Abortion has been a contentious issue in America for many years, sparking many a heated debate between those who are Pro-Choice and those who call themselves ‘Pro-Life,’ a group I would more aptly name Anti-Choice. For those who do not know, Pro-Life commonly refers to those who are against abortion rights, and Pro-Choice refers to those who advocate for a woman’s right to choice and ability to obtain a legal abortion.
The two sides are about as opposite as one could get, with each side vehemently opposing the other at every turn. The Republican Party and particularly its more conservative members adopted the Pro-Life stance, and this has become a fundamental party value. The Democrats and Progressives have instead taken a more progressive stance, and understood that in order for a woman to be equal, and have autonomy, she must have the right to choice; effectively making them Pro-Choice.
I propose that we stop sugarcoating what is effectively a movement that works to limit a woman’s rights, shames and frightens them, and infringes on their bodily autonomy. Instead, let’s call them what they really are: Anti-Choice. The notion that the Republican Party is Pro-Life is laughable to me. This is not to say that all Republicans are Anti-Choice, or are hypocrites in their belief that they are Pro-Life. I know many Republicans who are Pro-Choice and also support a policy that enriches life, and in some cases prevents avoidable death. My point is that for a party that proclaims to be ‘Pro-Life’ they are just about as far from this sentiment as can be.
To begin with, I would like to address the fact that for a party or group of people that want to prevent abortion at all costs, they sure do one hell of a job of showing it. These are the same people who are trying to make contraception less affordable and less easily accessible, especially for poor women and women of color. These are the same people who want to allow employers to opt out of covering contraception, thereby helping employers shove their religious beliefs down their employee’s throat. Even when places make abortion illegal, or very hard to obtain, people do not stop getting abortions but are instead forced into situations where they attempt dangerous ‘back alley’ abortions that can result in great physical harm, or death. So, if the Anti-Choice advocates are in fact sincere and dedicated in their wish to reduce the number of abortions, they would be doing everything in their power to prevent people from getting pregnant in the first place.
According to the World Health Organization, “21.6 million women experience an unsafe abortion worldwide each year; 18.5 million of these occur in developing countries, 47 000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year, and deaths due to unsafe abortion remain close to 13% of all maternal deaths.” Methods used by people when they are desperate and not able to get safe and legal abortion include, but are not limited to: bent metal coat hangers, kicks, punches, or blows to the abdomen, glass shards, throwing oneself down stairs, trips across the border to Mexico where sexual assault can occur during the procedure, hypothermia, swallowing large doses of miscellaneous pills, and purchasing what one hopes is the correct medical abortion pill on the black market.
For a party that pretends to be so Pro-Life, the Republicans are shockingly quiet when it comes to the fact that people will get an abortion one way or another, legal or not. If they were indeed Pro-Life, they would be advocating for the life of the mother who risks injury and death if she attempts an abortion on her own, due to it not being legal, affordable, and accessible. How Pro-Life can a person be while still knowing that this will happen? As the statistics mentioned above state, women will die from unsafe abortion.
The Conservative Right should renounce their Pro-Life title in exchange for Pro-Birth because that is truly all they are; after a child is born their work is done, and their policies reflect a complete lack of compassion and care for the child and its family. The majority of the policy the GOP puts out reflects an ‘Anti-Life’ agenda. They support significantly decreasing or cutting altogether certain forms of welfare – something single parents, low socioeconomic status families, and those stuck in a cycle of poverty rely upon to put food on the table and clothes on the back of the child that pro-lifers so desperately wanted to bring into this world. They do not support gun legislation that can prevent children from being gunned down in schools, and which can prevent murder-suicides in the case of domestic abuse.
True Pro-Life means not only bringing another being into this world but also providing this being the best quality of life possible. This means three nutritious meals a day, even if they come from food stamps, health care that does not reduce the number of people insured by 24 million people, making sure that people of color are not murdered in extra-judicial killings, ensuring that LGBTQ+ people are not killed or discriminated against, common sense gun safety and legislation, the welcoming of already extremely vetted refugees fleeing death and persecution into our country, and so much more – all of which the Republican party seems to be so opposed to. They cannot be called the Pro-Life party because they are anything but this, and to allow them to continue to spread this false narrative is shameful.
For a party claiming to be based on individual liberty and personal freedom, they seem to forget all about a person’s liberty to make their own choices and exercise bodily autonomy. Reproductive freedom for all people is an essential part of an equal society. By continuing their Anti-Choice rhetoric, and enacting legislation to mimic these beliefs, the Republicans continue to affirm their hypocrisy of calling themselves Pro-Life while only caring about a fetus, not the mother, not the child once it is born, and certainly not the quality of life it receives within this great nation. So, in order to combat this ideological deception, it is important to call them out for this label, because our words have power, and we must not allow the power of theirs to continue to advocate for Anti-Choice influence in America.