on abortion & social injustice

Expression of social injustice

Fergus Falls Daily Journal, June 1st, 2022


I tend to look at abortion as an expression of social injustice. The demand for abortion is largely driven by economic inequalities and prejudice. I would like to see a conversation about these two issues, rather than the prevailing idea, among some people, that if we simply criminalize it, life will be respected.

Women and children need to have access to nutritious food, clean water, housing, health care, child care and education . Yes, personal responsibility is important and I am certainly a capitalistic at heart. But social responsibility is equally important to the equation if we are serious about ending abortion.

Family planning services, just one example, should be made more widely available, irrespective of income. When consistently and properly used, birth control and condoms do prevent pregnancy, most of the time. Fewer unplanned pregnancies means fewer abortions.

Simply put, if the right to life is sacred, then the right to something as important to life as health care, cannot be merely negotiable. Much like with the conversation about social inequality, a conversation needs to occur about how we treat people who are different based on race, color, ethnicity, disability, sex or sexual orientation.

We see this in situations where people, due to personal or institutional prejudice, don’t want to give birth to girls or don’t want to give birth to babies of a certain color or ethnic mixture. Maybe someday women will opt to have an abortion so as not to give birth to a deaf or gay baby.

Trying to more humanly balance personal and social responsibility requires thinking outside the box of red states versus blue states. Similarly, to actually believe that the right to life is sacred, must include respect for the full diversity of life, which is difficult to do.

Our attitudes and laws about economic class and prejudice need to be reexamined so that we can honestly say that all people are born free and equal. These are not comfortable conversations to have, but we need to have them.