Who Decides for Women?
Either Men or Women

This is a follow-up to my essay about heaven and hell. I’m teaching two survey classes on world religions this semester. I love teaching, but it is difficult for students to grasp one of my mantras. I want them to see that as a new religion emerges, it reflects the world and the time of its naissance. A religion that started three millennia ago won’t have the Weltanschauung that one has that started recently.

Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are obvious examples of this. They all predated science. Galileo was a 17th century astronomer who invented the telescope.

“Look what I can see?”

What Galileo discovered differed from what Christianity saw. We live in a heliocentric universe. The earth wasn’t the center of the universe. The Catholic Church told him to recent, or they would burn him at the stake for heresy.

Darwin was a 19th century scientist that wrote On the Origin of Species. Essentially, he was running counter to what many Protestants believed. Darwin said that the earth was older than 6,000 years. Today, we know that the Big Bang occurred 13.77 billion years ago and that the earth was created 4.5 billion years ago.

The Big Bang

Darwin also stated that we evolved from other earlier primates, which rattled many Protestants.

When discussing new facts, it is difficult for some students to grasp that just because some religious leader said something doesn’t assure the truth. Religions see themselves as possessing the facts and are infallible. It often takes millennia to modify many religious beliefs.

One example of this reluctance to change has to do with sexism. All the founders of all religions were men. Except for mainline Protestants, all the various groups of Christians don’t ordain women. I can rattle off the names of many male theologians but can only name a very few who are females. When Christians discuss God, what pronoun do they use for God?

To push the envelope further, it is blatant sexism for men to tell women about their reproductive rights. Many males diss the use of pills and other means to avoid women getting pregnant. That raises the question, who gets women pregnant? I’ll allow you to ponder that as I move on to another issue that men have regarding female reproductive rights, which is abortion.

There are two glaring issues when dealing with abortion. The first is who produced the prohibition against abortion. Here are the only three possible authors of thou shall not have an abortion: women, men, or God.

When I returned to visit my family in Myanmar during winter break in 2017, I sat down with Moh Moh, Ko Ko, and Ti Ti to discuss college. She had a couple of years to prepare for college. However, I remember looking at Ti Ti and saying that where she goes to college is up to her parents and her.

That being said, I told Ti Ti that she had to decide what she wanted to do after college. Then find the best school to prepare her for her career. Then suggested going to college away from home. What she and her parents decide is up to them, but these were just my ideas.

Ti Ti asked what I thought about spending a year of college outside Myanmar. I responded that I spent a year doing post-graduate work at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Traveling to a new place provides the best education for any student.

Two years ago, Ti Ti started her college education at Gusto University in Yangon, which is three hundred miles from their home. However, COVID forced her to go to Gusto online. The following year, the military seized power in a coup. She still learning online.

That is the backstory. Moh Moh wrote that she and Ko Ko applied for a Diversity Visa, DV, six months ago. Our State Department has a program, which is essentially a lottery. If an individual or family’s name is drawn, they will be able to immigrate to America. In June, they will find out whether they won their green cards. That will be the most important and exciting event in their lives and mine.

Keep your laws off my body

It seems evident that women didn’t come up with that notion. Therefore, men will say it was God, and they merely reaffirm God’s statement that thou shall not kill.

We need to determine when does human life begin. A single sperm is alive. The fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus are alive also. However, that is different from human life. Scientists say that around half of the fertilized eggs never become implanted in the woman’s uterus and pass out of their bodies.

There is the potentiality of human life in a fetus. However, equating potentiality and human life isn’t the same thing. Men saying that is merely men saying it.


This is NPR’s essay on abortion rights.