Personally Prolife, Politically Prochoice: A Response

Can we be prolife personally but prochoice politically?

The quick answer to this loaded question is: No, we cannot really be prolife personally if we are prochoice politically. The reasoning is prolife theory treats abortion as interpersonal, not just personal. The child-in-utero is understood to be a person, with human rights, unless and until this tiny human being can be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, to lack the most basic personal standing with the right to life. Since the child-in-utero is understood as a person, or at least presumed to be so for ethical and legal purposes (i.e., innocent until proven guilty), that means abortion isn’t a “personal” – that is, “private” – decision. Abortion is an interpersonal event, bearing upon society and politics. If you are a prolifer only personally then you have already redefined “prolife” to mean something else, something suited for prochoice politics. Meanwhile, pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike readily admit that abortion is bad, ugly, traumatic, and regrettable except pro-choicers think it’s a necessary evil and pro-lifers do not.

In summary, if you are only “personally” prolife, then you aren’t really prolife.

What does “personally prolife politically prochoice” even mean?

The Good News

If you are “personally prolife” that means you would never go through with an abortion. Congratulations! That’s an important and heroic stance. We can disagree and argue over the “politically prochoice” part, but if you have taken your stand against abortion within your parental planning, then I commend you. Perhaps if more abortion-choice advocates were to go at least as far as “personally prolife ” then we’d have even fewer abortions than we currently do. Saving baby’s lives is worthwhile, no matter who is doing it. I would rather have someone personally prolife than totally prochoice. Most of what follows is aimed at the “politically prochoice” part. If it’s not clear later, then let me make it clear now, I celebrate, encourage, and wholeheartedly support the fact that some prochoice people have let the prolife cause take root in their personal convictions. If they are personally prolife, then they a step closer to being prolife personally and politically. My whole effort in this article is to help extend that conviction further, beyond merely personal conviction, and into a fully formed prolife outlook.

It’s Code language for “Prochoice”

Just to be clear, prolifers typically identify as anti-abortion both on a personal and public/political level. They can say, “I would never have an abortion and abortion should be generally banned.”[1] So when people try to drop the second half of that, wanting to blend prolife and prochoice, they are typically trying to sample the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, this hybrid, usually, means you’re dealing with a pro-choicer; a person who thinks and acts within a pro-choice perspective. To say you are only “personally” pro-life is often code language for, “I won’t go as far as the most radical pro-choicers, celebrating abortion or acting like it’s no big deal, but in point of fact I’m still entrenched in the middle of the pro-choice camp.”

Most prochoicers, by the way, admit that abortion is “bad.” They are not “pro-abortion.” Only the most radical/extreme pro-choice figureheads will act like abortion is commendable. Pro-choice advocates, generally, aren’t trying to promote more abortions, or celebrate abortions.[2] Most everyone on all sides admits that any given abortion is regrettable. So it’s not terribly impressive when a prochoicer says that abortions are gross, ugly, bad, or traumatic, they just think–contrary to prolifers–that abortion is a “necessary evil.” Abortion is not “good” but, so they say, it is good for women to have that choice.

Often, people don the hybrid position because they are pro-life at heart, but they are politically progressive and there just aren’t any solid prolife platforms within the Democrat party (or Libertarian, or Green, or Socialist parties for that matter). In other words, they’d support a prolife candidate if there was ever one campaigning within their party, but when left to choose between their pro-life convictions and their political party they are too allied to the democrat party (for example) to stop fighting in the pro-choice army. Their pro-life convictions are burdensome and expendable. With the slightest threat of turbulence, they can throw their prolife sentiments overboard for the sake of political expediency.

For people who lean prolife, but can’t find a political candidate they’d support in their party, instead of sacrificing the prolife cause for political expediency, I encourage you to let your candidates know how you feel! Press and pressure them into hearing your voice, and withold your vote your party can offer a prolife candidate worthy of your support. Abortion is a big enough issue to where it deserves to be a deal-breaker like that.

It’s Confused Compassion

To be sure, this hybrid position can flow from noble motives. People may don the hybrid position as an effort to balance compassion for both the child and the mother. Conventional pro-lifers often focus attention on the child-in-utero and don’t clarify just how much compassion and concern they have for the mother. Pro-choicers often focus attention on the mother while dehumanizing and delegitamizing her child-in-utero. Both of these extremes are problematic.

With the hybrid position, however, one can draw attention to both the child and the mother. This hybrid may sound like any of the following:

“I’m personally pro-life, but I vote pro-choice”
“I would never have an abortion, but I’m politically pro-choice.”
“Abortion is wrong for me, but we shouldn’t tell other women what to do with their bodies.”

