The Only Area Where Carson Lost Points With Me: Reproductive Rights
The event had progressed wonderfully until the topic of reproductive rights came up and I held my breath to see what Carson would say. I expected and hoped to hear another sensible response from him only I hoped in vain. The truth is I am less enthused about is his borderline draconian stance on abortion and by extension reproductive rights as whole. When asked about his stance on abortion, Carson made it crystal clear that he is fiercely pro-life and vehemently against “abortion on demand” a term he used to allude to the ease and accessibility of getting an abortion in the United States. Being further pressed about the subject, Carson was asked whether he would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision to which he responded, “I would certainly be looking to appoint people who respected human life.” That’s quite the vague response and I was left to read between the lines to extract what Carson really wanted to say. I left the event with the impression that Carson tacitly implied that he would severely curtail the option and access to abortion to the point of undue burden and violation of a woman’s right to do as she sees fit with her body. To think that by eliminating or severely curtailing the option of abortion will end abortion is naive and frankly, reckless. Of course it would be wonderful if every mother wanted their child or could afford a child but we live in an imperfect world and we have to create practical policies that are feasible in a less than perfect world.
For those who haven’t kept abreast with his overall stance on reproductive rights, Carson is for defunding Planned Parenthood and believes that women who expect their employers to cover the cost of birth control of all methods under the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate to be a result of an “entitlement society”. And you know, maybe it is. Maybe there is a bit of truth in what Carson says about women who expect their employers to pay for their birth control acting a bit entitled. Why should I, as a woman, expect for my employer to be involved in something so personal as my reproductive health and fund a life of worry free, childless sex? But common sense says that if my employer provides health insurance isn’t my reproductive health part of my overall health which makes a strong argument as to why my employer should fund my birth control? As much as I admire Ben Carson, I can’t help but think that as a man of faith who seeks to almost eradicate the option of abortion on the grounds of morality guilty of the same entitlement as women who demand birth control from their employers albeit a different kind? How can Carson feel morally entitled, religiously entitled, to not only impose his Christian beliefs on millions of women but infringe on the free will God Himself bestowed upon man and woman since the Garden of Eden? It pains me to even say this but that sounds a bit hypocritical, no? So, a woman wanting birth control from her employer to prevent an abortion no less is entitled and should purchase her own birth control but in the event she does fall pregnant and wants an abortion then the government and religious groups show up to tell her she can’t have an abortion? I mean, the government either helps a woman through providing accessible and affordable birth control so she doesn’t find herself in a position to have an abortion or should completely remove itself from the issue of birth control and abortion altogether. That’s common sense. If an employer or the government feels it’s not their responsibility to provide birth control then it’s not their responsibility to tell a women when or if she can get an abortion. What Carson seeks to do with abortion is similar to what the Supreme Court did when it imposed the legalization of same-sex marriage upon Christians.
I absolutely love how men pontificate about the sanctity of life and how one must preserve and defend innocent, defenseless babies without having any regard or consideration for what the mother wants. What struck me as curious was when Carson stated during the event that he was a “live and let live type of guy” but I guess he’s that type of guy up to reproductive rights. I understand his rationale behind his stanch opposition against abortion as a “man of faith” as he’s described himself and as a neurosurgeon where he’s operated on babies still in the womb that are very much human beings and not a mass of tissue as some would like to have us believe. But even so, I am a woman of faith and I feel that as such God asks for His children not to impose His will or laws but to go about life without judging our neighbor and reflecting who Christ is through words and actions. In this light, God is a good of choice be it good or bad but God always gives man or woman a choice and allows for us to exercise free will. But make no mistake, God is also a God of consequences for exercising free will and selecting a bad choice. Ever since the Garden of Eden God has been a God of choice, a God that provides options and has refrained from imposing His will on us or choosing for us because He endowed each and every human being with free will. Throughout the Bible God always has been crystal clear in both the option of choices He presents and the consequence of going down the road of good or evil. God informs man to the fullest extent everything a good or bad choice entails so that man can’t accuse God and say, “You didn’t tell me this would happen” or “You mislead me”.
