Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This will only hurt for a moment.

Here's the thing that I feel should be clearly stated anywhere the pro-choice position is being discussed.

We have a word for people who personally believe abortion is wrong and would never feel right about getting one, but who also don't feel comfortable denying that option to women. We don't call them pro-life. We call them pro-choice.

I'll wait for a moment while some of you pick up the pieces of your shattered identity.

We cool?

Let's take another angle. Does this sound like you?

You are personally not a fan of abortion, but you think that banning it is also not good, which means you aren't trying to deny women a choice. You just think one choice is right and would prefer they make that one.

If your answer is "yes, I agree with that," then you are pro-choice, despite a dislike (or even a deep loathing) for abortion.

This hasn't occurred to everyone, because many people are used to hearing "pro-choice" as code for "pro-abortion" or even "pro-infanticide." This isn't the dichotomy we're looking at, no matter how many anti-choice groups try their damndest to frame it that way. Pro-choice means just what it sounds like: we are in favor of letting women choose, and anti-choicers are against letting women choose.

It really is that simple. If a woman chooses not to get an abortion, no pro-choicer can disrespect her for it, because she took her choice and did what she felt was right with it. Pro-choicers love choice, not abortion. I am pro-choice, and that means if you choose to live your life without abortion because you think it is wrong, I'm totally down with that. You're an adult, and that means you should be treated like a morally-mature human being. That means I must respect your choice.

So guys. If you think abortion is wrong, there's still a good chance you're pro-choice. You're only anti-choice if you are so scared women will "choose wrong" that you feel the law should deny them an opportunity to make a choice at all. Most of you probably aren't really anti-choice. This revelation may hurt at first, but it's true.

"Pro-life" is code for anti-choice, and anti-choice is a much more accurate term for the position. "Pro-choice" is not code for "pro-abortion," whatever you may have been told. It means "everybody gets to choose between birth or abortion. Yes, that means you."

As I said to a friend of mine, "You have kids and I don't. This says something about our respective choices, but neither one of us wants to DENY the other that choice, just because we'd make different ones."

For those of you who are already pro-choice despite finding abortion distasteful, I know this is old stuff to you. But a lot of people have honestly never heard "pro-choice" used in a context where it didn't mean "pro-infanticide." And that's not what the term means. It means what it sounds like, and if we use it that way there are a lot more pro-choicers out there than I think even they realize.

I agree with those who are pushing to make this a debate about "pro-choice" versus "anti-choice," because I think you'd find very few pro-choicers who aren't also pro-life. They just want everybody to choose for themselves.


Charles said...

A few thoughts.

First, yes. I'm coming out of the closet. I am ...

PRO-CHOICE. (I know, Cobalt. You were hoping it was something else. Tough cookies!) But, I consider that to be "choice" in the strictest form. I can and may think your choices are the most foolish, amoral, rash, and ill-thought out ideas ever visited upon mortal man. But will I STOP you from making said idiot move, short of saving my own life? Nope. Can't. Don't got the power, don't want it anyway. Would I try to help you make the RIGHT decision, given the opportunity? Of course. But, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, the choice is yours, and I will not interfere with that.

Wanna know what the kicker is? This deepseated need to let people screw themselves up came from the Bible. Yeah. The same one people thump you with!

*unrolls a scroll* Ahem. *links Biblegateway*

Yep. Rich young man, wants to get into heaven, asks Jesus how. Jesus says, "Do what the Bible says, dawg." Guy says he's done all that. Jesus says, "Get rid of all your stuff, then come see me." Dude has the choice to be in heaven, nothing's stopping him, and Jesus is pretty much inviting him to join his crew. But he can't do it. Jesus doesn't stop him from making his bad choice, much as he wants the contrary. Two things I truly know about God: One, he wants us to embrace him fully. Two, he'll NEVER make us make that choice, or else the choice isn't one at all. Am I better than God? Should I impose my will on others when the supreme master of the universe refuses to get in someone's way? What a preposterous, presumptuous position! I'd have to have my head pretty far up my sphincter to think that was the way to go.

Hopefully it's impossible at this point, but please, don't get me wrong. I consider myself among the "deep loathing" type of pro-choicer Ashley eluded to. I think abortion is a horrible practice. I want the world to be a place where it never has to happen again. Now, if in that world, it is still an option, and people still choose it, what can I say? If pregnancy is relegated to the inconvenience of a broken leg, I would hope that abortion would be thought of as a vile, barbaric former necessity. But if it's still something people want to do, then, well, I've done all I can. The choice is in your hands now, pally boy-o.

Just try not to screw this one up.

Cobalt said...

I particularly liked this part of your comment:

Two things I truly know about God: One, he wants us to embrace him fully. Two, he'll NEVER make us make that choice, or else the choice isn't one at all. Am I better than God? Should I impose my will on others when the supreme master of the universe refuses to get in someone's way?

There's a lot to be said for that. It's one thing to imitate Christ, but it's quite another to start acting like any mortal has God's authority or even, as you say, greater leeway than the Big Dude Himself.