Pro-life? Or Anti-choice? What’s the Difference?


There are a lot of people out there who identify themselves as being “pro-life”. But are they really pro-life? My experience has been that the vast majority of them, especially the conservative christians (aka the American Taliban), seem to not be pro-life but instead are merely misogynists opposed to allowing a woman the right to choose whether or not to carry a fertilized embryo to full term – in other words, anti-choice. And there is an enormous difference between the two.
The most basic guiding principle(s) of those who are pro-life is that every human life is sacred and human life begins at the moment of conception, although whether that means fertilization of the egg or implantation of the fertilized egg is not always clear. So then, the thinking goes, the taking of a human life, any life, is morally wrong. True pro-life means opposing capital punishment, and opposing war and the maiming and killing of innocent women and children through collateral damage, along with being opposed to abortion. And that is a position that I can respect even while strongly disagreeing with their position on the issue of abortion, only because it comes down to the definition of “person” and when a group of human cells constitutes a human being.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of those who identify themselves as “pro-life” are not really that. They are in actuality anti-choice – but they call themselves pro-life to maintain the pretense that they actually care about human life, and as a smokescreen to hide their real agenda. And for these people, I have nothing but complete contempt for. So how do we tell them apart from the true pro-life faction? It’s really relatively simple.
First off, anti-choicers almost always oppose any proven methods or strategies to reduce unwanted pregnancies and thereby reducing the resultant demand or need for abortions; things like comprehensive sex education (as opposed to abstinence-only) and readily available contraception at little or no cost, especially to teens without parental interference. It is only reasonable that if one is opposed to abortion that any strategy proven to reduce the need or demand for the procedure would be a top priority. But instead, these anti-choicers fight tooth and nail to prevent these proven measures from being implemented.
A second telling thing is their usually strong support for capital punishment and pre-emptive war. If one is truly pro-life, one is opposed to the taking of human life – period. The argument that they make to justify their support for capital punishment is that the person being executed has had an opportunity to be a good citizen but has forfeited his or her right to life. So in essence, they have appointed themselves as the arbiter or who has the right to live and who doesn’t, in effect “playing god”, something that they often unfairly deride pro-choice people for. Nor do they take into consideration the flaws in the criminal injustice system and the possibility that the person being executed is innocent – a not unheard of occurrence. I guess that doesn’t matter – they have decided that their fully cognizant, and fully self aware victim deserves to be executed because they say so – once again playing god. (I urge you to google Damien Echols for an example of this.)
When it comes to their support for war, they use the argument that every country has the right to defend itself. And that is indeed correct – every sovereign nation has the right to defend itself against attack, the operative words being “against attack”. But that does not include pre-emptive war such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003. This was a war of aggression “justified” by a warmongering regime with trumped up false pretenses. And it killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi women and children. Of course, since they were only brown people from a non-western country, it’s not like they killed anybody that mattered. (Sorry – couldn’t resist the snark.)
And then there is the issue of caring for this unplanned/unwanted child (and its mother) after it is born. The same people who blather on and on about their concern for the fetus (disingenuously calling it an unborn child) are often unwilling to fund any programs for prenatal or postnatal care; for proper nutrition and medical care for the child and/or its mother; for programs like head start; decent schools, and the list goes on and on. It is almost as if it is a deliberate strategy to ensure that young unwed mothers and their children are funneled into a life of poverty and despair and second class citizenship, with a net result of more disadvantaged children being raised in an environment that almost forces them to make poor choices and perpetuate this vicious cycle. Or maybe it really is deliberate.
Because whenever you try to discuss the issue with anti-choicers and bring up the issues of poverty, or the unplanned nature of some situations, or any of the whole laundry list of extenuating circumstances, they very quickly trot out the old canards like “she should have said no” or “she should have kept her legs closed” and “she needs to take responsibility for her actions”. And that’s when you see their REAL agenda – they don’t really care about the fetus – they want to punish the woman or girl for having sex that they don’t approve of. And what better way to punish her than to force her and the child that she wasn’t prepared for into a life of poverty and misery?
So they engage in a concerted effort to make access to a safe and legal procedure as unavailable as possible. They do so through a variety of methods: by creating bogus medical standards narrowly tailored to apply only to clinics that offer abortion, by harrassing them with all sorts of government regulations and “inspections”, by threatening abortion providers and their families, posting their pictures and addresses on the internet, posting where their children go to school – all of which is technically legal but is designed and intended to be as threatening as possible – and even in some cases murdering them. Yeah, I know those are the fringe elements, but most of the anti-choicers (like Randall Terry of Operation Rescue) tacitly support such actions. (Google the Slepian murder in Buffalo, NY and the link to Operation Rescue’s activities.)
And in places where abortion services are available, they make it as difficult as possible for the women seeking their services, making them jump through all sorts of hoops – like several day waiting periods, like medically unneccessary tests, like bogus “counseling”. Finally, if all that fails to dissuade them, they torture and torment these unfortunate women by forcing them to run a gauntlet of hostile sadists to get to the entrance of the clinic where they have gone to take advantage of legal services – after having made what is probably the most difficult decision of their young lives and are already under an enormous amount of stress.
As I said at the top, I can respect those who are truly (and consistently) pro-life even while disagreeing with them on the morality or ethicality of abortion. But for those who actively work against women and their right to choose based on their own beliefs (and needs), I have nothing but contempt, bordering on hatred. (Yeah, I know, sometimes I’m not a very good humanist.) They are nothing short of mean-spirited, sadistic misogynists, no different than ISIS jihadis or al Qaeda thugs who want to destroy the lives of anyone who does not agree with their archaic beliefs. These lowlifes are the American equivalent. And deserve to be reviled as such.

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