If the GOP really wanted to "protect life"...even limiting that to human life....the GOP would be hot on the trail of elements in our society that damage human lives. Toxic materials dumped into common water and air supplies by corporations who insist it's economically necessary...if they wanted to "protect life" they'd be supporting the EPA's mandate to assure that we have unpolluted water to drink, unpolluted air to breathe. But they aren't. They're trying to keep the EPA from doing anything to protect these common resources. Preventable contamination of the food supply, ditto. But they aren't--it's the GOP who think adding inspectors is too costly. If the GOP gave a damn about human lives, they would be supporting universal health care. But they aren't. "It costs too much." They'd be promoting healthy environments for all Americans--and that means parks and playgrounds and community gardens in the cities. But they aren't. "It costs too much...the land will yield a profit if developers develop it..." They'd be doing something about the number of injuries and deaths among workers. But they aren't. That would involved regulation and inspection of industries, especially the very dangerous construction industry...and that would be government impeding business....can't have that. Or then there's the murders, suicides, assaults....what is the GOP doing there? Not a damn thing but throw people in prison AFTER the crime. Do they support educational and other programs to eliminate bullying? To eliminate assaults on minorities of all kinds? No and no. Do they support improving housing, improving education, ensuring that there are jobs for all the jobless? Demonstrably not: they have systematically frustrated every single initiative that would have either improved the lives or, or saved the lives of, what I'm sure they call the "post-born." You. Me. My spouse. Our son. My friends. Your friends.
The only "life" they care to protect is that of the "pre-born" as they say....and why is that?
Well, the most obvious reason is that it costs them a helluva lot less to "protect" the life of the "pre-born" by making abortion illegal than to protect the lives of men, women, and children by any of the things mentioned above. All they have to do is pass a law and pat themselves on the back, which I'm sure they're doing right now. The "pre-born" are cheap. The "post-born" have more obvious needs than just being left in someone's uterus until they emerge. The pre-born would also benefit, of course, from the measures above. Being born into a family with the means to support them...in an environment that is not toxic, where the water and air and food won't cause disease, where they will have a healthy home, a healthy place to play, where they won't be bullied, where they will have a good education, adequate medical care, employment providing an income sufficient for a healthy life....all that would, in the long run (something the GOP is singularly bad at noticing) benefit the "pre-born" as well as the born.
But it would cost money. And it would step on toes.
The second obvious reason, though, has to do with "women's place." If you conceive of women as walking wombs, whose best use is making more babies....and if you conceive of them as needing to be controlled for the benefit of society....then outlawing abortion (and ultimately all forms of birth control) is the first step to ensuring that women are not allowed the protection of privacy, are not allowed the freedom to make their own choices and live with them. And there are, among the GOP, a majority who believe that women are exactly that. Like many dictators throughout history (and many in the 20th c.), too many believe that it's OK to control women for the benefit of others....be those others the male members of their family, or a religion, or the need of a country or a culture to increase its population and gain power thereby...or be it that "pre-born child" in her womb.
First you ensure that she cannot rid herself of an unwanted pregnancy. Then you ensure that she cannot prevent a pregnancy from occurring. If she dies from a pregnancy she did not want and could not sustain--shrug it off. It might have worked. You might have forced her to bear a child and that would have been a greater good. Her life means nothing. Even if she has children already, even if her death means those children are left without their mother....her life means nothing. The only life that counts is the life that hasn't yet proven itself outside the womb. The discounting of women's worth is nothing new, of course. In earlier legal systems the wergeld for a woman was half or less that than for a man. Women were just...well...women. In the Nuremberg trials, rape wasn't even considered-- "We don't want a lot of crying women in the court." And so rape--which occurred in WWII as in every other war--was swept under the rug. Numerous religious groups have discounted women's worth and bent their efforts on controlling women and keeping them in "their" place.
