Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Pro-life vs. Pro-choice : Perspective

Long time no blog, dawg. Not gonna make excuses, except that Christmas happened, and appraisal season is coming up, and I've been battling off the winter blues, and and and. . .


So, today's rumination of choice is on the pro-life versus pro-choice debate. Typically, I have avoided getting into discussions about this topic, as everyone and their dog seems to have very strong opinions, and will fight tooth and claw for one side or the other.

The truth is, I don't really have a strong opinion. If it came down to it, I would fall on the "pro-choice" side of the spectrum, as I believe ultimately what a woman does with her body should be her own to decide. But I don't feel the need to back that belief up with philosophy, constitutional babble, feminist rage, or the typical series of "what if's " (what if she was raped? what if giving birth would kill the mother? what if she cannot afford to raise the child?).

It is not that there is no validity in these arguments -- there is. However, from my perspective, these discussions tend to take away from the reality of the choice in pro-choice.

By turning the topic into a matter of philosophy or politics, putting it in the drawing room or on the political platform, the emotional impact of the choice is drained away, and you might as well be discussing taxation or smoking pipes and rambling abstractly about ethics.

"Pro-choice" is often used in feminist hands as a sort of weapon, another blade from the armory. Again this distracts from the reality of the choice -- "pro-choice" becomes more of a tagline or a battlecry, than something centered on a real decision to be made.

As to the "what ifs", I find them irrelevant. Certainly, they play a role in how the choice might come to be made, but they make weak pillars when upholding the right to make that choice, because they take something that is very real, and throw it into the realm of the hypothetical.

What I'm trying to get at here is that it is easy to lose track of the choice in pro-choice when everyone gets caught up in picking sides and debating themselves blue in the face.

Yes, I believe every woman should have the right to choose. I am happy to live in a country where abortion is legally an option for me. But if it came right down to it, and I found myself with an unwanted pregnancy, would I choose abortion?

 I honestly don't know.

If I were thinking just in terms of philosophy, politics, or what I believe about women's rights, I'd go for it in an instant. But when faced with such a choice, none of that really matters, does it?

And, for that matter, the choice of whether to bring a life into the world, or hold it back, is one that exists independently of the law. Abortions were performed before safe medical procedures were ever invented, and abortions would continue even without governmental approval and proper medical support.

Strip away the philosophy and the politics, the question of a woman's rights and the "what ifs", and you are left with a choice, the same choice women have been making for centuries.

And it is, and always will be the most difficult--and most important--decision a woman can make.