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Rationalizing the Right to Life: Pro Choice and Pro Life — Equally Mired In Hypocrisy, Part 1

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There are two activist groups that imagine themselves to be almost diametrically opposed — yet I consider them deserving of equal contempt. They’re the pushy pro-life extremists who seek to drive abortion into illegality, and the extreme wing of the pro-choice movement — who seek to make access to terminating pregnancies perhaps more easy and impersonal than it should be.

  Cretinous Conservatives

It’s difficult to even know where to begin in dissembling the pro-life movement’s mountain of blinkered bullshit. There are just so many loose ends, I’m frankly astonished somebody hasn’t tugged one yet and watched the entire social, political and religious movement come wildly unraveled, like one of Grandma’s Christmas sweaters.

The name itself is the first ironic facet of the movement. “Pro life” is what the anti-abortion activists call themselves, despite the vast majority being staunch Republicans who accept civilian “collateral damage” in wartime, send our brave soldiers into harm’s way abroad and — almost universally — support the death penalty.

“There’s a difference between the death penalty and abortion,” one Republican friend of mine claimed. “You're executing criminals, whereas unborn babies are innocent.”

The truth is, of course, that at least 10 percent of death row inmates have been convicted or sentenced unfairly — which makes it almost certain that an “innocent” man or woman has faced the chair or the lethal injection already.

Has this changed the pro-life movement’s support of the death penalty? Even amongst those who accept that “mistakes have been made” and innocent people have died, the answer is almost universally “no.”

That doesn’t sound very “pro life” to me.

  Failed Feminists

I have equal scorn for the more extreme of those who support abortion rights — especially those who do so under the guise of “feminism.”

The more rational movement that defends a woman’s right to get an abortion call themselves “pro choice” — because they believe that the decision to have a baby or not is up to the individual woman, not some stuffy right-wing conservative lawmaker (and they’re absolutely right, absolutely.)

But it is also true that by the time a woman arrives at a termination clinic clutching a positive pregnancy test, that’s a “choice” she’s already made.

The fact is this: In modern America, women have access to contraception that theoretically can prevent pregnancy in 99 percent of cases (although in reality, the truth is closer to 80 percent.) The fact that there are almost two million unwanted pregnancies in America every year is absolutely mindboggling.

This is a nation that’s sent men to the moon, split the atom and decoded the human genome — yet we can’t figure out how to use existing, proven technology to prevent getting pregnant?

As a nation, that’s a shameful statistic. For feminists, it’s a truly pathetic one.

Feminism is meant to be about independence, equality, responsibility and empowerment: which means every time I read about feminists who wears an abortion on her lapel as a feminist “badge of honor” I throw up a little in my mouth. (And it does happen. Idiot writer Jacob Appel once wrote a piece entitled “Why there should be an Abortion Pride movement.”)

Don’t get me wrong. When I hear about women and couples who experience an unwanted pregnancy, I totally sympathize. I’ve had a number of pregnancy scares with girlfriends in the past and know how easy it is for people to make screw ups. We’re the reason two million abortions occur every year — we have to accept that it happens, but e we shouldn’t be proud of that fact.

When I hear a loud-and-proud feminist boast about having an abortion, it reminds me that statistically 80 percent of those unwanted pregnancies could have been prevented. A real feminist “badge of honor” would have been to have not got pregnant in the first place or to have helped other women prevent pregnancy by getting them the education and resources they need to prevent pregnancy.

Feminists who’ve had abortions shouldn’t be proud of themselves — it suggests that feminism has failed — failed to educate, failed to provide proper access to birth control and failed to take responsibility.

Next time: Deceitful Dogma, Ugly Euphemisms and Sketchy Science tar both sides of the abortion debate.


Contributor: Ansley

Interesting perspective, as always. It does indeed indicate failure, but I don't think it's failure on the part of the feminist movement, nor is it ever truly a badge of honor. I would venture to guess that any woman proudly proclaiming she had an abortion is actually masking her pain and asking for validation that the choice she made was her's, and her's alone.

I think you should be pointing the finger at the disgusting programs the School Systems of America have titled "Sex Education". There is no true education going on in those classrooms. There are horror stories thrown out about unwanted pregnancy, STDs, STIs and the occasional warning to the girls that the boy she fancies is only after one thing and will do anything to get it.

