Sep 24 2012

Abortion Papers

Category: Humanitarian,Justice,Prose/EssaysSeven @ 4:31 pm


There has been a lot of understated chatter about this song since its release, with many people projecting their own personal beliefs about the controversial subject onto Michael.

I won’t project my own beliefs onto Michael no matter what song he has written or about what subject. For one thing, he isn’t here to speak for himself on the matter and unless he were, such projections are unfair and most likely, incorrect.

I do have my own beliefs though, and in regards to this subject I have a spiritual yet non-religious, common-sense take on the matter:

Such personal decisions are usually made by women/girls whose situations are often quite dire, even deadly. I have seen them made – but never have I seen them made lightly and I know that contrary to religious dogma-borne propaganda, they are rarely made lightly. Such choices belong primarily between the woman/girl herself and God, her family and her doctor. Not the government. Not the church. And certainly not the rest of us. Not even Michael Jackson (which may be another reason he never released the song). It’s her life. It’s her body. It’s her decision. People need to give up trying to control others according to their own personal beliefs when such deeply personal and difficult decisions are involved.

There is one person whose personal behavior and decisions we each have ultimate control over: our own. And that is all.

I do not think God would approve of allowing a girl or woman to die due to a pregnancy complication or an unsafe botched abortion. I also do not believe God would harshly judge a woman or girl who aborted her pregnancy due to rape or incest or frankly, for any reason. What is “pro-life” or “moral” about women dying preventable deaths? Many people seem perfectly OK with that idea as if women and their lives were somehow of less value than a fetus, zygote or baby in the womb. It’s very interesting.

Newsflash: Women are human. And just as much so as a fetus/baby. And they were human before they were women. And their lives have at least equal value to any other. Particularly if they are already mothers and wives. That women hold life in their bodies does give them a special responsibility and the duty and ability to make life or death decisions. It is not in the control of men. It is not in the control of any religion. It is not in the control of pressure groups or pop stars – including Michael Jackson, no matter what he thought of it – and we’ll never know what he thought.

I loathe the idea of anyone making an pro- or anti-abortion screed out of this song of Michael’s. That’s probably why he never released it. If I had a conversation with Michael Jackson about this subject I would tell him the same thing I am writing here, now. I don’t know if he’d agree or not and I never will. But it doesn’t matter. One thing I do know is that Michael obviously exerted control over the one and only person he knew he could and should control – himself. He did not enter into relationships, particularly sexual ones, lightly. He wasn’t raised that way.

Until and unless men can become pregnant, men have no say in this issue. Their choice both begins and ends at their pants zipper. If they dislike the consequence of whatever they chose at that time and location, they must realize they no longer control it – that they already made their choice and that it’s now beyond them. Their control began and ended with that zipper. Once they make a decision there, they’re done. They have no more to say. That is because it is women and God who bear primary responsibility for and decisions about the bringing forth of life into this world. Like Sojourner Truth told some men in her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech years ago: “Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Men ain’t had nothin to do with it.

I do not judge women who choose abortion – for any reason. They have to answer to God, not me. I do not judge women who chose not to have an abortion for the same reason. What is in their own hearts is known only to God and is none of my business.

I do know this: “pro-life” includes women’s lives. And no God of mine would approve of women dying due to botched, unsafe abortions or due to refusal of the procedure for “moral” reasons when the continuation or completion of the pregnancy would result in the death of the mother. Forcing women to their preventable deaths is not “pro-life“. And forced pregnancy is in my own opinion slavery, which is as immoral as death itself.

It is heartbreaking to me, just as it was to Michael, that once children are born, our society, our religious factions and our government do not care nearly so much about them as they claim to while they are in a woman’s womb. One has to wonder why that is. This vehement opposition to allowing women control over the bringing forth of life via their own bodies is very interesting. It appears that many people like to oppose abortion but that they have little interest in actually preventing it.