So, Carson is against “abortion on demand” but then again so am I. The difference between Carson and I is that though I am opposed to abortion on demand, I don’t think it is my moral or Christian duty to eliminate or almost eliminate that option because God is inherently a God of options and I am called to follow His example. The best Christians can do is follow God’s example by presenting choices to our fellow-men and women and inform them with clarity what each choice entails and then let them decide on their own. It is important to defend the lives of innocent babies but equally important defending the free will God endowed every single man with since the beginning of time. I concede that, as a society we need to close the gap between mother and baby so that we come up with a solution that benefits both mother and baby if abortion must be an option. Presently, I find abortion laws in the United States to favor the mother significantly more than the baby in the womb. There is absolutely no reason why, apart from extenuating circumstances, that women should be allowed to abort a 4 or 5 month baby. None. That’s cruel and macabre. The best we can do as Christians is not only advocate for a for stricter abortion limits but inform women of the repercussions of going through with abortion. As society we have been conditioned to think that abortion is just this little procedure that gets rid of a “lump of cells” or “lump of tissue” that when women find themselves on the table seconds away of having an abortion some come to the realization that what they are really doing is well, killing a child and with this realization comes devastating emotional and mental consequences that permeate in every facet of their lives. So if anything we should seek to inform women of the gravity and severity of what choosing abortion truly entails and not mislead them into thinking that abortion is something inconsequential. Bring down abortion limits for the sake of the baby and reform how and what women are taught as means to compromise and still keep abortion as an option. However, abortion should unequivocally be kept an option for women who are raped, in cases of incest, when the mother’s life is threatened, or in cases of debilitating fetus deformity. If we as Christians do this we better represent God as what He is: A God of free will, choice, and a God that delineates consequences of both good and bad choices as they are.
Carson’s platform makes for a great America but as mami and abuelita say, “Del dicho a hecho hay un gran trecho” which means that there is a huge difference between saying that you are going to do something and actually doing it. But I believe Carson has shown himself to be a man of integrity. I don’t want a Clinton or Bush dynasty. I want something different and I know that other Americans echo this same sentiment. Some people label Ben Carson as naive for the policies he puts forth but that’s the criticism of those who are afraid of change or something different. Even though I may not fully agree with Carson’s stance on reproductive rights, I’m very much still on team Ben Carson 2016. Carson is an underdog and I love it when the underdog succeeds and so does everyone else in America.
My final thought is about something what I’ve been thinking about lately. I have been thinking about who can overtake Carson. Trump? No. Hilary Clinton? No. Jeb Bush? No. BERNIE SANDERS CAN. And that’s something that worries me because it seems so unlikely on the surface. On the surface it seems that Carson and Sanders have nothing in common and are radically different but you’d be wrong to think this. Carson is against special interests just like Sanders. Carson believes that corporations don’t pay enough let alone their fair share just like Sanders. Carson believes that jobs should be brought back to the US from abroad to create jobs for the American people just like Sanders. Both Carson and Sanders want to create an America where the poor and middle class succeed and live the full realization of the American Dream. Both Carson and Sanders have something immensely powerful working on their behalf: they speak to the frustration and struggles of the 99% and can relate very well to people at a human level and have a deep understanding of their needs. Both candidates understand and fight for the 99%. However, Carson is for helping ALL Americans while Sanders is the champion of the 99% while demonizing the 1%. Sanders has the ability to tap into this deep seeded anger and resentment of the lower and middle class towards the wealthy that blames the ills of America on a privileged minority. In doing so, Sanders perpetuates a divided America and our strength is in our unity not in class wars.
If Carson’s message is based on common sense, logic, and practicality then Sanders is based on emotion. What do I mean by emotion? Because Sanders speaks to the speaks to the frustration and anger of the poor and middle classes directed at the 1%, rationality and logic are thrown out the window. Socialism doesn’t work but on the surface, to the ignorant mind that doesn’t seek to educate or inform itself about what socialism actually is, it sounds perfect. Penalizing the rich for being rich and redistributing their wealth sounds great. Unfortunately America is filled with people who don’t inform themselves and are for punishing the 1%. Carson’s message is one that unites and doesn’t perpetuate class divisions among the 1% and 99%. Redistributing wealth doesn’t provide the tools for the poor and middle classes to succeed and progress. Making people equal wont solve problems or create equal opportunity of advancement. One of the biggest challenges faced by Carson when reaching the 99% will be having to tear down the Democrats are good, Republicans are bad dichotomy that is deeply engrained in their minds. I find hope in the fact that Carson speaks a simple message that is accessible to every American.