Friday, January 1, 2010

"Choose life"

I saw at least five prolife billboards on my Christmas vacation this year. Almost all of them had a picture of a smiling, cute baby. Not a single one had an image of a fetus. Not a single one showed a woman. Is prolife afraid of how people will respond to images of fetuses? It's so much easier to use an emotional appeal instead of telling the truth. Do prolifers think that women wont feel the same way as them if the woman sees what an early term embryo/fetus really looks like?

Of course there are no women in these billboards because its not about a woman or her rights to them.

At least two of the billboards contained the phrase "Choose Life." This phrase is in contradiction with prolife philosophy. Prolifers want abortion to be illegal- they don't want women to be able to choose. If you choose life, it means you had other options.

It's very depressing that prolife can realize that choice is a good thing, and they can even go so far as to use it in their language... yet not realize that saying choice is good/acceptable, says that abortion is good/acceptable. Abortion is a choice. If a woman cannot choose abortion, she also cannot "choose life."

In thinking harder about the phrase "choose life," I realize that many women are choosing life when they have an abortion. They're choosing THEIR life, their children's lives, their parent's life, their family's life. Prolife does not want women to choose their own lives- women are supposed to "Choose [fetal] life." Again we see that prolifers have no regard for womens' lives, because when they say "life" they only refer to the fetus, never to anyone else.

I wish the prolifers could widen their view. There is a lot more to life than fetuses.

Oh course, the irony is that a woman who actually chooses "life" aka to carry a pregnancy to term is prochoice, because she made a choice. Prochoice is not against women CHOOSING to have babies. We're just against forced pregnancy.


  1. The phrase "Choose Life" is not contradictory to pro-life philosophy. By saying "Choose Life", the pro-life movement is urging women experiencing unwanted pregnancies to choose to carry their pregnancies to term and give birth, rather than choosing to terminate the pregnancy via abortion. The design of the "Choose Life" billboards you saw is based on the fact that abortion is currently legal. Unfortunately, women currently have the legal right to choose to terminate the life of their unborn child.

    If abortion is made illegal some day, women will not be able to choose abortion as an option. If this happens, women will be legally forced to carry their pregnancies to term. While the term "forced" has a negative connotation, "forcing" a woman through her pregnancy is not negative at all, if you look at the fetus the same way that pro-life activists do. Let me explain...

    The pro-life movement considers the fetus to be a distinct human being from the moment of conception (fertilization). If the fetus is a human being, it has a right to live, the same as any born human being. If the fetus has the right to live, its mother has no more of a right to abort it than I have a right to shoot my next door neighbor to death. To a pro-life person, making abortion illegal would be a positive thing, because it would prevent mothers from taking the life of another human being, which in this case happens to be their unborn child. If, however, you are pro-choice, and believe the fetus does not have the right to live, legally forcing the mother not to abort is looked at as a negative thing. She is prevented from removing something from her body that she looks at as a violation of her bodily autonomy, not as a human life.

    So, once again, it boils down to whether the fetus is a human being deserving of the right to live, or if the fetus is a non-human that is viewed as a violator of the mother's body.

  2. It doesn't matter if the fetus is a human being or a person. Even if you were to somehow prove that the fetus is a person with ALL of the rights that we have, it still does not have the right to use another person's body against his or her will.

    "Pro-Life": You either believe that women are not persons or are lesser persons, or you believe that fetuses are superior persons with more rights. It DOESN'T boil down to "whether the fetus is a human being deserving to live, or if the fetus is a non-human that is viewed as a violator of the WOMAN'S (not mother's) body." It boils down to this: Either the woman is a full person or she isn't. If you believe the latter, then you're apart of the so called "Pro-Life" movement.

  3. To say that it doesn't matter if the fetus is a human being or a person, is disturbing to say the least. It DOES MATTER! If the fetus were able to ask for permission to "use" a womans body, would she still say no? The fact is, women that choose abortion and/or choose to promote abortion, are exerting their power over a tiny helpless human being, all in the name of a womans right to choose. How unfair is that?

