29 March 2007

Archive: Mean and Honest

This afternoon I received the following message from a classmate of mine:

Hey Dave! I know this is fairly random, but I am writing a paper on the misconceptions and stances of Pro Choice and Pro Life organizations. As a fighting Pro Choice believer, I was hoping you could write me up a brief somethin somethin explaining how you view members of Pro Life and the Pro Life organization in general. If you could do that I would really appreciate it and it would add some awsome spice to my paper. Thank you so much! Hope to hear from ya soon.

I responded:

When do you need it and how much do you need?

Moments later, I received this message:

As much as you care to give me and as soon as you can get it to me :) Basically I am showing how both sides are misrepresented by the other side and by society. How Pro Choice are labled as baby killers and Pro Life are labled as bible thumpers. So be as mean as you want, just give me your honest opinion about the Pro Life organization :)P.S. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!

Do you see the same problem that I did? Look closer.

Yeah, there it is: she's asking me to be an example of how "my side" misrepresents the other side. Yeah . . . Perhaps she's just tipping her hand too much or maybe she thinks I'm even more of a rabble rouser than I really am, in either case, I'm not loving the scenario. I love too that she wants me to be as mean as I want but give my honest opinion, the underlying assumption being that my honest opinion will be mean.

Take a look at the response I offered her and let me know what you think:

I am Pro Choice. I believe in a woman's right to choose when she wants to have a baby. I believe that denying women that choice is unfair and unconstitutional. That being said, I am pro life in a very literal sense.

I am all for life. I hope everyone lives for as long and as happily as possible without infringing on anyone else's right to do the same. The semantic issue raised by the term "Pro Life" is one of my biggest problems with the "Pro Life" camp-- because it implies that the opposition is "Anti-Life" or "Pro Death." I'm not Pro Death. I'm not even Pro Abortion. I wish there were no need for abortions and that only people that wanted to and were ready to have children would get pregnant. I also wish George Bush were a gas station attendant instead of the president and that I owned the patent on a cheap, renewable energy source but that doesn't make it true. The simple fact is not everyone who finds themselves pregnant is in a position to provide for a child (and no, adoption is not a suitable solution. Don't believe me? Check out the statistics on the number of children up for adoption and the number of children actually being adopted). So, I support a woman's right to choose (should she become pregnant) whether or not she wants to carry the pregnancy to term. I also support a man or a woman's right to choose to have anything removed from his or her body that he or she is not prepared to support for 18 years.

I view the opposing side in the abortion argument not as "Pro Life" but as "Anti-Choice" and I disagree with their argument. But, I don't think they're crazy. Certainly the Anti-Choice camp has its zealots, like abortion clinic bombers and people who murder doctors (killing someone to show them how much you hate killing somehow doesn't seem like the sanest tactic) but that's the fringe element. Most of the opponents of a woman's right to choose are very good people-- which may be more credit than many of them would give to us Pro Choicers. Then again, maybe not.

The argument comes down to a fundamental disagreement over what constitutes human life. Ultimately, I think they have their science wrong. A collection of cells does not equal a human. A fetus is not a baby. A zygote is not a baby. I believe life is that precious little time between birth and death and I believe it's that period of time we should be focusing on. The Anti Choice camp seems much more interested in the period between fertilization (and an hour or so before) and extraction. My biggest criticism of them is simply that their goal seems to be to bring every pregnancy to term with little regard as to what happens next.

I truly applaud the "Pro Life" movement, though, for acting on their convictions. If they believe that a zygote is a human life then it would be shameful of them not to try to preserve it. I disagree with their definition of human life, but I agree with them about its importance. To me, though, seeing that each human has as happy a life as possible is far more important than just making sure every pregnancy ends with a birth. It's a question of quality of lives versus quantity of lives. For me, quality will always win.

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