So I am adamantly pro-choice, but I have a few serious objections to the standard pro-choice rhetoric that we see these days.
My main issue is with the lies we’ve been telling.
I see two important questions surrounding abortion: 1) at what point does life begin? and 2) at what point does a human become a person?
The first question seems scientific, and is very simple to answer. By any definition of life that I’ve ever heard, it begins at conception. That’s the point when the human begins its growth as an individual animal separate from its mother. This is just a scientific fact. If a worm or a fly is a life-form then there’s no way to argue that a human fetus is not. Simply because it relies on its host for survival does not mean it’s not life.
At what point a human becomes a person, on the other hand, is not a scientific question at all. This is entirely a matter of opinion and emotion. People have every emotional and spiritual right to see this their own way, but as a society of individuals trying to get along, we have an obligation to respect other people’s viewpoints. If I get a dog, and I love my dog, and I decide that my dog is a person, then I expect my friends and family to respect my perspective regardless of their personal beliefs on what is or isn’t a person. This is not about being right or wrong. It’s about having respect for other people’s feelings.
To claim that a woman’s convenience is more important than a human life is understandably disgusting and offensive to a significant portion of the population, and always will be. When the pro-choice crowd insists that unborn babies have no rights or value as human beings when there are so many people who care so deeply about them, our opponents are naturally going to feel disrespected and are going to lash out by doing things like blanketly attacking Planned-Parenthood or forcing women to have trans-vaginal ultrasounds.
This attitude is about more than being respectful, it’s about telling the truth. It’s easy to see that most women are lying when they say a fetus is not a person, because if they were to get pregnant then have a miscarriage, only a very small percentage would simply shrug it off and say “Oh well, it’s not like it was a person.”
I believe we are shooting ourselves in the foot by making these arguments.
Another place where we are lying, at least here in America, is in lawmaking and the US constitution. I once read on the Addicting Info website, that a woman’s right to choose is a constitutionally guaranteed right. Nowhere in the constitution does it guarantee women the right to kill their unborn babies. I wish it did, but it does not. The tenth amendment clearly guarantees the rights of states to make their own laws and establish their own values.
So often with sacred texts, we twist their meanings to suit our own beliefs. We don’t want to come out and say that we don’t support this document, or we think it was wrong, but we can’t give up our beliefs or stop fighting against the repulsive things that are being done in the name of the pro-life perspective, so we tell ourselves over and over again that Roe-vs-Wade was constitutional. I agree that the outcome of Roe-vs-Wade was the morally correct decision, but it was not the constitutional one. If we want to be a nation of laws, we need to respect the law, even if we strongly disagree with it.
There’s two simple facts that everyone on both sides of the issue tend to lie about or ignore, but they are important topics surrounding this issue, as they are about the suffering of innocent children.
1) Some women make terrible mothers. I’ve seen mothers repeatedly make jokes about abandoning their children or even use it as a general threat to keep them from misbehaving. I once saw a mother hit a child who was barely old enough to talk because he took three or four extra seconds to get into their car. I recently watched a mom threaten to cut off her child’s fingers. The bottom line is that there is a small but notable percentage of mothers who literally hate their children and wish they had never been born. I find it odd that our society so readily admits that men can be abusive and neglectful toward children while ignoring the fact that women can be just as bad.
Most of these women who hate their children gave birth to them semi-voluntarily. I can’t even imagine what things would look like, or how much children would be suffering, if these women were forced under threat of guns, violence and imprisonment to give birth to a child they never wanted. They would no doubt take their frustrations out on the children. Forcing innocent children into this situation is completely unacceptable.
2) Another harsh truth I wish to point out is the fact that orphans frequently feel completely abandoned by not only their parents, but by all of society. There are countless orphans all over the world who go through their entire childhood knowing that no one loves them. Not in a Marilyn Manson, emo kind of way, but in a literal, not one person cares whether you live or die, your foster parents get paid to take care of you sort of way. In America these children get passed from one home to another and their “parents” don’t form any more of an attachment to them as they would a co-worker at the office. I’ve heard horror stories of far worse situations in some countries, where orphans are kept in a single room for their entire childhood and never learn how to talk.
It is true that a child can be given up for adoption immediately after birth and can usually find decent, loving homes. However, these children technically are not orphans. In the vast majority of cases the pain of giving up your baby is so intense that parents are not able to go through with it until a few years later when the child has little chance of finding a decent home. When a mother gives her child up for adoption at birth, it causes her, and occasionally the father, intense emotional distress.
The fact that pro-lifers casually say “just give them up for adoption” as though it’s a simple, acceptable alternative to abortion shows either a total lack of concern for the children’s welfare or a dramatically unrealistic view of our foster-care system and adoption process. I think as pro-choicers we should give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s the second option, and attempt to educate them.
“The difference between knowing you’re wanted and knowing you’re not is quite big… It’s like going to a party where you know you’re not invited no matter how polite people are.”
-Absolutely Fabulous, (1992)