Disclaimer: I am not trying to say that you as an individual are this or that. I am talking about the movement as a whole, so please do not take personal offense. You can be a pro-life advocate in a way different than highlighted here.
I believe the pro-life movement is fundamentally flawed. I also believe the pro-life/pro-choice debate is counterproductive, and we are getting further from the answer. I also also believe that this is because there is something at play exercising control so that we will never get to that answer in our current state.
Pro-life vs. anti-life? Pro-choice vs. anti-choice?
A dispute implies that two sides are on opposite sides on a particular issue.
But, with the way this particular argument is structured, it’s not that they are on opposite sides. It’s that they’re not fighting over the same issue at all. The true opponent of pro-life is anti-life, but I don’t think pro-choice is claiming that they hate life. Conversely, the true opponent of pro-choice is anti-choice, but I also don’t think pro-life is trying to argue that they hate choice. Of course, if they both believe they are fighting their actual opponent, then it makes sense that the movement is scarcely moving.
The pro-life movement tries to convince the pro-choice movement that all life is supposed to be valued, while the pro-choice movement tries to convince the pro-life movement that women have the right to choose. We seem to make no progress because I don’t think we’re calling it for what it is. I do not believe the two sides should be called pro-life and pro-choice because it does not encompass what this issue is really about.
I do not think this debate is about life, nor is it about choice. Because, of course (I hope), we all want to value life and choice.
Anti-abortion vs. pro-abortion?
Maybe we can call it anti-abortion and pro-abortion. But I do not think this is accurate either. Sure, the pro-life movement is anti-abortion, but I don’t think the pro-choice movement is pro-abortion. I don’t think people would choose an abortion unless they had to. Losing life is undeniably tragic.
It is wrong to demonize the pro-choice movement by claiming they all want to “kill babies.” They aren’t doing it because they want to kill. They are doing it because they have no other choice (I wonder why??)
Pro-birth vs. anti-birth?
To continue on that note, no one is anti-birth. Pinning the pro-choice movement as anti-birth again tries to portray the pro-choice side as evil people. This is not a logical argument; this is a manipulation tactic. It aims not to reach a conclusion but to become the overwhelming majority.
On the flip side, pro-birth feels more accurate. Some of the pro-life movement seems hypocritical in that they only care about the baby being born, but not about the quality of their life and their mother’s life after they are born.
Anti-woman vs. Pro-woman?
So then, perhaps it is simply a way to exercise control. If I was going to say what this argument is truly over, it is about the role of women. It feels that one side is trying to fight for the rights of women, and the other side is trying to limit their freedom. (The sides should be obvious)
Perhaps this is not a battle over life but simply a way to maintain their current power. By holding ownership over a woman’s body, limiting their choices, and painting them as evil, they put all the blame unjustly on the woman, as if it’s all their fault. As if she was the only one who practiced unsafe sex. As if she was the reason she was assaulted.
What the pro-life movement could do better
One of the pro-life movement issues (lol) is that the movement is not unified. As we can see above, it is difficult to pinpoint what they are fighting for. Are they pro-life? Anti-abortion? Pro-birth? Anti-woman? What are they fighting for? What are they trying to accomplish? Until that can be resolved, the pro-life movement will continue to beat itself up.
Even if you are pro-life and pro-woman (which you should be, because woman is life), the other part using the pro-life movement for political control will always hold you back.
A different way(s) to look at it
However, my preferred situation is that we realize that there are not just two sides and that this issue is more complex than that.
This thinking that there are only two sides feels more prevalent now than ever. The polarity present in our society is apparent. (lots of ‘-ent’s in this sentence it’s like a poem)
My preferred preferred situation is that we realize that we are on the same side, and we really should be fighting the corrupt and the ones in control (ooh I might regret saying this).
Anyways, here are some ideas that I think we should consider.
- We make the process of choosing abortion as easy as we can for the woman. We need to provide support, not isolate her. Imagine the trauma.
- We provide resources to single mothers, or struggling families in general, so that their children can be sufficiently taken care of.
- We improve the foster care system.
- We encourage adoption.
We can also prevent the situation from ever happening in the first place!
- We have proper sex education, so people do not engage in unsafe sex. I do not think it is too realistic only to teach abstinence. The world is devious and tempting, and we need to teach people to be as safe as possible.
- We make men better! We teach proper expression of feelings and healthy boundaries from a young age!
These answers are complex, and why I don’t think the simple duality of pro-life and pro-choice can fully encapsulate the gravity. My answers don’t call for a simple law to be passed. It requires a complete overhaul—a radical transformation.
And I guess that is too idealistic. I have no idea how to pull that off, nor do I believe it is practical in my lifetime. But I think it is important to have ideals, even if they are unattainable, because they give us a direction to move towards. I believe in a flourishing world even after I am gone. So, while I may have no idea, I will continue living life doing what I can. And, maybe, if we all do that, and we do it together, we will come to an answer more significant than ourselves.