Notice the word “but” in between each of these clauses. The hybrid position tries to merge two camps, bridging a hostile divide. It has the tone of a strategic compromise. Indeed, this hybrid position is amenable to most every stripe of pro-choice politics, except perhaps for the most radical population-control advocate. But prolifers, cannot, in good conscience, relegate abortion to the realm of merely “personal choice.”

The hybrid position treats abortion like an entirely private personal decision, so only the pregnant mother has moral standing in deciding the fate of her child-in-utero. This line of thinking suggests that we individuals can pick and choose whether abortion is right for us, but we should not try to tell anyone else that abortion is wrong for them. Supposedly, we all decide our own ethics of abortion. And abortion is such a personal decision that even if we conclude that it’s a terrible, horrible, very bad, no good practice–what we really mean is “it’s wrong for me.” It may be “right” for someone else in a different situation, or with different needs and interests. If this smells like relativism to you, then it’s not just me picking up that scent.

Compassionate motives are great, and we should celebrate compassionate concerns for mother and child alike. But no amount of good motivations are safe from spoilage in a cauldron of relativistic ethics.

It’s Emotionally Prolife but Intellectually Prochoice

Another reason people may choose the hybrid position is because deep down they feel abortion is wrong but for whatever reason they believe that pro-choice is still a rationally sound position because of women’s privacy rights. The loss of a little baby is awful, but abortion isn’t bad enough to deserve civil abolition–like we’ve done with murder, slavery, rape, and a host of other evils. At a heart level, they sympathize with the prolife position, but they know too many objections and defenses for the pro-choice position, and they still care about struggling mothers, so they hold steady to pro-choice politics.

One might say this person is emotionally prolife but intellectually prochoice. When they look at the facts of abortion, and weigh their own conscience on the matter, they see that abortion is wicked awful stuff. And they can’t comfortably support that action. But, when they look away, and trust the commercials, and articles, and word-of-mouth they’ve gathered from liberal intellectual friends, professors, and authorities on TV, they find the pro-choice position compelling.

I’d suggest that usually when people hold to this position they don’t understand the pro-life side very well having been duped by pro-choice rhetoric. They may have been pro-life in their younger days but the only arguments and evidence they’ve seriously considered have been from pro-choice professors, or political advocates, or both–politically partisan academics who aren’t interested in giving the pro-life position a responsible treatment. Sadly, if you formed your current views on abortion at college or graduate school there’s a good chance that your exposure to the abortion debate has been one-sided in favor of abortion-choice. Gallup Polls have shown that the longer you spend in college, the higher the chances you’ll declare yourself pro-choice. If you aren’t sure there’s solid intellectual ground for pro-life, I commend to you: , AbortionFacts, and AbortionHistoryMuseum.

It’s the Muddy Middle

Other times, I find people adopt a hybrid position because they see themselves as “moderates,” trying to find the golden mean between extremes. These same people often avoid “labels,” and don’t like to be lumped into “categories” These middlers can boast that they aren’t extremists. And they may try to mitigate and avoid conflict finding compromise positions in every debate. Abortion is a live debate in bioethics, politics, and society. So it’s no surprise to find some conflict-avoiders mediating the debate with a compromise position affirming the dignity of mother and child, dignifying the importance of life and liberty, and equally valuing both pro-life and pro-choice positions. There’s a general wisdom in seeking moderation, balance, and middle-ground where possible.

Unfortunately, the middle isn’t always a safe place to camp. Some battles don’t permit any neutral “sideline” so everyone is already on the battlefield presently affected by the socio-political fallout of abortion-choice policy. Permitting some rhetorical flourish, those committed to both sides are entrenched in the middle of an open battle, subject to crossfire from both sides. Having meandered into and encamped in the middle of an active battle, they are torn between two allegiances. Effectively, they are casualties waiting to happen. The hybrid position is not a friend to both parties, it’s an enemy to everyone. In a battle of ideas, playing both the prolife and the prochoice position is akin to a turncoat, a double-agent, an enemy in the gates committed ultimately to an irrational contradiction, at best, or a dangerous compromise, at worst. Now, that person can save the life of her own child–and that heroism deserves praise–but she betrays her efforts by refusing to intervene and protect other imperiled human beings in utero.

