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Pro-Choice Means Pro-Child, Too

Pro-Choice Means Pro-Child, Too

Having been pro-choice since I was old enough to understand the spirit of “every child a wanted child” and “pro-child, pro-family, pro-choice,” I’ve been disturbed in recent years by the focus on abortion in reproductive justice rhetoric to the exclusion of children. I’m not the only one, as it turns out; advocates are concerned about the direction of some conversations about reproductive rights, and they’re putting their heads together to talk about how to bring the issue back to its core values.

Reproductive justice, after all, isn’t just about the ability to access safe, humane, compassionate abortions and to obtain them without shaming, pressure or judgment. It’s also about being able to use birth control to have a say in the timing and spacing of your children. And, critically, it’s about having kids, too! That is, after all, what the whole reproductive tract evolved for. This is something that often gets left out in conversations about reproductive rights and it matters as a women’s health issue as well as a social one.

In comparison with other nations in the West, the United States has comparatively very poor outcomes on maternal morbidity and mortality scales and infant wellbeing, especially for parents and children of color. That’s a concern that ties directly in with reproductive rights: women and their babies are dying or experiencing serious health complications because they cannot access the health care they both need and deserve. The advocates in the best position to fight for that care are those who are already looking at other aspects of reproductive rights and thinking about women’s health issues.

After all, the same doctors who perform abortions are also involved in prenatal care, labor and delivery, and wellbeing for newly-delivered mothers and babies. Their clinical expertise, along with that of the nurses and technicians who support them, is critical not just for making sure pregnancies are terminated safely, but also for helping women successfully carry pregnancies to term. Ultrasound technicians, labor and delivery nurses, and all the other staff who make a clinic tick aren’t just there to perform abortions; many ob/gyn practices actually offer a scope of services including a full range of reproductive health options.

Refocusing the direction of the conversation onto holistic family planning and helping every family grow comfortably, happily, and healthily is critically important. Not just because it would improve outcomes for many people in the United States, especially low-income women and children who are currently at a big disadvantage. It would also force the conversation about abortion onto a different tack, making it harder for conservatives to challenge reproductive rights advocacy.

If that advocacy is directed solely at abortion access, it becomes easy to attack for those who are anti-choice. When it comes down to caring for pregnant women, promoting healthy pregnancies and getting young children the headstart they need in life, that conversation becomes much more complicated. And it turns the tables, morally: who wants to argue against the wellbeing of women and children? Who would want to fight initiatives intended to help women access the best in pregnancy care?

Being pro-choice absolutely means being pro-child, and the language of the movement must reflect that.

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Photo credit: Steve Slater.

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12:42AM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

Thank you

9:16PM PDT on Sep 5, 2013

the title of this article says it all: pro-choice is pro-child!

4:48PM PDT on Sep 5, 2013

Strange, Pro-Life doesn't even seem to be about Pro-Pregnancy...really can't use the term Pro-Birth then. They need a new name - how about Pro-Hypocracy??

12:15AM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

perfect article, and wonderful comments re the opposition is all about power and control. Thank you!

5:58PM PDT on Sep 2, 2013

I have read most of the comments on this particular article and on many other articles and other forms of information.
What confounds me the most, is the fact that the majority of people, male and female, who still don't comprehend what this subject of ABORTION is all about.


It is about _power & control_. It always has and always will be.

5:43PM PDT on Sep 2, 2013

This article states is well.
This is a perfect example, indicating why the anti-choice movement is not about babies or children. Forcing women to continue pregnancies under coercion and then refusing to provide the funds to care for the mothers and the babies, is unconscionable.

This is a typical POWER & CONTROL ploy that conservatives have been using for centuries.
_If possible, we will keep you females barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen._
(My goodness, what self-esteem these males have.)

The funny thing is, they have convinced the easily swayed conservative women, that it is their best interests.
I often wonder how they live with themselves.

5:40PM PDT on Sep 1, 2013

hence the word: choice

4:42PM PDT on Aug 31, 2013

I have always stated that Pro-Choice is Pro-Child. I do care for the rights of the unborn baby, that is has a right to have someone love and care for it, that it has a right to be born into the world as healthy as possible without being addicted to drugs,alcohol, etc. I work for social services and I see to many women have multiple children for no other reason than because they "got pregnant". I think this is sad. Pro-lifers say no one has the right to deny a child birth. But what about after birth? I say they all need to put their names on a list and be available to adopt these babies who are born to parents who don't want them. A child needs to be taken care of after it is forced to come into the world. They don't seem to understand that.

2:10PM PDT on Aug 31, 2013

A chorus of agreement here, but I wish there were a way to actually change the label from "pro-choice" to "pro-child". Really, that is the heart of it. The people who believe that abortion is one of several valid and acceptable options in connection with unwanted pregnancy understand the consequences of an unwanted birth for the child. Anti-abortion people are oblivious to this.

"Pro-choice" sounds all too much like a restaurant menu selection, and is ridiculed by the other side as simply selfish. Clearly it is anything but selfish, but we have to get that across in very simple (sound-bite sized) terms, since that is what public debate amounts to these days.

8:39AM PDT on Aug 31, 2013

This article sums it up beautifully.

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