This picks up on a post I did about a year and half ago about the anti-choice line that pregnancies are a "gift from God."
In reading comments that anti-choicers leave on posts that deal with the subject of abortion, there are a number of common arguments I see them make that are flat out dishonest or wrong. Here they are with my response to them.
If She Didn't Want to Get Pregnant, She Shouldn't Have Had Sex In The First Place!
In a nutshell, the anti-choicers who spout this line seem to be saying that every woman who has ever gotten pregnant but doesn't want to have a baby put herself in her position by engaging in reckless promiscuity without a thought to the consequences.
My retort to that argument is to point out to the anti-choicer who uses that line that unless he or she personally witnessed every act of sexual intercourse in this country that resulted in a pregnancy, then he or she is in not position to judge whether or not the woman was being irresponsible. This position also implicitly denies any responsibility on behalf of the man who impregnated her, as if all men are so much a slave to their hormones that they are beguiled by these women into becoming sperm donors.
How can we know that a man and woman who have sex intending to have a child weren't making a rational decision at the time, but that subsequent events forced them to change? Maybe the boyfriend or husband of the woman suffered a serious physical injury or medical condition that made him unable to work while simultaneously incurring huge medical expenses that make carrying the pregnancy to term a tremendous hardship for them. In that case, it would make more sense to terminate the pregnancy and then try again later when the man has recovered and they get their finances back on track.
What if the woman were in an abusive relationship where she is too scared to refuse consent to have sex? The act of getting pregnant might be the catalyst to make her realize that if she carries the pregnancy to term, she might either find herself further trapped in the relationship, or if she leaves him, face the horrifying prospect that the abuser will take her to court for custodial rights or give him a reason to hunt her down.
In short, since we don't know the context for each sex act that results in pregnancy, we can't assume that a woman's reason to abort a pregnancy is done for trivial reasons.
Pro-Choicers Hate Babies and also, We Want to Kill Them!
As the father of two children, I call bullshit on that. I concede that some women who support abortion, such as Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon, are on record as stating that they absolutely have no desire to have children. However, the majority of those of us who believe in a woman's right to an abortion are parents ourselves. Some women who choose to terminate a pregnancy will either go on to have children at some point in their lives or they have already had children. From my own perspective as a father who has a daughter, I want her to be able to have the right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy if she found herself in such circumstances.
As for the hyperbolic rhetoric about baby killing, if it were really true, why would abortion rights supporters stop at pregnancy? If we were so gung ho about "killing babies" we would be unplugging incubators in hospital maternity wards and snatching infants out of strollers at the part and smashing their skulls against the pavement. And yet one never hears of such a thing.
Pro-Choicers Celebrate Baby Killing!
Yeah, totally man! I can't tell you how many post-abortion parties I've attended.
No, we don't celebrate abortion. What we do celebrate, if anything, when marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, is the recognition that a woman has the right to bodily autonomy and to be able to have not only the right to terminate a pregnancy if she so chooses, but to also have affordable access to an abortion. What we also celebrate and advocate for is the right of a pregnant woman, if she chooses to carry the pregnancy to term, to have access to quality medical care not only for her own personal health, but to help ensure that the baby she wants to have is born healthy. Anti-choicers never seem to want to acknowledge this.
That being said, in the interest of balance, there are a couple of arguments I hear from pro-choicers that also annoy me.
If Men Could Get Pregnant, Abortion Would Be A Sacrament!
Well, if men could get pregnant, then they wouldn't be men. Since we don't live in a world where men can get pregnant, we are in no position to seriously say how that would affect the debate over abortion. That's why that is a line that I never use in arguing with anti-choicers.
How Many Babies Are You Adopting?
On the surface, I get this argument. If an anti-choicer wants to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term that she doesn't want to have, will he or she (as there are a fair share of anti-choice women) step up to take care of that baby?
Admittedly, I haven't looked at the statistics, but I don't doubt that some evangelical Christians do adopt children, whether domestically or abroad.
That being the case, as an atheist and a supporter of abortion rights, I don't want anti-choicers adopting children and indoctrinating them children into believing all of the things we deplore among the Religious Right.
When all is said and done, the basic disagreement between supporters and opponents of abortion rights is that one side considers the fetus to be subordinate to a pregnant woman and the other side takes the opposite position. One side recognizes that pregnancy is a serious medical condition and that a woman should have the right to determine if she wants to terminate a pregnancy, whether it is for reasons for her own personal health and well being or because she does not want to bring a child into this world if she does not believe the conditions are favorable to raising a child in a healthy environment.