This warfare analogy might sound harsh, extreme, or misleading but imagine someone trying to play the moderate position regarding slavery: “I would never own a slave, but I’m in no position to tell someone else what they can or cannot do with their property (i.e., slaves).” Clearly, that “moderate” position has granted too much to the pro-slavers because they grant that human beings can be treated, ethically, like property. Pro-choicers, similarly, treat living human beings in-utero, like property that can be disposed at the will of his or her owner. Obviously, slavery is very different from abortion, but both should teach us that human beings aren’t property and should not be treated as such.

Or imagine a moderate position on the holocaust: “I would never gas a Jew, but who am I tell tell people from a different country, in a different culture, what they can and cannot do with their citizens.” Clearly, this “moderate” has conceded too much, granting some form of cultural or social relativism. The moderate has assumed that mass slaughter of unwanted human beings is not a crime against humanity, and it could be ethical in one society but unethical in another. This “moderate” position isn’t moderate at all. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon either–moral relativism is quite popular in many circles. Yet moral relativism betrays the very notion of human rights, and has historically played a major role in the holocaust, slavery, and in recent times, abortion.

These ugly examples demonstrate that the middle ground between two politically charged positions is not always a golden mean. Sometimes, it’s a horrific compromise. The real “moderate” position should not be between pro-life (anti-abortion) and pro-choice (abortion-on-demand), but rather between which exceptional cases of abortion should be legal–ex., rape pregnancies, or imperiled pregnancies (threatening the mother’s life).

Remember that if abortion is a moral right of women, the pro-choicers are justified in fighting adamantly for it. If abortion is morally wrong, however, then prolifers are justified even moreso, as the scope of this evil is deadlier than any other act of violence in world history. Abortion in the United States has already claimed far more lives, in far less time, than the entire North American slave trade every claimed. Yet slavery had no chance of abolition if “enlightened” northerners were committed to both slavery and abolition. Slavery was too entrenched of an evil for the abolitionists to play the moderate position–as if slave-ownership was an excusable “necessary evil.” In the Civil War, there was no strategic advantage in trying to say that slavery should be abolished and yet it shouldn’t be abolished. That position is not only a logical contradiction, it’s morally unsound, and politically foolish.

This same muddy middle makes no more sense when applied to apartheid South Africa. It would be equally foolish to say that, “I personally oppose apartheid, but I’m not in any position to judge whether South Africa should or should not have apartheid. That’s for South Africa to decide for itself.”

Or we could apply it to infanticide and readily see the same contradiction: “I personally oppose murdering one’s newborn baby, but who am I to judge a struggling mother who feels like she needs to smother her inconvenient little baby for squirming too much. It’s her baby, so it’s her right to kill it if she wants.”

It’s Relativism

This hybrid position also carries a tone of moral relativism. As we saw above, the hybrid position easily retreats into individual or cultural relativism where some moral principle is only as authoritative as a group vote (cultural relativism), or a personal preference (subjectivism). For one person abortion is unethical, for the next person it’s ethical, for another person it’s sometimes ethical sometimes not. There would be no factual wrongness about abortion except with respect to one’s own personal standards of right and wrong. This brand of relativism is called “subjectivism,” but ethical “right/wrong” trace their reference point back to each person’s subjective feelings, beliefs, and preferences about ethics. Cultural relativism (aka, conventionalism) is only slightly better, tracing morality to a the collective opinion of a group, but then we’re faced with a host of other problems. It easily slips into “might makes right” ethics, it commits the “popular appeal fallacy,” and it cannot distinguish consistently between “legal” and “moral.” In cultural relativism, slavery was ethical–as long as it was the legal convention of the time.

But truth isn’t decided by vote. And evil is still evil, even when it’s popular.

Clearly, there are a lot of problems with relativism. But I’ll just note one more important objection here. Abortion bears upon human rights, and human rights are not the kind of thing that qualify for relativism. If women have a human right to full autonomy over their own body, up to and including abortion, then abortion is ethically permitted–and that would be an objective moral fact, regardless of what any given women should “feel,” “think,” “believe,” or “prefer” within her own own subjective or conventional ethics. Now that’s a pro-choice rebuttal to relativism.

The pro-life rebuttal runs even deeper. Beneath the right of autonomy, exists the right to life, as in:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. . . endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights . . . life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Decl. of Indep. [1776), Preamble

Notice the right to “life” appears before the rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This order is sensible because only living individuals have liberty, and only living individuals with some measure of liberty can pursue happiness as they see it. These three rights do not necessarily exhaust all our fundamental human rights, but they are sufficient to show how the rights of life and liberty relate. Prolifers have a strong and principled historic case that the most basic of all human rights is the right to life. I would argue that the abortion-choice camp hasn’t even come close to satisfying their burden of proof here. They have not yet shown that the mother’s claim of liberty (i.e., personal sovereignty, privacy, autonomy) gets deep enough to undermine and nullify the child’s potential, alleged, or possible right to life.

