Pro-Choice, not Anti-Life

While I was MIA, a reader made a comment about my essay on the pro-life movement. While he agreed with me that the the pro-life movement didn’t address the full scope of life, he asked “do you honestly feel justified in supporting the opposite stance simply because there are those who haven’t reached that [a more complete] level of understanding?” This question brings up an issue which deserves to be addressed.

Many on the Right—members of the conservative noise machine such as Limbaugh, Hannity, and Coulter, members of the conservative Christian movement such as Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed, and members of Utah’s own conservative camp such as LaVar Christensen—have worked fervently to con the public into believing that liberals or the pro-life movement are the “opposite” of the pro-life movement. This is a blatant lie. There is no “Anti-Life” movement. Nancy Pelosi, herself mother of five and grandmother of six, does not promote abortion. Nor does Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Edward Kennedy, Howard Dean, or any other prominent Democrat. Same goes for Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Michael Moore, Al Franken, or any other prominent liberal apologist. The “zero-population” abortion advocates meant to scare us in Saturday’s Warriors are nowhere to be seen on the political landscape. No public figure on the left or in the pro-choice movement endeavors to increase the abortion rate in the U.S.

The majority of those in the pro-choice movement believe pregnancy is a very grave matter, and abortion something to be considered only with great trepidation. We talk about making abortion “rare.” We dislike the arguments of the few who talk casually about “abortions of convenience” as much as do those on the Right. But we recognize that abortion isn’t the overly simplistic, black-and-white issue which conservatives like to portray. This isn’t an ideal world, and we recognize—as does the LDS Church—that there are circumstances in which abortion is a valid, if tragic, option. We understand that the best methods by which to make abortion rare are not political fiat, fear, or harsh punative measures. We wonder why the Right seems to have learned nothing from the progressive temperance movement and the Eighteenth Amendment. The pro-choice movement may oppose the pro-life camp, but don’t let yourself be fooled into confusing “opposed” with “opposite.”

And the answer to the basic question is yes, absolutely. The perspectives of the leaders and advocates of the pro-life movement from whom I hear are so incomplete, so myopic, so pharisiacal, and so destructive, that I do indeed feel justified in supporting the opposing side.

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11 Responses to “Pro-Choice, not Anti-Life”

  1. bett Says:

    Indeed, those on the pro-choice side erred long ago in letting those opposed to abortion to use the slogan “pro-life” Their use of that term to define their opinion implies that anyone opposed to them is also opposed to life.
    Pro-choice is a good and strong way to characterize people who understand each individual pregnancy is a complicated, individual situation that must be handled by only the individuals involved. Never would a pro-choice person agitate in favor of an abortion — no one wants someone to have to get an abortion — but everyone must have the choice.
    In an ideal society every child would be a wanted child, every child welcomed by loving parents. But surely pro-life campaigners can’t be blind to reality.
    Any abortion should be conducted only after the individuals have considered every option, every possibility and every facet of what that individual can face in their own life. No one can make that judgement for another person.
    Pro choice is the only option to a country based on freedom and liberty.

  2. drew Says:

    I think there is a terrible danger in rhetoric of every sort. The terms pro-life and pro-choice are both dangerous because they are insubstantial catch phrases. They both make implications about their opponent’s position, and those implications are not entirely true on either side.

    The Pro-life camp do not advocate protecting all life. Equally, the pro-choice camp does not advocate all kinds of choice.

    The fact of the matter is that the pro-life camp is the anti-abortion camp. They want to make it more difficult to obtain an abortion and their ultimate goal is to make abortion illegal.

    The pro-choice camp is advocating abortion in practice. It advocates making abortion easier, and although their ultimate goal has never been to increase the abortion rates, their goal of making abortion more accessible does exactly that. They are advocating the right to an abortion, but it is a terrible tragedy when people feel the need to exercise their rights.

  3. Amanda Says:

    I thought this was an interesting post over at FMH: http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=1085#more-1085

  4. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Thanks for sharing that one, Amanda. A very good post.

