Guest column: Response to Rev. Gipson's abortion essay

Don Dunn

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Don Dunn

By Don Dunn

Naples

“If I were an atheist, I would still be against abortion.”

So said Pastor Dave Gipson in a guest commentary in which he complained (1) that the subject can’t be discussed rationally, and (2) persons who support “choice” are leading the country to national suicide.

Discussing it rationally, I understand how this churchman can cite whatever God he believes in to support his stance against abortion. But as an atheist, I question his “if I were” certainty.

Yes, an atheist. I believe that “God” exists no more than Zeus or other deities man conjured up over the centuries. Remove religion from Gipson’s anti-abortion arsenal and ask why he still opposes abortion. Like an exasperated parent to a nagging child, he could answer little else but “Because, that’s why.”

The pastor says Roe v Wade has us convinced human life is disposable. The results: spousal abuse, drive-by shootings, schoolchildren slaughtered, etc. By blaming our modern ills on a 40-year-old judicial ruling, he implies that mankind suffered no such horrors previously. No murder, lynching, torture, war or (OMG) abortion.

While I am unable to conceive of an omnipotent being, I can’t claim ignorance. Add up a Jewish mother, a step-grandmother who sent me to Christian Science Sunday School, and an ex-wife whose religiosity meant I had to take lessons in Catholicism before we could wed.

Perhaps my rejection of any religion affected my personal views on “choice.” Separated and supporting four children while beginning in journalism, I became enamored of a young divorced woman also starting a career. In love, we did what couples do, and despite birth control, she became pregnant.

Not for a minute did either of us consider the growth in her uterus a “child.” Not an “unborn child.” Not a “pre-born child.” Having fathered four children, I know that a child is: a small living, breathing human being you can cuddle in your arms; that giggles when you tickle its belly button; that you fret over when it cries, and beam when it murmurs “da-da.” And that you love and protect with all your strength.

Fortunately, there were skilled surgeons available to us. A relatively simple and brief procedure in a hospital eliminated the grim possibility of another single mother struggling year upon year to raise an unwanted child.

We were fortunate, not having to push past protesters, hear insults, or being forced to view an ultrasound of a fetus (not a child) in the womb. And no one mentioned religion.

That’s a point of which Gipson seemingly approves.

“I know I should keep my religion to myself, right?” he says. And immediately adds, “However”

It beats me how the pastor and his “pro-life” associates can unfurl their beliefs on women (and men, too) without knowing anything about the individuals they target. Not marital status, age, economic condition, or any other factor about any of 1.3 million women who undergo abortions annually. Their one goal: Preventing women — strangers to them — from undergoing a medical procedure the women themselves have deemed vital for their own well-being.

Yes, ours was one of “55 million” abortions the pro-life voices condemn for taking place since 1973. Would those complainers be pleased to have that many more people added to the world’s burgeoning population? And would they be pleased if some of those hypothetical “little angels” grew up to become murderers, pornographers, degenerates and abortionists themselves?

Gipson wails that “the slightest attempt to limit [women’s rights] in any way signs you up for the ‘war against women.’” If “in any way” means giving women less education, less access to contraception and to abortion, he is solidly in the war’s front lines.

Decrying some 70 laws recently enacted to keep women from obtaining abortions, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards notes this reality: A recent study makes clear that increases in sex education and contraceptive use are reducing the unplanned pregnancies that lead to abortions.

So why continue “the war?” Pastor Gipson says, “I want people to know how sincerely I care about them.” He might as well add the usual parents’ coda to a whining teenager, “and because I care about you, I want what’s right for you.”

Can anyone in the pro-life movement know what is right for the legions of unhappy, confused, worried women — 1.3 million — who seek abortions annually? Granted, it’s a sizable number. Still, with some 3.9 million births in America each year births of actual living, breathing, wanted children looks like we’re a long way from Gipson’s idea that we’re “committing national suicide.”

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