Furthermore, since killing a human being is an irreversible, final, and permanent act against a fellow member of the species, it should never be doled out for trivial reasons or in the presence of reasonable doubt.

In summary, abortion bears heavily upon human rights, human rights are too foundational to surrender to the flight and fancy of relativistic ethics, and so, abortion is a poor fit for relativism. Subjectivism and conventionalism just aren’t serious enough among the schools of ethics to account for the moral weight of that child’s life.

It’s Pragmatism

This hybrid “logic” could also sound persuasive if you understand prolife policy to be too impractical to work for society. Many abortion-choice advocates will use the threat of “coathanger abortions” to intimidate people into agreement. The threat is something like, “If you ban even the safe abortions, then women will be forced to get unsafe abortions.”

There’s a cold logic to this. Prolife advocates as well abortion-choice advocates all have to weigh the practical implications of their ideals. Anyone making society-wide policy needs to consider practicality. The abortion debate is not merely moral, it’s also a judicial and political debate. It’s a legal matter, and legality is bound on all sides by practical issues of enforcement.

However, policies should not be measured against utopia either. Banning abortion won’t stop all abortions, nor will legalizing abortion stop all coat-hanger abortions. Practical concerns pull both ways, tempering both the prolife and abortion-choice positions. Legalizing abortion hasn’t stopped illegal and unsafe abortionists from finding scared imperiled women to prey on. We know of prolific mass murderers like Dr. Kermit Gosnell, whose abortion-mill generated hundreds and thousands of illegal abortions, post-birth abortions (infanticides), and subjected patients to unsanitary, injurious, and even fatal conditions. But besides just his case, we could cite many many more clinics, doctors, and nurses who prove that the abortion-industry is intrinsically unsafe, and many of it’s worst offenders operate with little to no regulatory oversight regulation due in part to the knotted political landscape of abortion.

We also know, from history, that legalizing abortion at a state level in the late 1960’s and then nationwide in 1973 radically multiplied the number of abortions. Restated, that means, the prior ban on abortions radically reduced the number of abortions. That fact points out that banning abortion would greatly serve women’s health interests since the very nature of abortion is medically and psychologically dangerous for women.

Even legal and relatively “safe” abortion is inherently risky for the mother. In 98-99% of cases the abortion is not protecting the mother’s life so it’s medically unnecessary. Being medically unnecessary, all of it’s inherent risks are unnecessary risks. The physical risks are many including cuts, punctures, bruising, heavy bleeding, disfigurement, drug interactions, incomplete abortions (leaving parts of the deceased child behind), and all the subsequent side effects that may occur with those problems including infection, sepsis, fever, headaches, dizziness, nausea, scarring, blood clots, coma, heart attack, and even death.

Possible long term side effects and complications are often disputed, but are thought to include sterility, pre-term birth, miscarriage, malfunctioning cervix, menstrual irregularities, and correlation with breast cancer. There are also a range of psychological risks–even for “safe” and “legal” abortions–which have been demonstrated in multiple studies. Prochoicers tend to focus on the short-term sense of relief reported by abortion patients, but in long term studies abortion patients report post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, thoughts and attempts at suicide, broken relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, other self-destructive behaviors, and a constellation of problems correlated with serious emotional trauma. Of course, the abortion-choice industry has tried to dispute all these claims about the dangers of abortion, but it’s medically naive to think of abortion as medically inert. And, even if child-birth were just as risky or riskier, the dangers are heavily mitigated by the birth of live child.

We should also consider how the abortion industry influences our sexual choices. First wave feminists at the turn of the 20th century, for example, decried abortion as a mode of exploiting women. Instead of reigning in men and calling them to take responsibility for the women and children in their lives, abortion is one more legal excuse for males to treat women like sex objects; love ’em and leave ’em. Given the preponderance of illicit sex, sex-trafficking and pornography, combined with the declining rate of marriage there is a strong case to be made that abortion-choice policy hasn’t been very “practical” at all. It set up countless women for exploitation, loneliness, and trauma, while setting the heaviest and fatal consequence on defenseless children-in-utero.

We have more than enough reasons, therefore, to think that pro-life policy would serve women’s health better than pro-choice policy. Prolife policy is practical.

It’s Cowardice

Other people may take the “personally prolife” position because they aren’t terribly pro-life in the first place. No abortion choice advocate wants to be seen as a barbarian or a villain. And donning some of the terminology and tone of a prolifer may lend a sense of tolerance and compassion. Wearing the facade of an outspoken pro-life advocate doesn’t take a lot of courage, but it does take some courage. And some people just don’t have enough courage to take a consistent prolife stand. Perhaps they lack the conviction, or the knowledge. But whatever the cause they are too timid to fully align with the prolife position. They may still think abortion is bad but they lack the fortitude to take a firm stand against it.

It’s easy to understand why people would be timid when they aren’t well-informed on the issue. If knowledge is power, then ignorance is crippling. Courage turns to cowardice when we don’t understand the issue well enough to have an informed opinion on it. In that event, a “moderate” prolifer or prochoicer may be scared to explain or defend their prolife position. By default they end up gravitating toward the muddy middle, imagining it safer to appease both camps and avoid having to state, explain, or defend their position beyond a few shallow talking points.

Many pro-lifers and pro-choicers, in my experience, stay fairly moderate on the issue and–no surprise–they aren’t terribly informed about the risks involved in abortion, nor about the size and scope of abortion, nor about the wider effects of abortion on society, or the history of abortion in America. Often, they don’t even know what an abortion looks like, or what the developing child looks like in a first-term abortion. It is no surprise that people may claim to be “prolife” but, for fear of offending a pro-choice friend or family member, they immediately buttress that position with a fatal concession to prochoice policy. They are “personally prolife”–which is politically neutral, and wholly non-threatening to anyone else–but they are tolerant towards anyone else’s prochoice politics or policies. They won’t even stand against abortion-choice legislation because their “prolife” stance is effectively hidden from the world, squirreled away in the private recesses of their personal preference within their own bedroom at home.

In other words, to be “personally prolife” is often ignorance-fueled cowardice. Now, I don’t say that lightly, but neither do I intend this as a mean-spirited insult. All of us have something to learn about this issue, and to the extend that we don’t understand or we just don’t know the specifics we can be crippled in our convictions and prone to cowardice. The simple solution then is to get informed. Study a bit. Guard our claims, saying what we know, admitting what we don’t know, and allowing ourselves to learn in the process. We can grow in our convictions and our courage as we learn. And through it all we should maintain an attitude of humility, grace, and love.

It’s Ignorance

Ignorance poses another problem here besides inspiring cowardice. Sometimes people simply don’t realize how incompatible are the two camps–prolife and prochoice. They may ascribe to the hybrid position because they believe that being “prolife” is nothing more than saying, “I find abortion distasteful.” But since many prochoice advocates find abortion distasteful, then that’s hardly a defining feature. That weak form of “prolife” may be due to ignorance.

A more troubling trend is when people affirm the hybrid position because they really don’t want to know what all is involved in abortion. They may regret that some people choose abortion, but they don’t want to get informed enough to get involved in any solution. For them “ignorance is bliss.” Ignorance is an evasive maneuver so they don’t have to take any responsibility. Just as good samaritan laws obligate competent bystanders to help people in dire situations, a person may be morally obligated to help a pregnant friend or neighbor choose life–but they are only responsible if they are competent to help. If they don’t know enough to help, then they aren’t morally responsible to help.

The straightforward solution for ignorance is knowledge, but of course, that’s a difficult task whenever the individual is deliberately ignorant. There’s no knowledge so penetrating that people will receive it against their will.

It’s Political Confusion

Few issues have been as politicized as abortion. So in many people’s eyes “abortion” is just another political issue. Some people may claim to be only “personally prolife” but not politically because the political law of the land is pro-choice and they don’t want to fight about it. In their eyes it’s expedient or even ethical, to be “tolerant,” and “open minded” on the issue. They don’t like arguing politics or religion, so they don’t say anything is wrong with abortion-choice policy.

There’s some cold logic to this position, as it’s part pragmatism, and it can swirl in elements of “compassion,” and “tolerance” (i.e., often in the form of relativism). For people who are wishy-washy in their politics, or they aren’t willing to disagree with flawed party platform, then the hybrid option may sound very appealing.

