Why I Am Pro-Life

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HARD-LINE conservatives have gone to new extremes lately in opposing abortion. Last week, Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party-backed Republican Senate candidate in Indiana, declared during a debate that he was against abortion even in the event of rape because after much thought 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.” That came on the heels of the Tea Party-backed Republican Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois saying after a recent debate 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” in which a woman would not survive without an abortion. “Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions anytime, for any reason,” Walsh said. That came in the wake of the Senate hopeful in Missouri, Representative Todd Akin, remarking that pregnancy as a result of “legitimate rape” is rare because “the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”


These were not slips of the tongue. These are the authentic voices of an ever-more-assertive far-right Republican base that is intent on using uncompromising positions on abortion to not only unseat more centrist Republicans — Mourdock defeated the moderate Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana in the primary — but to overturn the mainstream consensus in America on this issue. That consensus says that those who choose to oppose abortion in their own lives for reasons of faith or philosophy should be respected, but those women who want to make a different personal choice over what happens with their own bodies should be respected, and have the legal protection to do so, as well.

But judging from the unscientific — borderline crazy — statements opposing abortion that we’re hearing lately, there is reason to believe that this delicate balance could be threatened if Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan, and their even more extreme allies, get elected. So to those who want to protect a woman’s right to control what happens with her own body, let me offer just one piece of advice: to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue. And we must stop letting Republicans name themselves “pro-life” and Democrats as “pro-choice.” It is a huge distortion.

In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet. You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children. You can call yourself a “pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative.” I will never refer to someone who pickets Planned Parenthood but lobbies against common-sense gun laws as “pro-life.”

Written By: Thomas L. Friedman
continue to source article at nytimes.com

34 COMMENTS

  1. ”  there is reason to believe that this delicate balance could be
    threatened if Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan, and their even
    more extreme allies, get elected.  “

    Ya think!

    Mr. magic underpants would only be the tip of the theocratic iceberg, albeit a very sharp tip.

    Who said; ” The debate is not about pro life or pro choice, as we are all pro life, the debate is whether you are for and against abortion. “

    Religion re frames everything also, from debates to anything they possible can to ” argue ” points with the rational.

    I could pick some bones in this article, but the main point, religion’s pro life hypocrisy, is well enough made to let that go.

  2. A very valid distinction. I’ve often found the fact that those traditionally labelled “pro-life” are proportionally likely to favour the death penalty, minimum government expenditure on social programs and laissez faire economics quite troubling, not to say confusing.

    It’s almost like they think the unborn child has to be protected at all costs (even though Christian doctrine would argue that child is burdened by original sin until it is baptised) but born children (and adolescents and adults) just have to stick it out as best they can in life’s cut-throat coliseum.

  3. Excellent article. I agree with the author about the reasons why ‘pro-life’ should mean much more than just ‘pro-conception-to-birth’.  It should mean pro- choice for women, greater gun control, clean water and air, education, nutrition and healthcare for life for all. As I see it, the Republican party and its millions of supporters, want to have their religious cake (or wafer) and eat it too, all to suit their political agenda.  And it would be so nice, and right, if they instead would just take on board one sentence from Mr.Friedman’s article and make that their agenda: “The term ‘pro-life’ should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life.”

  4. @OP:disqus   .. ..  he was against abortion even in the event of rape because after much thought he “came to realize that life is that gift from God.

    Ah! but these trrrooo believers have revealed psychic (or was that psychotic) trrrooof in their brains.

    Have you not heard of pro-trroooof government?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M… –
    Ministry of Truth - 
    In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Ministry of Truth is Oceania’s propaganda ministry.

    It is responsible for any necessary falsification of historical events. The word truth in the title Ministry of Truth should warn, by definition, that the “minister” will self-serve its own
    “truth”; the title implies the willful fooling of posterity using “historical” archives to show “in fact” what “really” happened.

    As well as administering truth, the administration deploys a new tongue-in-cheek language amongst administrators called Newspeak, in which, for example, truth is understood to mean statements like 2 + 2 = 5 when the situation warrants.

    Winston Smith, the main character of Nineteen Eighty-Four, works at the Ministry of Truth.[1]
    It is an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete rising 300 metres into the air, containing over 3000 rooms above ground.
    On the outside wall are the three slogans of the Party: “WAR IS PEACE,” “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”
    There is also a large part underground, probably containing huge incinerators where documents are destroyed after they are put down memory holes. 

  5. While I would like to ban semi automatic assault rifles – aren’t they exactly what was envisioned in a “well armed militia”? The right to bear arms is to ensure the government doesn’t take over, what are you going to do with a revolver when the other guy has a semi?

    To get rid of those sort of weapons you would have to change the bible – sorry I mean constitution.

