Pro-choice AND anti-abortion?

Erin left a question for Faemom on a recent post, asking how one can be pro-choice and anti-abortion. This seems to be quite the fad lately, taking the stance that one can somehow be both. A good friend has come to the conclusion that abortion is, in fact, murder, but that these murders should be safe and legal. So she’s pro-choice.

I’m trying to wrap my brain around this logically, but haven’t come up with something that makes any sense.

When you terminate a pregnancy, does it take a human life or not?

Seems to be a fairly simple question. If the baby (or fetus, if you prefer) isn’t human, at what point does it become human? At birth? At the end of the first trimester? How do we tell, since science apparently hasn’t defined the human-merely-being date? (an e.e. cummings reference, for you non-lit people)

Obama says it’s beyond his pay scale to make such a distinction. If it’s beyond his pay scale, why is he allowed to make the decision in the first place? Why not say, we don’t know, so let’s hold off until we do? We don’t know concretely, so, obviously, the answer is to just go ahead and “terminate”, right? Shoot first and ask questions later? If we’re not OK with that logic in Afghanistan, why are we OK with it here?

And so we legalize murder, making it somehow morally justifiable to end human life in a sterilized, emotionless environment. Cover it in nuance and dress it up in an individual right, and there you have it.

I think most pro-choicers bury the morality behind activism. Most pro-choicers choose not to, or don’t, think it through. I could be wrong. In fact, I’d love to be proven wrong- I’m a major supporter for the government having as little as possible to do with my day-to-day life.

The latest health care debacle plan of Obama’s would classify abortion as an essential healthcare right of Americans, and provide tax dollars to fund it.

And we’re anti-abortion?

Perhaps not so much.

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21 Responses to Pro-choice AND anti-abortion?

  1. Timmy K says:

    I think i can help explain. I am pro-life unequivocally (as obama would say). But that is my moral opinion, where pro choice comes in to play is when morals mix with law. Since we have no definitive answer as to when life begins the courts have sided that in some cases it is legal to abort.

    The real problem is with the people who believe you can abort at anytime for any reason.

  2. Evenshine says:

    Hmmmm….since when is the unjustified killing of a human not a moral issue?

    And since when is law separate from morals?

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Timmy K says:

    your right, it is a moral issue and the law is not separate from morals. But law is not determined based upon morals especially ones so undefined as when life begins.

  4. antropologa says:

    a) I don’t think all murder is equally bad. You know how I like things grey. 🙂
    b) Criminalizing abortion does not make it go away. It just makes it more likely to kill two people rather than one.
    c) I wish nobody had any unintended or unhealthy pregnancies, and wish we could put more effort into fixing those areas since this abortion issue can otherwise not go away.

  5. Ink says:

    I’m not sure anyone can make the distinction, though. Certainly there seems to be a great deal of debate over “when life begins.”

    And what Antropologa says is a meaningful consideration as well: criminalizing abortion means “back-alley” abortions which kills scores of women.

    I find it interesting that many who oppose pro-choice often support the death sentence…

  6. Gibby says:

    (Oh, what am I getting myself into! Before I comment, remember I am Catholic and am “supposed” to believe in all that comes with it. That said…)

    I have to agree with antropologa on b, and especially c.

    B because I just saw Revolutionary Road and I highly doubt April cared whether or not what she did was “legal” in the eyes of the US gov, and that scenario would be played out all over the place if abortion was illegal. Does that mean I think abortion is right/moral? Not necessarily.

    I fear “c” is a dream that we can all dream, but that will never come true. Especially if that unintended pregnancy is due to, God forbid, a rape. Would abortion be OK in that case?

  7. insider53 says:

    For me the key word is choice. I believe it is my choice to make, not the government, not my neighbor, not my family, mine and mine alone. I am the one who must live with it and I am the one who will have to answer for it to God and my own conscience. I believe every woman should have this right to choice. Even with the right to choose not all of us would choose abortion as the only option. For me it is a matter of rights and morality and the law has already determined that the fetus has no rights until it takes it’s first breath.

  8. evenshine says:

    antropologa- on a) you don’t think ANYTHING is morally bad, , so it’s difficult to make moral distinctions from that worldview with any kind of validity. b) murder is the unjustified taking of human life. I think you probably mean “death”, not “murder”. Regardless of whether back alley abortions happen or not (and I agree, they will, because people are inherently bad), criminalizing it would make a HUGE dent in the numbers of murdered babies. If we can save one, isn’t it worth it? Apparently not. d) to argue that we need to address the causes is noble, but we’re doing that already. If a woman knows that she won’t be able to simply kill her unborn child, she may think a heck of a lot more seriously about her sexual encounters.

  9. evenshine says:

    Ink- right, so my point about shooting first and asking questions later makes much sense. Is it human or not? If so, how can we justify killing it- removing any human rights it has? If not, what is it? Animal? Vegetable? Mineral?

  10. evenshine says:

    Gibby- I think a lot of people consider the rape issue a valid argument, but I have to say that no, it would not be OK. Think about the consequences of this kind of thinking- if we justify murder in one case, we have justified it in all cases. Aborting a baby takes away the most basic human rights of a person. As a Catholic, you probably believe that God’s got some kind of control here on earth (not trying to make any assumptions, since the Catholic church is pretty staunchly against abortion). If so, then how can we say, “Ok, it’s all your will, God, except for this one life”?

