Are pro-lifers self-righteous?
So, it looks like my post from last week has some critics. I thank Christine for the post and I was hoping for a little discussion on equality and rights for the unborn, but maybe next time (I guess debating the personhood of the unborn is tough?). In the comments section Christine said something interesting:
…and if my side is reactionary, yours is nothing but self-righteous…
That got me thinking. Are pro-lifers self-righteous? Do we feel morally superior to pro-choicers? Are we so absorbed with the rights of the unborn and abortion that we fail to find common ground with pro-choicers and work with them?
First, it is important to note that I am pro-life because I believe the pro-life side to be true. There is no other reason for me to be on this blog unless I am convinced that the unborn are persons and that others need to come to this realization, as well. Therefore, it is not a matter of I am right because I am so smart and wonderful, but rather it is a realization of the truth of the pro-life side and a desire to spread that message of the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.
Furthermore, I am not pro-life so that I can put other people beneath me and tell them what to do. I respect everyone’s freedom and choices because we are all human beings with free will. However, and I think even pro-choicers will agree with me, when that freedom impedes or harms another person, then you have crossed a line. Pro-choicers believe that by outlawing abortion we are impeding and harming women. However, any society that has to resort to abortion has failed women. If a woman has no support, is frightened and has no other alternatives then abortion is not a choice but rather a necessity. The last thing authentic pro-lifers want to do is to put women down or to make them feel even more scared than they may already feel. We understand that an unplanned pregnancy is a difficult situation to face for any woman. Therefore, there are pro-lifers who run crisis pregnancy centres so that women can have the support and care they need to ensure they choose life for their children. Crisis pregnancy centres have gotten a bad rap recently but, minus the media bias, they do more than Planned Parenthood when it comes to taking care of mothers and their children.
Now, I will grant the pro-choice side the fact that they truly want choice. I just want to ask a question: What are pro-choicers doing to ensure that pregnant women actually have a choice? I do not know of any pro-choice pregnancy centres but if they are helping pregnant women in any way, please let me know.
I think pro-choicers may also believe we are self-righteous because there are some pro-lifers, although not all, who disagree with birth control. Not only are we taking away a woman’s right to choose, but we are telling her what to do in the privacy of her own bedroom (nevermind the fact that there are pro-choicers in the States who would like to keep us out of their bedrooms but pick up the tab, but that will be for another post). The University of Toronto Students for Life has no opinion on birth control (unless, of course, they can act as abortifacients) but you cannot deny the link between birth control and abortion. In fact, the United States Supreme Court had this to say in the 1992 ruling of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey:
But to do this would be simply to refuse to face the fact that, for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.
In other words, abortion has to remain legal because for the last few decades it has been available as “back-up birth control”. It is quite logical once you think about it. However, pro-lifers bring it up because it is true not because we are so wonderful at self-control and we think that women who use contraception are heathens.
In addition, pro-lifers are not trying to solely work through the courts to get rid of abortion. We are, primarily, trying to raise awareness on the ground level through dialogue and education. We do this in sun or rain and whether it is warm or freezing cold. We realize that raising awareness for the rights of the unborn is something that needs to be done not for our sake but for the sake of those who do not have a voice.
Finally, the reason pro-lifers usually do not try to find common ground with pro-choicers is that we believe in the personhood of the unborn and they do not. If you truly believe that the unborn are human beings who have rights then abortion can never be a choice. How can you justify murdering someone when you acknowledge that they have rights like you and me? Does that mean it is okay for someone to murder you for any reason? If pro-choicers, for example, want to help at crisis pregnancy centres that is great. However, we will not allow anyone to tell a woman that if all else fails then it would be alright to murder her child. That should never be a choice. The most bogus claim is when a person says that they believe that the unborn are persons but they themselves should stay out of the woman’s “choice”. That is not acceptable. If your neighbour was beating his wife every night would you say to yourself, “spousal abuse is wrong but I am going to stay out of it.”? I would hope you would have the courage to call the police. All it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Again, it is truth that drives us to speak up against abortion, not that it makes us feel good and mighty.
I hope I have done a good enough job at pointing out why pro-lifers are not self-righteous. If I have missed anything, please comment 🙂