It's interesting to consider how this would play if, every time a woman's life is in danger during her pregnancy, the life of a GOP male were in danger. Literal danger: a gun pointed at his head, or strapped down in an electric chair. "Her life is in danger," the medical team might say. "She should terminate the pregnancy." And of course, the GOP male would say "No. We made that illegal!" And then he would be told. "Fine. And if she dies, then you die. It's only fair. You put her life in danger; you should share the danger; if she dies, you will have killed her...and any children she might have had later in a healthy pregnancy." And it need not be the man who impregnated her. Let it be any man who would refuse her the right to decide for herself, and refuse her doctor the right to advise what is best for her...for her, the live woman. Or...any person, male or female. Because every member of the House who voted to make abortion illegal is directly risking the life of every woman whose health and life are threatened by a pregnancy. They are individually responsible for every woman who--refused an abortion--dies as a result. Every one of them has said, in effect, "Your life is worthless: all your worth is in that fetus. You are nothing: your actions, your past, your family, your situation, your potential, none of that means anything. You exist to give life to that which is in you now, and if you can't do that and live---then die." And to that kind of contempt there is only one answer. "Treat yourself as you would treat them. Take the same risk. Endure the same pain. And pay the same price." They're always blatting about "accountability." So make them accountable. Take them first, one by one, in alphabetical order...pair them with women whose abortions they prevent. Right there with them (but silent--don't let the politicians start ranting) ...knowing that if the pregnant woman dies, so will they.
Of course that would never happen, because those in power always set it up so somone else pays the price. Just like Congresspersons haven't been unemployed, running out of money, losing their houses, their cars, everything they've worked for...even hope, when Congress doesn't do anything about creating jobs. Just like Congresspersons have medical benefits only the rich can afford for themselves--paid for by our taxes--and want to dismantle every remaining tax-supported medical program but their own. So when women die--as they will, and as they used to--when abortion is not available, Congresspersons will still be smug and untouchable...and they know it. Accountability is for the other guy, the little guy. They will still say "She got herself pregnant" just as they've blamed American workers for the loss of American jobs. They will still say "She made the bed, let her lie in it" just as they've shrugged off the loss of American homes, the slide into poverty of middle class families and the slide into abject misery of the poor. Accountability is for serfs, peasants, the underclass...anyone not in the right club, with the right number of zeroes to the left of the decimal point in their net worth...hold them accountable, by all means, but don't demand any accountability of those in power, those with the right connections, the right investment advisors. .
Like many other pro-choice people, I think abortion is a lousy method of birth control. Better to prevent pregnancy, if you don't want it...and no, abstinence isn't a sure preventive, in a society where women are raped every day in every state. Better to have no rapists than to deal with the aftermath of rape (and that includes, of course, date rape and marital rape.) Better to have no pregnancies that go wrong, that endanger or end women's lives. But the reality is that women cannot completely control getting pregnant (rape and birth control failures) and cannot control at all the problems that develop during it that threaten their lives. And therefore, both birth control and abortion are necessary for women to have the "inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for which the American Revolution was fought.
Don't I care about the unborn? Yes. But I care more about the live woman. I care about the women who are already being hassled, even arrested, because some idiot thought they were trying to cause a miscarriage--who will be mistreated on suspicion of that, who will have their privacy invaded, their medical records scanned, who will be treated (as they have been) as criminals. I care about the rape victims. I care about the women whose birth control failed, whose lovers lied about having had a vasectomy. I care about the actual live-right-now woman. I think these women--all women--have a right to make choices, even choices I disagree with--perhaps especially choices I disagree with--about their personal lives. Including reproduction. I wasn't able to have biological children, and wanted them. We were able to adopt--but not for years. Still, I would not have wanted one woman--any woman--to bear a child she didn't want just so I had one to adopt. My wish for children was my wish--my responsibility to deal with. I had no "right" to a child, and certainly no right to treat another woman as a mere pawn to satisfy my desire. Or as a symbol of anything, including piety.
So if you are one of those who believes abortion is evil....don't have one or (if you're the other sex) don't cause any unwanted pregnancies. Beyond that, grant all women the freedom to make their own choices--including mistakes--and leave the judgment to God. Which, after all, is what Jesus said to do.
And to the GOP: If you want to protect life, quit interfering with those who are trying to protect the substance on which our life on this planet depends: air, water, soil, climate, food...that stuff. Support the EPA. Grasp the enormity of climate change and start helping, not foot-dragging. Otherwise all those little embryos you're so tender about are going to have a far worse life, and a shorter one.