Sunday was the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade so a lot of people are choosing to talk about abortion and the pro-life/pro-choice debate this week. I’ve been pretty busy so I didn’t know if I would get to blog on it but going through my image downloads from the last week and seeing this screenshot changed my mind:
The answer I really wanted to give to the above question: “Yes! By far, I would rather be confused with a pro-choice person! Why? Because pro-choice people aren’t complete jerks about everything!!!”
Granted, there are people on both sides who are complete jerks about their position but I encounter this far more often in the pro-life movement than I do with my pro-choice friends. I don’t know if it’s because the pro-choice position allows for people to be fine with me making my choices and someone else making theirs or because the majority of my friends on the pro-choice side are fine with people disagreeing with them, but it really does feel like the pro-life/anti-abortion movement shoots itself in the foot on a daily basis.
Here are some ways that pro-lifers completely torpedo their cause:
[+] Calling any pro-choice person a “baby killer”. Since when has name-calling ever solved anything? Most of my pro-choice friends agree that abortion is murder and support it only in cases of rape/incest or if the life of the mother is in danger. They themselves would not get an abortion and find that name really offensive, enough so that most of them would probably run the other direction rather than have a conversation with the 40 Days for Life people.
[+] Protesting with pictures of aborted fetuses. I remember being at Urbana 2000 and seeing a picture of a child that had been aborted on the sign being held up by an Operation Rescue protestor who had come to picket the conference. (For those who don’t know, Urbana is a MASSIVE missions conference put on by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical organization for college students.) Seeing that poster didn’t make me automatically pro-life — what it did was make me want to never be associated with the cause at all. (Not to mention, WHO THE HELL DIDN’T DO THEIR RESEARCH AND FIGURE OUT THAT 99.99% OF THE PEOPLE AT THE CONFERENCE WERE PRO-LIFE AND THEIR PRESENCE THERE WAS POINTLESS?!?!?!?!?) I know people who are pro-life but who will never take their kids to the March for Life in DC or any of the local marches that take place across the USA because they don’t want their six year olds traumatized by those pictures.
[+] Making catty comments about how you don’t know *ANYONE* who has had an abortion nor would you ever be friends with someone like that. I would say with almost complete confidence that you probably *DO* know someone who has and making a statement like that can make that person feel incredibly isolated in addition to increasing their pain. For me, the single event that I can point to as the point at which my pro-life conversion started was when I was at an event at my college church and one of the other students there ended up confessing to me that she had an abortion after being raped. Her entire demeanor changed when she told me and I could see the intense pain on her face because it wasn’t a decision she wanted to make or was proud of making. In the last 18 years since, other friends of mine have told me about theirs because I am apparently caring and non-judgmental enough that they feel comfortable telling me. None of the women I know who have had one are remotely proud of it and many of them hide a great deal of pain because people make thoughtless comments about how horrible they must be.
[+] Opposing abortion and/or birth control but supporting the slashing of programs like WIC which help moms feed their kids. Hypocrisy, much? The reason WIC was started by former President Jimmy Carter was to take away reasons for women to get abortions. He felt that by providing mothers with a resource for feeding their young children, some of them might keep their babies. Daniel received WIC for four years and I honestly want to throatpunch politicians who want to cut programs like this but also oppose abortion. I mean, if you’re going to insist that women stay pregnant, the least you can do is to not make it harder for them to take care of their kids.
[+] Making nasty comments like the one the person made to me in the screencap above. Some of the most moral and caring people I know are pro-choice. If it came down to the choice of being associated with them or associated with some of the people I know who are pro-life, the pro-choicers would win hands down because I know that they would have my back if something happened to me and *HAVE* had my back at those times. There are people in every movement who are good/bad/kind/rude/whatever and you cannot paint all of the people on one side with a broad brush.
I’d like to close with this quotation by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop:
The American ideal is not that we all agree with each other, or even like each other, every minute of the day. It is rather that we will respect each other’s rights, especially the right to be different, and that, at the end of the day, we will understand that we are one people, one country, and one community and that our well-being is inextricably bound up with the well-being of each and every one of our fellow citizens.