Upstream Solutions to Abortion
Secular pro-life arguments are only effective when logic is employed. For those who have been conditioned to accept killing the innocent as normal, emotional appeals simply will not work. In this paper, I will address education-based solutions to the problem of abortion.
To begin, killing does not solve the real problem of abortion. If the problem isn’t the baby, then it has to be something we can resolve before a baby is conceived. Engaging in prematurely physical relationships is the issue, and that is something we can solve without violence. Self respect, respect for women, respect for life and respect for relationships are the upstream solutions to the problem of abortion. Nothing bad ever happened by respecting a thing too much.
The counter for this argument would be, “But making sure that a baby doesn’t have to experience a bad life is the respectful thing to do.” If that rhetoric were logical, then literally every single person should be aborted. Bad things happen regardless of what social strata you occupy, and regardless of your preparedness of a child. Our response to these problems is what makes or breaks our lives and communities. Killing out of fear, as history has proven, is not an effective solution for anything. Killing only begets more killing.
Quite plainly, abortion is unintelligent. Abortion relies on force to patch a problem rather than education. It reduces a person to something less, something without the capacity to make intelligent decisions. I’m not talking about the baby, I’m talking about the parents. Choosing abortion is stating that you cannot control your desires and you will not be held responsible for your actions. Can there ever be an escape to consequences of any kind? The post abortive mothers I’ve spoken with are still crying, 2 + decades after the fact. It is not fair for a mother to put that weight on her shoulders. It isn’t acceptable for a man to be complicit with that pain and sadness. Abortion is a down stream approach to an upstream problem. So, how can we curtail the flow?
Education is the answer. Supporting abortion, as a culture, is conceding that we do not have faith in our capacity to educate, which is like a dolphin not having faith in swimming. There is a way to prevent unwanted pregnancies while enhancing the quality of life for all, and that is relationship education. I’m not talking about the trite spiel we get about condoms and birth control…That hasn’t worked. It won’t work, because life always finds a way; life is good at that. Besides, those methods of birth control do nothing to strengthen the bonds of human connection.
I’m talking about the type of education that instills respect for the opposite sex and respect for the ability to create life. I’m talking about education that prepares young people for to intelligently plan for and embrace the life that can come through their relationships. This is relationship education. I’m talking about educating young minds so that they will have the confidence in themselves and their spouses to embrace life when it does come along, rendering abortion obsolete. Relationship education is the best means of preventing unwanted births.
This world will know peace when all children are wanted, and that can only happen when men and women are educated about their sexual desires. Poor education leads to ignorance and ignorance leads to fear. Fear, as far as history has shown, is the number one cause of murder and death. We can end this cycle with relationship education.
People often think that sadness, heartache and brokenness is what we are made for. I can demonstrate that is patently false by making a simple appeal to our bodies. If we weren’t made to live in security, comfort, peace, and happiness, then our bodies would reflect that. By that, I mean our bodies would be optimized to function best in states of negative emotion, like fear, insecurity, hate, and more. But that isn’t the case. Our bodies shut down when we are in consistent negative emotional states, because that isn’t our nature. We are meant to be free, to be curious, accepted, grateful, appreciated, respected, fulfilled, and satisfied with life. In those states, our immune systems are at peak performance, our hormone levels are optimized, our brain chemistry is balanced, and our quality of life is marvelous.
Lets work with our bodies by supplying them the emotions they need for us to be whole and healthy. Let’s determine the actions that we need to take and the beliefs that we need to adopt to fuel our positive emotions, and to engender lasting success in relationships. Success is living life without regrets, and we cannot achieve that unless we plan for it.
All of the other animals do not have to plan intensively to achieve success because they lack the brain capacity. So, the other animals live simply and naturally. We on the other hand, have enormous thinking capacity. This capacity is not a luxury, but is an absolute requirement for us to live naturally and successfully like the other animals. Because of our refusal to plan for success in relationships, we have widely adopted the perspective that humans are damned, and separate from nature. We have chosen to abandon our thinking capacity in relationships to accept the love drug that we think our partners supply us. Because of this, mankind has suffered immensely. We can add to the suffering by choosing to live in fear, or we can summon our natural thinking capacity to plan for the relationships that create peace.
In abortion, it isn’t just the new life that suffers, and it isn’t just the woman or man that suffers. It is the relationship between all that degrades. As the most social creatures, our relationships are more valuable than anything else. For the problem of abortion, individualized approaches haven’t done much to combat it. We can talk about women’s rights all day, or the right of the child, and rarely the right of the father, but this insular approach hasn’t proven effective. It is our relationships that need to be healed. When we cannot relate with someone, our relationships crumble. This might seem elementary, but millions of people miss this every day and suffer for it. A common wedge that keeps people from relating with others is a programmed desire to relate to pleasure.
Pornography, Relating and Connection
It has been estimated that over 500,000 divorces a year are attributed to an addiction to pornography. I believe that figure is conservative. In this culture, males have been conditioned to view women as pleasure plug-ins from day one. You plug into a woman, you get pleasure. End of story. That is what pornography teaches us, and it reduces the bearers of life that women are to an empty outlet. When men practice relating to an inanimate object while associating sex and pleasure with pixels, their relationships with people suffer.
