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Commentary Last Updated: Aug 25th, 2008 - 00:54:18

Moral tyranny and female tragedy: The terrible human cost of anti-choice abortion �values�
By Dennis Rahkonen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 25, 2008, 00:14

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A teenage girl finds herself pregnant after her first car date with a boy. The boy�s parents are prominent Republicans in their community, and the girl�s mom and dad are conservative evangelicals.

Given their backgrounds, neither young person was ever exposed to appropriate sex education.

And, because of who their parents are and what they believe, neither can even begin to consider telling them what�s happened.

The boy just shrinks away and leaves the girl to deal with her �problem� alone.

Having attended church with her family, she�s guilt-ridden by what she�s repeatedly heard about the �irresponsibility� of females (all unmarried women) who allow themselves to become pregnant.

She contemplates abortion, but has been effectively propagandized into thinking that even when a child terminates a pregnancy to prevent having a child -- regardless whether the abortion is performed early -- it constitutes �murder� in a supposedly nefarious �hidden holocaust.�

Then she ponders running away, giving birth, and keeping the baby. But where would she go, what about her education and future plans, how could she support herself and take care of a constantly demanding infant?

The girl grows increasingly morose. Friends at school notice the change and wonder why, but she�s not forthcoming. Her parents figure she�s going through a phase.

Then, on a Friday night, during her town�s biggest football game of the season, she leaves the filled, brightly-lit, clamoring stadium and walks alone to the darkness of the river just a few blocks away.

Upon reaching its bank, she doesn�t stop walking. She splashes forward, into deeper water, until only her head is above the surface.

The last thing she hears is cheers from the nearby game, then her own gasp, as she vanishes beneath the surging current . . .

The foregoing is just one variation of a massive human tragedy that�s befallen countless girls and women in America, over decades.

It�s a tragedy that needn�t exist, but does, because we live in a male-dominated society fraught with sexist assumptions and religious absurdities that crash down upon our female populace like a ton of falling bricks.

Quite wrongly and cruelly, many of us place much greater value on the well-being of first-trimester embryos, or even initial zygotes, than on the living, breathing, already born, socially functioning females in whose wombs they reside.

Women�s health -- their reproductive rights and choice -- are being demonized and obviated, supplanted by almost primitive fetus fetishism, which sees the �baby� as �innocent� against the implied (and sometimes openly stated) view that women who get pregnant contrary to their wishes are sinfully just the opposite . . . and therefore not worthy of comparable, or greater, consideration

Incredibly, not only is abortion equated with murder, but an overarching conservative failure to accept or deal with human sexuality erects obstacles to the comprehensive sex education and ready contraceptive availability that would vastly diminish the need for abortions, if implemented.

�Abstinence Only� is promoted instead, and commonly forgotten in the heat of passion. It�s also a veritable conduit for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Those who think that hoped-for iron will alone can stop peer-abetted temptation should note that many of the worst drug addicts we have were enrolled in the �Project D.A.R.E.� anti-drug program as kids.

Yes, abortion remains legal, but decreasingly so. It�s becoming harder and harder to obtain, particularly for poor women and those residing in rural areas. Moreover, we�re just one conservative Supreme Court appointment away from a probable reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Then we�d revert to the bloody, back-alley days of terrible female deaths -- in staggering numbers -- that we should ask our older female relatives to talk about.

Especially if they were former hospital nurses, they�ll tell us of the real �holocaust� that took desperate lives in a fearful era when female reproductive health wasn�t recognized and choice was outlawed.

Even today -- somewhere, somehow -- some woman or young girl, who yielded to the physical and emotional pressure of a man or boy with just one thing on his mind, is likely involved in dire circumstances at this moment because outmoded attitudes born in a backward, benighted, biased age left her with no options.

Maybe it�s a suicide rope instead of a one-way walk into the water. Maybe her car crashed for no apparent reason. Or perhaps it�s a too-late arrival at an emergency room, following hemorrhaging caused by an ill-advised wire hanger �solution.�

In any case, it�s a loss of hope, and lives, that we can�t morally or practically sustain.

At federal, state, and local levels, please be sure to vote for candidates who advance women�s health and shield female reproductive rights.

It�s the correct, necessary thing to do.

Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the �60s.

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