Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What Pro-Lifers Really Hate is Our Freedom

William Saletan of Slate keeps up his "abortion is tragedy" blather but undercuts his own argument when he points out that pro-life advocates don't propose to punish the women who get abortions as murderers.
The reason these pro-life groups have held their fire, both rhetorically and literally, is that they don't really equate fetuses with old or disabled people. They oppose abortion, as most of us do. But they don't treat abortionists the way they'd treat mass murderers of the old or disabled. And this self-restraint can't simply be chalked up to nonviolence or respect for the law. Look up the bills these organizations have written, pushed, or passed to restrict abortions. I challenge you to find a single bill that treats a woman who procures an abortion as a murderer. They don't even propose that she go to jail.
Why? If they really think abortion is murder, pro-life groups should be proposing that every woman who gets an abortion should either get a life sentence in a maximum security jail or the death sentence. The doctors, nurses, attendants, clerks, and anybody else who works at an abortion clinic or a hospital that provides abortion services should also be going to jail. So should anyone connected to dumping the spare embryos that will never be brought to term but are still "babies" in the mental world of pro-life activism.

For all their belligerent posturing, the pro-life side doesn't believe their own claim that abortion is murder. Here's a case where I think that Bush administration anti-terrorism rhetoric applies well. What the pro-life right really hates is freedom--the freedom of women (and men) to live our own sexual lives without the sword of pregnancy hanging over their heads to punish women and couples for any missteps. The right wants to make sure that sex is more feared than enjoyed, seen more as temptation than pleasure, and anticipated more with dread than joy.

It's all B.S. They might as well carry signs claiming "Freedom is Murder!"

The reason that abortions--the termination of pregnancies--are a right under Roe v Wade is that women can not be free beings if the existence of an embryo can determine how they are going to live the next 20 plus years of their lives. The pro-life movement does not want women to have that fundamental freedom of determining their own lives according to their own ambitions, plans, whims, or meanderings. But that's why abortion rights need to be defended and extended as part of the right of women to negotiate their way through their own lives. In this light, abortion rights are an extension of the right of women to manage their own lives that also include dating, marrying the person of their choice, and divorce rights. They're also an extension of the contraception, adaption, and fertility strategies that allow women to space out children as they see fit and allow women to be gay and still have children.

The right-wing opposes almost all of this freedom. They're just as opposed to the contraception, divorce, non-marital sex, gay people, homosexual adaption, and other elements of sexual freedom. Some Christian schools don't even allow dancing, hand-holding, and kissing--all because they're seen as "gateways" to unmarital sex. Actually, I'm kind of surprised that I haven't seen any defenses of arranged marriages coming out of the pro-life movement.

But just as bin Laden is ultimately going to lose his terror war, the American right will ultimately lose its war on freedom.

1 comment:

Todd Mayo said...

I can add nothing more than my agreement with you Ric. The only thing which occurs to me is my objection to the term, "pro-life." This is what the ANTI-CHOICE extremists call themselves. It is a lable carefully crafted to cast those of us who support a woman's right to choose as "anti-life" or even more incidious, "pro-abortion." Nothing could be further from the truth. I am not happy when abortions occur but I do respect a woman's right to do what is best for her physical and mental well-being. I take severe umbrage at the idea that ANYONE shouts for joy when an abortion is performed.
I am not a woman, therefore I will never understand the depth of such a decision. How dare men such as Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Bush, Cheney, et al decide what is best regarding women's reproductive health!! It is not my right to impose though I am pro-choice. It is not the right of lawmakers. It is not the right of husbands or boyfriends or parents. It is not the right of pseudo-religious right-wing extremists or their crazed followers. It is a medical decision between a woman and her Doctor. This IS a matter of freedom. And it is a battle which must be won by women both here at home, and around the world. No one is happy when abortions are performed. But it simply must be an option among options. Justice demands no less.