Are abortion rights supporters fully embracing an absolutist agenda, one that legitimizes and praises a woman’s choice to abort, no matter the circumstances?
It sure seems that way. In the past few years, activists have moved away from Bill Clinton’s philosophy that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Or that abortion is, in Hillary Clinton’s words, “a tragic choice.”
Why leave behind words like “rare” and “tragic?” Because speaking of abortion this way lends credence to the pro-life position that there is something wrong with ”terminating a pregnancy.” If the abortion-rights agenda is to succeed, then, abortion must be de-stigmatized. And nothing will remove the stigma from abortion faster than making it common and celebrated.
Even though this seems to be the logical conclusion to the pro-choice position, I don’t think most people, even most pro-choicers, are comfortable endorsing any and all abortions. A friend of mine talks about this issue quite a bit and he often asks his pro-choice friends if they support sex-selection abortions. Pro-choicers tend to squirm and struggle because they agree there is something inherently wrong with killing a baby because of his/her sex. But why does gendercide make them uncomfortable? Isn’t it just another abortion? Another choice?
I think the pro-choice position is being forced to swing so far in that direction – the celebration of abortion – that it is again providing us with an opportunity to reach people. Because most people cannot celebrate it. And I don’t think it’s due to cultural stigma (an argument they often toss out), but due to the fact that we know what is in the womb (hello sonograms) and it’s within our nature to want to protect our offspring, not kill them.
As Frederica Mathewes-Green, formerly Feminists for Life’s Vice President of Communications has said,
No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.
I think that’s true. And for that reason, we’re unlikely to see the world be swept with the phenomenon of ‘abortion celebration.’
People are much less pro-choice than they think they are, and/or less pro-choice than the movement’s leaders. The stats are clear. But that’s a post for another day.
The article makes additional points and provides some examples that we can rely on in discussions or in our writing. It’s worth a read.by