This is addressed to the woman who intends to vote “No” and against passing the proposed amendment to the Mississippi constitution that will define personhood in our state and thereby end abortion as we know it.
There’s not much one can say at this point to change one’s mind about an issue which has been the proverbial thorn in our side since Roe v. Wade. But offering a different perspective may perhaps help one to reconsider their thoughts on the matter, if not perhaps broaden the horizon upon which they now see it.
I respect the passion you have that will move you to take the time to register your opinion on this important issue and it’s because you will do so is what, in fact, makes our way of life as fulfilling as it is. And I hope you would agree that the mutual respect we have in holding our respective views is likewise appreciated.
Women are the most important determinant party in this matter and there are two sets of women each of whom represent one of the two positions we hold. One set, for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration, is represented by the woman of any age, who upon finding herself with an unplanned pregnancy chooses
to bring the pregnancy to term and deliver her child, a child conceived perhaps in a moment of passion or perhaps by extraordinary means; a child who will grow, contribute, and live among the rest of us. This woman, on a deeper but less dramatic level, makes a choice not unlike the man in uniform who throws himself upon a live grenade to save his buddies. While the analogy on the surface may seem strained, they both, in their respectively difficult situations, make a choice and have a desire, the common ground of which is to transcend the moment, transcend the self, and to direct their interests toward something bigger than themselves. As it pertains to the two sets, in one instance a woman is choosing self, and in the other she is choosing something other than self. To say which of the two is the more noble action I suppose is debatable. But to deny that
neither’s decision comes to bear upon the rest of us would be misleading.
The various and many points in human development at which personhood begins have been debated and advanced by many thinkers over the centuries. They are as follows: at fertilization but before implantation, at implantation, at cellular division, at fetal viability, 40 days after conception, upon reaching human
form, when it “gets a psyche,” and according to American law, defined as one who has the “ability to sue or not sue.”
You can take your pick from any of these to rationalize or secure your position. We all know it’s no secret that the amendment proposed is a legal means the goal of which is to stop the removal a genetic construct that we all know is not, and cannot be of anything other than humanness.
There are very many people as well as a continuing growing consensus of those who believe that this developing humanness, give it the name you wish, is something that arrives with an unavoidable universal call for attention. A providential call that is heard by some more than by others; a call that is integral to defining the kind of community we wish to be. We can only hope that in time that our collective wisdom, in addressing this call, will eventually come to guide us to that which is true and not instead, because of a self-directed, self-oriented path we took, render to us a grave indictment of another kind.
Whether or not there ever is a law against abortion, the women who so choose, will probably always have the power and wherewithal to seek one out, somewhere, somehow. Before Roe v Wade women sought out abortions; if it is overturned they will probably still seek it out. At its foundation, only an internal change of heart, attitude, and disposition of such an individual woman’s relationship with, and the influence she has over, our community will ever result in our ever coming to peace with our collective spirit.
Making your mark a “Yes” will certainly not be the dramatic equivalent of the mythical-like act of throwing one’s self on a live grenade. But if enough of those who believe as you do, do so, the result will be the saving of many more lives than if you actually had. And for this, I and many others, would be eternally grateful as well as respectful and aware of the courage you’ve taken in exercising this choice of another kind.