We Are Not All That Different

2 Mar

I can usually be certain that any anti I run into is going to turn out to be a giant hypocrite. I despise hypocrisy. I work very hard in my own life to not be one. I actually chastise myself for my own hypocrisies even if they are, by objective standards, inconsequential. I do not hold anybody to a higher standard than I hold myself. As we are all well aware, the typical anti only cares about the fetus. They want to “save” the fetus simply by outlawing abortion, not dealing with any of the underlying causes of abortion. Most are opposed to birth control, sex ed, healthcare, etc. Many are also supportive of the death penalty and war. They are a bundle of hypocrisy and I can’t stand it. I ended up in a polite discussion with a well known anti, let’s call her Janet. I will admit, I broke one of my cardinal rules and I personally attacked her by calling her “crazy.” It will be days before I forgive myself for that because I refuse to engage in people who attack me personally and I did it to her. Moving on. I am here to admit that I have the tiniest bit of respect for this anti.

I am incredibly critical of many people and groups, specifically the right-wing and antis. They are both bundles of hypocrisy and hate. I am the first person to attack Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, but I am also the first person to give him credit where credit is due. To me, that is part of not being a hypocrite. I will also criticize my own “side,” be that pro-choicers or the Liberal Party. This particular anti is so far the only one who (claims to) support birth control, healthcare and comprehensive sex education. I don’t have any details and she may still qualify all of this, but the fact that on the face of it she supports actual methods for combating abortion, I can say that I have some respect for her. She denies that legal abortion is safe, saying it’s a Planned Parenthood conspiracy, but in theory that is just a matter of who you believe. She states her goal as using “birth control and sex education so no one wants/needs an abortion.” While I cannot support her belief that a fetus is more valuable, or even equally valuable as, the woman, I can support and respect her for any work she does related to birth control and sex ed. We are all well aware of the uphill battle anyone faces when trying to get comprehensive sex ed taught to students and birth control accessible. Her and I ultimately diverge on the morality of abortion, but we aren’t that far apart.

Pro-life or pro-choice? We really aren’t that different. Pro-“life” insists, day in and day out that all they want to do is stop the death of innocent babies. Pro-choice insists that it is a fetus, not a baby. They have taken such a hard “right” stance that they leave pro-choice very little choice (no pun intended) than to take the opposite side. I despise this kind of wedge politics; refusing to compromise gets nobody anywhere. Before I began engaging in pro-choice activism I seriously considered both sides. At the end of the day I picked pro-choice for some very good reasons.

Here’s the thing, in theory I do not oppose “fetal rights.” In theory. Unfortunately the application creates serious problems. In a perfect world both the woman and the fetus could have equal rights, kind of like men and women having equal rights. The problem, as it is obvious to pro-choice, is that the fetus requires residence in the woman’s body. Setting aside accusations that women are irresponsible or should just have to suck up being pregnant as a consequence of sex, you cannot grant equal rights to two persons sharing the same body. In the situation of a fetus and a woman, it is the woman’s body so she trumps. A fetus is human (though so are my skin cells…) and could very well become a baby. I also accept that children are vulnerable members of our society and must be protected. I would like to concede that the situation is shitty.

I am truly not an unreasonable person. I wish there was a way to compromise with the antis but as they show time and time again, they aren’t interested in “saving babies” they are interested in controlling female sexuality or, in the alternative, punishing women for having sex. I cannot condone those goals. Antis like Janet who acknowledge the underlying causes of abortion and want to fix those so as the limit abortions are dealing with the legitimate issues and, I believe, are deserving of a little respect. The reality is I know what will happen if abortion is made illegal. Women will get abortions regardless. Many of those women will die and as a guaranteed consequence, the fetus will also die. If antis like Janet could truly accept that fact then I’d like to think that reason would step in and they would agree that the goal should be limiting abortions but keeping it safe for when it is necessary. I am personally not a subscriber to “safe, legal and rare” but I respect those who are. At the end of the day, whether you believe the loss of the life of the fetus is a tragedy or not, can’t we all agree that the loss of the life of the woman is a tragedy and preventing those deaths should be the number 1 priority? After that, let’s reduce the rate of abortions by ensuring that women aren’t raped, aren’t uneducated about sex and aren’t living in poverty such that they can’t afford another child. Let’s work on solving those issues so we can save the lives of fetuses. But let’s not allow women to die simply on principle.

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