A couple of days ago, I was hanging out on Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page, and he made a post about the 47th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Naturally, people who are against abortion were also hanging out on Bernie’s page, ready to offer their opinions about the controversial court case that granted women the legal right to abortions. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that some people in the United States would like to see that landmark Supreme Court decision overturned, so that all pregnant women would be forced to give birth, regardless of their circumstances.
Those of you who read this blog regularly probably already know how I feel about the right to abortion. I have never had one myself, and doubt I would choose to have one, but I strongly support the right of women to access safe, legal abortions. I don’t believe in situational ethics when it comes to abortion. I don’t think it’s fair to allow abortion only under certain circumstances. While I would never encourage anyone to use abortion as a birth control method (and I highly doubt that many people do), I also think that another person’s pregnancy is their business, and it’s not right to force anyone to be pregnant.
Still, I know that a lot of people out there champion the “rights” of the unborn. I know many people feel the need to “be the voice” for those who can’t speak up about their “right” to life. It doesn’t seem to occur to these folks that forcing women who don’t want to be pregnant to give birth may not be the best thing to do, especially when we don’t routinely provide resources to those women to make giving birth more feasible. It’s as if some people don’t think pregnant women have any civil rights beyond incubating a fetus. I think that’s wrong.
A woman I’ll call Dee wrote this:
Right Bernie, abortion a constitutional right??? I’ll sign you up to do a few. That sounds like the job you should be doing instead of doing nothing in Congress.
And she was immediately taken to task by the next commenter, who wrote this:
what part about constitutional right confuses you? 🤔🤔
To which ol’ Dee responded:
what don’t you understand about the constitutional right of the unborn to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Hmm… at this point, I had to jump in…
Where in the Constitution does it specify that the unborn have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? How can a developing fetus be “liberated” or pursuing happiness? Those are things for people who have already been born.
So Dee then took me on…
it’s ok. I understand you have a limited knowledge. Keep working on it.
She followed up by providing a link, which of course I didn’t initially bother to read, because it had nothing to do with the answer to my question. Then, she posted this:
The second paragraph of the first article in the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” is on exhibit in the Library of Congress.
Wikipedia › wiki › Life,_Liberty_a…
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness –
And by then, ol’ Dee had right pissed me off, so I followed up with an insulting comment of my own.
all of that is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution… and while you’re at it, kindly go fuck yourself. Learn to recognize different documents… and if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. Keep your opinions out of other people’s uteri.
I didn’t go back to see if Dee responded to me, because by that point in the evening, it was getting late and Bill, his mother, and I had spent the entire evening being entertained by lots of wine. It was time to go to bed, since I had moved clearly beyond the ability to be civilized.
In fairness to Dee, I think my profane response to her was borne out of frustration. She wasn’t the first person to give me a hard time yesterday. One of Bill’s friends accused me of bashing Donald Trump in “almost every post”. First of all, it’s not true that every post of mine bashes Trump. In fact, the post he commented on was originally about choucroute garni, which is an Alsatian dish that features sauerkraut, potatoes, and sausages. I had mentioned that it looked like a big platter of dicks (and it does)… See the photo below, for reference.
Another friend wrote, “choucroute Trumpi”, to which I responded, “Naw, that would require Vienna sausages. A few others chimed in, bashing Trump, which apparently offended the person and he felt the need to politely call me out. I patiently explained why I “bash” Trump, adding that he’s really the only president I have ever bashed on a regular basis. Then, I gently reminded him that the post he was complaining about was originally about choucroute garni, not Trump, and I wasn’t even the one who brought up his name. In that case, I was quite ladylike and didn’t even use any profanity, mainly because Bill’s friend had approached me respectfully. I don’t normally insult people when they approach me with respect.
I know it’s not right to insult people. I usually try not to, mainly because it’s a waste of time. But when people come at me with insults, sometimes I lose perspective, and I felt that Dee’s comments about the rights of the unborn were especially obtuse. She probably thought she sounded good when she invoked important American historical documents into her comments, then basically accused me of being “slow” because I didn’t see her point. But in ruminating about it some more, I’ve concluded that perhaps Dee would benefit from a few high quality minutes of critical thinking.
The Constitution, which came about in 1787, isn’t the same document as the Declaration of Independence is, which dates from 1776. I highly doubt anyone back then– particularly the Founding Fathers– was thinking about fetal rights. In those days, women were likely happy to survive pregnancy and childbirth. So making a statement about the Constitutional rights of the unborn to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is completely nonsensical and ridiculous.
In fact, when you consider that the United States was founded by slave owners who “wanted to be free” and the Founding Fathers wrote that “all men are created equal“, yet in practice, they really meant white men– excluding women, children, and anyone else who didn’t have white skin– I don’t think that quoting either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution really strengthens anyone’s case for the “unborn’s right” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Founding Fathers probably would have looked at the unborn in the same way they looked at everyone else who lacked white skin, sufficient age, or a penis. And frankly, even white men were discriminated against if they didn’t have money or the ability to read. So we should probably add poor white men to that list, too, and realize that, in reality, all men aren’t really created equal, especially according to the Founding Fathers. They certainly should be created equal, but when it comes down to it, they’re not.
The Founding Fathers may have written those words and, yes, they do still sound good today, but in practice, they aren’t really true. In fact, based on the way brown people are being treated at the United States’ southern border in the year 2020, it’s clear that many Americans who cling to historical documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution haven’t really given them much critical thought beyond their own narrow perspectives. Gun lovers are the first to crow about the Second Amendment whenever anyone dares to suggest gun control, but they forget all about that “all men are created equal” stuff when anyone brings up the way people of color and women are STILL being treated in 2020, 233 years after the Constitution was first a thing.
Personally, I think it’s best not to try to school people, especially strangers, on subjects for which one has limited knowledge and/or hasn’t really thought about in depth. I don’t think Dee has really thought long and hard about the American historical documents she trots out for the pro-choice people commenting on Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page. So, to Dee, I offer the following sentiment, as my friend Lori puts it…