Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pro-Choice: Choose Life

[NOTE: This post is not about when a fetus becomes a baby, whether Roe vs. Wade is poor law, or whether abortion should be legal. My views on those are somewhat spelled out here.]

The interesting group of smart guys at the InterGalacticJester include the Great Brendino*, who wrote an excellent post a few days about hypocrisy among some protesters on the far left at competing abortion rallies last week in San Francisco. I actually plan on writing about that, but while perusing the SF Gate article and pictures the post was related to, I saw this picture:

The woman's stomach reads:
My baby is pro-choice.
Now, perhaps the young woman means her baby is choosing to live, but the more likely explanation is that her baby is "pro-choice", or pro-abortion. This would result in the baby's death, which seems pretty illogical from the baby's point of view. Perhaps the mother would die if the child were born, and the noble child wishes to sacrifice its own life for the mother's, but again, I am assuming this is not the case. The lady in the picture seems to be an abortion advocate, plain and simple.

There are a few problems, however. Her very cute attempt at attention for her cause is founded on stupidity. First, it's just plain stupid to claim that an unborn child has a political viewpoint. However, this is obviously meant to make a point, rather than as a serious display of opinion, so let's let that pass. More importantly, if one would project the wishes of an unborn child as to whether it would prefer to live or be killed, the baby would choose life.

But the most glaring idea in this photo is the hypocrisy of the woman. One major piece of logic integral to the pro-abortion movement is the concept that the baby is not a baby, but in fact an unborn fetus. Once a person acknowledges that the fetus is in fact a baby, it becomes stupid not to recognize that baby's abortion as murder. As James Taranto pointed out today, many advocates bend over backward to avoid calling it a baby:

A Baltimore Sun article about abortion law in Maryland contains this curious passage:
Maryland has some 38 crisis pregnancy centers, where counselors try to persuade pregnant women to have their babies. Many centers are in rural areas that don't have clinics that provide abortions. At least two offer free sonograms, an attempt to emphasize to pregnant women the reality of their fetuses. "It makes a powerful difference when they can see [the fetus]," says Pamela Palumbo, executive director of the Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center, which sees about 1,000 women a year.
Notice that in the quote, the words "the fetus" are in brackets. This is a journalistic convention; it means Palumbo didn't actually say those words, but the reporter has put them in to clarify the meaning. We can't imagine what Palumbo might actually have said.
Much as the Great Brendino pointed out that those who try to silence others in the name of "freedom" are hypocritical, pro-abortion advocates who try and utilize the babies to prove their points are hypocritical. Nobody in their right mind views abortion as a positive which "even the babies want"; the issue is whether the rights of the mother trump that of the child, when, and up to what point.

Some people are just stupid.

* defined by fellow IGJ member Croaky as "'South Park Republican,' Dislikes Conservatives But Really Dislikes Liberals"

Technorati tags: Abortion, Life, Choice, Protests, Rallies, San Francisco.


  1. her point simply is that the choice was made by them not by the state. she happens to be choosingo n her own to carry the baby to term - by her choice. that is what pro choice means, not necessarily pro abortion, but pro the woman deciding what to do when she finds out she is pregnant.

  2. "pro-abortion advocates who try and utilize the babies to prove their points are hypocritical"

    As are the hypocrites who blow up aboriton clinicsd, or all the protestors in all the rallies who abuse the suffered images of bloddy fetuses to make their point. all sides of political issues abuse the object of their debate to help prove their cause.

  3. Anon - granted, she's making a proper choice (and did you see the title?). But the baby is not "pro-choice"; it is "pro-life". And you missed the main point: By acknowledging that it is in fact a baby, the "choice" should be removed - unless you're choosing whether or not to murder it.

    I don't see what bombing abortion clinics has to do with anything - go read GB's post please.

  4. Maybe it's not the main point, but you keep repeating the canard that pro-choice means pro-abortion when it certainly does not. If every pro-choice advocate truly felt that way there would be a lot less babies in this country.

  5. JF - Thanks.

    Krum - You'd probably need to read the post I link to in the "NOTE" in the beginning... but actually, you're only partially correct. All those who are "pro-choice" are in favor of abortion, in some instances. It's only a matter of degrees as to what those instances are. (Also, over 30% of pregnancies are aborted - that's a huge number.)

  6. Caught on Cspan a "Rabbi" making a speech at the pro-life rally in washington the other day. He made me wanna hurl.
    Pro Choice does not mean Pro Absolute Abortion, the self righteous religious right twists it that way to demonize those who support the ability for a person to choose what to do. Abortion is a sad fact of life and it won't go away. I'd rather it be legal and safe than illegal with a coat hanger.

  7. TTC - Oy. Does NOBODY read the little "note" at the top of the post?! Please read it, then comment again. Thanks.

  8. I'm surprised you haven't discussed this with regard to the traditional Jewish position regarding abortion, which is consistent with neither the "pro-life" or the "pro-choice" position. In theology it is closer to pro-choice (we don't give full human status even to a 38 week fetus), in personal practice it is closer to pro-life (abortions are not permitted except when the health of the mother is endangered), and in public policy it is very close to pro-choice, at least in any secular country (it is impossible to write a bill restricting abortions that is consistent with halachah).

  9. I don't think it's "impossible", but you should read my previous post, the one in the "NOTE" - it's much closer to halacha, but from a more realistic American perspective.

  10. In the case of being a danger to the mother, Halacha advocates aborting the fetus to save the mother and christian law advocates delivering the baby at all costs even if it means the mother is going to die

  11. I know - again, please go read my other post.

  12. Ah, now THIS is the Xvi we've been missing! But wait - you're anti-abortion from a religious perspective always?!

  13. Actually, there's no such thing as "seperation of Church and State", as the 6th Circuit just ruled (see my archives from a few weeks ago).

