Yesterday was Blog for Choice day, idea being that all the pro-choice folks celebrating Roe v Wade would blog about it, why they’re pro-choice, get the message out, ho-rah. I, quite obviously, didn’t. I could point to the fact that I had stayed overnight at a friend’s house, as I didn’t have power when I got home Sunday night, or that I got up very early to take a job candidate back to the airport, as his luggage didn’t come in on the same flight he did. (For that matter, neither did my luggage, which apparently thought the next flight in from O’Hare was much better for it than the one I caught.) Or even that I was busy all day with the job candidate, and simply reconnecting with the bevy of grad students I run with – which was admittedly a lot of fun.
But the actual truth of the matter is, I didn’t blog about it because I didn’t want to be associated with it. You see, the thing is, I’m anti-abortion.
Oh sure, I support the rights and liberties granted in Roe v Wave, and I think the idea of making abortion illegal is absolutely a horrible one, all of which makes me pro-choice, but these days pro-choice gets about as hard of knocks as feminism does, and for similar reasons.
For example, a popular pro-choice slogan running around the world right now is “An Intelligent Woman is a Pro-Choice Woman”, or variations on that theme. How utterly asinine and offensive – as if someone who was anti-abortion doesn’t have a brain in her body? (And do note the assumption of opinion on abortion tied to gender; does it not matter if an intelligent man is pro-choice, or are we just assuming men don’t have valid opinions?) There are many different moral points of view that can be coherent, well-thought, intelligent – and anti-abortion. Nothing in the rulebook of life says that if you disagree with a political or moral statement, you must automatically be an idiot – hell, I know quite a few people who’re definitely anti-abortion who have much more intelligent and well-thought positions on it than the sometimes drooling troglodytes on the other side.
The thing is, being pro or anti choice doesn’t map directly on to being pro or anti abortion. And by framing the binary oppositional position the way we have, pro-choice or anti-abortion, you automagically set up a linguistic-based impasse. The very language being used conveys the idea that if you’re not against abortion, you’re for it.
I am not for abortion. I think abortions are awful things, and we should all be working to reduce the number of them performed every year, the number viewed as necessary – either because of unwanted pregnancies, or because of medical issues and potential disabilities. And the only way we’re going to reduce the number of abortions is with comprehensive educational campaigns that work by education, not fear-mongering. By promoting safe sex practices and encouraging thoughtful sex and practical abstinence. By educating about disability, and working to destroy the myth of the perfect child.
All that said, I am also not for making it illegal. Reduction through attrition, not through legislation. The only thing making abortion illegal does is move it to back alleys and other countries, both of which significantly increases the danger to women who opt for that choice.
I genuinely believe that if we stopped slinging mud, stopped insinuating – or flat out saying – that people with differing opinions are stupid, idiotic, morons, and if we stopped focusing on the labels conveniently handed to us by others, we could realize that in actuality, people who identify as pro/anti abortion legislation ultimately all have the same goal, which is to reduce the number of abortions. Instead of focusing on legislation, why not focus, together, on that much more important goal?