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):
- Forced abortions, a disturbing part of China’s “One Child Policy.”
- Forced sterilization, North Carolina is currently the first state to attempt to compensate victims.
- Abstinence only sex education, which many consider to both fail to inhibit teens from having sex but also encourage them to have riskier sex.
- Banning condoms, which does not appear to decrease the likelihood of sex, just of protected sex.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
“Law never made men a whit more just.”–Henry David Thoreau