You will see a change in that unwated pregnancy/termination rate when we see changes in the conservative "sex ed" programs and homes across America. Stop ignoring the fact that teenage people are horny, curious little bastards and need REAL solutions to handle their urges and gain the maturity everyone deems as necessary for a healthy sex life. Stop ignoring the fact the body progresses far faster than emotional maturity (whatever the hell that is).

With the Plan B program in place, there might be a small drop in the number of abortions due to failed birth control methods or lack of birth control. However, it should never be forgotten that the entire biological instinct behind getting aroused is to make more of us. There will always be that couple who lost their head and forgot the condom that night. What they decide to do about it is their business.

Contributor: oldhippy

Very many good points. I agree that it is only a woman's place to decide what happens to her body, but it is also her place to control whether she does or does not get pregnant. Accidents do happen, and she should have a safe, clean, and medically responsible place to terminate a pregnancy if that is her choice. She should also have the choice of adoption, or of keeping the child, if those are her choices. At the same time, I also feel that there needs to be some control on the very few women who abuse the system with unwanted pregnancies, and children they can't support.
This whole subject is one that will take very calm discussion which is something that is not happening often. Unfortunately it has become a lightning rod for extreme feelings on both sides, and I am afraid will remain that way for some time.

Contributor: BexvanKoot

Are there really people out there who "boast" about getting an abortion? Honestly I truly believe that the only way to reclaim reproductive rights is for women to learn how to prevent conception and implantation naturally, without having to shell out hundreds of dollars every year or rely on their insurance company to pay for drugs that are generally bad for overall health. It *is* possible to prevent conception naturally (abstaining from intercourse during the week of ovulation, or using "barrier methods" during this time), and it is entirely possible to prevent implantation naturally if a "slip up" or a condom break occurs (Vitamin C - "superdoses" of plain, straight up ascorbic acid do the trick). In fact there are several natural alternatives for both birth control (wild carrot, for example) and what is often deemed a "natural miscarriage" (parsley in combination with the Vitamin C mentioned above is very effective). Unfortunately, most women do not have access to this kind of information and are, reasonably so, wary of taking fertility advice from random people on the internet. The medical complex has no desire to disseminate this kind of info and usually rails on it being "not safe" and "not responsible" forms of birth control....

Contributor: Bi and Taken
Bi and Taken  

You neglected to make mention of pregnancies that result from rape, but for now, I'll just address the preventable ones. While it's true that getting pregnant due to failure to use birth control is an avoidable personal mistake, the abortion is a -correction- of that mistake; a step taken to prevent one night's lapse in judgement from becoming a lifetime of unfulfilled dreams, struggling in poverty, or rushing into marriage in the hopes of a providing a stable family for the child.

When a feminist proudly states that she has had an abortion, she isn't bragging about forgetting to take the pill, or about a broken condom. She's saying, "I may occasionally screw up, but I pick myself up, make a decision to do what's right for me, and move on with my life, and no woman should be ashamed of that."

Contributor: jeannieludlow

I think Mr. Hulme is missing the point, and I'm very glad to see that "Bi and Taken" explains it so well. Women who are proud of our abortions (and I am one) are proud of ourselves for meeting the challenge of an unexpected or undesired life situation, taking care of ourselves and our loved ones, and moving forward in our lives. My abortion thirty years ago helped make me who I am today.

I am one of those "loud-and-proud feminists" that Mr. Hulme finds so sickening. I'm also a human being: one who is imperfect (like Mr. Hulme) and does the best she can to be the best she can (like Mr. Hulme). That positive-pregnancy-test-oh-my-god feeling is one I have experienced myself.

I worked in an abortion clinic for twelve years, and I can say with absolute certainty that many many women who have abortions have stories similar to my own. Sapphire Storm, it's not that we are "masking pain" when we claim abortion pride. It's that we are proud of our ability to overcome something.

My clinic experience tells me that women who experience great pain about their abortions (and of course, women do) tend to mask it not with abortion pride but with stigmatized silence. *This*, IMO, is the true indication of the failure of the pro-choice movement.

