Warning: this one gets all political-like. And it’s ranty. And I might not make sense.
A while back I blogged a little about how I can be Mormon, Feminist, and a Democrat. And just so we’re clear, I believe in God. I believe that He created the world and everything in it. I also believe that our sense of time and God’s sense of time are two COMPLETELY different senses of time, so I’m not one of those “the world is only 6,000 years old” kind of people. I believe that all creatures, plants, and landscapes experience evolution–though I’m not sold on the idea that humans evolved from apes.
And I believe that God loves science.
A math-and-science-y friend of mine once told me that in college, she was never more sure that God exists than when she sat in her math-and-science-y classes. Those classes taught her about order and consequence and organization and cause–and she saw all of those things in her faith as well. Can the God I believe in override all those things when it serves His purposes? Yes. (See: Red Sea parting, Earth rotation stopping, Immaculate Conception.)
But as a whole, God lets science–and specifically biology–do its thing, which often means equal parts pain and happiness. Cancers happen, but some immune systems successfully fight it off with an unhealthy dose of chemo, radiation, and surgery. All science.
People lose limbs, but some hospitals and insurance companies work to get prosthetics for patients to resume a relatively independent quality of life. All science.
Women battle infertility, but some are able to conceive through IVF. All science.
Can cancer patients prevent tumors, or amputees prevent losing limbs, or women prevent infertility? Lifestyle choices aside for now, the general answer is no. How does someone “contract” a cancer? How does someone “contract” infertility? We don’t know all the answers, and God isn’t very forthcoming when I ask Him.
So if God doesn’t smite people with cancer or infertility, and we can generally agree that sometimes biology just doesn’t cooperate, then I also have to believe that when a woman is raped, sometimes biology just doesn’t cooperate and women become pregnant. Even though Missourian Todd Akin, who is running for the U.S. Senate thinks the female body has “ways of shutting that whole thing down” if a woman is being “legitimately raped.”
And yesterday, Richard Mourdock, also running for the Senate, shared that women who become pregnant by their rapists have been given a “gift from God.”
But if cancer or infertility isn’t God smiting us, then are all pregnancies “gifts from God”? Or are some pregnancies simply consequences of biology, just like cancer or infertility?
Every year, young girls are pregnant. If He could, I’d like to think the God I believe in wouldn’t want a 15 year-old girl to have a baby. But He respects laws of science, of biology. And He’s not going to intervene every time we make choices that lead to direct consequences. That’s not how He rolls.
And this is where the ultra-conservative base in this country just loses me in any argument about faith versus science. It’s as if they believe in a God that is magical. A God that can wave a wand and take away consequences of our choices. They don’t seem to believe in a God that created science. They treat science like a dirty word, and biology as something magical.
A pregnancy between two people who love each other, are committed to each other is indeed a gift from God. I’ve seen that in my siblings’ and friends’ lives. But a pregnancy from a rapist? That’s biology. And if a woman would rather not spend nine months growing spawn from a man who does not respect women, and frankly, does not respect humans, then she should be able to choose to not bear the consequence of his rape.
I’m not a traditional pro-choice kind of feminist. I think women should have unfettered access to birth control to prevent pregnancies, and if they aren’t ready to have babies, then maybe sex isn’t a good idea. After all, abstinence is the only 100% form of birth control. But in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy, they should be able to choose. I’ve known women who have risked their lives to have children. They survived, their children are healthy, and all is well. And they got to choose.
Because my faith teaches that the greatest gift God gave us is choice, and He will never force us to choose against our will. Choice is everything to Him, and He’s happy when we choose good. But all the choosing in the world couldn’t prevent my dad from getting cancer, or prevent my friends who longed for children from having babies.
Or from having them against their will.