Friday, August 23, 2013

Three Lessons From A Conversation With A Pro-Choice Feminist

Brought on by my latest post on Ignitum Today, I've been engaging in an enlightening discussion with a pro-choice feminist. I want to share with you some of my observations:

1) Pro-lifers need to do a better job at showing that we are for all life, not just the unborn.
One of the first things that the pro-choice feminist threw at me was the stereotype that "Pro-lifers only care about the unborn." We know that your average pro-life activist working at the grassroots level cares about all children. They donate to or volunteer for crisis pregnancy centers to assist women and children with their practical everyday needs. They start homes for pregnant women, like Joseph's House that is being started soon in my town. 

Yes, for those of us who are religious, our right hand is not supposed to know what our left is doing (Matthew 6:3), but we're only giving fodder to pro-choice attacks. We need to do a better job at showing that we are for all life. We need to put our money where our mouth is.

Source, This site has other cool pics.
Our so-called "pro-life" politicians need to show that they understand that women and children need support (in whatever way they feel comfortable providing that support). Politicians need to realize that being against abortion is not enough to earn the title of being "pro-life."    

2) Conservatives and liberals need to talk to each other instead of demonizing one another. Eventually, she and I both agreed that pro-life and pro-choice people care about the poor and people who are already born. I tried to explain to her one of the main differences I've observed between conservatives and liberals: That conservatives want the social safety net to be local and charity based, while liberals are more comfortable with more government intervention. No one wants to kick the poor out on the streets and no one wants anyone to go hungry.

Liberals and conservatives both need to be willing to talk constructively about their differences. The polarization in our culture needs to stop. We aren't getting anything done and we will ultimately tear ourselves to shreds. Instead of staying in our little corners, we need to talk to each other. 

When we talk to each other, we can work on the the issues we agree on and we can learn from one another. Refusing to talk to one another is simply a sign of being insecure in our own beliefs. It's a sign of anger and hatred. Be a sign of love today: talk to someone who is across the aisle from you.

3) It all boils down to the existential questions of: When does life begin? What is a human? That's where the real argument is. We can go around in circles all day with protest slogans and signs, but in the end, this is the question that matters. When we are debating abortion, we are debating the meaning of being human.

This is a question that everyone, regardless of your opinion on abortion, needs to ask yourself. And keep asking yourself. It's not a question you can answer and then walk away, you need to analyze your answer. Is this really the right answer? Is this universally true? Human lives are at stake both inside and outside the womb. 

Often our answers to what constitutes life inside the womb as implications for those already born as well. For example, let's say you come to the conclusion that life starts when the brain becomes active, what does that mean for our definition of "brain death"?

Science can be used to come to the answer, but science cannot provide the answer. Religion can be used to come to the answer, but religion cannot provide the answer. I think if we could all put down our rhetoric and bickering, we could get somewhere by limiting ourselves to the question at hand: What is a human? 

Yelling at each other is getting us no where. We are more mature than that. Let's all act like it. 
Hug a conservative/liberal/whatever-you-disagree-with today 

1 comment:

  1. While I enjoyed your essay, I think your three points oversimplify the problem. The main difference between pro-choice people and those who wish to ban abortion legally is that the former favor individual autonomy and the latter favor state legal control over the individual, body and soul.

    I am pro-choice. To me, a human zygote is human material from which a woman produces a human being. Pregnancy is one long moment of creation. Since God doesn't make a human being alone, but with the woman, God gives her the choice whether or not to participate.
    A rape victim has no choice about having sex, but she has a choice about continuing a rape pregnancy. And God gave Mary an opportunity to test the angel and agree only to pregnancy without sex with a man. So consent to sex and consent to pregnancy are two separate things.

    Note that God does not physically force Mary or, indeed, any woman, to be pregnant in the Bible. Unlike mindless biological force, God has decent manners.

    At the same time, even if a zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus were a person, I could not support a legal ban on abortion prior to fetal viability.

    Our legal system gives every person the right to refuse to donate his/her blood or organs to extend the life span of any other person. It gives every person the right to refuse any other person's putting or keeping part of his/her body inside that person's sex organs and to use deadly force if necessary to prevent that person's doing so by force.

    That a woman consents to a brief act of sex with one person does not give a different person the right to have sex with her, too. Neither does it give any person the right to attach biologically to her bodiy tissue, shut down part of her body's immune defense system, take oxygen and nutrients out of her blood, and put toxic waste in it, for nine continuous months.

    I find the US Supreme Court decisions on the issue of abortion to be impartial and reasonable. Before viability, the point at which a fetus has a 50/50 chance of surviving if detached from the woman's body, the embryo or fetus will die instantly if the woman does. How is that evidence of individual life apart from the woman's own?

    Pro-choice people are not trying to force any individual person to make one choice or another. Embryos don't yet have individual life apart from the women they inhabit, let alone mind, so why would they be live individual persons? But if they were, the women would still have the right not to be or continue to be pregnant. God has no quarrel with that: only fallible human beings do.


What do you think? I want to know.