Typically the same factions that oppose abortion also oppose birth control (contraception) and laws that would force men to be responsible for children they father ie: paternity laws. They oppose sex education and they oppose educating men and boys to control themselves and to respect women and girls as human beings. If we put half the effort into telling boys and men to “be careful” with their sexual activities and to respect others, as we do telling women and girls that, perhaps there would be fewer unplanned pregnancies. There is a huge education problem in that regard, in at least American society.

What do people gain by these Taliban-like attitudes? One word: control. It’s the one thing too many men lack in themselves and to compensate, they deign to exercise the control over others (primarily women) that they ought to be exercising over themselves. So they punish women with and for their own weaknesses. And thus they punish their children too. There is nothing moral about pawning responsibility for one’s own behavior off onto the victims of it. It’s reprehensible, in fact.

So we have many seemingly fatherless children running around that most of society primarily blames women for as if they “got themselves” pregnant. Men don’t want to take responsibility, many of them, and evidently our society thinks they ought not have to. And at the same time, they also want to take from women any choice in the matter, pretty much relegating them to sexual and reproductive slavery. That is what this boils down to.

Men need to let women and God decide and stay out of decisions they are in no way qualified to make, obviously. I suggest that males should concentrate on controlling their own behavior and stop trying to control others and stop inserting themselves between women and God. This is a relationship that men have no business involving themselves in. That they do so is a problem with many established religions and why I refuse to subscribe to them.

As for Michael, it could be that trying to control (or judge) others is something he didn’t want to do (or appear to do) and I can guess this is why the song wasn’t released while he lived. In my opinion, it should never have been released lest people try to turn it in to an anti- or pro- abortion screed which is probably something Michael also did not want.

All we really know for sure about Michael’s own opinion on the subject is what Michael Jackson did while he was alive: he controlled himself and his own sexual behavior. And he did not release this song. Let others take note of that, regardless their beliefs about abortion or what they want his meaning or message to have been in writing a song about it.

The BAD25 CD liner notes contain the following:

This is a song that Michael knew could be controversial, and, as a result, he spent a lot of time thinking about the story for the song and the voice through which the song should be told. The song is about a girl whose father is a priest and was raised in the Church and on the Bible. She gets married in the church, but decides, against the Bible, to have an abortion and she wants “abortion papers.” As Michael indicated in his notes, “I have to do it in a way so I don’t offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully. I have to really think about it.


NOTE: Comments on this post are disabled due to the highly controversial nature of the subject. I doubt anyone will change anyone else’s mind or beliefs on the matter, so heated debate is pretty pointless here and would likely do more damage than good. Everyone has a right to and a responsibility for their own and actions and beliefs. But they do not have a right to control others, especially when the decision or choice in question is so difficult and deeply personal. 


Abortion Papers (lyrics, approximately)

Sister don’t read, she’ll never know
What about love, living a Christian soul
What do we get, she runs away
What about love, what about all I pray

Don’t know the worst, she knows a priest
What about God, living is all I see
What do you get, things she would say
What about love, that’s all I pray

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Sister’s confused, she went alone
What about love, what about all I saw
Biding a life, reading the words
Singing a song, citing a Bible verse

Father’s confused, mother despair
Brother’s in curse, what about all I’ve seen
You know the lie, you keep it low
What about heart, that’s all I’ve known

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Those abortion papers (whoo)
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Look at my words, what do they say
Look at my heart, burning is all heartbreak
What do you get, what do you say
What about love, I feel my sin

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Those abortion papers (whoo)
Think about life, I’d like to have my child (whoo)

Who have the grateful, where will she go
What will she do to see the world

Sister don’t know, where would she go
What about love, what about all I saw
What would you get, don’t get so confuse
Love all the things, it’s just the things I do

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

Those abortion papers (abortion paper, this paper, hee-hee)
Those abortion papers (hee-hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)
I’d like to have my child (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)

Those abortion papers (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee, hee, hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)
Those abortion papers (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee
I’d like to have my child (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee, hee-hee, hee-hee)
Those abortion papers (hee-hee, hee, hee-hee)