  6. What are you going to do with a machine gun, when the other guy has planes, drones, tanks, bombs etc?

    -The right to bear arms justification is outdated.  The United States is no longer an experiment and we can safely say that we elect our officials.  If we don’t like it we can vote differently the next go around.  In any event, as  I noted above, machine guns are not going to give you a chance against a technologically sophisticated military.  

  7. Aside from all else you obviously have never been in a war with people who had even less than machine guns. With your weapons you take the better weapons and this happens right before our eyes in many insurgencies.

    So, regardless of your position, this argument is not valid and should be dropped.

    PS:

    We once found a crossbow bolt  piercing the underside of our helicopter in Vietnam. Some people are not impressed with a  technologically sophisticated military.

  8. Neodarwinian,
    I’m not quite sure but, I think you missed the whole point. How can a group who claim to be “pro-life” come across as being serious about protecting life when they tolerate and promote weapons in civilized society? We refuse to live in a war torn land where the rule of the gun is law. There’s enough of that for guys who live by it in Syria. Just wondering are you “pro-life”?

  9. I should have read this post before your last one. I understand your point now about weapons. But, at the time I thought everyone was talking about weapons control instead of abortion. I was wondering if I had replied to the wrong blog. Sorry about that.

  10. Generally, men shouldn’t be allowed to talk about abortion at all. Especially impose laws about it. From statements of those republican politicians is visible that they consider women as a kind of reproduction machine or tool. They don’t consider them as human beings, only a tool that serve to their purpose (somehow, or anyhow). Abortion topic should not be a topic at all. I should be natural right of a woman, without any questions. Men are forgetting that they are responsible for pregnancies (willing ones, or not), they are those that are irresponsible about their reproductive material, because they have tendency to leave it wherever they feel like. Abortion is not a subject that they need to discus; there would not be abortion if men where more responsible about their sexual conduct. Abortion is a post festum of an irresponsible behavior of a men, since no women on this planet can impregnate themselves (without help of science). Those man should not have any politically function at all !

  11. Revenant77x
    The “Pro-life” movement is nothing of the sort here is a fantastic article basicaly destroying that argument.  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/l

    An excellent linked article which goes into the relevant details and covers a whole range of perspectives.

    It confirms that the “Pro-Life” movement is anti-life and even pro-zygote destruction, and against reducing abortion rates. 

    They are just an ignorant,  blinkered, bigoted, bunch of ignoramuses stuck in bronze-age stupidity, who won’t look at the figures or the evidence.

    A long but very worthwhile read.

  12. The problem with that mentality is that the right to bear arms is an invitation to take justice into your own hands, making it harder for state law to intervene and settle disputes properly.  This also means that those bearing guns are tempted towards a “don’t-mess-with-me” mentality, which doesn’t help if you want an impartial legal system.  Western Europe is doing better in crime rates (for instance, homicide rates) than the southern states of USA, and it’s certainly not because its citizens are allowed to bear guns.

  13. Pro-Birth is what they mean to say they are.  Just Pro-Birth.  On your own after that. 

    It always has been odd to me that we have complete control over what happens to our bodies after we die, when almost everyone could donate their body to science at the very least, most could actually save more than one life.  But, THAT is too much of an intrusion into our personal freedoms.  

    After you are born, you are on your own. Pro-Birth.

  14. This is a very important article! As the author points out the word “pro-life” is now widely and quite uncritically associated with a movement that is actively making life miserable for countless of women in USA. Every time I hear someone use this term I get shivers. We should not let these despicable people distort the meaning of words in order to gain political power! These people are misogynist, homophobic, anti-science, anti-humanistic, uncivilized, barbaric, arrogant, immoral and above all immensely ignorant. There’s nothing pro life about these people. 

    The author points out several good points, but I think he forgets a really important one that reveals the utter hypocrisy of these people. At the same time as they are against abortions they are also against family planning. They are against child support for single mothers or other families with a strained financial situation. They are also in general against contraception. In other words. They don’t want abortions but actively promote policies that will lead to more unwanted pregnancies while they refuse to actually support the women who give birth to children (even if they were raped). These people are no better than the Taliban. Give these people power and they will turn USA into a fascist theocracy. I think these groups are among the biggest threat to humanity we’ve seen in a long time!

  15. Yeah, that’s right and why USA has to modify the second amendment. People should not only have the right bear arms. They should be allowed to own and use tanks and other high-tech weapons. But, not even that is enough. Every citizen should have the right to nuclear weapons. How else can we make sure that the government doesn’t take over? I mean, isn’t that the whole idea with the second amendment? That the world is a safer place if people have the right to carry and defend themselves with arms. Hence, the world would be insanely safe if all people had nuclear weapons…

    Flagged for irony ;)

  16. The last paragraph regarding Michael Bloomberg is ridiculous. Yes, he has done a few good things which are mentioned in the article. Still, he is in the end a corporate robot. He’s notoriously critical of labor unions and has made quite a few shady deals with big business. His behavior with regard to the Occupy Wall Street movement is highly questionable, to say the least. Not to mention that he’s been accused with sexual harassment several times. Although Bloomberg isn’t as crazy as his fellow republicans I think it’s pretty far-fetched to label him a person who cares deeply about the human condition in general.

