6 Policies Which are Both Anti-Choice and Anti-Life

I’ve given my pro-life friends short shift in the last few posts. I’ve worked with and enjoyed working with pro-life activists to combat trafficking in Pittsburgh. I can do this not just because, access to abortion excepting, we agree on a wide range of issues. Here are 10 reproductive health government policies which are both anti-choice and anti-life (See my definitions of pro-life and pro-choice below):

  1. Forced abortions, a disturbing part of China’s “One Child Policy.”
  2. Forced sterilization, North Carolina is currently the first state to attempt to compensate victims.
  3. Abstinence only sex education, which many consider to both fail to inhibit teens from having sex but also encourage them to have riskier sex.
  4. Banning condoms, which does not appear to decrease the likelihood of sex, just of protected sex.
  5. Expelling pregnant students, because they are pregnant is not a government policy but appears to be a common one at some schools in the United States.
  6. Firing pregnant employees, because they are pregnant is also not a government policy, but a corporate one which puts its thumb on the scale when a woman is considering whether to get or stay pregnant.
I could go farther afield and talk about government policies which encourage sexual assault, gendercide, or violence against women, particularly cases where women are killed for not having or for having abortions. But while some tragically stupid people in government design policies to encourage crimes which devalues our common humanity, most policies are not explicit enough to be included here.
And now, a brief discussion of language:
Because words like kyriarchy make me itchy, I’ll say here that by the words “people,” “students,” and “employees” I include both women (the vast and historically vast majority of people negatively effected by these policies) and non-cis-gendered and trans people.

For the purposes of this post, I used the following, common, definitions of each term:

Pro-Choice: Believing pregnant people should be able to terminate their pregnancies before viability.

Pro-Life: Believing pregnant people should not be able to terminate their pregnancies before viability.

I think I can fairly say that most pro-life and pro-choice people agree people who will be killed by their pregnancies should be legally able to consider abortion. This “life of the mother exception” existed in all 50 states pre-Roe vs Wade. I am also assuming that many people seeking abortions are in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy, so policies which encourage unplanned pregnancies are anti-choice and anti-life. I am also not including a number of government programs which discourage the use of contraception like the Pill and Plan B because of the disagreement within the pro-life community about where life begins, also out of respect for the few and the brave pro-contraception pro-life groups.

You will note that I am, fancifully, deciding that being pro-choice or pro-life does not pre-determine my stance on sex education, contraception, or educational policy or even how they feel about war, capital punishment, or gun policy. I am also not, in this post, making the blanket assumption that all people who are pro-life are anti-sex–this table makes that argument, and it is one of the best constructed arguments I’ve seen on this issue.

This is all to say: I still believe that forcing women to remain pregnant is morally abhorrent. But that doesn’t mean that I do not share common goals within the reproductive justice movement with people who are pro-life. Just that we disagree on one key issue of many in women’s lives today.

Inspirational Quote:

“Law never made men a whit more just.”–Henry David Thoreau