    1. Even GOD gave Mary a Choice.
      as much as I DO understand much of the pro-life sentiment, here is where it gets sticky to me. Addressing 1st trimester abortions: if abortions are across -the -board are eventually going to run up against this: there WILL be a woman whose life is in jeopardy. And then u will be sacrificing the womans life, sacrificing her already born children's mother, her husband's wife,her parents' child,for the sake of a fetus whose consciousness, ability to feel, and self awareness has been medically disproven.

  4. Justsnapd8, would you say it's also unfair for a woman to deny a man the right to her body? What about if it's her husband? Or her son?

    How far will you go? Until women have no rights at all?

  5. Everyone has the right to life. No one has the right to life through the use of a person's body without their consent. It's that simple. If a woman doesn't want a man, woman, child or fetus using her body, she does not have to let it use her body.

  6. There's a difference between the relationship of a man and a woman, and the relationship of a woman and her unborn child. When you get married and perhaps a little bit older, you will find out for yourself that sometimes the word NO doesn't work. It's something you will deal with when the time comes, and it will come.

    A baby totally depends on it's mother from the time of conception until... well that relationship actually never ends. If you opt for an abortion, you still have a relationship, but it's with a dead baby.

    I wish you could understand that our ability to conceive, and carry a baby to term, and beyond, makes women remarkable creatures. We are already superior humans! (no offense Paul:))

  7. Christian Prochoicer - It is not valid to compare a fetus to a rapist. A rapist is a person that intentionally violates a woman, forcing her to have sex against her will. A fetus did not intentionally enter the mother's body, like some sort of alient from another planet. The fetus exists inside of a woman's body because she had sex, not because of an action the fetus took.

    So, if the fetus is not violating the woman's body like a rapist, how can abortion rights supporters justify aborting it? By calling it a non-human or non-person. Science shows, however that a fetus is a human being (person) from the moment of conception, so that argument isn't valid either.

    What other comparison is left? Comparing or equating a fetus to an internal organ, like a kidney? I don't think so.

  8. In discourse between pro-lifers and pro-choicers, it typically reaches this type of stalemate:
    Pro-choicers will usually say something along the lines of what ProChoiceGal wrote:
    "Even if you were to somehow prove that the fetus is a person with ALL of the rights that we have, it still does not have the right to use another person's body against his or her will."
    … and pro-lifers will basically reiterate that YES, the unborn ARE living distinct human beings who deserve protection, and we don't have the right to kill them, even if they are unwanted.

    ProChoice = No one can be forced to sustain another life within her, and if that means that innocent human beings will be KILLED…. Tough. Liberty demands it.
    ProLife = We don't have the right to kill innocent human beings, and if that means that means that women are "forced" (whether from pregnancy as a result of rape or purely consensual activity) to remain pregnant and give birth …. Tough. The morality to not kill innocent human beings demands it.

    I can just see my pro-life line being quoted across twitter-land out of context now … :)

    I used to be pro-choice, so I understand the logic of invoking liberty as a justification for abortion. I think one of the biggest issues for pro-choicers boils down to a sense of fairness. Women get pregnant, and men… Obviously. Just. Don't. Women bear the burden of being pregnant for 9 months and the pain of childbirth--or they bear the burden of deciding to end a pregnancy via abortion, with its own side effects, physical and emotional. Women as the child-bearing sex is just a basic biological fact, and a necessary one--without women the human race would end.

