I completely agree with pro-choice writer Allison Benedikt.
In her article, “Why Pro-Choicers Should Be OK With Sex-Selection Abortions,” she points out that pro-choicers feeling squeamish about a particular reason for having an abortion makes no sense. She’s right.
This is pretty elementary stuff: The pro-choice movement is not just about protecting the rights of women in the direst situations to control their own bodies. It’s about protecting that right for all of us.
Although I’ve found many pro-choicers only like to bring up the most dire situations as justification for allowing abortion (life-threatening, rape), I’m hard pressed to find a pro-choicer who would ban it in less dire situations. To be pro-choice means that the mother can choose to dispose of her offspring in the womb for any reason Allison listed: financial difficulties, not psychologically ready for kids, too career-involved, etc. The fetus must be completely lacking in value for one to comfortably allow abortion for literally any reason.
Then why would it matter if a woman wants to get an abortion because the fetus is female? As Allison says:
Strategically, it makes no sense to give in to this idea that there’s somehow something a little queasier about having an abortion for gender than, say, for money. These are equally legitimate reasons (or, if you are on the other side, equally illegitimate).
If there is no value to a fetus, then isn’t sex-seletive abortion the moral equivalent of a man getting a vasectomy because he might have female babies in the future? From the pro-choice perspective, abortion is purely preventative. So who cares what the motivation is? It’s that woman’s choice, her reason is her own, and the outcome (no baby going through the magic-birth-canal-of-rights!) is identical to a woman who has an abortion because her life is at risk. No “real” person to deal with. Preventative.
Once pro-choicers get uncomfortable with a reason for an abortion, they are revealing the fact that they place some value on the fetus.
“One [reason] might make you uncomfortable in your gut, but it can’t make the movement hesitate…Gulp for a second if you must, then get over it.” Ignore that hesitation, is what she is saying. Push that feeling of value to the back of your mind. Avoid confronting it, is what Allison advises.
But emotions occur for a reason. Why is Allison discouraging her comrades from privately investigating the reason behind their discomfort? If it’s an emotion brought on only by pro-lifers, then what threat is that to the validity of the pro-choice perspective? However, if it’s an emotion brought on by innate value in that which you are allowing to be destroyed…well doesn’t that deserve investigation? If the woman’s needs are truly more important, won’t truth prevail?
How sturdy is your position if you have to tell fellow believers to “Gulp” and just “Get over it”? Yikes.
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This article originally appeared on Secular Pro-Life Blog and is reprinted with permission.