I am firmly a pro-choicer.
I recently had an interesting interaction while helping someone configure their computer for email. I had noticed that they had many different emails from newspapers, and was told they were quite a news hound, specifically politics. After some banter back and forth about the future of the current federal government, I revealed myself as both a fiscal and social conservative. In response, I was told that they were “completely left wing” meaning that they were “pro-abortion and pro-gay”.
I smiled right away. I found it completely interesting that the two items this person chose to identify themselves with were abortion and homosexuality. Additionally, I found myself saying “You know, had I minimized your social agenda to those two items you would have thought I was a bigot”. They admitted it was probably true, and we chuckled at the irony.
I have always found the spin doctoring of of specific labels interesting. The abortion issue being a very good example. Those who believe abortion to be a good thing label themselves as pro-choice and as those who disagree with them as anti-choice. Those who see abortion as the ending of a life label themselves as pro-life, and have only recently been turning the tables and calling those who disagree with them as anti-life.
If you couldn’t already tell my position by the admission that I am a “social conservative”, I am firmly one who thinks purposefully aborting a pregnancy is choosing to terminate life. At the very least, it is choosing to terminate the potential of life (and a potential that if left without interference is almost a certainty). I see it as a horrible societal evil, and hope that one day we’ll look back at these days of unfettered access to abortion as a medical dark ages.
Knowing the above, I have always found the title “pro-choice” a little presumptuous. Beyond that, saying that I am against choice if I do not believe a life (or at least the potential of life) should be ended so glibly actually offends me a little.
I completely believe that everyone has the God given right to decide for themselves how they will live their life. However, I also believe that we all need to be willing to accept the consequences of our choices. In constantly heralding choice as the overarching value of the argument, the real issue of abortion becomes secondary. Being “pro choice” means only the current choice of how to handle the current situation becomes germane to the discussion. Heralding choice obfuscates the moral dilemma around ending a life (or at least the potential of life) and turns it into one of present personal liberty.
I would argue that this is a miscarriage of when the choice actually occurred.
If I choose to eat 2 large pizzas and chase it down with a large blizzard treat, I know I will be awake half the night with bad indigestion and probably add a couple of pounds to my waistline. If I choose to do this on a regular basis, I will become a portly individual who is badly in need of regular naps.
To overextend that analogy, when I went to pick up those large pizzas, what would happen if I felt I’d rather keep my money and also keep the pizzas? If I truly believe in primacy of choice, then it would seem a reasonable situation. Going even further, when the authorities came to tell me it was a poorly thought out choice, and that there were consequences that would need to be dealt with, should I also not be able to choose that any charges resulting from the free pizza incident be terminated?
I believe in choice, however, I believe the choice that matters with regard to pregnancy is the choice to engage in the activities that can lead to pregnancy. If you absolutely do not want to be pregnant, there is a choice you can make that will guarantee that outcome. In fact, with the large assortment of birth control methods available, there is virtually no reason you should get pregnant unless you’re choosing to. Unfortunately, the heat of the moment, or the belief one can beat the odds or maybe even just not understanding the process and how it works leads to a choice that can end in pregnancy. At that point I believe the choice is made and you are agreeing to the natural consequences of that choice.
Without going on and on, I’m hoping my point is obvious.
I am pro-choice, but believe the choice that counts is the once that leads to pregnancy.
After that, for the sake of life (or at least the potential of life) I believe you need to deal with the consequences of your choice. Those consequences may just turn out to be a blessing for you, or at least to the countless couples who would love that blessing on your behalf.