    In the modern world especially, people tend to not see pregnancy in any sort of noble light. The aspirations for both men and women are getting a good education, a good job, finding career success, and so on. These are all good things, don't get me wrong! Women having access to and respect in universities and the professional world is a great thing, and a feminist accomplishment for sure. In fact, it's something that equality demands. For better or for worse, though, women have the essential difference of being able to become pregnant, something that of course has ramifications for female students or professionals. Obviously, the approach taken to "resolve" this inequality has been to "get rid of" pregnancy: men have professional and educational opportunities / men don't get pregnant; if you want opportunity, get rid of the pregnancy. The early American feminists, who fought for our right to vote and the rights of pregnant women, fought for society to change to accept them, not for them to be forced to change to be accepted by society. How is pitting a woman against the unborn human developing insider her a feminist achievement, or even a human achievement? After all, the original Hippocratic Oath was against abortion:

    Check out Feminists For Life - I think they have the best take on "choice":
    Refuse to choose.® - Refuse to choose between women and children. Refuse to choose between sacrificing our education and career plans and sacrificing our children.

  9. Justsnapd8, no one should ever be violated. No one should be ignored when they say no. Here is a website with phone numbers you can use if you need them.

    Would you justify forcing a woman to breastfeed against her will? What about give up her kidney to her child if the child needs it? How far will you go to violate women's rights?

    Pschlenker- not all rapists intentionally rape. Therefore your argument is invalid. Human or not, human being or not, person or not, no one and nothing can use a person's body against their will. This includes fetuses. One can always remove themselves from unwanted use.

    Genevieve, the problem with your statement is that prolifers can and often are pro-war as well. War involves the killing of many innocent human beings (including pregnant women and thus fetuses!), yet prolifers justify this because "it's necessary for our protection." In other words, some prolifers justify the killing of innocent human beings for their own liberty. That's full grown, living, thinking, breathing, feeling human beings. Yet at the same time, they say a woman cannot terminate a pregnancy because of a non-feeling, non-thinking, non-breathing, sometimes not even human shaped fetus. How ridiculous does that sound?

    Prochoicers are compassionate. We will not say "tough, deal with it" to a woman being raped, a woman who is pregnant, a woman who is poor, a woman who needs health care, anyone. We will fight for their rights.

    I have no idea where you were going with your fairness and men to women comment. I have never heard of someone aborting because men don't have to get pregnant (and if men could get pregnant, I'd support their right to abort as well).

    As for pregnancy, I think it's a beautiful, wonderful thing- when it's not forced upon someone. Perhaps if we stopped saying things like "pregnancy is a consequence of sex" it wouldn't be viewed in such a negative light.

    Feminists fight for maternity leave (and paternity) and pumping rooms at work. Prochoice is not against pregnancy. We are against people forcing others to remain pregnant against their will. We're also against forced abortions, forced adoption, forced (non-emergency) c-sections, etc.

    Prolife is the one seeing this battle between women and fetuses. I don't see such a "battle."

    Refusing to choose is refusing to speak up. Refusing to take control of your life. Refusing to be independent, refusing to be an adult, refusing to take responsibility. Choice is good. Choice does not mean abortion only- it means all choices.

    1. One thing I have a dissenting view on...I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as unintentional rape, bc isn't rape defined as deliberately violating someone sexually against their will?
      However,I am SO GLAD u brought up War. The peopke I generally see with pro-life stickers plastered all over their cars are generally the same ones supporting war as a necessary evil.they usually try to say that a fetus is innocent and defenseless and therein lies the difference. But innocent.children ARE killed in the same wars that many pro-lifers support.they say the end justifies the means,when the end includes financial gain or protection or the honor and safety and superioriry of our country.But a womans who may alreadt be struggling to feed her LIVE children that her husband sired against her will.(just submitting to her husband as the good Book says,and yes people,this scenario plays out every day in MANY parts of the world) no....they've DECIDED that womans life and that of her children is NOT a worthwhile.cause for which to accept thedeath of helpless innocents.
      I am sick to DEATH of hearing people claim that NOTHING justifies killing a life when they speak of abortion, when it is obviously nowhere near to the truth

  10. "The problem with your statement is that prolifers can and often are pro-war as well." I agree with you that being pro-war or pro-death-penalty flies blatantly in the face of pro-life principles. But I disagree that this is "a problem with [my] statement"--it is rather a problem with the character and/or moral inconsistency of some pro-lifers. Whether some so-called pro-lifers are inconsistent with regards to war and capital punishment is irrelevant to the truth or falsehood of the immorality/permissibility of abortion.

