Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are not valid enough titles anymore for this conversation — in fact, I’m not sure they ever were.
I would argue (as I hope most Americans would) that our political system has divided us more than anything, and the reality is, it’s not sufficient as it is.
I could spend a long time complaining about our political system, but the goal of this article is to simply share and define some of the main features of what is or could be opposite of the Pro-Choice movement. It seems we’ve allowed the two camp division to get the better of our logic here.
Disclaimer: I write these things to clarify that not ALL people who are anti-abortion fall into the camps of what people assume. These are not all my personal beliefs either — I’ve just seen enough comments and arguments that make illogical and inaccurate assumptions of those who are okay with the recent decision, so it feels timely to clarify.
If you can’t handle the gray area of life or challenge yourself to have nuanced thought, I recommend clicking out of this article and not reading further.
The Opposite of Pro-Choice is NOT
- Pro-Controlling Everyone’s Body/Anti-LGBTQ+
- Pro-Capital Punishment
- Pro-Christian Nationalism
Okay, I think that’s a good enough list for this article. Let me break these down for you so there’s no chance of someone confusing my meaning of listing things here. And again, don’t assume I fall into any or all of these categories — my beliefs are more nuanced than even this article.
I mean, who really IS pro-rape other than rapists? Pro-Choice arguments as of late make it sound like Pro-Life members want to see women suffer at the hand of rapists. Here’s the thing — 3.1–5% of rapes end up in pregnancy. Is that percentage still enough to write home about? Absolutely, because it should be 0%! I think we can all agree on that.
While it is a minimal number, some people who are anti-abortion do believe that rape should be considered an exception. Others (who still hate rape) have a hard time with making it an explicit exception because of how hard it is to prove or simply because they still believe the life inside the womb to be a miracle that deserves a chance. Emergency Contraceptives come up in this part of the conversation, so I’ve discussed that under the “Anti-Contraceptives” section below.
Just because someone is anti-abortion, it does not mean they are satisfied with women suffering at the hand of rape.
I hesitate to even clarify this one because I can’t wait for people on Medium to bite my head off about it. I am a woman, and I am very aware of the struggles, limits, and boundaries women have had to and still face today at the hand of laws or men in power. It’s barbaric and archaic. I can recognize (though still doing my own reading on this to understand more) how big of a deal Roe V. Wade was for Women’s Rights in general at the time it was decided. However, claiming that there are necessary moral boundaries to what one can do to another living being does not mean you’re anti the other living being.
If men were able to get pregnant, I would bet my life that most Pro-Lifers would still be JUST AS adamant that abortion is wrong. This is not an attack on your womanhood; it’s standards for who has the power to take away life. (In case you didn’t know, the heartbeat of a fetus starts around 4–7 weeks in the pregnancy — that’s typically how we qualify life on the outside of the womb). Go ahead, drop your scientific viability of life comments here — I’ve heard them all before.
Just because someone is anti-abortion, it doesn’t mean they just want to control and put women down.
Pro-Controlling People’s Bodies/Anti-LGBTQ+
I combined these because Anti-Women above clarified a bit about the control part, but I personally have been accused of being anti-gay or homophobic simply because I am anti-abortion. I’m really not sure how these are connected OTHER THAN the political system we have that wants to file humans into two over simplified camps.
Religious beliefs might play a part (and most likely do) in both these conversations, but one has to do with a conversation of life and death while the other doesn’t do any harm to others around them. That’s where some people draw the line. To assume pro-lifers are just naturally anti-every person who has a different lifestyle than the Bible says is well, you know what they say about assumptions — it makes an ass out of u and me because it’s just not true.
Just because someone is anti-abortion, it doesn’t mean they crave control over other’s bodies and demand LGBTQ+ lifestyles be banned.
This one is really odd to me — but people really do feel like if we’re not pro-one option for unplanned pregnancy, then we must be anti-all options because all options should be viable options.
While yes, people who are not pro-choice do not want an abortion to be the main offer, it doesn’t mean we’re all opposed to options in general (EVEN abortion when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the life of the Mom). In fact, we want to present ALL options, instead of just jumping to the main one. I think there is a general distrust with healthcare at this level because when abortion is made legally available at the federal level, it’s the main option presented to women in crisis. Why? Well, $$ of course.
