Saturday 21 July 2012

Pro-Abortion V. Pro-Choice

I referred to myself as "pro-abortion" the other day and someone asked if I meant "pro-choice."  Yes, and no.

I am pro-choice in the sense that I am aware that abortion is the pregnant woman's choice and no-one else's.  There is no-one who has the right to gainsay her if she chooses to continue a pregnancy or abort—not the father, not medical staff, not family or friends or 'society', not anyone.  It is 100% her choice whether or not to allow her body to be used as an incubator.  A society in which a woman could be forced to have an abortion or to continue a pregnancy against her will is not a society in which women can ever be equal citizens.  It is a totalitarian society.

But I am pro-abortion because I think that, in most circumstances where a woman is contemplating an abortion, abortion is the wiser choice.  If there were no social or moral stigma against abortion—and opposing that stigma is one reason I adopt the label "pro-abortion" for myself—then more women would choose abortion.  Think about it:  How many are making the choice to continue their pregnancies because they really want to and how many are doing so because it has been drilled into their heads that abortion is wrong, that it is murder, that they will regret it or go to hell?

A few more points on abortion that I did not make in my last post:

Remember, the reason that religions have a taboo on abortion is not due to any "sanctity of life."  That is the line they use to control the flock, which the flock buys hook, line, and sinker.  The real reason is to increase the number of members of that faith, and hence its power.

It is pointless and counterproductive to accuse someone who calls themself "pro-life" of being a hypocrite because they support the death penalty.  This argument should be retired, and replaced with the argument I made in my last post on the subject:  That so-called pro-lifers are valuing the life of the mother less than the life of the embryo.  That is a valid argument because it is blatantly true.  Call them on that, make them defend that.  But do not bring up the death penalty because you have to remember that in their mentality a newly fertilised egg is a baby as much as your 3-month-old niece or nephew.  You have to wrap your head around that and never forget it for a second in order to make any headway in an argument with them.  In their mind, this 'baby' is innocent but a criminal who has murdered is not.  The criminal has abused his gift of life, has forfeited it, but the 'baby' has done nothing to deserve the death penalty.  So, you may disagree with their stance but it is internally consistent.  If someone genuinely views an embryo or foetus as a baby with equal rights to an adult, they are not being hypocritical to oppose abortion and support the death penalty.  In fact, it is perfectly valid for them to view pro-abortion, anti-death penalty people as hypocritical for being willing to kill an innocent 'baby' but not a vicious murderer.

It is also a non-starter to argue that they care only for foetuses, but not for babies and mothers.  Remember, their stance on abortion is not a prescription for social policy; it is a moral stance on one issue.  Their worldview includes no sex outside of marriage so to them having social services for unwed mothers is like allowing abortion: it is aiding and abetting behaviour that, in their view, should not happen in their society.  This is why you will never make any headway trying to tell them to help lower abortion rates with sex education and birth control.  To them, that is simply encouraging sex outside of marriage, which they do not think should happen.  Of course you should continue to fight for sex education and availability of birth control, just don't use it as a point of argument with anti-abortion people.

If you are going to argue with the anti-abortion crowd, you need to get inside their heads and make an argument that is consistent with their internal logic, not yours.  You are not trying to convince yourself; you are trying to persuade someone whose perspective is extremely different.  You need to understand their perspective, and approach them with arguments consistent with it.  The best argument I have found so far is to stress the value of the woman's life over the fertilised egg, and that choosing the life of an embryo over the life of a grown woman is morally wrong.

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