Pro-Life or Anti-Abortion

Pro-Life or Anti-Abortion

Not too long ago, Lulu and I were discussing the current state of women’s health care (yeah, dude, some deep stuff goes down at our kitchen table) and she asked me to explain what is it to be “pro-life”.

“If you aren’t ‘pro-life,'” she asked  “are you ‘anti-life'”?

No, but good on you, my Lu, for the observation. That is precisely the connotation intended.


The Psychology of Labels & Cause Branding
A Brief History

(or, “Where’d the term ‘pro-life’ come from?)

The term “pro-life” was first introduced by a progressive scholar, A.S. Neill. In 1960, he published a book titled Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Childrearing. The book’s objective was the promotion of his radically “progressive parenting” methods. In it, he discussed (at length) the idea of why one would brand themselves “pro” one thing or “anti” another, noting that “no pro-life citizen would tolerate our penal code, our hangings, our punishments of homosexuals, our attitude towards bastardy.”

While Neill’s theories don’t exactly align with the modern ideas of the “pro-life” agenda, the anti-abortion crowd seized the term “pro-life,” claiming it as the tagline for their position.

Pro-Life or just Anti-Abortion?

This was pure genius from a marketing perspective. The people who opposed abortion were able to ensure that they were not seen as being against a woman’s right to choose, rather that they are simply in favor of life. In simply labeling themselves “pro-life,” they were able to frame their opposition as “anti-life”! This forced abortion access advocates to adapt their own label for themselves: pro-choice.

Flash forward a few years to 1970, when the Supreme Court issued the landmark decision that the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Roe v Wade

Forty eight years after Roe v Wade and the “pro-life” movement is louder than ever before…yet, their movement is not one whose objective it is to protect every life. Their objective is to stop legal abortions; their tactics include fear-mongering and shame. (And some, I assume, are good people.) They’ll go to great lengths to make sure you hear that message. Like I said, they are loud af.

And this chick is fucking tired of it. I’m tired of hearing that I want to “murder babies” (ugh, fucking babies, amirite?) and that I am “pro-abortion” (yeah, I just love me some abortion. Can I have seconds, please?).

I’m done with elaborate stories and fabricated videos about Planned Parenthood doctors “chopping up baby parts and selling them on the black market” (JFC, that’s absurd. Also, it’s been disproven, so don’t even). I know Team Pro-Life thinks I’m going to “hell” and that I’m selfish and slutty and I need to find Jebus. All because I dare to align myself on the side of a woman’s right to agency over her own fucking body.

I’m tired of being preached at.

Because you know what? Those same people – the ones who are ready to stand on their pulpits and bang a bible, condemning me to hell for my “murderous” ways? – those same people are strangely quiet about protecting a whole lot of other lives.

If you don’t like abortion, don’t have an abortion.
“Amendment” Ani DiFranco

I’m taking it back. The label, that is. Yeah, dude. I’m taking “pro-life” back. Dibs. It’s mine, and I’m going to use the shit out of it. Because to me, “pro-life” isn’t just a label. To me, it is at the core of what I believe.

 

I am pro-life.

I believe that the individual lives of the people living on this planet matter. I believe that we are all of one race – the human race – and that within that human race there exists a number of ethnicities, cultures, skin tones, languages, and firmly held beliefs. I believe that each of them have value, and there is not one that is better than another.

I am pro-life.

I am pro-the-life-of children. I believe they should all have a school that provides them with safe classrooms, an environment in which they are able to grow and learn. I believe they deserve access to healthy food, clean water, and fresh air. I believe that they deserve to grow up with families whom they know love them. I believe they deserve access to health care and vaccinations.

I believe that every brown child deserves this as much as my white children do.
I believe that my girl-flavored children deserve this as much as my boy-flavored ones do.

I am pro-life.

I am pro-the-life-of-teachers and school administrators. I believe they deserve to be properly compensated for the effort they put into forming young minds. I believe they deserve access to facilities and materials to help them teach children. I believe they deserve to feel safe at work. I believe that they deserve the opportunity to focus on their lessons without the distraction that is fear of mass school shooting and active shooter drills.

I am pro-life.

I am pro-the-life-of-convicts. I believe that when we prosecute and convict marijuana offenses in the name of a “war on drugs” that we are creating a cycle of poverty and hardship for generations of families. I believe that all humans deserve an opportunity for redemption. I believe that private prisons are a stain on our civilization. I believe many other things about this that I will save for another day.

I am pro-life.

I am pro-the-life-of-religious-and-secular-individuals. I believe that every individual should be given the freedom to practice any religion they so choose, as long as it does not harm another human. I believe that every individual deserves the right to not practice a religion. I believe that every human has the right to their beliefs, as long as it does not negatively impact any other human.

I am pro-life.

I am pro-the-life-of-every-woman. I believe that every woman deserves agency over her body and access to factually accurate information about their health. I believe that every woman deserves access to birth control and family planning resources. I believe that every woman should be given the opportunity to discuss with their doctor and decide on the birth control method that is right for her. I believe that each woman should be provided with information about how to use it and what affects it may have on her body.

I believe that every woman and has the right to decide that she does not wish to use birth control, and that she does not need to justify that decision to anyone. I also believe that her sexual partner(s) has (have) the right to be made aware of this decision.

I believe that every woman has the right to a healthy and satisfying sex life, and that every woman should have the ability to define what that looks like for herself. I believe that every woman has the right to choose to abstain from sex, without the need to justify it to anyone.

I believe that women have the mental and emotional capacity to decide whether or not parenthood is good choice for themselves. I believe that every woman deserves the opportunity to choose to become a parent, and to choose to remain pregnant. I believe that this is not always the same decision; choosing to remain pregnant does not necessarily mean choosing to become a parent. I believe that every woman deserves the resources to make these decisions about her body in an informed manner, and that she is not obligated to justify her decisions about her body to anyone.

I believe every woman should have access to safe abortion services.
I believe every woman should have access to prenatal care.
I believe every woman should have access to adoption services.
I believe every woman should have access to postpartum support and resources.

 

I believe that every woman has a right to:

  • (access to) a quality education
  • pursue the career path of her choosing
  • job opportunities and career advancements based on her abilities
  • a workplace free from sexual harrassment
  • physical health care
  • mental health care
  • personal safety
  • her personal belief system

I believe that a woman’s

  • choice of clothing
  • style of dancing
  • location
  • reaction to a sexually charged joke
  • lack of partner
  • makeup, hair, jewelry
  • sexual history
  • position in the corporate heierarchy

are never a valid reason or justification for her sexual harassment or assault.

I am pro-choice because
I am pro-life.

 

Activists at a Pro Choice rally hold a sign that reads "THIS CAN'T CONTINUE" with drawing of a wire hanger.

 

 



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