Good afternoon, Senator. I hope you’re well. Navigating society knowing you’ll never have to experience pregnancy yourself, let alone childbirth, definitely makes things easier, am I right? That said, Senator, where does your concern for a fetus’ rights end? Let’s start with a hypothetical scenario: If you had a crystal ball, and that ball showed you with indefatigable proof that that fetus was that of a female who would one day seek an abortion, would you no longer care about protecting her rights? Would you want that girl to be born if your crystal ball told you there was nothing you could do to prevent that child from one day seeking an abortion? Would you still claim you were concerned about her rights to life?
OK, then let’s add to that thought: What if that child grew up to seek an abortion because she received news from her doctor that she would die if she did not terminate her pregnancy? The person (who you required to be born) one day will become a woman who seeks an abortion out of fear for her life. Her life is undeniably at stake if she gives birth — does your concern for her right to life suddenly vanish? If so, you have just undermined yourself by proving you do not care about her right to life.
You must now live with this dilemma you’ve created for yourself. By requiring a child to be born, you are requiring that fetus to one day live a life of their own, which entails making their own decisions, including some you may not agree with. Since you believe a fetus is a person, you now must consider where your supposed concern for a person’s right to life ends.
We won’t even go into how that throws your whole death penalty stance out the window. That’s an existential crisis for another day.
Oh, wait. So you don’t like this thought experiment because you don’t believe in operating under hypotheticals? In that case, let’s go off pure facts, since that is what you suddenly seem more interested in:
Fact 1: Women will seek abortions whether you like it or not, independent of whether it’s legal.
Fact 2: The vast majority of abortions are not performed as a form of birth control but rather because of circumstances such as rape, incest, and life-threatening health complications for the fetus and/or the mother.
Fact 3: Many women seek an abortion even though they wanted to have a child because circumstances beyond their control have left them with no other viable options. She may have been actively trying to have a child, but that was no longer an option. These circumstances include cases in which 1.) their child would be born without a developed brain (anencephaly) and would die shortly after birth, 2.) they themselves would die (in which case, don’t you care about that mother’s right to life?), 3.) both the mother and child would die, and 4.) the child’s life ended before it came to term (miscarriage). There are other examples, of course, but for brevity we’ll leave it at four for now.
Please explain to the congregation how you can excuse requiring these women to not seek abortion services. Then follow up with an explanation as to how you can still claim you care about someone’s rights, given the facts outlined above. I’ll wait.
While you compose your rebuttal, Senator, I’d just like to say how pleased I am that you feel so good about yourself these days. It’s probably reassuring to know you might never have to look a grieving mother in the face and tell her your church group is proud of her for delivering a stillborn child. You probably won’t ever have to look into your child’s eyes every day and see the face of your rapist staring back at you. Being detached from such inconveniences probably helps you sleep at night, right?
That being said, I would like to know how you can imagine that difficult conversation, imagine what that must feel like, and still tell yourself that requiring mothers to experience traumas is somehow you “minimizing harm” in the long run.
Keep in mind, you have now sentenced women across the state to die purely because you didn’t like the decisions they’d make otherwise — decisions that never involved you but the pain of which will carry over onto future generations of Texans.
You’ve likely gotten used to blocking the idea that your daughter or wife may one day suffer or die because of what you’ve done by passing this legislation. After all, acknowledging that would force you to rethink what your minister told you — and obviously he’s the one who knows best.
How do you go to work — at a job that’s supposed to be about representing your constituency (including women) — under the delusion that you’ve helped the public, given that all you’ve done now is made life more dangerous and painful for the women in your state?
I hope you recognize that this legislation is the opposite of “small government.” This is you endorsing the government’s intrusion into personal medical decisions. How does that coincide with your beliefs on required vaccinations? Surely, if you think we need to protect children long-term, you wouldn’t object to obligatory vaccines. That would just be hypocritical and undermine the narrative you’ve been feeding the public for years! What a notion!
Sir, please outline your plans for providing free grief counseling to the women who will now undergo medical trauma. Since you care about minimizing harm, I mean. Because surely you also have some plans for how you’re going to assist the mothers who now have to raise children who were the result of incestual rape, right?
Likewise, I’m sure you’re also going to endorse legislation increasing funding for social services for the children who will now be put up for adoption.
Let’s cut the shit, Senator. We both know you’re not going to do a damn thing about childcare support or reforming a problematic foster system. We both know you don’t care about a child’s rights once that child is born. If you did, you would have cared more about the Hispanic children who were taken from their mothers at the border, a move your party supported and made excuses for (none of which had to do with child welfare). If you cared about the rights of infants, you would expand CHIP and afford new parents universal paid maternity/paternity leave. Someone who genuinely cares about children and minimizing harm would advocate for children to be protected in their schools against threats like COVID-19, gun violence, and race-motivated violence from police.
By all means, go on telling yourself whatever ridiculous, apocryphal nonsense you need to avoid the nightmares tonight, but whatever you do, Senator, don’t you dare lie to the public and call yourself pro-life. What you are is pro-forced childbirth. And while considering how wrong you think it is for strangers to decide how you raise your children, or what you do with your own body (i.e., masks in public), remember what God does to those who willfully harm others.
This column reflects the opinions of the author, a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous to protect her privacy, and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at email@example.com. Submissions will be edited for factuality and clarity.