    I don't want to go into war here in detail, but do I think that war can be justified? In theory, yes, there may be a case of a truly unjust aggressor for which war would be justified. Have recent wars been justified in this way? Most would say no.

    You say that prochoicers are compassionate, and I don't disagree that many feel they are being compassionate. Obviously women can be pro-choice or pro-life, and it'd be silly to argue that either have truly evil intentions for their fellow women. I will even admit that I am embarrassed of the lack of compassion that has been demonstrated by some pro-lifers. (Just think of a woman in a staunchly evangelical pro-life community finding herself pregnant, and the subsequent ostracization she might experience.) Fortunately it seems that this is improving, and rightly so. The unborn are the next generation and the future of the country; supporting their mothers is directly supporting their unborn children.

    However the fact that pro-choicers *feel* they are being compassionate does not mean abortion is truly compassionate. True compassion would seek to provide for the health and life of both the mother and the life growing inside her. I know that anyone pro-choice rolls their eyes at a phrase like "Feminists For Life," but I nonetheless recommend you take a look at their proposal for pregnancy resources on a college campus. Yes, it is just a proposal, but for all of Planned Parenthood's claims of supporting choice, whether the choice is abortion or not, I've never seen them propose this (and they might actually have the funds to implement it!):

    On the same note, the maternity/paternity leave policies of the U.S. are so sadly behind that of Europe, it's not even funny. However, the failure of society to provide support for people, such that it is easier for them to not commit a moral wrong, can't be used as an excuse (though we should certainly work for such support!) Born or unborn, people have a right to life that does not depend solely on their "wantedness" or lack of dependency on another.

  11. I know I said I wouldn't go too much into war concepts, but I forgot one thing I should have added. :)

    I think the loss of innocent life during a truly just war would fall under the principle of double effect, the same principle that has been used to justify removing a diseased fallopian tube in cases of ectopic pregnancy. (Digressing a bit, I know...)

  12. Like I said, when you are older, you will understand.

    As for breast feeding... Let's say you are stranded on an island and you are the only supply of nourishment for a baby. Without your breastmilk that baby would starve. Then yes you should be forced to breastfeed.

  13. As soon as pro-life (or anyone for this matter) begin forcing Women into pregnancy, I will become pro-life. But until then, you can't go around saying it's unfair to me to have to go through with a responsibility.

    See it like this, you're basically saying robbers only consented themselves to robbing the store, but didn't know they would go to jail. We're not out there to punish pregnant Women, we are out to in fact help pregnant Women.

    In addition, showing a picture of a baby shouldn't offend you in any way. Which just shows the true pro-choice cause, to create an uprise in unneeded abortions and the opposite for child birth.

  14. A correction to my previous post, I mean to say "As soon as pro-life (or anyone for this matter) begin forcing Women into pregnancy, I will become pro-choice." (not pro-life, my apologies)

  15. Captdelaney, do you really think having sex is a crime?

    A woman has done nothing wrong when she has sex.

    A picture of a baby by itself does not offend me. Even a picture of a baby on a prolife sign does not offend me. However, it does provide insight into the prolife thought process. If a fetus is really the same, why not just show a picture of a fetus?

  16. JustSnapd: Cool. I know whose door I'm going to be knocking on when a family member of mine needs a new kidney or lung. After all, it's not a biggie, right. Not as much as sharing your uterus (organ) for nine months, that's for sure. Yeah, my mom is ProChoice, she's almost 60. I think she has more life experience than you ever will. She has become more ProChoice as she aged, because she knows she is right in believing that she deserves the same rights as everyone else.\

    Captdelaney: Force by proxy is STILL force.