However, there’s nothing intrinsically political about abortion, Democrats can and have been prolife. Republicans can and have been prochoice. Ideally, all major parties could agree that killing one’s own innocent defenseless family members is unethical and should be banned. But, unfortunately, the political lines have been drawn and the rhetoric has been loaded like artillery so that any democrats will be fired upon like an enemy spy plane if they dare question the value of Planned Parenthood or if they suggest that abortion is a barbaric practice. Political liberals, in this way, would do well to distinguish themselves from the Democrat establishment so they are never pressured and pulled into a party platform that they can’t support in good conscience. Likewise for political conservatives, they shouldn’t be so married to the republican party that they cannot stiff arm any foolish unethical policies popular within the establishment. Republicans may, generally, have a better record on prolife policies, but they have not always sided with life, especially when it’s unpopular.

I should add, that even though Democrats should accommodate the prolife position I don’t think Republicans should be open to abortion-choice policy. Republicans should be no more open to abortion-choice than they should be open to reinstating slavery. I know that’s a touchy comparison, but policies which treat human beings like objects that can be used and disposed at will are intrinsically wrong at the level of human rights–regardless of one’s politics. We don’t even have to haggle over the definition of “person” or when “consciousness” begins. Abortion kills biological human beings as if those humans were some disposable property. Objectifying humans is wrong, whether by slavery or abortion. Just as no self-respecting democrat would support slave laws which allow for the objectification of human beings, they should likewise be able to renounce their party platform and stand on the side of life.

Also, we do well to remember that we are talking about the single deadliest act, institution, or event in world history. In this way, abortion is a bigger issue than party politics. Democrats would do well to take the pro-life platform more seriously, especially since they missed the boat 150 years ago when the Democrat party sided with the biggest human rights crime of that era too. I don’t care to defend or promote republicanism or democrat politics here. All political parties have a mixed history on human rights issues. Democrats aren’t all wrong, and republicans aren’t all right. Prolifers, unfortunately, have few voting options on the democrat side these days. When it comes to the anti-abortion position, the republican party has a better record–though not by much.

In the current Trump administration, prolifers should be wary of both major parties as they are liable to get muddled and distracted candidates on either side of the aisle, with no backbone when it comes to anti-abortion legislation. I’m not suggesting any particular political course of action, though prolifers are generally agreed on some manner of overturning or nullifying Roe v. Wade combined with some legal protection for preborn children in most cases. It’s up for debate, however, whether the anti-abortion cause should advance through the political “long game” or the “short game,” through the courts or congress, through grassroot or astroturf measures, or through big government or small government avenues. Prolifers can be found across all these options.

A Final Word on Being “Personally Prolife”

Clearly there are some glaring problems when people attempt to straddle the fence on the abortion issue. We have plenty of reasons to broadly reject the hybrid position. But I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that it’s better to be personally prolife than totally prochoice. If you personally would never go through with an abortion, I applaud you! If you refrained from an abortion because you are generally prochoice but personally prolife, then you still saved a life. Choosing life merits celebration every time! It is better to have a political prochoicer personally abstain from abortion, than to have a prolifer who betrays their conscience and aborts their unborn child. When all the smoke settles, we each still have to answer for the decisions we made in our own lives, regardless of our ideologies.

If you are “personally prolife” but “politically prochoice” then I encourage you to consider going the whole way and just be prolife. Abortion is too devastating, too deadly, too violent, it exploits women; it does not deserve even half-hearted support in the form of prochoice politics. We all do well to reconsider, and (re)commit to a genuine prolife stance. The prolife cause goes beyond just personal opinions, preferences, or relativistic ethics. “Prolife” refers to a fundamental recognition that the child-in-utero deserves protection; not just your child or my child, but every child. If you are only “personally” prolife then I plead with you, don’t let your compassion stop with your own family planning prospects, and don’t let your compassion stop with the concerns of the mother, but go even further in your love and compassion to care for defenseless children too. If we don’t speak for the voiceless, they will never be heard.


[1] By “generally banned,” I mean the banning of convenience abortions where the mother’s life is not in danger. Other mitigating circumstances might include cases of “rape” or “severe deformity.” Prolifers usually, however, oppose abortion even in these exceptional cases of rape and fetal deformity, although most consider abortion justified as “life-saving” if pregnancy imperils the mother’s life.

[2] While most pro-choice advocates do not knowingly support an increase of abortions, it’s a well known fact of groups like Planned Parenthood that abortions are a major source of revenue, and more abortions spells more profits. In this way, clinics may encourage higher numbers of abortions–but not because of any belief that “more abortions is morally better,” but merely because of profit incentive. This profit-incentive is the substance behind allegations of “abortion quotas” at Planned Parenthood clinics. Former Planned Parenthood clinic directors have attested to the quotas, but these claims have been disputed by opponents.

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