In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to debate about abortion, because in that perfect world we wouldn’t have abortions. But – also in that perfect world we would have:
- Comprehensive, unassuming, and honest sex education
- Absence of coercion, rape, and rape culture
- Dialogue of what healthy relationships (and communication) look like and do not look like
- Non judgemental reproductive health professionals and resources
- Accessible and affordable contraceptives (for all reproductive organs)
This is not a complete list, but I see these as the big five.
So if you’re pro-life, you’ve got a hefty agenda that you should be working on as well.
This isn’t a roast for pro-lifers; in a perfect world, I too would be a pro-life advocate. But if we don’t supply and enable our peers with the tools we need, then we need to be able to retroactively assist in the consequences of not having these bullet points.
I absolutely love the name of Planned Parenthood because that’s exactly what it is. Especially as an eco-Feminist, I fully understand the impact on bringing another human into this world. The impact of a child starts at conception, and it will never (yes, never) turn back from there, for the parent and for their society. So then, how do we start to create this more perfect world, where rape does not permeate our lives, and where sex education is indeed education?
We need to be able to make abortion a topic that we can talk about with our policy makers, healthcare providers, and youth. If we are unable to talk about abortion, we are unable to begin to understand the root causes for wanting an abortion.
I am proudly pro-choice because I know that I could have been a teen who’s life is flipped upside down… because my sex-ed was in the high school cafeteria, where I was taught that “pulling out” was a surefire way to avoid insemination and frenching in a hot tub would definitely knock you up. I was socialized to think that even asking about birth control would be too embarrassing and would label me as a raunchy, “sexually active teen.” Luckily, though – and luck is the right word here – I never had the opportunity to take the risk of being an uneducated teenager, and educated myself into early adulthood. I cannot imagine unknowing the things that I know now, and I am so grateful that I was lucky.
I think that most of us who went through US public schools could sit around and laugh about the terrible lessons we were taught in our abstinence “education” classes in middle and high school. I was told that I had one cookie, and I could only give my cookie away once, because who would want to eat a regurgitated cookie someone else had chewed up? Yep – ew. There are a dozen issues with this, but our obsession with virginity and chastity allows our male-dominated society to live on. Abstinence education relies heavily on the waiting-until-marriage argument, when your father will walk you down the aisle and pass you off to another worthy male to deflower and make you his.
Let’s put marriage aside, then, and consider a relationships that do not end with being wed. Sex can be a healthy and constructive way to strengthen the bond between two people (if that is what they want). The “can” here comes with the fine print that the two people must be educated and able to hold an open conversation. If you have to “kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince,” how the heck are we going to know how to safely kiss all of those frogs?
I can honestly say that I learned nothing other than how many STD’s and STI’s exist in the world. (A campaign of fear – revolutionary.) I think back on those lessons with fond memories, because the majority of my 7th grade giggles came from that class. Abstinence education is indeed a joke.
The bottom line is that you cannot perpetuate rape culture, allow a lack of resources, support abstinence education, and allow unhealthy relationships and communication to remain in a society if you do not want to give the choice to someone to bring another human into this world. If you are pro-life, you need to step up to the plate and work on the issues that need reform. Your to-do list just got quite a bit longer.
If you’d like further information on America’s sex education, pro-choice resources, or facts on America’s obsession with virginity and abstinence, I recommend the following:
The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti
2 thoughts on “So you’re Pro-Life? You’ve got some obligations to uphold.”
*This comment is not a “troll post”. Please do not label it as such in an attempt to silence my viewpoint. I am more than happy to discuss the issue.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I have to say that I enjoyed reading the piece, but I do have an important point to bring up to the author. First, let me describe this. Abortion is really easy, in the sense that it simply boils down to this: is it a life or is it not a life. If it’s a life, you can’t kill it. If it’s not a life, you can obviously do whatever you want. (Life threatening conditions are an exception). So that being said, the point I want to make here is that rape doesn’t play any role when determining if the baby is a life or not. Rape is horrible, yes. But it isn’t a factor at all when it comes to something being a life or not. A baby who’s mother was raped is just as much as a life as a baby who’s mother was not raped.
Next, you mention that pro-lifers should not “perpetuate rape culture, allow a lack of resources, support abstinence education, and allow unhealthy relationships and communication to remain in a society if you do not want to give the choice to someone to bring another human into this world.” I may or may not disagree with you list of items, but in principle, doing or not doing any of those things has, again, nothing to do with the baby being a life or not. I could support abstinence or I could not support abstinence; it has absolutely nothing to do with the baby being a life or not. Being pro-life does not sign you up for doing the items that you’ve listed. To be pro-life, one simply has to hold the belief. That’s it. That’s all they have to do.
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness on this piece. I’m very sorry that this comment was not posted initially! (With our site, in order to prevent the too common bots and advertisements, we go through and approve individually for all comments that are not such. I’m very sorry this was not seen!) Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
I can say that I completely agree with you about the either “life or not a life” comment. Each conception is the potential for a child. My argument branches out differently here, though, because although I value each potential for life and the power and immensity of conception, I think of the scientific indications of conception. (i.e., the rate of development in a womb.) With these factors in mind, catching an unintended or ill-intended pregnancy early does indeed eliminate the potential for that life, but it may ultimately save the life of the affected mother.
I do, however, disagree that being pro-life does not come with a “to-do” list, or baggage, if you will. I believe that there are responsibilities that come along with eliminating the possibility of abortion and not supporting effective sexual health education. Because abstinence-only education is so wholly ineffective, it is hard for me to understand how one could not seek reform on this issue if we are not willing to deal with the consequences (pregnancy included) to unintended pregnancies due to lack of education.
Again, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. I appreciate dialogue on these issues, and feel as though I understand where you are coming from!