There is so much harassment of Crisis Pregnancy Centers right now (like, apocalyptic style harassment and asinine threats). It’s weird, because while the pro-life centers are not performing abortions, there are so many other options discussed. I’m familiar with a center who is a licensed medical clinic. They do free ultrasounds, they provide STI/STD testing, they walk the whole journey with the women/men that seek them out, they provide natal and parental care classes, they even offer reproductive grief counseling to those who have miscarried, have had an abortion, or other situations where they just need support (men, too). On the flip side, you walk into Planned Parenthood, and while they offer other solutions or help, like contraceptives, their immediate suggestion is abortion for a woman who wasn’t planning to conceive.
Mainly, those who are anti-abortion are quite often PRO-options. They just prefer to remove unnecessary murder of a pre-born baby as one of those options (so let’s have the conversation about what classifies as necessary and draw those lines instead for the “exceptions”.)
I’ll keep this one pretty simple since “Anti-Options” above covered most of this idea, but pro-life members are not fighting for someone’s right to health be taken away. They are as much pro-choice as those who are anti-murder. The choice here is in the options above (and many unmentioned, like not having sex). When it comes to the choice to murder a breathing being (again, reference the heart beat stat above), that’s typically a choice we all agree on, but the womb seems to make the difference because it does impact more than just the life of the baby.
The choices around pregnancy are pretty clear cut (access to said choices needs reform; that I can agree with):
- abstinence (available to everybody and 100% success rate of preventing pregnancy)
- contraceptives (condoms are pretty much readily available to anyone; it just depends if you’re going to choose to be prepared with that or spend your dollar on a soda— again, there certainly needs to be some reform to making these and other contraceptives more accessible)
- pulling out (sorry for no warning on the graphic content, but this is all about sex at the end of the day — this is where the woman doesn’t REALLY have a choice, so let’s have conversations with our brothers, sons, fathers, whoever to teach them how to be a gentleman, yeah?)
On the topic of abstinence, the argument tends to be “sex is a basic human right” — sure, just as much as me going to the lake should be a basic human right. So why are there parameters around how I have to enjoy that? It’s pleasurable, natural, and should be accessible to everyone at any time or day with no boundaries like money to park, right?
Anti-Abortion does not equal anti-choice in the matter. While there is a specific choice that has boundaries and limitations, there are still many choices.
I think most Pro-Lifers are pro-adoption, but the actions don’t always add up to that — far too many would be willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on infertility treatment themselves before they would adopt. Adoption reform is a necessary conversation that’s just getting overshadowed by abortion demands. If you’re a pro-lifer who claims to be a big proponent of adoption as the best option, then you need to step up your game in being an activist for adoption reform AND consider if you would even be willing to adopt yourself.
Just because someone says they are anti-abortion and pro-adoption doesn’t always mean their actions add up to their words.
This one could go two ways, so I’ll address both.
1 — The assumption can be that you oppose ACCESS to healthcare as a basic human right. That’s just not the case for everyone that is pro-life. It may be for some, but you can’t lump everyone into that camp because the conversation is far too complicated for that, and it branches out into federal finances and taxes which is just a whole different ballgame.
2 — The other assumption is that you, in general, hate the healthcare system, don’t trust doctors, and want to see it fail. Well, no — again, far too much nuance for this assumption. I, personally, would love to see a world where there is a process for determining the severity of a woman in need of an abortion, and that well-trained doctors are the ones we can trust to make those decisions. But let’s just call a spade a spade, our hospital system in the United States is a corporation that is all about $$ because they have to be in order to stay afloat.
Humanity is corrupt under the surface, and while I believe there are far more well-meaning doctors than not, there are certainly corrupt behaviors at play that will strive for the extra $$ in their pockets when available. That is true of EVERY SINGLE ORGANIZATION/COMPANY (yes, I even and especially include the church in that).
Just because someone is anti-abortion, it doesn’t mean they hate doctors and want to topple the healthcare system or limit access for the poor. Maybe reform is a better way to consider their stance.
Again, I know there are Pro-Lifers who ARE anti-contraceptives, but this is to clarify that not all are. I actually wish we could do a better job at talking through contraceptives from a wholistic perspective, again, showing women ALL the options and ALL the risks. Maybe that will come in due time, but we’re still learning a lot. Don’t forget that condoms count as contraceptives, and it’s not all on the man — there are female versions too (personally untested, so someone let me know if they’re a total flop).
In fact, I wish more Pro-Lifers would be clamoring for better contraceptive options. While I’m not a parent, I don’t think it’s terrible for high school students (no earlier) to learn how to put a condom on a banana because they will likely get up to no good anyway. We might as well prepare them in hopes of less need for this conversation of abortion.
