Judge Not, Lest You Be Like Me
By Brenda Fine
March 13, 1999
After several months of exhausting abortion-related debate, I've come to one of the very same conclusions that many prochoicers have arrived at.
No, not the main conclusion - I'm still strongly prolife. I'm referring to a conclusion about the character of many of my opponents: "I'm sick of those religious whackos. Don't they realize that we have a separation of church and state clause? Why can't they stop cramming their religion down my throat?"
I'm referring mainly to a Bible verse which the abortion debate has catapulted into new popularity. Prolifers new to the debate, secular ones in particular, beware: expressing any strong views about abortion can be hazardous to your health. The generic response to most would have put my late parrot to shame:
"Judge not, lest ye be judged." "Judge not, lest ye be judged." "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
Fourteen years of religious education and three of intense math and philosophy have left me with enough sense to know that in all likelihood, neither God nor Jesus ever preached to the people, "Go ahead, kill your babies, rape your wives it's your lucky day (and week, and month, and year, and millennium) - because there isn't a man alive who can condemn your actions!"
I am judgmental. I am intolerant. If any self-proclaimed tolerant, nonjudgmental prochoicer sees fit to criticize me for that, I will innocently respond, "My, how judgmental you are of me. Can't we all be tolerant one another?"
In an abortion clinic in a village in India some six or eight years ago, of 8,000 aborted fetuses, 7,997 were female. I am judgmental of a society that places such little value on females that this is sanctioned practice. In the United States, 25% of male fetuses are aborted, compared to 42% of female fetuses. I am intolerant of parents who value their sons more than their daughters.
James Watson, one of the discoverers of DNA, publicly announced a few years ago that if ever a gene for homosexuality is discovered, he would encourage parents pregnant with such babies to abort. I am intolerant of people who abhor homosexuality so much that they would sooner kill than risk the chance of being exposed to it.
An informal survey several years ago revealed that if an obesity gene were discovered, 11% or prospective parents would abort a fetus that possessed it. I am not ashamed to declare that I judge highly unfavourably the actions of any parent who deems obesity to be a fate worse than death.
97% of women pregnant with Down's Syndrome babies end up aborting them. The figures are similar for women pregnant with babies with spina bifida, another non-fatal disease. I have difficulty tolerating the pleas for sympathy of these women who deemed their children too imperfect to live.
Goodness, what a horrible person I must be, judging the prochoicers.
Oh, well. I really shouldn't blame them. They're probably just misguided believers. They haven't walked in my shoes, so I guess they can't see where I'm coming from, and consequently, they judge me negatively.
I've written appeals on behalf of young girls who were found guilty of rape - that is, the authorities had declared that these schoolgirls had seduced their assailants. I've written appeals on behalf of homosexuals who were tortured by authorities for engaging in consensual sex with other men. To support people who would abort, or societies that would foster climates favourable to abort, children for being female or gay would be to state that the attributes for which these people were punished - their sexes and sexuality - are ones for which a parent would be justified in wanting to get rid of. How could I judge so negatively fetuses who possess characteristics for which others whom I deem bigoted would oppress them?
I was picked on in grade school for my physical appearance, and was hurt considerably by the taunting. How can I claim to wish to foster understanding and sensitivity toward different-looking children and at the same time not condemn a parent who judges an obese child so harshly that she deems him unsuited to live?
A few years ago, when I tutored elementary school children, I had the privilege of working with a girl who had cerebral palsy. During the two years I worked with her, she smiled and hugged me and beamed when she solved questions correctly. She taught me more about myself than I could ever teach anyone about math. And I would never betray her by giving my approval to a woman who would choose to kill her child because her child possessed the same characteristics that made my former student so wonderful.
Yes, I will judge people who support abortion without exception. To do otherwise would be to nod in approval when another woman judges a female child, or a gay child, or a fat child, or a sick child too pitiful to live. I'll stop judging people when they stop passing the ultimate judgement - death - on female and gay and fat and sick children. Until then, I'd advise the abortion apologists who tell me to judge not, lest I be judged, to either put their Bibles away - or to start taking their instructions to heart.
This article copyright © 1999 by Brenda Fine and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.