    I also think you'd be surprised to see the statistics about who has abortions: They're older and more affluent a lot more often than you'd imagine. I also don't like where that type of view leads: Imagine killing people off to better society, or abortions when not necessary because it's not what the parents wanted. Scary.

  14. 'christian law advocates delivering the baby at all costs even if it means the mother is going to die'

    This is not true. Roman Catholic doctrine is that the mother and fetus have equal status. About half of all Protestant churches don't have a problem with abortion under any circumstances at all; many of their clergy are among the leaders of the "pro-choice" movement.

    'as the 6th Circuit just ruled'

    That ruling was contrary to the original intent of the Establishment Clause (Jefferson and Madison talked about separation a lot). And in any case it won't be binding until endorsed by the Supreme Court. And every state constitution has its own version of an establishment clause; most go further than the one in the bill of rights. So I would not agree with your statement.

    'statistics about who has abortions'

    Also interesting are the international comparisons. The lowest rates of abortion among developed counties with decent statistics appear to be in the Netherlands -- where abortion is free, paid for by the government national health insurance. The rates are substantially higher for women in Germany, where abortion is illegal. Rather than argue over Supreme Court appointments, those of us who are troubled by abortion might want to see what the Netherlands is doing and attempt to replicate that.

  15. Charlie, you're great - I actually meant on writing "Where's Charlie" when I mentioned the stats...

    I think you're wrong on the 6th Circuit, though - read through the decision, it very clearly seperates what is and isn't a problem.

  16. Wow, that photo says a thousand words, doesn't it?! I like your approach to use logic to deconstruct it, Ezzie, so I think I'll do the same now, on the fly, thinking as I write...

    1) Clearly, it is wrong to claim someone's future political viewpoint. The mother is imposing something there onto her child.

    2) If the baby had a choice to live or die, as Ezzie said, then it would choose life. Clearly.

    3) If it is a "baby," then it is past the point of being legally aborted, isn't it? So there really is no "choice" in reference to the law (extra-legal measures aside). The mother has to have the baby and the baby has to choose life.

    4) If the baby were a "fetus" and not a "baby," how would this play out? Well, would it still choose life over death? Is there really much difference to a fetus at this point in development? I'm sure a doctor will tell us it can't make this decision. Therefore, isn't the decision now in the hands of the mother, the other person involved in this biology, this matter of life and death? What would her choice be? Does she have a choice legally? If it is a fetus as we said, and the law allows, then she does have a choice.

    Does it then follow that she may choose as she pleases, choosing to "abort" and choose death over life for the non-decision-making-fetus? Some would say no and this is the heart of the abortion argument, but continuing to try to use logic, doesn't arguing for the life of the fetus take away the choice of the only decision-making person in the equation? Meaning, a non-thinking, non-feeling fetus' rights are given precedence over the thinking, feeling adult. Why? Because that fetus will become thinking and feeling and human and will eventually choose life for itself (most likely). That sounds reasonable to me, but even more reasonable is that BECAUSE the fetus is not thinking or feelling or capable of making a decision NOT NOW, but EVENTUALLY, the person who has the only important stake is the one who can think and feel and make decisions. For as we (I) logically reasoned, the fetus doesn't care whether it lives or dies right now.

    The key here is the train of logic. Either one of two things happen:

    1) The mother aborts the fetus who doesn't care if it lives or dies. There is no future for that fetus, so it never has to make a decision on life or death. It doesn't care that it has been aborted.


    2) The fetus is not aborted, it chooses life, and hopefully lives well.

    This whole thing isn't pretty but it all comes down to decision points, it seems. Either the mother chooses life or death for the fetus, or the world at large / legal system chooses life for the fetus. It would seem that protecting the lives of future generations is a good thing, but we know that often babies that are born that might have been aborted do not grow up in the most advantageous environments, so who are we doing the favor for? The child that is born, or our conscience?

    I guess I either just confirmed what I already believed or forced my logic around what I believe, but I prefer to have the mother choose life or death for the fetus/future human over myself and my peers. I think she knows better than I do.

  17. Ah, but that's the point. What she wants, or what the baby wants, are unimportant. What matters is what's right. The tongue-in-cheek post, despite the logic involved, is still tongue-in-cheek. It merely points out the stupidity of making the decision into a simple 'choice'. It's not that simple: There are deep questions regarding whether the baby is considered a "baby" or merely a "fetus", and at what point it becomes something that to get rid of would be murder. Is it simply just a piece of tissue the woman can choose to have removed? Or is it something that is full of life? And at what point does it become that? And is that life worth the life of another?

    I don't think the woman is the one to make the choice in this - not because I want to "hurt women's rights" or send people to back allies. I don't want her to make the choice because it's not a choice that should be being made. Do we put the life of any person in the hands of any other, because they may or may not want that person to live? No. And of course, it's not that simple here - but it's not just some choice of a woman about her own body that affects nobody else. Therefore, the choice is not hers to make.

  18. You're blog is 'beating around the bush' way to much. The woman's point is that she is choosing to have her baby. Hence the baby is a product of pro choice. If it's a product of pro choice then it is pro choice. She's writing on her stomach. Thus she doesn't have enough space to get the semantics right.

    She probably chose to write this on her stomach to oppose births that are not pro choice. Like when an accidental pregnancy leads to a baby that is not wanted by the parent. She's clearly stating that she wants her baby.