I have worried about the state of this nation for a long time now. Today, we took another step toward eroding the separation of church and state as the Michigan House of Representatives passed the first of several anti-abortion bills clearly aimed at forcing a narrow religious interpretation of personhood on all citizens.
House Bill 5711 is primarily concerned with how abortion providers are regulated and with the disposition of organic material following fetal death, whether by abortion, or natural causes. Both initiative make abortion tremendously more expensive, which will in effect chase OB/GYN’s out of the state and place an undue burden on women across the state seeking abortions.
During the debate on the House floor, Representative Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) made several eloquent points. One in particular dealt with her Jewish faith. She pointed out that Jewish law mandates that therapeutic abortions needed to protect the life of the mother are not only recommended, but mandated. Therefore, the bills under consideration would criminalize women obeying the dictates of their faith.
Of course, this only one specific example. What about the thousands of women out there who do not belong to an organized religion, or whose personal spirituality does not consider the fertilized egg as a person, with all of the rights of a fully formed human being? According to these bills, too bad. Michigan legislators have declared that they possess the absolute truth on when human personhood begins. These legislators not only feel that they know better than doctors or women themselves what is medically best for women, but they feel that they know better than clergy of all faiths what the law of the land should be regarding the unborn.
I try not to throw the word “Fascist” around lightly. But this is how totalitarianism begins. When the State can establish laws beyond its bounds unchecked, without even following its own rules of discourse and public input, then you are already on the road to tyranny.
Ironically, there is no scriptural support for this view of human personhood. If anything, the Bible gives little regard to the fetus. Jesus did teach us, however, to be merciful in a number of ways. Feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; shelter the homeless; clothe the naked; visit and ransom the captive, (prisoners); instruct the uninformed; bear wrongs patiently; forgive offenses willingly; and comfort the afflicted, among others. If you consider yourself a Christian, how about if we work on these? Where are the bills to reduce poverty, create jobs, reform our criminal justice system, support public schools (especially comprehensive sex education), and provide family planning and support services for women who are victims of male violence? House Bills 5711, 5712, and 5713 are anything but merciful, and they pave the way for the coming theocracy unless we stand up in united opposition to this intrusion into our freedoms and democracy.