Sex and Abortion
Robert A. Levine
The recent Supreme Court ban on abortion is not the first time religious conservatives have tried to take away women’s rights. And we are not the first society where there have been attempts to make women subservient to men and dependent on them. And this is not the first time that religious zealots have tried to tie sexual relationships to having children, trying to deny women the right to sexual pleasure without bearing children. What is wrong with men and women having sex purely for pleasure and not to conceive?
Religion and ancient societies have always been patriarchal in structure, emphasized in the Bible and all religious texts. Remember that Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib. She was just part of a man while Adam was the superior being. In some primitive societies, women are still considered chattel at the disposal of the men who are their protectors and actual owners. There is even an aura of evil in some religions regarding women, who are labeled as temptresses who will lead men to sin and infidelity. Religious texts do not emphasize pleasure for women in sexual congress, believing that sex is for men to have pleasure and to create children.
Islam allows men to have four wives and original Mormonism also allowed men multiple wives, showing that men were superior beings. Conservative Protestant religions expect their women to stay home and have children, rather than pursue education and careers separate from their men. Religious Catholics believe that use of contraceptives is a sin and that the purpose of sexual intercourse is to produce children. Orthodox Jews are split on abortion but it is felt to be a conjugal duty that a man provide pleasure for his wife in conjugal sex.
In none of the western religions is there any text on the right of men and women who are not married to have sex purely for pleasure. Banning of abortion by the Supreme Court furthers the idea that sex that does not produce children is evil and that the mother must be forced to carry an unwanted child because she sinned by having sex. Of course, many married women become pregnant and believe they cannot afford or do not want to have a child and so have an abortion.
It is not a surprise that all of the Supreme Court Justices who voted to overturn Roe v Wade are religious Catholics, though Justice Gorsuch labels himself as Anglican/Catholic. The fact that these six justices allowed their religious beliefs to guide their decisions against the views of the majority of the nation is a detriment to our democracy. Though it is certainly not necessary to have justices proportional to the nation’s population, it is aberrant to heave 6 or 7 Catholics on the highest court in the land, with all of them appearing to follow religious dogma. How could they not overturn Roe v Wade when they have been taught all of their lives that abortion is a grave sin?
When John Kennedy was elected president in 1960, many Americans called him a papist, believing that he would be adherent to church doctrine. This did not occur but it is now the Supreme Court that is following the precepts of their church against the popular will. Their decision to allow religious schools to receive state funding in Maine that was given to private schools is further evidence of their religious beliefs and is contrary to the Founders desire for the separation of church and state. No religious institutions should be receiving government funds. And no teachers or coaches should be able to hold prayer sessions on public property after or during a school function where students might feel obligated to participate.
These justices who are Catholic acolytes might do better to try and clear their church of its rampant pedophilia which seems to be an ingrained problem at all levels, instead of interfering with secular laws that have been on the books for fifty years and have the support of the majority of the population. It is also unfair that presidents who did not win the popular elections and senators who represent a minority of the population have been able by hook and crook to fashion a minority Supreme Court who follow their religious precepts in ruling on their cases, bringing America back to a less open and less modern age. There are a number of ways that the Court could be changed to be made more modern and realize that sex for pleasure between loving individuals is not such a bad thing after all, even if it results in an unintended pregnancy. Women should be able to have children when they desire it, and abortion and contraception should not be made more difficult because of prudish men and one woman.
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