I wish Mr. Hulme's declarations about women's abortion experiences had been informed by knowledge rather than shaped by stereotypes. If anyone out there is interested in really understanding abortion, please consider volunteering at or working at a clinic, if (and only if) you can work toward nonjudgmental interactions with people who don't always have well-ordered lives. If you can't let go of judgment, then please do read Dr. Suzanne T. Poppema's book *Why I Am an Abortion Doctor*. She will help you understand why having an abortion is not shameful and *is* taking responsibility for ourselves, our loved ones, and the babies we are carrying.

Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated in 2009, famously said, "Abortion is not a cerebral or a reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart. For until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all.” Mr. Hulme, your post broke my heart just a little bit today.

Offered in peace, Jeannie Ludlow

Contributor: Yaoi Pervette (deleted)

A wise person once told me, citing the same reasons you have, that those who call themselves "pro-life" aren't really "pro-life", they really just "anti-choice".

Contributor: Noira Celestia

I don't label myself as "pro-choice" or "pro-life" but I want to point out that not all anti abortionists are conservatives that are in favor of the death penalty and it is not the feminists fault that there are so many accidental pregnancies. You have good points, but both of your arguments here are still red herrings.

Contributor: Woman China

"Feminists who’ve had abortions shouldn’t be proud of themselves — it suggests that feminism has failed — failed to educate, failed to provide proper access to birth control and failed to take responsibility. "

This is something that hit home with me. I live in a society where abortion is a form of birth control. And it is an acceptable form. Where they have sales and discounts throughout the year usually a month after a holiday. This to me is NOT acceptable.

I don't think most modern women are proud of the abortion itself, but are proud that they made a decision that is suitable for them. I know a few women who have had abortions, but for the rest of their lives they sink into an almost depression every year when the anniversary of the abortion happened. Bottom line, it is not a decision to be made lightly.

I do very much agree with Mister Hume's thought son the feminist movement has FAILED greatly because of all the Western World's advancements in The Pill, Depo, condoms, knowledge about sex, the abundance of information on the internet.... there are still unwanted children being born or aborted on a regular basis. (Please note, I am not talking about rape, or about when there was a slip up here when one is usually very careful)

Thank-you for writing this.

I consider myself a modern feminist. I am neither for nor against abortions. I am for preventing unwanted pregnancies. I am for abortions not being used as an alternative means of contraception.

Contributor: PussyPurr

It's hard for me to take any man seriously who craps on feminists and feminism.

Contributor: PussyPurr

And perhaps it's not that those of us who are willing to talk about our abortions are "proud" or "boasting". Perhaps it's just that we don't feel we should be ashamed instead as many people feel we should be. My having an abortion says nothing about my morals, character, or me as a person in general.

Contributor: fredacarl

great review

Contributor: Teacookie

I'm pro-prevention then choice =D I haven't read or seen anything about prochoice bombing people or drive by shootings *shrugs* also prochoice puts it's money towards prevention and education. History and nature have had many forms of birthcontrol and abortions. Early term abortions can be done easily with simple herbs, some animals even have plants they eat to prevent pregencies. Some people will regret having an abortion some will not. Just as some will regret not having an abortion.

Human population control is a must for the welfare of the planet but few recognize this threat. Stating it's a human right to have a child. -_- I vote no, children are a blessing for those that can afford a child and will take care of the child. This comes from being abused, seeing abuse and taking care of the handicap. Some will rise out of the murky sludge of life and others will sink deeply into it. With preventative care the stressful horrible life style of what ever you want to call it, will shrink.

=/ I don't think I can expalin how horrified I am every time I hear or am told just have a kid the government will help you raise it. Even the cartoons promote this depending on which ones you are watching. To me the whole issue comes down to societies veiwpoints and structure. Frankly IDOITS!!!! Do I really want morons who can not use birthcontrol (for what ever reason) to have children, NO. Now why are they not using birthcontrol?

I don't know a single woman who is Proud or boasting..... wait neverming there are a few idoits that have had 7 abortions that really should of been sterlized at the thrid abortion. Yes they do says things that sound like boasting or being proud, but I don't think most of the human race wants to recognize they exist let alone be near them. So we have extremes here those that pop out to many children that they can't take care of and wont give up and those who keep bleeding out fetus. Extremes are never good examples.

So how bout first time whoops, 2nd manditory education and community service, third time sterilization. =P For those that are concerned about a woman cleaning up her act and wanting kids at a later date, freeze some eggs. I think that is a good middle ground.



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