I’ve heard some say that emergency contraceptives are difficult to come by in certain places, and that is typically a major part of the rape conversation— maybe this is something we can discuss as a reform option. Because, yes, it is even possible that those who are anti-abortion are not necessarily against emergency contraceptives.
Just because someone is anti-abortion doesn’t mean they think all contraceptives are abortive or should be limited.
(I know Judge Thomas made some concerning statements about what they’re after next, and to clarify that too — not all who are happy with the Roe v Wade decision are okay with what they are working toward next).
Pro-Life needs to be from cradle to grave, right? This statement has been thrown around incessantly, and I agree. Capital Punishment comes into the conversation at this point, but you can’t just assume that those against abortion are for the death penalty. To make a slight defense of those who are anti-abortion and pro-capital punishment though, those are two VERY different issues — it’s innocence versus proven guilt at that rate.
HOWEVER, not everyone thinks it’s that simple. There are those who feel we as humans don’t get to decide when to take a life — from the womb, from the street, or from prison walls.
Just because someone is anti-abortion doesn’t mean they are pro-death penalty. Even justified killing can feel unjust to some.
The gun decision in New York was just POORLY timed. I’m not sure who thought that was a good idea, but it wasn’t. It poured major gasoline on the fire, but I need to remind y’all again — these are, whether you want to admit it or not, two separate issues. One is actually clearly spelled out in the constitution (not the conceal-carry part, but I digress), and the other is not. That is the law the Supreme Court decides on.
I’m not here to argue for guns though — I just want to explicitly state that those who are pro-life might also be considering the heaviness of our current gun laws. There are people gravely concerned with the ease of gaining access to a gun, specifically certain types of guns. Even some of my most conservative family members have expressed that some reform could be helpful (I.e. a waiting period like we have in California or bumping up the legal age to buy or restrictions on how much ammo you can buy at once, etc).
Just because someone is anti-abortion, it doesn’t mean they care nothing about the hundreds of children who have died by the hand of a gunman in senseless shootings. They may even be against guns in general, if not at least looking for some reform.
I saved the best for last here. Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of Pro-Lifers are in fact Christians at some level. Probably a high rate of Evangelical Christians. BUT Christian Nationalism is something entirely too extreme to lump everybody into that category.
To define Christian Nationalism: “Christian nationalism is the belief that the American nation is defined by Christianity, and that the government should take active steps to keep it that way.” This article actually does a great job clarifying the differences between patriotism, nationalism, and Christian Nationalism.
I am VERY passionate about flipping Christian Nationalism upside down. It’s a dangerous thought process that is turning people more against the gospel than toward it, and it is more harmful to the Christian witness of trying to show people the love of God.
Often times, abortion is more about explicit moral law and ethics (sure, many derive those from the Holy Bible or their own religious book). To even assume all Pro-Lifers are Christian though is incorrect. That’s like me saying maybe everyone who believes rape is wrong are devout believers in God. Moral Law is complicated, and I don’t profess to know much about it, but there has to be some boundaries for humanity in order to keep peace and not have ourselves a Purge-style country. (This is the Purge movie I’m referencing for those who don’t know).
Just because someone believes abortion is morally wrong (even if it’s because of their faith) doesn’t mean they think America should be a monotheistic country based ALL on Christianity. Some of us still value religious freedom even though we find solace in one specific faith.
To wrap this up, I’ll reiterate the importance of this conversation. Don’t let political boundaries define human boundaries. We are far more complicated than this two-party system allows for. Even if you do fall cleanly into one of the camps set out for you, don’t lose your humanity by only being willing to see black and white.
A note to believers:
If Jesus saw humanity or life as only black and white, He wouldn’t have healed the sinners. He wouldn’t have given the people hanging on the cross next to Him one last chance at redemption. He wouldn’t have risked His witness to break a Jewish law (work on the Sabbath) to give someone sight. Because the right v. wrong person (aka the overly religious zealot) sees the line drawn so clearly, and it can’t be broken, no matter what.
But God’s compassion is so much bigger than that, so let ours be too.
It’s okay — nay, necessary, to agree to disagree agreeably in order to keep our humanity, continue to love others, and fight the good fight of faith (even if it means public policy doesn’t go the way you want it to). Remember, biting off your neighbor’s head won’t change the law, and it certainly won’t open their mind and heart to Jesus.