Sunday, January 18, 2015

On Pro-Choice: Why It's the Only Moral Choice




“One method of destroying a concept is by diluting its meaning. Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living.”

– Ayn Rand

Apologies in advance, but a recent debate I have had has caused me to get up on my soapbox here regarding abortion as it pertains to women’s rights.
The problem with the pro-life position is painfully obvious: It’s not a moral position.
You simply cannot tell a fully autonomous woman that she has no right to an abortion without stripping her of the right to choose for herself whether or not such a thing is in her best interest in the first place.
What this means is before you can even deny her the abortion, you have to take away her right and responsibility to make her own decisions what happens to her body regarding a highly technical medical procedure of which the surrounding circumstances which you are completely unaware of.
This just strikes me as all kinds of wrong.
And simply put, if you are not in the woman’s position and you are not the woman’s doctor, then chances are there is simply nothing you will be able to say which will convince me you have a right to choose for her, on her behalf, what is in her best interest medically, morally, or otherwise.
It’s peculiar, to say the least, how so many pro-life advocates claim abortion is a moral issue but their first act is to disregard any moral precepts whatsoever so as to wrangle the freedoms and rights away from women in order to enact unfair, hostile, or damaging laws and thereby ensure the spread misery all in the name of their so-called “moral” superiority.
To even think for one moment that you had the right to do that, let alone have the nerve to seek to gain authority over another human being simply to save what you feel is in your best interest (not theirs) is beyond the pale. So enough with pretending pro-life is a moral position, it’s not.
As my friend Ashley so perfectly summed up, “You mean I can’t tell others what’s in their best medical interest based on my personal opinions, even though I know nothing of them and their personal history and circumstances? Well ... shit.”
But pro-lifers want it to be the only position. So, realizing they cannot control women like marionettes, they do the next best thing: they try to redefine the legal definition of human life saying that fully autonomous life begins at conception. This strategy is designed to invoke a sense of injustice whenever a woman has an abortion because then they wouldn’t be killing an unborn nothing, they’d be murdering a human life!
It’s a strategy that’s worked well in the past, which is why they continue to attempt to bully anyone who doesn’t use their arbitrary selected definition of “life” by calling them “baby-killers” and “murderers.” The maturity level is very low on the pro-life side of the debate, I think you’ll find.
First of all, you cannot just redefine the definition of life any way you’d like and then call people who do not accept your arbitrary definition “baby-killers” and “murders.” Before your definition even gets considered you must first have scientifically valid reasons for describing and independent human life as beginning at conception. But this is where things get problematic.
The claim that an independent human life begins at conception is based off a desire for life (mostly human life) to be sacred. But ask these same people if they feel an 18 or 19 year old teenager has the right to freely choose to enlist in the military and truck off to war, and they will probably say something like, “Damn straight!”
But maybe this is why they rally so hard against abortion, because if they couldn’t send innocent kids off to die in the wars they started, then they might be in danger of being enlisted themselves!
Or if you ask them whether they are in support of capital punishment, i.e. the death penalty, many will likely say yes, which makes them little more than hypocrites since one cannot define a human life as sacred and then allow for people’s lives to constantly be terminated because of programs and policies they support. To me, supporting the termination of a life sounds an awfully lot like abortion, but minus any of the medically relevant reasons which might justify an abortion.
In the first place, if you truly felt that all human life was sacred, then there would be no greater threat to this sanctity of human life than allowing for adolescents to go off to a war to possibly die or supporting policies like capital punishment whereby you vote for the state to be a person’s executioner and idly sit by and watch while they are put to death. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say that unborn fetuses are a sacred life and thus needs to be protected then allow your children to die in your wars for you and your criminals to die in inhumane ways. That’s reneging your belief that human life is sacred and should be protected at all costs.
Second of all, if a teenager has the right to freely choose to enlist in the Armed Forces, and freely choose to make themselves a foot soldier for some greater cause, why shouldn’t a woman have the right to dictate her own fate as well?
If the sanctity of life isn’t enough to prevent people from shipping off to war, then it certainly isn’t enough to prevent abortions of entities not yet even recognizable as part of their biological species (e.g., it takes approximately 11 weeks for a zygote to grow into a fetus with functioning organs and distinct biological features allowing us to classify it as say, human, and not a duckbill platypus).
At least what the pro-choice side of the debate maintains consistent definitions and isn’t in danger of being hypocritical because it’s not playing a “moral” trump card to try and shoehorn people into accepting an arbitrary, unscientific definition for human life with respect to human biological reproduction, nor does it seek to implement laws dictating how others ought to live according to one’s own limited awareness or worldview, and it respects women enough to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to deciding what happens to their own bodies.
Pro-choicer proponents want to protect women, their rights, and if possible the life of unborn (potential) children. That’s right. Pro-choice advocates don’t want unnecessary abortions either, but pro-choice stops here and says to demand anything more than the basic right of the woman to choose what is in her best interest is to step over a line we have no right stepping across.
Pro-lifers, on the other hand, want to safeguard the life of the unborn child, but only if they can legally own the woman and her unborn child first. They’d gladly shred the line of moral decency if it meant they could get their way in gaining power and control over women by stripping women their rights to have sovereign autonomy over their own bodies and decisions.
Which is why, if you are pro-life, the fact of the matter is, you are hostile to women and women’s rights. Period.
The only way to fully back the pro-life movement is to stop caring about women and the rights of women. Some might call me a feminist because I advocate women’s rights, and in this case I’d gladly accept such a charge, especially when it is women’s rights that are being threatened by myopic or outright hostile policies sponsored by those still catering to knuckle dragging chauvinistic philosophies that still believe women aren’t bright enough, well suited enough, apt enough, or wise enough to choose for themselves what is in their best interests.
I’m sorry to inform, but when it comes to the hot topic issue of abortion, well, being pro-choice is rational, being pro-life is not. Doubly so if you are a woman.

Simply put, there is no case that can be made by pro-life advocates that doesn’t automatically devolve into a greater moral peril than that of pro-choice, and for this reason, they simply cannot claim to have the moral high ground here.


Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist