Why I Have Such An Issue With "Pro-Life" Campaigns
I almost decided against writing this article from fear that it would be too inflammatory and alienate people. Then I checked myself and remembered that this is the point of the Boshemia blogspace – to not censor our opinions to a polite, grey area or to stroll on by and say nothing when something doesn’t sit right, but to speak out and claim our space.
So here’s the thing. We all want to lead our best lives and make the best decisions for ourselves. Unless you’re some hate-filled monster, you generally want other people to live their best lives and make their best decisions for themselves too. Right? With this in mind it truly, utterly, 100% baffles me that the Pro-Life movement even exists at all. To me, it seems entirely self-defeating.
In case you’re unaware (and lucky you if you are) the Pro-Life movement is the name given to those who campaign against abortion. These people generally demonise abortion and disagree with it in every context. Now, body autonomy is something I preach. Your body is one of the only things which you have total authority and control over, and as such I totally respect these women’s decision to not ever have an abortion carried out on their own bodies. There’s absolutely no harm in that opinion whatsoever; that’s the beauty of choice. What I cannot fathom or condone, however, is the aim of their movement, which is to completely abolish, outlaw and remove the option of elective abortion for all people. They are so resolutely against abortion that they believe nobody on earth should have one. In the words of prolific Pro-Lifer Abby Johnson, “abortion should never be an option”.
This is the kind of self-absorbed, ignorant standpoint that I simply cannot stand. Humans are imperfect, contraception is never 100% effective and accidents can happen. Not only accidents but misinformed acts and illegal acts as well. So long as sex education continues to be inadequate, teaching young people not to have sex rather than how to do so safely, abortion needs to be an option. Until contraception is universally accessible, attainable and advised, abortion needs to be an option. Whilst there are still grotesque acts of sexual abuse and rape occurring in the world, including marital / spousal rape, abortion needs to exist as an option. The attitude held by the majority of Pro-Lifers that pregnancy is a “gift” and “all part of His plan” is outdated and condemning and punishes victims of any and all of the above scenarios. A pregnancy is not always welcome; adoption is not always a viable alternative; unplanned pregnancies carried to term don’t always pan out well. The same Pro-Lifer I mentioned before has a section on her website entitled “No one grows up wanting to have an abortion”. No of course they fucking well don’t, you’re right, and Pro-Choicers don’t go around aspiring to terminate pregnancies. Pro-Choicers believe that, should the situation arise in which a woman feels that an abortion is her best option, and the one she wants to pursue, she should be able to do so without barriers or judgement. The process is hard enough without additional external negative pressure.
The claims of some Pro-Life campaigners that ProLife = ProWoman is absolute crap. How can the movement claim to be Pro-Woman when by its very nature it gives more rights and more value to an undeveloped and unborn sac of cells, the potential for human life, than it does to the woman, the human life already existing in the world, who carries it? It’s her body. It does not belong to the pro-life movement, nor to the gestating fetus. If a living, breathing woman with an existing legacy and memories and aspirations and goals wants to terminate a life which has not yet begun, why shouldn’t she be able to? It’s her body and she has full autonomy over it. At this stage in its life, the fetus is a part of her body. It is a guest and she is its host. She may evict it if she damn well pleases. Once again, it’s her body.
Let’s just get one thing straight: Pro-Choice does not mean Pro-Abortion. It does not mean that we want everybody to terminate their pregnancies just for the sake of being able to. Pro-Choice means we believe that whatever you choose is the right choice. If you are not okay with the idea of abortion, that’s cool. You can act accordingly. If you want or need to terminate a pregnancy, you can and the appropriate information, support and services are open and available to you. That is the ideal. Choice. Freedom to act according to your own beliefs without suppressing other people’s freedom to act according to theirs. Pro-Life campaigners seek to enforce their own choices by stripping others of theirs. That is not okay, and that is why I have such an issue with “Pro-Lifers”.