The outpouring of financial support all over the world after the Notre Dame fire had people wondering how every world problem hasn’t been solved already if some have that much money to give to a building alone.
Don’t get me wrong. Next to English and Theatre, history has always been my favorite subject. I even read the entirety of the Hunchback of Notre Dame where the description of the church goes on for like, twelve pages. So don’t think I don’t appreciate it as a piece of the past.
It’s easy to donate to such a cause. It is objectively important, it seems. It’s a building without any real heavy connotations.
You don’t have to reveal anything personal or political about yourself besides maybe religious beliefs (but even us agnostics can appreciate the value of a building from 1163).
But you won’t get unfriended on Facebook. Relatives won’t scorn you. You won’t get death threats. It isn’t personal.
We wonder how abortion has been banned faster than assault rifles, and it’s because pro-life activism is similar to Notre Dame.
“But it is personal!” you scream. “I could have been aborted. That’s a child’s life you are talking about!”
But there are also children taken from their parents, detained, and abused.
There are children in foster care.
Children whose lives are and have been destroyed by sex abuse in the church.
Children who are without fathers and mothers and brothers due to police violence.
Children who lose their lives in school shootings.
Children who will never get to enjoy the same quality of life in the future due to climate change.
But it’s different, standing up against gun violence or proclaiming that Black Lives Matter. Isn’t it? It’s “political.”
Pro-life activism is too, yes, but you don’t suffer the greatest attacks on your opinion. You could say you are objectively moral and just because you are protecting unborn children from murder. You call it genocide, equating the States to Nazi Germany. Equating women who choose not to or cannot become mothers to Hitler. But something tells me you would not be hiding Jews in your basement had you been in actual Nazi Germany.
It’s easy to protest for an issue when you have one scapegoat. One target- evil, selfish women. Dirty feminists who dare to live their dreams instead of becoming mothers. Who dare to save their own lives instead of the lives of something that doesn’t have a name or a voice yet, women who dare to erase the painful physical reminders of their rape and abuse. Women who dare to recognize that they were here first and deserve a chance at a full life uninhibited by unwanted pregnancy for which they are not fully responsible.
You don’t even have to face men. Anti-abortion rhetoric is always directed at the woman and the woman only, as if she is the only one responsible. Why would she have sex if she didn’t want to be pregnant? you ask. How irresponsible of her.
With gun violence, you may alienate yourself by speaking up. Your relatives who hunt and label themselves gun enthusiasts would hate to see you at a #MarchforOurLives rally. You would feel embarrassed, maybe. Silly you, thinking the 2nd amendment that was made over 200 years ago isn’t important anymore. But none of them will argue if you scream outside of a Planned Parenthood on behalf of the unborn.
If you, a white woman, showed up for Black Lives Matter, your racist relatives might scorn you. The police officers in your life might argue that their lives matter. Others might remind you that all lives matter. Unborn lives matter. Why single out one marginalized community victimized by police brutality when you can fight for unborn children of ALL races? No one can argue with you there! You’re a saint, no doubt about it.
Why even bother supporting the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and risk alienating the men in your life? You don’t want to be seen as one of those problematic women that men have to “be careful around.”
Climate change isn’t real right? How dare anyone ask you to change the car you drive or use less plastic! That would be almost as outrageous as asking a woman to carry a child for nine months that she never wanted to have.
It’s easy to throw money at a building or toss hateful remarks at women who choose to do what they want with their bodies and exercise their right to bodily autonomy. It takes strength and vulnerability to stand up for real, living people. A strength which I will admit I don’t fully have yet. It is riskier to stand up for what really matters, which are the people who are already here and suffering.
But hey, maybe that fetus that wasn’t aborted might have one day been rich and kind enough to donate and help clean Flint’s water instead of waiting for the government to step up years later. Maybe it will get involved with police reform and help create a post-racial society! Maybe it will get effective gun laws passed! Maybe it will grow up and be a good person who teaches consent and undoes the damage of toxic masculinity! Maybe it will defeat Trump! So protect all the maybe’s and could be’s. Don’t worry about doing a damn thing yourself while you’re already here.