The Morality Police and Abortion


By now, everyone is familiar with the plight of women in Iran who suffer persecution for exposing their hair by removing their hijab. Every news channel carries coverage of the mass protests and the beatings and deaths at the hands of Iran’s Morality Police who enforce strict Sharia law, a fundamentalist religious code forming the law imposed on everyday citizens.

We do not have to look far to see similar patterns within our own country, examples of fundamentalist Christian morality forming civil law affecting  everyone.  Take Texas as the prime example, a state banning abortion but enacting Draconian enforcement by rewarding its citizens to rat on each other like WWII German neighbors ratting out Jews to Nazis.  The Texas model has spread virally to the majority of Red states enacting similar iterations into law, all with severe consequences.

I understand that you may disagree with my comparison, but I ask you to first agree that these laws are all morality laws.  If we can agree on that then we can move on to a more detailed analysis.

Sharia Law is binary.  Something is or it isn’t.  Sharia Law is black and white.  There are no greys areas

American Laws are not binary, but must be viewed through the continuum of fuzzy logic, a spectrum of greys between black and white, which constitute a whole lot of “maybes.”

The issue of abortion rests on the determination of when human life is formed vs. the right of women to determine the outcome of their own bodies.  We can all agree that women have the right to self-determination, but the rub with Christian moralists is that they see another life involved, over which the woman has physical determination.  This is a problem of fuzzy logic that needs be considered.

At some point there is within a pregnant woman’s body a fertilized egg that eventually becomes a fetus. Many understand this to be an organ of the woman, not a human being.  This is at one end of the spectrum.  At the other end of the spectrum is a fully formed baby about to be born.  We should easily agree that this is a human.  But backing down the spectrum towards the egg, there is a point at which the fetus, incapable of self-sufficiency, becomes able to live outside the mother, should that occur or be necessary, hence a conundrum of fuzzy logic exists.

However, Christian Fundamentalists, Born-Again Christians, Right Wing Conservatives and Republicans in general, all see this issue as binary.  Just like Sharia Law, it either is or it isn’t.  Therein lies the ultimate similarity.  Once the egg is fertilized, they consider it to be a human and to terminate it is murder.

All laws have a basis in an accepted morality, but some have a basis in religious beliefs that extend beyond universally accepted morality.  Sharia Law is one such example as is Texas Law.

As Americans we need to resolve the issue of abortion with common sense and avoid wading into areas of confusion that are unresolvable through compromise.  As in all other rights, there have to be limits but the area somewhere in the middle of the continuum, the area of confusion, should be a demilitarized zone.