I’m quite torn on this issue. In four ways to be exact:
I’m personally pro-choice. It’s part of my political platform of pragmatism. I imagine an embryo might not feel pain quite like a baby does, physical or psychological. I didn’t think to test this out when I was one and don’t remember back then anyway. So if I’m going to weigh the pain an embryo feels at being aborted versus what a child might feel like being raised by a mother who would have preferred he not exist, I’m honestly going with the child’s pain being greater.
Therefore, abortion is a minimizer of pain.
“So you’re in favor of euthanasia or maybe just putting habitual losers out of their misery?” say the moralists. And they’re right. I can’t really say why I feel like abortion is right and those are wrong. I think it has something to do with the embryo or even fetus not having experienced much, not having developed into a thinking being yet. It seems to me that a person is a combination of their innate tendencies and abilities as one component, and their memories and experiences as the other, so in abortion’s case, only one side of that is present, making it less inhuman to end it. But I have to concede that while I can make my pragmatic argument, I’m really not certain I could make a moral one. From a moral or philosophical perspective, I don’t think the pro-choicers take the win.
Being male, I don’t have reproductive rights. Full stop. There isn’t a single scenario wherein I’m involved in conception and I have any say, whatsoever, in the outcome. The “nightmare scenario” in Texas, if it were the reality of my reproductive rights, would be an unbelievable improvement. If I’m involved in an accidental pregnancy, I don’t even have a say in whether or not the woman pops a Plan B pill. A six week window to decide whether I want to be a parent or not would be revolutionary. And all I would have to do is test regularly? Sign me up! Because right now, if conception occurs, whether life will continue as normal or I’ll have 18 years of wage garnishment is never, ever my right to choose. I’d be curious to find out how many women would carry a baby to term, and give it up for adoption if her options were that or 18 years of giving away a massive chunk of her salary to a dude she met at a party one night. That is to say, I’m curious if women really would stand by the idea that in reproductive rights, they have it worse. How many really would take the decades of giving a large amount of their money to someone they happen to have made a mistake with a decade ago?
That isn’t even the nightmare scenario. The real nightmare scenario is where a man and a woman decide to keep it, the man is looking forward to having a child and then the woman changes her mind and the man doesn’t have a legal say in whether someone kills his child or not. Yes, that happens. No legal recourse. No rights.
The icing on the cake is the fact that when men bring this up, the same groups that fight for pro-choice for women malign them. It’s this part that really pushes the needle clear into
How can someone help but be ever so slightly chuffed that a group that has fought against the rights of others is being denied it themselves? Maybe it’ll make them more sympathetic. Maybe they’ll decide we’re all in this together and stop pretending men are the enemy. And maybe the Taliban really will decide to respect women’s rights. We can all dream.
I’m still pro-choice though. Having distaste for some of the worse elements of a group (even when that group refuses to rein them in) doesn’t mean everyone in that group is wrong, evil or deserving of punishment. That said, someone please come get your lefty remix of the Westboro Baptist Church:
Pictured: A woman who is clearly all about minimizing suffering.
This is the worst possible move the Republican party could be making right now. There is very little they could do that would be worse. Just as the media begins to turn on Biden because he ended a war, just as it’s becoming clear that the “settled science” wasn’t so settled after all and now we have the first vaccine in history that only lasts a few months, you could imagine that some people who are left of center might be beginning to drift away. Might be becoming somewhat disillusioned. Maybe they’re beginning to think that maybe it isn’t about right and left, but about power, money, influence. Maybe they value freedom and see over a year of lockdownism as overreach. Maybe they’d start finding things in common with freedom-promoting people on the right.
And then Texas does this. Suddenly everyone who moved there from California is probably wondering whether that was the right decision. Suddenly the political right’s appeals to freedom, bodily autonomy and personal choice in medical issues seem hollow. Suddenly any chance of coming together to resist tyranny is going back to the back burner. Yes, I get it. You’re fighting for the rights of the voiceless. The people across from you just don’t see it that way.
This represents the choice I believe faces a lot of freedom loving Americans who also happen to be pro-life. They should meet some pro-choice women. Talk with them. See how they feel. It’s quite remarkable really. There’s an almost primal fear bound up in this issue. I’m barely being hyperbolic when I say that if there were two candidates, one who was opposite them in virtually every issue but pro-choice, and another who was with them on every issue but pro-life, I’m not certain which they’d pick. When faced with just how much of the US population places this issue above all others, shouldn’t Americans concerned with freedom above all else be willing to shelve this issue for now to try to build a base of opposition to a common enemy?
This last year has seen governments around the USA decide that the first amendment is simply littered with asterisks, all of which lead to the footnote: “Unless we deem there to be a hazard to public safety”. We have a significant portion of our teachers and academics who think “real” communism has never been tried and we should be trying it again. We have massive inroads of media, art and thought that all end up in the same cul-de-sac of “America is at its core, an evil, ugly thing, and not worth saving”. And we have powerful, intelligent enemies who, if they aren’t the source of these cancers, are certainly delighted by them.
We need a coalition of Americans who love this country, who believe our rights are inalienable, who believe that useless politicians who do nothing for decades should be flushed out of office like the garbage they are, who believe that our children should be raised to love this country, who understand that the hammer and sickle should be met with the same revulsion as the National Socialist swastika, who believe that social theories written by academic illiterates and existent only because of refusal to question them should be treated with a level of respect equal to the academic rigor used in creating them, we need this coalition and we needed it yesterday.
If you remove gun control (the right’s mirror image of the abortion issue) and abortion from the picture and observe the sheer volume of Americans who aside from those two issues, would likely agree on the important points of freedom, constitutional rights and America being great, I’d wager it’d be an overwhelming, unchallengeable majority. But if we cannot find it in ourselves to call a truce on the few issues that keep us apart when we could be agreeing on so much, I fear such a coalition will never materialize, and both the right and the left will lose the freedoms they each hold dear.