point. There is always a fine line between expressing your opinion, and infringing upon someone else’s rights. That line won’t be crossed.” My question is, if my university professor disallows certain damaging debate in the classroom, why the hell is it being allowed in congress right now?
In almost every political debate, I can see where the other side is coming from. I may not agree with it, but I understand it. I research and listen until the rationality is discovered and accepted in my mind, but this rationale can only go so far. The latest hot topic in American politics are the newly introduced, restrictive laws against abortion rights particularly in Alabama, where abortion is only allowed during two specific circumstances: to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother, or if the unborn child has a lethal anomaly. The first problem I can see with this is that Congress is currently debating abortion as I just described it – the latest hot topic. An extreme right-winged ideology that is rooted in Christianity and can be used at the advantage of Republicans to gain support from Americans who share the same view. 75% of Americans identify as a Christian. That’s a lot of support to be had, and we are currently seeing Republicans refusing to let that support go to waste. Women’s bodies are being used as a tool for political advancement – problem number one.
In terms of the newly-introduced laws in Alabama, both of the conditions needed to access an abortion are conditions that again, the woman themselves has no control over – allowing women absolutely zero control over their own body and the state’s absolute authority. This theme that has reoccured over the course of human rights history of the government’s ability to control individual’s bodily functions is just straight up unacceptable, and we have already deemed this to be so. We have legally agreed that enslaved people should not be forced into labour based upon the colour of their skin. We have legally agreed that everyone in all fifty states has the right to love no matter which gender that love is towards. The government is no longer interfering with your rights to refuse work. The government is no longer interfering with what occurs in the bedrooms of the nation. How then can it be justified that the government has the authority to interfere in one of the most private areas of a woman’s body?
An amendment to exempt rape and incest victims from the newly-introduced abortion laws failed to pass in Alabama last Wednesday. There is no relief and support available for those who have already been robbed of their right to choose. There are no words to describe the suffering that would be experienced by a woman who was not only forced into sex but is now being forced to carry their attacker’s child. The rapist has more rights than the victim. How in any view point no matter if you are Republican or Democratic can this be justified as acceptable? Donald Trump came out with a statement on Saturday, explaining that he is “strongly pro-life, with the three exceptions of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the mother.” Despite a tiny amount of relief that the President of the United States does not condone this bill, there still remains to be no basis for a 72-year old man to be offering his two cents on the restrictions of a woman’s body.
As I previously mentioned, I am always going to be open and willing to listen to the opinions of the side opposite of mine. I do understand the premise of pro-life, and why this debate brings with it so many strong emotions and upset – we are talking about human life, the very basis of our existence. I respect that some people believe that this start to life begins within the mother with the very first signs of a heart beat, but despite this being your personal opinion and belief, you cannot take this belief and place it into the law as a restriction on a woman’s body. Your belief of religion, your belief of what constitutes as murder, your belief of an effortless adoption and foster care system, your belief of abstinence, your belief of how tax dollars should not be used, your belief that every woman regrets their abortion, and your belief that abortions cause psychological trauma and pain do not belong in the womb of a human being.