Friday, January 21, 2011

What is choice?

Today is NARAL's "Blog for Choice" day. The pro-life response is to insist upon clarity. What do you mean by choice?

Just as an experiment, I recorded all the choices that I made for a day. For someone who supposedly can't stand women making their own choices, I made a ton: what to wear, what to read, what flavor of ice cream to buy at the grocery store. I even made a medical choice involving my body, when I chose to get my allergy shot. I chose to obey all traffic laws-- although, arguably, that choice was made for me by the government. This "anti-choice" advocate eventually made so many choices that she lost count.

Of course, that isn't what's meant when NARAL talks about freedom of choice. But is it fair to say that "choice" simply means "abortion"?

The response from those who identify themselves as "pro-choice" is usually no. They would say that "choice" means support for abortion, adoption, and parenting. Okay. I'll accept that definition at face value. Just realize that it's equally damning. What if I said that I was pro-choice: it's up to you if you want to murder your grandma, place her in a rest home, or allow her to live with your family? Would you call me pro-grandma-murder? I certainly wouldn't blame you.

When people say that they support abortion, adoption, and parenting, the last two choices are really beside the point, because no one-- pro-life or pro-choice-- has a problem with people choosing between adoption and parenting. It's like a politician who says he'll be tough on crime; I've yet to see anyone campaign on a platform of support for criminals!

Let's be clear. The choice that's being debated is the choice to either give birth or have an abortion. From the perspective of NARAL and its allies, that's the choice between allowing a child to come into being, or getting rid of "tissue." From our perspective, the child has already come into being, so the choice is between a live baby and a dead baby. Now we can get down to the core issue: the humanity, or non-humanity, of the unborn child (a scientific question), and what rights attach (a legal question).

I'll close with a comment from Dr. Bernard Nathanson:
"Women must have control over their own bodies."

"Safe and legal abortion is every woman's right."

"Who decides? You decide!"

"Freedom of choice -- a basic American right."

. . .

"I remember laughing when we made those slogans up," recalls Bernard Nathanson, M.D., co-founder of pro-abortion group NARAL, reminiscing about the early days of the pro-abortion movement in the late '60s and early '70s.

"We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion. They were very cynical slogans then, just as all of these slogans today are very, very cynical."


Anonymous said...

Of course, it's about abortion. Otherwise, they would not call us anti-choicers for our opposition to abortion as murder. They are not calling us anti-choicers if we oppose right to do other forms of murder, rape, incest, assault, battery, robbery, theft, etc., etc.

Pantheroom said...

This post really hit the nail on the head regarding the phrase "anti-choice" (anti-abortion). I was just telling Monica yesterday (before I read this):
‎" "against a women's right to choose" = "against women's right to make this specific choice that kills people". Seriously. With that kind of rhetoric, *all* laws "turn against a women's right to choose" as laws tend to limit choices!
Further...more, considering it would enable thousands more baby girls to be born and make choices in life, doesn't it allow more choices to women than it takes away? I mean really, how many choices do you think the average female makes in her life? Killing her would prrrobably limit her choices more than banning abortion for most women."

Looks like we're on the same page!