October 25, 2007

Avedon Carol has a provocative post this morning about the false labeling of the anti-abortion movement as "Pro Life," especially since so many of them lose interest in the post-natal "life" of the fetus. "Pro Life" seems to have been given greater credence by the media as the name of a movement than it's opposition, "Pro Choice," but it's clear that the Anti's (my preferred term) have a clear rhetorical edge. By framing the debate as one over "life," they create a battle between defending the life of an innocent proto-child versus the sexual freedom of a young woman, and the Pro's usually get suckered into making the laughable claim that the fetus isn't really "alive."

A better argument, and one that doesn't get into theological musings about the life continuum, is the notion of the forced pregnancy; an abortion ban, or even any limitation of the practice, is tantamount to forcing a woman to giving birth. If the state has the power to forbid when a woman can make such a decision, it also has the inherent power to force her to make the same decision, as the sad history of China and Nazi Germany attest.

I'm sort of torn on the issue of what to call the two sides, since neither term is truly accurate. I prefer the "Pro's" vs. "Anti's" formulation noted above, but I also believe that a person should have the power to label himself, and I no more have the right to force the label of "anti-choice" upon someone as I would referring to Muhammed Ali as "Cassius Clay."

No comments: