Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quote of the Day: Being both pro-life and pro-choice

Anna Clark over at RH Reality Check wins the spot for "Quote of the Day" for the moving essay she has written about how she considers herself both pro-life and pro-choice -- She starts out:

"What if I told you that I used to call myself pro-life?

What if I said that I once believed abortion was murder, or that I suspected women used the procedure to bypass the consequences of sex?

If I told you, would I lose your respect? Would you be suspicious when I say that today I'm committed to the right to reproductive health, access, and choice?"

She then details her ambivalence, her journey and the realization of the complexity of the issue -- the quote that got me, though was this one:

"Pro-choice society, like democractic society, is predicated on space for those who disagree. When we play sides, we forget there are no enemies in the vision we pursue. Our inclusiveness of those who choose not to have abortions, and even those who judge abortion to be morally wrong, is our movement's power. When we approach anti-choicers as friends, not only do we act on the heart of our beliefs, but we create space for anti-choicers to become our allies."

What a poignant reminder -- Life -- it's a beautiful choice.

1 comment:

SabrinaW said...

I find some resonance with Anna Clark's thoughts, but I'd like to clarify some concepts that I've found useful when moderating an abortion debate forum.

It's helpful to think of one's position on abortion in terms of two axes - personal and political. One may personally not want to obtain an abortion but does not support legal action to keep other women from obtaining abortions should they choose. This would make you Personally Pro-Life and Politically Pro-Choice (PPL-PolPCh).

Another difference is between "Pro-Life" and "Anti-Choice". A Pro-Life person ought to be just that - for life. That would include increasing access to contraception and prenatal care, proactive counseling services for pregnant women, social programs to lessen the burden of pregnancy and childrearing, massive adoption reform to make it easier for loving adults to adopt children, and laws that promote healthy mothers and children (WIC, children's health care, etc). These are all positive actions that focus on making life better, and making the choice to carry a pregnancy to term more appealing and less onerous.

On the other hand, "Anti-Choice" pushes for laws and political actions that reduce women's (and men's) choices by making it harder to obtain contraception and women's health services that may be connected to abortions, aggressively harass clinics and patients, lecture and preach unwanted dogma to patients seeking care, killing providers who offer abortions, demonize women who seek or obtain abortions, sometimes restrict adoption to only certain "desirable" people, and generally blames a woman who does not wish to be pregnant for being unfeminine, immoral, and wanton. This agenda is often tied to moves to dump responsibility for children's health onto the woman who was responsible for creating it. Anti-Choice is truly against choice because it works to remove options, rather than increase the desirability of certain choices.

(There are very few "Pro-Abortion" people in actuality, so that term is an emotional misnomer)

Therefore, I disagree with Clark that we should embrace Anti-Choicers, because theirs is a demeaning and indefensible position. I am, however, friends with numerous "PPL-PolPCh" people as well as with Pro-Life people, because I do agree that we share 95% of ground on this issue, and by focusing on that 95%, we can better improve society for everyone.

(For reference, I am Pro-Choice with a desire to see abortion made obsolete through universal contraception access and education and improved technologies to sustain ZEFs outside the womb)