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.
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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