My name is Maddie Ochoa and I writing to discuss the injustices of our non-secular political state. With one presidential candidate potentially undermining the core values of this country, I began to think about which values matter the most to me, and why these issues are so controversial. I realized that a common argument against some of my most treasured beliefs regarding women’s rights was the argument that they go against religious values.
Religious opposition has historically been the most popular argument in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood and banning abortions. Many people claim “abortion is murder” so they are “pro –life.” In reality, there is not enough science to determine when a fetus’ life begins. In other words, there is no evidence to support the claim that abortion is murder. The lack of scientific evidence poses an issue for the label “pro-life.” Using the term “pro-life” subconsciously implies that the opposing side believes in murder. The label is almost unfair to use in the sense that it can be so misleading. If religious people chose to believe that abortion is murder I can learn to accept their views, but I cannot idly watch as some try to enforce their religious views on others. Anti abortion supporters are trying to take away a choice for all, while “pro-choice” supporters are arguing to allow any woman in need the right to an abortion, and even providing religious women the right and choice to abstain at all costs, since it is against their religion. It is unfair to penalize some women by denying them a medical procedure just because some people are in opposition. This country was built on respect and tolerance for all, which banning abortions would undermine.
Aside from banning abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood because abortion goes against some religious beliefs is actually selfishly taking away free health services for women. Planned parenthood does not only provide abortion services. They also provide free STI testing, free consult sessions for pregnant women, free rape kits, free HIV testing, free contraceptives, and many other important services. Taking away some women’s only access to sexual health services could cause a serious health crisis for this country. Just how it is unfair to penalize women by denying abortion, it is even more unjust to deny them potentially life saving services just because the organization providing the services also performs abortions.
This letter is not saying that Women’s rights, or more specifically Planned Parenthood, are the only political debate influenced by religion. Education, medical care, LGBTQ rights, and so many other important issues are also unjustly influenced by religion. Women’s rights just happened to be the most prevalent example in my life. This letter is also not trying to say that all politicians are influenced by religion. For example, Tim Kaine, the current senator of Virginia, strongly opposes the death penalty for religious reasons, but has enforced the death penalty in Virginia because the majority of the population is in favor. Examples like this prove that the gap between church and state still exists, but I do think that we should work to further separate it.