When it comes to a woman’s right to have access to safe abortion procedures, there are two schools of thought. On the one hand, there are many who support such a right for women. Branded the “pro-choice” crowd, these men and women see value in a woman’s access to safe abortion procedures, for it is considered the woman’s right to make the decision to abort their pregnancy. If such a decision is made, the “pro-choice” groups believe it imperative that a woman can and should have that procedure in a safe, sterile environment with medical equipment at the ready, instead of disease-ridden alleys with mutilated wire coat hangers.
On the other hand, there are many who do not believe in such a right for women. The so-called “pro-life” crowd objects to the procedure as a whole, not just a woman’s access to favorable conditions. It’s a moral argument, normally hand-in-hand with theological teachings that claim life begins at the point of conception and that the practice of pregnancy abortion is an affront to moral and legal standards because it amounts to murder. To many, it is an affront to God, which is as cardinal a sin as one can commit.
There really is no in-between.
However, when it comes to the debate between “pro-choice” and “pro-life,” rhetoric and mission are of paramount importance. Unfortunately for the latter, their mission fails alongside the rhetorical nature of their name.
Consider for a moment the term “pro-life.” The prefix, “pro-,” means to be in favor of something. If one were to be “pro-Obama,” for example, that person would be in favor of President Barack Obama. If someone were to be “pro-television,” that person would be in favor of the existence and utilization of television. If someone were to be “pro-Confederate Memorial Day,” that person would be in favor of a holiday commemorating a bunch of dead, slavery-supporting traitors.
The prefix “pro-” is wholly problematic for the “pro-life” crowd because they are actually not pro-life. To be “pro-life” is to be in favor of life. There exists strong, broad overlap between the “pro-life” movement and Americans who support capital punishment, increased military intervention in Middle Eastern nations, swift “eye for an eye” justice, and the prioritization of personal affluence over the needs of the whole of society.
Many on the “pro-life” side of the argument would have a woman endure a pregnancy and delivery, then support the slashing and dismantling of social programs that exist to ease the burden of parenthood. Many “pro-lifers” support cutting funding to or even privatizing programs like food stamp benefits, Section 8 housing, and healthcare. Compound this with the fact that 42 percent of abortion procedures are performed on women who live under the poverty line, the legitimacy of the “pro-life” moniker is steadily being bled out.
Since the topic of the “pro-choice vs. pro-life” debate is over a woman’s safe access to pregnancy abortion procedures, the only term that can accurately describe the “pro-life” position is actually “anti-choice.” Why not just call themselves “anti-choice?” Honestly, who would refer to a movement based on considered moral values anti-anything? The prefix “anti-” is antagonistic. It has negative connotations. “Anti-” is not the preferred nomenclature on which to make a moral stand.
But the largest takeaway from being “pro-life” is that one is designated with a term that not only doesn’t reflect their actual moral stance on the issue of women’s access to safe abortion, but blatantly doesn’t reflect that moral stance. Being “pro-life,” in the sense of being “anti-choice,” means absolutely nothing so long as the alleged “pro-lifer” supports any measure or philosophy that causes direct or willful harm. Since most of them, in some capacity, do support a philosophy that directly and willingly causes harm, that makes the majority of the “pro-life” crowd hypocritical to their own alleged cause.
Then again, logic is lost on a lot of us anyway.