Editor’s note: This piece previously stated that Rick Perry’s wife had an abortion. This is incorrect (to the best of our knowledge). Rick Santorum’s wife has had an abortion. The mistake has been fixed in the text below.
Recently, it has been brought to my attention by the internet and cranky people on it that people who are antichoice hate, just simply HATE, when those of us who are prochoice insist that we are also, actually, prolife. Apparently, this made-up thing, “prolife,” is meant to designate a singularity of pro-ness, that is, “being pro anything that has ever been conceived ever being brought to term and to life no matter what the consequences.” This seems, to me, an intensely narrow definition of prolife! I will now expand that definition, for fun.
1) Prochoice is prolife because: LIFE IS AWESOME. Yes, that’s right. I think life is awesome. Therefor, I am prolife. You know what’s awesome about life? Coffee. I have some right now. Also all seven seasons of Buffy on DVD, which I am watching with my roommate. Also our cat.
2) Prochoice is prolife because: HAVING REPRODUCTIVE CHOICES LETS YOU LIVE LIFE ON YOUR OWN TERMS. Life is awesome – see above. You know what’s an awesome thing about life? Having sex with the person I care about a whole bunch, and then going to school AND working full-time and occasionally seeing a movie. Without the many reproductive choices we fight for – including, thank you to the state of New York and sexual health advocates the world over, Plan B over the counter – I would not be able to have all these things. And having these things is awesome.
3) Prochoice is prolife because: ABORTIONS SAVE LIVES. Yes. Yes they do. They really do. In fact, former Senator Rick Santorum’s wife had one to save her life. It was a good choice! Everyone should have that choice.
4) Prochoice is prolife because: PEOPLE IN THE PROCHOICE MOVEMENT FIGHT FOR THE LIVES OF THE LIVING. While antichoicers are attempting to regulate the shit out of abortion, a procedure that is safer than giving birth, during which only .3% of women experience complications, most of the prochoice people I know are much more concerned with the living. For example, a lot of prochoicers I know right now are concerned with the death penalty. Maybe you support it – I do, in some instances – but the way this country handles it has been SERIOUSLY called into question. Also, prochoicers believe in regulating the medical community, to save lives. I am working right now on getting plastic surgery regulated in the state of California because lack of oversights there have resulted in the deaths of five people from lap-band surgery. Why isn’t the “prolife” movement concerned with this? Oh right, because these people are already born. Once we get you born, you’re on your own. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, PEOPLE.
People I know who are prochoice believe that people need to be able to decide what is best for them in terms of reproduction. Once people have made that decision, people in the prochoice movement work to support them in many ways – fighting for access to education, financial support for those living on or below the poverty line, and reforms for the criminal justice system. Prochoicers believe we live in an imperfect world and work to improve it in a million ways every day. Antichoicers sit outside clinics and harass patients, and get snippy and rude online, because it is much easier to deal with a constituency of fetuses who can’t tell you what they think than it is to deal with the real consequences of a material and lived existence of needful human beings.
Look, I know we don’t want to get all sciency here, but I am so sick of listening to people say, prochoice isn’t prolife because they don’t believe in a right to be born. Um, no. No, I don’t believe in the right to be born. Where is that ever a right?? Not in the constitution. Not in the bible. Not ANYWHERE. No one has the right to be born. Pregnant people, however, have the right to make all the decisions they feel are best and necessary to carry a life to term if they so choose, and I support that right and those decisions. I think that decision is awesome. I think it is brave. I think I am super glad I am personally a long way away from making it.
I’m not usually so rude, nor do I typically lump a bunch of people together and say, “all you people are like this.” But I’m having a bit of a day, which has been preceeded by a bit of a week, which, like everyone else who cares about reproductive justice, has been preceeded by a bit of a year. So fuck it. I’m prochoice, and that makes me prolife. I’m not ashamed of anything, I’m not wrong or bad or delusional. I fight every day for good, important things, and just this once, all the people who are telling me I’m going to hell can go to hell. Tomorrow I will again turn the other cheek. Today, I just want to laugh.
As a courtesy, and to head off the barrage of comments that will now come our way that say things like, “I am pro choosing new flavors of ice cream, so I am prochoice!” from people who think they are being clever and proving a point, I will now clarify: when I say I am prochoice, I mean I advocate for people to have as many reproductive choices as possible. These include, just off the top of my head, birth control (hormonal and non-hormonal), adoption, in-vitro fertilization, abortion, and excellent pre and post-natal care for those who give birth. And also I believe in choosing between flavors of ice cream (have you TRIED this new business from Ben& Jerry’s, this Banana Buzz?! it does not matter if you do not like bananas, it tastes like whiskey and awesome, go get some). When I say someone is antichoice, I mean that they do not believe people need, deserve, or should have access to all these reproductive options and more. And that sucks.
Feel free, in the comments, to tell me why being prochoice makes you prolife. I would love to hear about it.