There’s a lot of terms floating around that people use to describe themselves when they want to make their position sound more appealing, even if those terms are a completely (and very deliberately) misleading. One such
lie term is “pro-life.”
John Fugelsang said it best: “Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, and still call yourself ‘pro-life.’” Indeed, the term “pro-life” has come to represent a group of people whose values have nothing to do with protecting life, and living people, and more to do with protecting unborn fetuses to the exclusion of all other considerations.
The only way to effectively kill a misnomer, such as “pro-life,” is to replace it with a more accurate description. I would encourage everyone to pick one of these terms, and start using it in place of the words “pro-life,” when discussing abortion.
1. Anti-Abortion: People who call themselves “pro-life” oppose abortion. Since that’s the only argument the “pro-life’ moniker is applied to we should just call their position what it is: opposition to a woman’s right to get an abortion, or anti-abortion for brevity.
2. Anti-Choice: This term works because the people who proclaim that they are “pro-life” are using that term to describe their position in regards to whether or not a woman can choose to have an abortion and absolutely nothing else. See the Fugelsang quote above. Therefore they are anti-choice. “Life” does not even enter the equation.
3. Pro-Fetus: This term works because a large swathe of the “pro-life” movement are the same people who support cutting funding to programs like WIC, food stamps, and other programs which generally help mothers and children. If they were really concerned with “life,” and not just the fetus, then they would aggressively commit themselves to make sure children have enough food to eat, a proper education, and a place to live. Since their concern for the fetus ends as soon as it is born, they are clearly pro-fetus.
4. Pro-Birth: Same reasoning as “pro fetus,” this term works because so many people who consider themselves “pro-life” stop caring about whether or not the baby is adequately taken care of the instant it’s born.
5. Pro-Controlling Women: It’s irrefutable that the people who would deny women the right to have an abortion are trying to control women. If someone thinks they’re more qualified than a pregnant woman to decide what she does with her body, without her input, that’s control, pure and simple.
6: Pro-Abuse: Attempting to dominate or control another person in a relationship is considered domestic abuse, so how is attempting to control women whom you’ve never met not considered abuse? A woman in Ireland died last year because she was denied a lifesaving abortion for a pregnancy that was already ending in an unavoidable miscarrage. How are the doctors who denied her that life saving procedure any better than a man who tells a woman how to dress, or what to do? If controlling what a woman does with her time is considered abuse then denying that same woman a medical procedure should be considered equally abhorrent.
7. Anti-Sex: My friend Justin insisted for a long time that the people who oppose abortion do so because they think that a baby should be punishment for premarital sex, and I was admittedly skeptical, but he actually proved it, here. I’ll let his words on this topic speak for themselves, he makes an excellent argument.
8. Pro-Religious Control: A lot of the arguments that fuel the anti-abortion debate are religious in nature. Since not everyone follows the same religion, trying to assert your religious beliefs over other people can be considered nothing less than pro-religious control. Not all of the “pro-life” movement is opposed to abortion, necessarily, but they are in favor of controlling people on the basis of religion. Rick Santorum, for example, who strongly opposes abortion for religious reasons, had no problem with his own wife having a life saving abortion. Despite the fact that his own wife needed one, because of his religion, he continues to insist that it should be denied to other women. What’s more controlling than that?
9. Misogynist: Misogyny is defined as the hatred of women, and what’s more hateful to women than treating them like they’re too stupid to decide what to do with their bodies, by denying them a procedure which could be life saving, medically necessary or, in many cases, the responsible choice to make? I can’t think of many things more hateful than letting women die, or forcing them to carry a rapist’s baby to term, because you think you’re more qualified to make their medical decisions than they are.
10. Hypocrite: I thought I’d end with this one, because after the previous examples it should be glaringly obvious that this isn’t a debate about “life,” it’s a debate about abortion and what women are capable of deciding in regards to their own bodies. History, and extensive studies, have shown that making abortion illegal doesn’t get rid of abortion; it only makes the procedure more dangerous and unregulated, which causes more women to die from complications. According to the World Health Organization, “illegal abortion is usually unsafe abortion.” Anyone who would call themselves “pro-life,” while simultaneously trying to outlaw abortions, making them more deadly, is a hypocrite.
I consider myself pro-life because I support programs and policies which help people to thrive, including abortion. There’s nothing “pro-life,” or noble, about forcing a woman to carry an unwanted fetus to term, especially when that fetus could put her life in danger, was conceived through rape or incest, or would be subjected to a life of difficulty and poverty because the mother is unable to provide for a child.
We can’t continue to allow people to pretend that they support life, on the basis that they oppose abortion. We have to be willing to say, “No, that’s not what you are, and I’m not going to let you lie about your position in order to make it sound more appealing. You are not pro-life. If you were, you would be fundraising for orphanages instead of protesting at abortion clinics.”