  11. Timmy K says:

    insider 53…

    Your right, it is partially about women rights. But you are clearly wrong about no rights until it takes it first breath. (this varies from state to state) There are NO states were you allowed to kill a baby in the 2nd or 3rd trimester for no reason.

  12. evenshine says:

    insider53- you honestly believe that your babies were not children until their first breath? So all that science has taught us about development in utero is simply thrown out…that they can hear and react to sounds, that they suck their thumbs, that they can survive as early as 26 weeks…

    And as to the legality of it- what is legal is not always right, and vice versa. Court decisions are overturned every day. So what happens when scientists come out and say, oops, we were wrong! Life begins at conception. Does it somehow become wrong to kill a baby then?

  13. Gibby says:

    Evenshine, I definitely see your point. And of course, as a Catholic, and especially as a mother of two girls who will grow into women, I struggle with it. But what if that victim of rape was a 15-year-old girl? Where are her rights? What if that 15-year-old girl was my daughter? (It’s not, just for argument.) You couldn’t just say, this person can have an abortion but this person can’t. What about a mother whose health is at risk? Could she have one?

  14. Evenshine says:

    Gibs- I’d say that the rape victim’s rights were violated, but that ending another human life is no way to fix it.

    I think you’re obscuring the problem here- the numbers of women in these situations are miniscule. MINISCULE. Less than one percent of all women having abortions. The vast, vast majority are women who simply can’t be bothered. And there are SO many families wanting babies and not able to have them. It’s horrific.

  15. Gibby says:

    Oh, I agree with you in that I’m obscuring the problem (I do that a lot!), but I think it just goes back to your original point of pro-choice and anti-abortion, which I think I could be. Abortion is either legal or it’s not. The morality of it is much more complicated. I so wish we lived in a black and white world, where things are explained and that is that. But there are just way too many shades of gray in our lives that contain too much sadness. And who am I to judge how a person reacts in those shades of gray? That’s all.

    If my daughter got pregnant in a backseat of a Chevy and got an abortion, I’d kill her! (Mood lightener.)

    Now, if ONLY the Church would let us talk about birth control…

    I’ll let other people comment now. I’m starting to feel like David!

  16. I believe abortion is murder, and is usually a “solution” for someone who does not want to take responsibility for their actions. However, having read about a fellow blogger’s 15 year-old niece who was raped and given the morning after pill, I think there has to be exceptions for rape and health of the mother. It’s just inherently unfair to make a child bear the child of her rapist, and perhaps more life-scarring than taking that morning-after pill.

  17. insider53 says:

    I have lost two babies and they were alive to me from the moment I knew of them and it was devastating to lose them. This is how I know I would not choose abortion as an option. That being said , I still believe in individual choice. I would not want any one to make that choice for me based on their morals and ideals. I would not make that choice for you or ink or anyone else, it is your decision and yours alone. There are many decisions to be made with this issue, not just right or wrong, murder or not murder, there are many shades of gray like Gibby says and because of that it should be left up to individual choice, individual situations. I’m done now, stepping off the soapbox.

  18. faemom says:

    @less, just to let you know the morning after pill does not terminate pregnancies.

    I guess I should say something since I was mentioned. I feel that I nor any human knows what is in the heart of the women who have abortions. We don’t know. We don’t know if it’s an inconvinience as some have suggested and we don’t know if there is a higher calling. We value choice in our Abrhamic religions. We value choice in our country. Then you have the issue that without legal abortions we would have more deaths. But really Lindsey at *! speaks more eloquently than I. Here’s one:

  19. Evenshine says:

    Fae- “higher calling?” Could you explain how murder of an innocent is a “higher calling”?

    Also, if you can expain how with illegal abortions we’d have less deaths, that is, less than the millions that have been aborted, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks! 😉

  20. faemom says:

    I should clarify the “higher calling.” I used the wrong words; call it lack of sleep. My point is that we don’t know why these women have abortion. On the pro-life side, people believe women just see it as an inconvience and care not one wit. I’m sure there are women like that, but they are far fewer than you might think. On the pro-choice side, people believe there must be a deeper issue, wether it was rape, drugs, or health issue of the mother or the fetus. I think it would crush people if women were so petty. I think human nature is not petty. Of the women I know that have had an abortion, it is not a decision made lightly and they carry that burden for the rest of their lives. I don’t think you and I will ever agree over the legality or even the same terms we used to talk about this issue. I would perfer abortions to be safe and rare. From there I thin we could reach more of an agreement about educating people about their choices, their sexulaity, their emotions, so that fewer people will people will need to make these choices.

  21. evenshine says:


    Thanks for the clarification. I don’t agree, though, that we will never agree- these kinds of conversations help SO much towards bringing what seem like two polar opposite views together.

    I’d love to see any statistics you might have on the reported reasons for abortions. Everything I have seen from government published sources suggests that women do, overwhelmingly, have abortions because of convenience.

    Your point about carrying the burden for the rest of their lives should give us tremendous pause. In an age where morality is decided by what makes us feel good, or right, we should take a look at that “burden” and examine why it is that women with a history of abortions have emotional, psychological, and physical trauma. I agree, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but arguing that it’s in the best interest of the child (which I am shocked that emphatic* argues) is insanity. Death is better than a difficult life? Please.

    The only way to make abortions rare is to make them illegal. They will not stop back-alley abortions, but criminalizing a behavior has always served to curtail that behavior.

    Thanks for commenting- really. These conversations are SO important to have. I appreciate you bringing your position forward, especially as a person of faith. 😉

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