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Is “Pro-Life” Just a Different Name for “Anti-Woman”?

Is “Pro-Life” Just a Different Name for “Anti-Woman”?

I am sick of politicians using the term “pro-life” when what they really mean is “anti-abortion” or “anti-woman.

As Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times last Sunday:

We must stop letting Republicans name themselves “pro-life” and Democrats as “pro-choice.” It is a huge distortion.

So many politicians who proclaim themselves “pro-life” are really not in favor of life at all: they show no interest in the lives of children once they are born; they aggressively promote the death penalty and are against common-sense gun control; they even want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which seeks to ensure clean air, clean water and healthy living conditions for all.

How can you call yourself “pro-life” and oppose Head Start, which provides basic education, health and nutrition for the most low-income children and their parents?

If anything these politicians are anti-life.

I have had these thoughts for a long time, but thank you, Thomas Friedman, for voicing them loud and clear in last Sunday’s New York Times.

Here’s what Friedman has to say:

The term “pro-life” should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth. That radical narrowing of our concern for the sanctity of life is leading to terrible distortions in our society.

Care2 reported last week on Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate in Indiana, who declared during a debate that he was against abortion even in the event of rape because he “came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Just a few days earlier, Republican Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois said that he opposed abortion even in cases where the life of the mother is in danger, because “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” where is had been necessary to perform an abortion to save a woman’s life.

And then there’s Todd Akin with his declaration that pregnancy as a result of “legitimate rape” (whatever that is) is rare because we women have the power to “shut the whole thing down.”

These men are not religious. They are sanctimonious idiots at best and patronizing liars at worst.

Did these men emerge from the Taliban? What are they doing in 21st century America?

I first came across this game with semantics back in the 1990′s, when Randall Terry’s anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue hit Los Angeles. How could these people call themselves “pro-life” when they were so anti-life, so angry and so full of venom?

I learned then how important it was to use the correct terms when dealing with the media; rather than “pro-life,” we learned to say “anti-choice” or “anti-abortion.”

I can do no better than Thomas Friedman in describing what characterizes real pro-life people, as opposed to the Richard Mourdocks and Joe Walshes of the far-right Republican party, who disguise their hateful desire to control women with a supposedly “Christian” desire to preserve fertilized eggs.

Again, from Friedman in The New York Times:

That’s why, for me, the most “pro-life” politician in America is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While he supports a woman’s right to choose, he has also used his position to promote a whole set of policies that enhance everyone’s quality of life — from his ban on smoking in bars and city parks to reduce cancer, to his ban on the sale in New York City of giant sugary drinks to combat obesity and diabetes, to his requirement for posting calorie counts on menus in chain restaurants, to his push to reinstate the expired federal ban on assault weapons and other forms of common-sense gun control, to his support for early childhood education, to his support for mitigating disruptive climate change.

Now that is what I call “pro-life.”

Thank you, Mr. Friedman.

 

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1825 comments

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7:27PM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

Mariea G, I can't claim to know whether my friends have souls either. Can you? For all we know they could be very advanced computer simulations, or else hallucinations. And yet we believe that, because we can't find a relevant objective difference between me, you, my friends, and your friends, we must all be protected from harm. By this same token, should not every human organism be protected like a human being under the law? A fetus is a human organism. How can we say deny a human organism the rights of a human being?

7:25PM PDT on Aug 6, 2013

If fetuses are not human beings, then Major Bloomberg is indeed one of the most pro-life politicians in the country, because he has improved millions of lives and probably saved thousands. But if fetuses are human beings, Major Bloomberg is one of the least pro-life politicians in the country, because he allows 156,300 human beings to die every year (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/new_york.html), 88% of which did not pose a threat to the life or health of the mother (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf).

Clearly the writer of this article believes that fetuses are not human beings, and by that token, concludes that Major Bloomberg promotes human life. And clearly, no matter what you believe about fetuses, Republicans do a poor job at promoting life, even when it comes to fetuses sometimes (i.e. Todd Akin's comments). But I think it's also clear that, if fetuses are human beings, Republicans are more pro-life than Major Bloomerg, even if the latter had better intentions.

Mariea G, I can't claim to know whether my friends have souls either. Can you? For all we know they could be very advanced computer simulations, or else hallucinations. And yet we believe that, because we can't find a relevant objective difference between me, you, my friends, and your friends, we must all be protected from harm. By this same token, should not every human organism be protected like a human being under the law? A fetus is a human organism. How can we say deny a human o

12:54AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

They aren't just anti-choice, they don't want women to have birth control and too bad if she is going to die from an ectopic pregnancy or infection like the woman in Ireland. That seemed to get them all excited again. Heck, they can cause misery and death right here at home.

12:00AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

I have a question for the so-called "pro-lifers" Do you hate women?

12:08PM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:03AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Those same "pro-life" intend to privatize the education system, end Medicare and Medicade, Social Security ans Food Stamps! I'm glade that finally someone is saying those things.

4:08AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

If this really helps

11:07AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Pro life how? so all these ppl that are antiabortion=pro life will give all their money to provide for those children they save from abortion??? How about they give their all money to homeless and dying people too! It is pro life after all! why those that are not EVEN born are more important than those who already are????

9:10AM PST on Jan 1, 2013

Sigh

6:54AM PST on Jan 1, 2013

Haley C., all WAR is murder! Do you also support that? Abortion is NOT murder. The soul does NOT enter a body until the child is born. Prior to the soul entering the body, the "fetus" is only a biological vehicle -- not even an animal body because even the animal's soul does not enter the animal's body until birth and taking the first breath. At least that is MY understanding (and personal experience) of it. You DO NOT really know, yourself, what the true case is so you have no business legislating for anyone else's life.

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