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viewpoint

Being anti-legal abortion does not make you ‘pro-life’

| Friday, February 10, 2017

On the day following Donald Trump’s inauguration, women around the world organized in protest. It has been reported that the Women’s March was the largest demonstration in U.S. history, with nearly three million people participating in cities across the country. Though the march was a success in the eyes of many, there was still some controversy surrounding the event. In the days leading up to the march, the anti-legal abortion group, New Wave Feminists, was removed from the list of official sponsors. This sparked a debate about where the “pro-life” movement belongs in feminism. While this is an important issue to discuss, there is another question that should be answered; what is “pro-life” and who should really belong to the “pro-life” movement? When you think about it, that term is rather silly. If you are not “pro-life,” then does that make you anti-life? Pro-death? With few exceptions, I doubt that anyone knows someone who would genuinely fall into either of those categories.

“Pro-life” is most commonly associated with those groups that oppose the decision that was made in Roe v. Wade and feel that abortion should not be legal. These anti-legal abortion groups have claimed the mantle of “pro-life,” but is opposition to legal abortion the thing that qualifies someone as “pro-life?” What about those that are anti-legal abortion, but want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed? Experts have said that repealing this without a proper replacement could leave millions uninsured and put thousands of lives at risk. Is that “pro-life?” What about those that are anti-legal abortion, but still support the death penalty? Or those that oppose the government programs that support poor Americans or oppose the implementation of a living wage so those same poor Americans can support themselves? Are these sets of beliefs to be considered “pro-life?”

I consider myself pro-life, but I am also pro-choice. I strongly believe that a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body, especially in cases involving rape, incest or in which the life of the mother is at risk. At the same time, I believe that as a society, we should strive to reduce the number of abortions that are performed in our country. Instead of outlawing abortions or restricting access to them to the point that they become essentially illegal, I believe that our goal should be to make the alternative choices more appealing. This can come in the form of better sexual education and easier access to contraception in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy, or in providing affordable health care, child care, paid maternity leave and easier access to adoption to help mothers that may otherwise feel like they would be unable to support a child. Increased awareness of sexual assault and steps taken to prevent it can help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies from rape. There are countless ways in which we can work to reduce the number of abortions without violating a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body.

So if it is possible to be both “pro-life” and pro-choice, what makes someone truly “pro-life?” Anti-legal abortion groups often state that “life begins at conception” but they sometimes forget that life does not end at birth. “Pro-life” is not defined by a single belief — that abortion should be outlawed — but is instead an upholding of human dignity. While ending abortion may be a part of this, it is not the same thing as being “pro-life.” To be “pro-life” is to remember that life has value at all stages.

John Gadient
senior
Jan. 25

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • Punta Venyage

    This semantic game is silly and a game of equivocation. “pro-life” is a marketing label just like “pro-choice” is (which one should expect you to realize or have mentioned). To take either as the comprehensive literal explanation of an entire line of reasoning is completely moronic.

    Based on your criteria, do you think people who believe that the unborn is a human being should be called “anti-choice”? You could technically call supporting any single law as “anti-choice” because a law, by its very nature, restricts an element of choice (i.e. I don’t have the freedom to choose to rob a bank and not get punished for it).
    The “pro-choice” label is just as useless when you extrapolate it and play semantic games like you have. In fact, you could say it’s even more meaningless because the validity and morality of a choice depends almost entirely on WHAT you are choosing. So saying you’re “pro-choice” doesn’t actually mean anything of substance. At least “Pro-life,” while being narrowly focused birth and right to first taste of life experience, actually refers to something.
    To illustrate this point in case you don’t see the irony… it would be like if someone wrote an entire Viewpoint piece saying:

    “How dare they restrict “pro-choice” label to the topic of abortion! Do you support the ability to choose vanilla ice cream vs chocolate ice cream? You are “pro-choice”! Do you believe in being able to choose what you want to wear in the morning? Then you are pro-choice! “ (actually just thought about those who mandate burkas on women… perhaps we should effectively call them “anti-choice” !) “Did you choose to be an engineer instead of a lawyer? Then you too, my friend, are pro-choice!!”

    Instead of diving into the substance of the debate, you choose to spend your energies critiquing superfluous details and labels while avoiding the actual discussion of the issue.

    • mf2112

      [snip]
      Instead of diving into the substance of the debate, you choose to spend your energies critiquing superfluous details and labels while avoiding the actual discussion of the issue.

      You don’t know the meaning of the word irony, do you?

      • NDaniels

        It is the erroneous argument of the author that has led to the erroneous belief stated by a multitude of persons, including President Obama, that if a son or daughter comes forth from their mother’s womb alive, they should be left to die, as that was their mother’s wish.

        Truth begets truth; error begets error.

    • Bush O’Neill

      Please explain to me what you were hoping to achieve in this self-defeating, vitriolic comment. The author of this viewpoint clearly explains his moral stances on abortion with respect to the entirety of the human life–not just a given portion (i.e., time spent in the womb). He elicits these stances from the denotation(s) of “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” explains their connotations, and points out public misunderstandings of the words and the stances they encompass. Words and their definitions are important, so long as you treat them with gravity and respect. It’s perfectly fine to disagree with John Gadient on a moral/ethical level with respect to abortion, but don’t act like he didn’t justify his own perspective with the dexterity of a craftsman. Someone’s playing a semantic game here, and it ain’t John Gadient.

      • NDaniels

        The fact that every son or daughter of a human person can only be in essence, a human person, is not a play on semantics; it is a self-evident truth that can be known through both Faith and reason.

      • Punta Venyage

        The framing of the viewpoint presented in this piece is based on what you should mean when you say “pro-life”, so yes it is primarily a semantic claim.

        I’ve seen this approach start to surface from a variety of sources in the last few weeks, and on a philosophical grounds the trick is essentially this: “Forget about just thinking about life in the womb. How about we focus on all life? Life for the poor, life for immigrants, *insert further virtue signaling*, etc. “ – This tactic shifts the discussion away from actually answering the key question of the abortion debate, which is “What is the unborn?”

        Using this broadening maneuver on a specific topic elsewhere would be like:
        * People are discussing the pros and cons of a new proposed rule for basketball.
        * Someone says “Why just talk about basketball when we can talk about all sports?! It’s important to think about the fairness of soccer and American football as well!”

  • NDaniels

    http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/elements-of-libel-and-slander.html

    PHILIPPIANS 3:18

    “For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.”

    • disqus_PBnOP0sXke

      Troll.

      • NDaniels

        “I consider myself pro-life, but I am also pro-choice. I strongly believe that a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body, especially in cases involving rape, incest or in which the life of the mother is at risk.”

        If you strongly believe that a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body, and you believe the son or daughter residing within a mother’s womb is in essence, part of a woman’s body, then it would follow that a mother, due to your strong belief that a woman has a right to make decisions about her own body, which includes the son or daughter residing in their mother’s womb, would then have the right to withhold nourishment and shelter and anything necessary to sustain the life of their son or daughter, at any point in time of that child’s life, if that particular son or daughter comes forth from their mother’s womb alive.

        There is nothing that is pro-life about the claim that a woman has the right to decide whether her son or daughter’s life should be preserved, after that son or daughter has been created and brought into being at their conception.

  • NDaniels