    Although, I might have failed to grasp the irony of the author. Perhaps his point is that the political system is so corrupt and dysfunctional that the most pro life politician you can find is Bloomberg, who is pretty despicable.

  17. I don’t know what Neo-Con, Evangelicals call Conservatism, but as a Conservative I  think abortion should be eliminated through the free-market, not by empowering government. Under the Clinton economy, abortion dropped, but then soared under BushII. Everyone is against abortion. It is unpleasant. Everyone is in favor of life and liberty. The real dichotomy concerns government regulation, and the sides are switched from their normal camps because nothing kills the meaning of words like politics.

    If we don’t resolve the matter in the market-place, the result will be racist eugenics, dark-skinned people having more abortions as that is the historical trend. I’m not interested in arguing this point, as I know it is an ideological oddity. I am illustrating the authors point, that partisan semantics have lost all meaning as they are used to cloak what is actually anti-science, a call to return to the Dark Ages, when victims had to marry their rapist.

  18. Valhalla, relax,—as I’ve indicated to you before, the sun really DOES come up tomorrow——
    somewhere on this gray and granite planet. Even if the idiot in chief of banality and leaden ignorance
    were to win on Tuesday. (which no longer looks very probable, anyway)

    I think Ohio got the message. And Mittens will get the gate. It’ll just go to prove that even Governor
    Multiple Choice  can’t fool enough of the people enough of the time. His attitude on women’s
    issues is bad enough, but when he is caught advocating the undoing of FEMA and letting 50
    States fend for themselves in hurricanes and other large scale emergencies, enough Americans 
    will doubtlessly see him for the utter desperado he’s become.

    No need to have a meltdown————a few deep breaths————–feeling better now?????

  19. A very valid distinction. I’ve often found the fact that those traditionally labelled “pro-life” are proportionally likely to favour the death penalty, minimum government expenditure on social programs and laissez faire economics quite troubling, not to say confusing

    Just like religion and politics, the bandwagon effect is a powerful thing. Men think in herds and rarely deviate from the status-quo group position, because it’s just too damn hard to think critically outside of the group.

  20. These ignoramuses (such as the RCC) claim that cells become human beings from the moment of conception. 
    For the first few days it is a single cell with no brain or nerves! Many such cells fail to implant and naturally abort.

    So let’s look at proper information:-

      MedlinePlus -  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline

    ZYGOTE
    When a single sperm enters the mother’s egg cell, the resulting cell is called a zygote. The zygote contains all of the genetic information (DNA) needed to become a baby. Half of the genetic information comes from the mother’s egg and half from the father’s sperm.
    The zygote spends the next few days traveling down the Fallopian tube and divides to form a ball of cells.

    BLASTOCYST
    The zygote continues to divide, creating an inner group of cells with an outer shell. This stage is called a blastocyst.
    The inner group of cells will become the embryo, while the outer group of cells will become the membranes that nourish and protect it.
    The blastocyst reaches the womb (uterus) around day 5, and implants into the uterine wall on about day 6. At this point in the mother’s menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus has grown and is ready to support a baby.
    The blastocyst sticks tightly to the lining, where it receives
    nourishment via the mother’s bloodstream.

    EMBRYO
    The cells of the embryo now multiply and begin to take on specific functions. This process is called differentiation. It leads to the various cell types that make up a human being (such as blood cells, kidney cells, and nerve cells).
    There is rapid growth, and the baby’s main external features begin to take form. It is during this critical period (most of the first trimester) that the growing baby is most susceptible to damage.

    The end of the 10th week of pregnancy marks the end of the “embryonic period” and the beginning of the “fetal period.”

    The link gives more information, with a week-by-week list of development stages.

  21. It does, doesn’t it?  However, it sounds from kidchicago’s reply that Valhalla, like myself, was pessimistic about the election result, ie. feared that ‘the idiot in chief of banality and leaden ignorance’ might win on Tuesday.  Surely not…It’s quite depressing even to consider such a possibility yet, amazingly, a lot of TV coverage seems cautiously to point that way.  They keep saying that the race is very close, neck and neck, and I’m thinking – how is that possible?!  Or that a lot of voters are still undecided!  Surely, it’s a no- brainer, what’s there to be undecided about?  Especially after all the Republican political gaffs of the ‘idiot in chief’ kidchicago mentions, as well as those of his supporting team, especially those on the science committee!

  22. I  think abortion should be eliminated through the free-market

    I’m hoping that was a typo, and you meant to say “I think THE NEED FOR abortion should be eliminated….”

    In which case,  I think I fully agree.  Abortion should be unnecessary,  not unlawful. 

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