  5. Treycee Says:

    i think that the people who say that aborion is bad are the people who have not learned from history and think that the only right is their right and they wont be satisfied untill they have their say. its not for abortion, its for a women to get to have a say about their own bodies, nothing more!

  6. AJ Says:

    I think your views are interesting and I have a question for you. What do you say about the people who insist “Either you are for a woman’s choice, or you are not.”? The argument there says that you are either for ALL choices– such as using abortion as a birth control method to having an abortion from rape– or you are against abortion for ANYTHING. What do you think?

  7. dave Says:

    You’re a typical liberal mormon (quite similar to a liberal politician, who differs from the majority and so mis-represents to appear to be less socialistic than actually is, perhaps even lieing to yourself). A perfect example of your attitude is your view on abortion, like a politician, trying to appeal to everyone, by not taking a position, claiming to be neither pro-choice nor pro-life (you can tell you’re actually a classic pro-choicer, by comparing your views to those of all the libs you mention). By doing so, you ignore the fundamental principle of the Constitution: individual freedom ends at the point it infringes upon anothers freedom. Since no one knows for sure when life begins, Constitutional principles demand we err on the side of life (except when a mother’s life is at risk, etc.). A woman’s right of choice over her own body ends at the point it infringes upon another’s. Liberals like you act like you’re so pro individual freedom but you actaully ignore the Constitutionally fundamental purpose of government which makes individual freedom possible: protecting us from each other. So how could a member of the LDS Church be so wrong about this basic principle? Easy, you’re a classic liberal socialist. You’re also a dupe. Satan’s plan opposes everything promoted by The Savior. God’s plan promotes birth and life. Satan’s promotes premature death (before and after birth). In your strive to be liberal, you also support the friggin devil. Satan works tirelessly to infiltrate everywhere he can to influence decision makers. He’s been working on the Republican party for some time and has met with some success. Of course, he’s been running the democrat/liberal party for years. The old argument that the liberal party is for the “little guy” and helps those in need, etc. and is, therefore, akin to the Gospel is a lie. You’ve fallen for the same lie the communists used. Satan himself used that lie from the start (support my plan and no one will be lost). I’m shocked at members of the Church haven’t recognized that fact. But I know why you stay in the Church, pride or weekness. Why don’t you just leave the Church already and avoid the rush. You’re going to eventually anyway.

  8. dave Says:

    Here’s another exercise. This one’s for Bett. You say that “In an ideal society every child would be a wanted child, every child welcomed by loving parents.” So what if they’re aren’t? What would you say to a 2 year old who wasn’t wanted, should we kill them? If you’re answer is no, that would be murder, then what’s the difference between a 2 year old and a 1 year old? Nothing. What’s the difference between a 1 year old and a 1 day old? Nothing still, right? What’s the difference between a 1 day old and 1 day from birth? Still nothing, in any measurable way. So is it ok to kill that last baby? If you say, “no, late-term abortions cross the line” then lets draw the line at 6 months. Is there a difference between a baby 6 month in the womb versus a baby 5 months 29 days? Is it ok to kill the baby 1 day younger? Anyone who is any degree pro-choice says that it is ok. Since no one knows when exactly life begins, we must err on the side of life by beginning at conception. If you really were pro-choice what about the baby’s choice? What about the mother’s freedom over her body? It’s not her body! Besides the baby, don’t you guys have any idea how killing her unborn baby affects the mother in both the short and long term? It emotionally destroys her, especially after she’s given birth (unless she continues to lie to herself or is lied to, that that which she ended wasn’t a human life). By the way, going back to the beginning, if you think the idea of a policy of killing a 2 year old is a rediculous argument cause that would never happen, it isn’t. There have been for years, pro-choice advocates who include young children in the equation and, here’s the kicker, use the same exact argument you the all the other pro-choicers use to argue your side. Idiots.

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