The Right to Your Life Movement

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Personhood for Embryos, no isolation requirements for active respiratory infections, advancement of genocide—it’s a recipe for early-onset dementia to try and unravel the current “pro-life” atmosphere hanging over the United States and to grapple with the logical fallacies being advanced as principled stands.

The Christian extremists in America now have some common themes going. Polls indicate they are very much against abortion due to a proclaimed belief that a pregnancy is a life with inherent rights, and that it is worth negating any bodily autonomy concerns for the women (or even children who tragically become pregnant through the lawless behavior of others). In short, they have made allowances that one stand is worth the erosion of rights for the other. In this manner, no other considerations can be put forth, no room for any nuance. The woman or girl does not have a right in this situation, so they are making a line in the sand with no room for any other consideration.

Amazingly (but not surprisingly to most non-orthodox Christian Americans) the hypocrisy begins to show when looking into often shared conservative stances such as being pro-death penalty, supporting the deaths of untold numbers in Gaza, or simply backing policy that allows for Covid to wreck more lives. These are very real situations with a clear decision to back policy that kills and overwhelmingly, this contingent of the population opts for the slaughter of adults, even rejoices in it. The embryo or fetus is conveniently an entity that makes no real demands on you, literally has no voice, but can act as a place to put all of your so-called humanitarian and Christian love. This while backing policy and behavior that very clearly kills those out there with overt feelings and voices. The moment the baby is born, the interest wanes, of course. The pregnancy acted as an abstraction and a place to derive self-esteem and a notion of moral superiority. The hard work of actively caring for humans that have autonomy and voice is not anything that they are interested in.

I am discussing the reactionary right, but they simply pave the way for these types of policies, which then become part of the mainstream due to a lack of push-back from any sort of left in this country. It is no accident that far right demagogues through history, however, have shoved a forced pregnancy narrative in with policy quite hostile to the life of all others. It’s a clear means of control over the populace who want to feel they are morally upright people, but have absolutely no desire to do the hard work of true good. You can slip in a lot of evil policy if you allow the population to believe they are righteous. It’s a superficial label with no depth or reality-based meaning.

The normalization from the far right has allowed for the other elements of the ruling class to accept and use the issues for fund raising and hand wringing, all the while moving everything more clearly into reactionary and fascist territory. It becomes something advanced beyond just the evangelical circles, into all political parties. One recent example is the fact that the comically named Centers for Disease Control have decreed that you really don’t need to stay home when you’re kinda sick with covid. If your symptoms are improving and you aren’t febrile, you go right out and flip those burgers and expose others. It’s not like you have sick leave anyway, so it’s all good. This right to be sick and work is basically accepted in the United States now by those of all political stripes. It started as a right-wing thing, but when Biden occupied the oval office, those who had disgust at Trumpian policies became fine and even enamored with this “return to normal”. The lack of concern for others is truly bipartisan in the current United States. This new CDC policy moves forward and makes a new normal, even as excess death data piles up and long covid clinics have wait-times to get in that indicate a mass disabling event is going on. Again, embryonic and fetal life matters, workers in the United States, not so much.

Biden has said “I’ve never been supportive of, you know, It’s my body, I can do what I want with it”. I don’t think the man has ever been more honest than he was with that statement. It is a perfect synopsis of what the ruling class thinks about each and every one of our bodies, that is, they have the right to control them—to expect a willing and docile class that throws itself into the meat grinder, whether it be in War is a Racket adventures or meat grinders in the service sector economy. And by god women had better offer up the little precious ones they carry as fodder for that workforce or army. To consider that human life is truly an intangible spark without limit, with full self-directed rights is not anything our current leaders believe. Fetishize the fetus, hate your neighbors, hope for the extermination of Palestinians. Americans are very, very sick right now.

So anyway, who knew the United States were being held together with gunpowder, toothpaste and cognitive dissonance?

I don’t write the above to plunge others into a state of depression, but to join in the shared relief of clearly recognizing the ploys of the ruling class (and yes, I’m using that term as solidarity with Aaron Bushnell’s words and worldview). It’s our responsibility to continue to see this all clearly, even when difficult, and to continue to serve as a push-back to the insane times we find ourselves alive in. Let’s hope and attempt to “infect” others with our worldview just as effectively as our oppressors have been able to do throughout history.

Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.