The possible reversal of Roe v. Wade and the recent laws further restricting abortions in states such as Texas and others has brought the extremely heated, intense and polarizing debate regarding abortion to the forefront yet again. Each side has their own impassioned arguments regarding issues surrounding bodily autonomy, government interference, personhood, where one’s rights end and another’s begin and whether or not abortion is a type of murder and the ethical/moral equivalent of infanticide. For the pro-choice movement, more anti-abortion laws mean a dystopian future where women have zero bodily autonomy and will even die all for the sake of what they consider not to be a full person in the ethical sense. For the pro-life, abortion is a heinous crime against children, no different than knowingly and willingly killing an already born infant, most often for the sake of the mother’s own desires overriding another person’s right to life. To exist.
I’ve covered some of my personal thoughts on my own position in an earlier post, but I wanted to highlight another observation I have surrounding how this issue is being handled in light of the recent turmoil: Pro-choice Liberals accuse pro-life Conservatives of hypocrisy. They claim the pro life side only cares for the unborn, but is all too willing to toss aside the welfare for those that are born. If pro-lifers don’t agree with various left-leaning policies to “help” mothers and children then they must not care about the welfare of children! You are against abortion but don’t agree with mothers on welfare cradle to grave? Hypocrite! You don’t agree with socialized medicine and teaching young children sex-ed with the Left’s clearly biased agenda, or an infinite amount of paid maternity leave well beyond reason for any employer? You must hate the already born! You get the idea…
Aside from the easily made counter argument that to benefit from any of their proposals to make the country more family-friendly to new mothers, the children have to actually to be born, has anyone thought of how the pro-choice side has been hypocritical and at odds with their purported message?
They claim to be pro-choice, that is, giving women the choice to either carry a child or not and to let women know about the options for abortion procedures and what they entail. However, they focus in on that almost exclusively. What about the resources to keep the baby? They argue that so many women face mentally and emotionally excruciating circumstances and impossible choices to make, and offer abortion as a way out of the torment. They love to cite instances of:
The single mother who can’t even afford the children she has.
The victim of rape.
The medically complex case for the baby and mother.
The college girl who doesn’t want to drop out and dash her dreams.
The career woman who wants to get that promotion.
The teenage girl who wants to be “X” when she grows up.
The woman who simply doesn’t want to be bothered with carrying a child for nine months.
And the list goes on… And for all of these scenarios regardless of the gravity of the circumstance, the “choice” they fight for is abortion. They want to claim pro-lifers don’t fight hard enough for resources to help these women keep the pregnancy, but what information are they sharing other than a bias towards choosing abortion? They claim to want a world where every child is loved and wanted, but do they ever think to tell mothers that maybe it’s okay to adapt and embrace not so ideal circumstances out of love for their child? Why haven’t I heard the pro-choice side tell expectant mothers:
To the single mother: “X, Y and Z are resources we can refer you to in order to get help for your baby and other children.”
To the rape victim: “We can’t imagine the immense pain and anguish you are going through, but here are some women to reach out to who have gone through what you have and chose to keep the baby. Listen to their stories too before you make your final decision.”
To the medical case: “An abortion may be your only option for your life, or the ultimate welfare of your baby in light of their unsustainable condition, but make sure you know every possible option for the preservation of your life or to sustain quality of life for your baby before you make an irreversible choice.”
To the scared college girl: “Your life is forever changed no matter what you decide. Keeping the baby does not mean the end of your hopes and dreams. There is always time to go back to school, to pursue your dream career, and plenty of women have overcame the odds and had the joy of a career and the joy of parenthood. Abortion may be an option you have access to, but it is an irreversible decision. You can come back to pursue education or a career, but you cannot undo the choice to terminate another’s life. Make sure your goals are worth that outcome.”
To the teenager who’s dreaming of who she wants to become: “It’s true you may have an easier path to becoming whatever career woman you want, whether it’s a doctor, teacher, pilot, firefighter, scientist, etc… without the challenge of having a baby, but also realize that many doctors, teachers, pilots, firefighters, scientists etc. are successful career women and also mothers. At your age, you are not ready to be a parent, but there are many couples who are and would love your baby as their own. You have the option to give a gift to someone who wants more than anything in the world to be a mother.”
To the career woman facing a roadblock in her professional goals: “Are your goals only reachable by having an abortion? Is the goal time sensitive and can never happen unless it happens right now? Is your professional goal worth more to you than giving another person a chance to exist in this world? Does the potential professional and possibly financial impact of not attaining your goals due to carrying to term outweigh the implications of what it would mean to you personally, could you live with that decision? This may not be the right time in your life to be a parent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t give life to another person who can then have the chance to be loved by someone who is ready to parent.”
To the woman who doesn’t want to be pregnant, period. “Not all women need to be mothers, or are suited to parenthood. Just because you are pregnant does not mean you have to keep the child, and there are countless families whose dream is to have a baby just like yours. If the issue is physical symptoms or a more serious health issue, make sure to ask your doctor for all available options to alleviate symptoms and treatment options for health problems. Unless there is life-threatening danger to you by carrying this pregnancy to term, consider if temporary unpleasant side effects of pregnancy are worth terminating what could be a perfectly viable and healthy baby.”
To anyone: “It may be your choice, but maybe, that choice isn’t about just you and only what you want.”
We argue that to make an informed decision, you need to hear all sides, and every option available to you. Abortion for pro-choicers is one option for unwanted pregnancies, but there are so many more for women who would consider the choice to keep the pregnancy and even decide to raise the child. Sadly, the overwhelming amount of pro-choice articles I read aimed at vulnerable women emphasize the need for access to abortion rather than access to resources that would help support the child, a career and parenthood, adoption, medical advances, a support network, etc… Even flexibility to adapt and grow in light of an unexpected life circumstance. Is it really giving women a choice if you give them the impression that they will no longer have any choices in life unless they choose abortion?
Let’s not forget either: Whatever choices we make in life, even positive choices, come with consequences. By choosing A, you also will wonder what your life would be like if you chose B instead. If the outcome is desirable for you, you can live with not having the life you could have had with option B. In the case of a choice of such magnitude as whether or not to have an abortion, let it really sink in: It CANNOT BE UNDONE. A literal life is at stake. Make sure your choice is one you can live with for the rest of your life, not just for a specific outcome, goal or circumstance.
That’s what it means to truly be pro-choice.