The year 2020 will bring the discussion of abortion to the Utah Legislature. Republicans will introduce legislation to severely reduce elective abortions options even further. In hopes of avoiding disputes, state Sen. Dan McCay’s proposed ban would hold until the U.S. Supreme Court allows states to enact such laws. He believes it’s time to have this discussion, and as he’s put it, “close up the abortion shop”.
Yes, Senator, it’s time. Tell us why some legislators believe 3+5 but not 5+3. Tell us how your experience and experiences of some of your colleagues as Realtors and homemakers qualify you to govern women’s bodies. Tell us why Utahns are continually imposed upon with others’ religious beliefs. Tell us why you believe there are differences in the life value of that fetus you are vigorously fighting for and that hungry child in the “detainment camp” along the border.
Perhaps it’s time to provide a better definition of what pro-life means. This is to set the record straight, and to have a platform we can build upon for this debate.
Pro-life means our deistic and super-naturalist Founding Fathers wanted to create a place where life could flourish without tyranny. It means we support life and being given the opportunity to live this reality to make it worthwhile. It means we embrace not just our families, but all Americans. It means we embrace the all human beings. Pro-life means we do not encourage war, shootings, terrorism, concentration camps or guns.
Pro-life means we not only listen for heartbeats of small fetuses, but also listen to the cries of children inhumanely locked in cages in unlivable conditions, sleeping on concrete floors in detainment centers along our Southern border. Pro-life means we help others being persecuted from their countries due to violence, poverty or dictators. Pro-life means being accepting of different sexual orientations and gender identifications. Pro-life means we will not fight for a child in the womb, then castigate it with expectations and shame for being different to us.
Pro-life means we will put down our guns for love and peace. It means we fight to give all Americans health care access. It means we find a middle ground politically to make America indeed great again. It means we stop looking at only half of the issue: if pro-life means no abortions, that definition also includes “no guns.” Pro-life is Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Mormon, Muslim; it has no perimeter or religion. And, to answer McCay, in regards to the difference in life value between the fetus and that hungry child at the detention camp. If you value the fetus, then you should value the child as well and help them as much as you are trying to help the fetus.
The truth is every woman has the right to make decisions for her body. The truth is these detainment camps are less than 1,000 miles south of us. This state is majority Mormon, then they should be able to empathize with being persecuted; it’s in their history. They should understand what it’s like to be imposed upon. Much like they believe no one can restrain their religious freedom, no one controls whether women can have abortions or not.
The future is here. Progress is irreversible. This battle will continue and will be won by my generation, or the next. The world is big enough for acceptance. It’s easy to have staunch opinions on issues we’ve never experienced firsthand. I hope these issues never knock on Sen. McCay’s door. But if they do, I will be there to fight for his family.
Olivia Jaramillo is legislative chair for House District 14 Democratic Party and the second vice chair for the Hispanic Democrats of Utah.