Pornography is the number one threat to relationships, and it isn’t just the fault of men. Women who accept that degrading and damaging behavior as normal have set the bar for their treatment, and have invited death to their relationships. I know of a woman who bemoans her marriage every day because of how pornography has affected the relationship. She desires to be cherished, to be connected, to be desirable and to be loved. Had she been educated on the mechanics of relationships, she would have realized that porn viewing is unacceptable for it foments negative emotions and prevents meaningful connection.
Relationships are meaningful connections, and though we cannot see the fibers that make them up, we can plainly see what strengthens them and what weakens them. If we want to strengthen a relationship, we have to relate more. Getting out with friends, volunteering our time and talent to admirable community projects, and growing with our community is where we strengthen our ability to relate. When specifically desiring to relate to pleasure rather than people, the bonds of connectivity weaken. They shrivel, and they lose their effectiveness. This vitiated state of relational bonds accurately describes 2/3rds of the population or more, judging by our current divorce rate. You cannot stay with a person who you are not connected to, so most people are doomed before they even start. The culprit? A total lack of relationship education.
Even injecting one simple bit of education into the masses would make a substantial increase in our ability to connect. For instance, if women were educated about the effects of pornography on relationships, they would no longer accept the company of harmful and degrading men. This would ripple into male culture, eventually sending wave about what is and is not kosher. The idea of human connection is as strong as ever, so men naturally want to relate to women. The application of human connection, however, is pitifully corrupted. Thus, women can have a profound impact on macro level relationships just by saying one word: No. A no to pornography is a yes to connection and a yes to life. When we make meaningful human connections, we make lasting and respectful relationships that are strong; strong as the practices that go into them.
A second bit of education: Save sex for commitment. No matter how hard we try to prevent it, sex brings new life into the world. Uncoupling the idea of new life from sex has led to uncommitted partners and unappreciated life. A new child is a profound commitment, so, any action that could create one must be undertaken with commitment and respect. This isn’t actually withholding anything, because when a man and woman channel their energy into increasing their respect and admiration for one another in friendly ways, nobody loses. Incidentally, friendship is the greatest indication of marriage success. If sex were, then everybody who bumped uglies would be satisfied and content in their marriage!
As a general guideline, relationships should be milieus for inspiration and creativity. Making new life is the height of our creative capacity, and it really is a huge responsibility and privilege. Think about Einstein, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, Gandhi, Steve Jobs- those are powerful, powerful people, and they were all created through sex. To attain that privilege with a respect for life, a person must express their creativity in ways that reveal more of their selves to create a friendship that could last for life.
If you don’t know enough about a person’s character to consider being friends for life with them, then save sex until a time where you can see that. The activities you pursue in the mean time will end up being more fulfilling, engaging and inspiring than any amount of meaningless sex. If you don’t know enough about yourself to foresee that kind of committed friendship, then learn more about yourself through connecting respectfully, responsibly, intelligently and creatively with others.
None of this is to say that the onus of change falls solely on women, but historically, who are the initiators of intimacy in relationships? That role has been taken by men, and it continues to this day despite the so-called “sexual liberation” of women (which has really only enslaved women to pleasure as much as men). Even if only 60% of men initiated intimacy, a simple “no” from women would be an emphatic yes to real connection. Men would be perplexed at first, demanding an explanation. If a woman were educated properly to explain how her no is actually a yes to real connection, the man would be educated and incentivized to make positive changes that strengthen his future relationships. The more committed we are to relationships, the more committed to new life we will be.
In order to connect with women, men have to practice deep and meaningful connection without exception. Porn reroutes a man’s desire for intimacy and couples it with a lifeless screen. Women are not lifeless screens. They need a man who can pay attention to her nuances and subtleties, and a man who can tend to her feelings, needs and desires. Practicing pornography is a one-way inversion of intimacy that disconnects a man from real-world relationships. Pornography trains a man to place pleasure before relationships, so, men who engage in pornographic viewing will not be committed to the relationship, but to the pleasure within. As soon as pleasure wanes even a bit, that poorly trained man will look outside of the relationship.
*I speak from the man’s perspective because 2/3 of users are men. That said, the same concepts apply to women and pornography
Connection and relationships are the theme of this message, so I’d like to address women’s rights. There can be no subjugation of a woman that does not commensurately affect a man. There is no degradation of a man that does not then negatively impact a woman. Whether we like to believe it or not, we are all connected. For a woman to feel equally free to trash meaningful connection, men should be just as concerned. We cannot survive without each other. As men go, so do women. As women go, so do men. We must have relationships with each other, otherwise our species would not propagate, and there would be no chance to experience this beautiful life.
So, I implore you to think less of women’s rights and more of relationship rights. If you step off of an 80 foot balcony, as a general rule, you will succumb to gravity. If you weaken the bonds of connection through pleasure fixation, your relationships will fall apart. Outside of relationships, we have no value. Outside of rich relationships, our bodies deteriorate and our minds falter. Outside of relationships built on meaningful connection, insecurity develops; jealousy develops; fear develops. Outside of meaningful relationships, we fall victim to fear, and fear leads to violence. So, it is a fundamental right and privilege to plan our relationships, and to experience life richly by strengthening their connections.
It is a responsibility to educate ourselves and our communities on relationships. When we strengthen our relationships, we make room for new life. Let’s value our ability to create. Let’s value our ability to cultivate the kind of relationships that speak of life. Let’s create upstream solutions to abortion together by committing to relationship education.