You’ve all heard the socially liberal call it “pro-choice” and “anti-choice.” You’ve heard the socially conservative call it “anti-life” and “pro-life.” From this alone you have probably recognized that these labels are merely ways to construct a perspective as the truth. In fact, they attempt to construct the most favorable truth as the most popular.
I mean, take away the abortion context for a second. Who, in America, can’t get behind the phrase “pro-choice?” Conservatives in particular are all about freedom of speech and the choice to practice their religion in any way they want. And who can’t get behind “pro-life?” Liberals in particular are very against war because it destroys human life. As George Carlin has argued in his stand-up, there is no consistency in these labels of “pro-choice” and “pro-life” except that they both consistently twist the situation around and stretch it out to make it seem like a larger fundamental argument than it really is.
We’re essentially shouting two arguments at each other. One side is saying, regardless of the science and morality of abortion itself, the freedom to choose what one’s life experience is like in terms of body (9 months + birth) and activity (18 years of parenthood) is a fundamental right. The other side is saying that the science and morality of abortion cannot be disregarded, and that it justifies forcing any life experience except dying (and sometimes not even that).
Should abortion be a valid legal option? Here are 10 alternate ways to label both sides of this narrow legal argument, that may give you something new to think about.
- “Every adult woman’s life and some children’s lives” vs. “Every child’s life and some women’s lives.”
- “QUALITY-of-life” vs. “QUANTITY-of-life.”
- “Access to prosperity and happiness” vs. “Access to oxygen.”
- “Only prepared mothers” vs. “All fertile hetero-sex-havers must be mothers.”
- “Focus on dismantling systemic racialized and feminized poverty and disadvantage” vs. “Focus on conserving white cis-male privilege and benevolent sexism for white cis-women.”
- “Fewer unhappy, unhealthy, poor people” vs. “More people! More people! More people!”
- “Second chances” vs. “Accountability and shame.”
- “Improve society” vs. “Society is fine–let’s grow!”
- “Awareness and disapproval of societal sexual context” vs. “Pregnant women just materialize that way, OR those sluts were asking for it, OR they should all want babies anyway or they’re weird.”
- “Sexual expression is FUN-damental” vs. “Sex should only be for procreation.”
So mull that over as you watch the news pile up with conservative shouts of “LIFE!” and liberal shouts of “CHOICE!” They’re really saying a whole lot more, whether they realize it or not.