Opinion

Gee, I wonder why pro-lifers and pro-choicers don’t get along better!

In one breath, Forbes contributor Chitra Sundaram bemoans how “no real discussion occurs online or offline” when it comes to abortion policy. In the next, she unwittingly betrays her own culpability in the sad state of our national dialogue with a tirade about pro-lifers’ alleged heartlessness:

The silent masses, much as Margaret Sanger, a pioneer in Women’s reproductive rights and one of the founders of Planned Parenthood found during her travails,  remain ignored.  They live and die on the fringes of society, in pockets of dire poverty and inner city tenements, even in an ultra-rich country like ours.  Yet they might as well not exist as far as politicians, and commentators are concerned.  If poor women get pregnant, it must be because they are sluts.  And the fact that they can’t afford to have a child simply means that they shouldn’t have sex!  And the possibility that they might be living in overtly or covertly abusive situations matters little to the ideological pundit.  Finally, if the unwanted child is to be forced upon a woman or family, the State of Arizona, facing similar budget deficits to other states has cut into the very programs that might help ease the financial strain on such families.

Much could be said about how pro-choice states actually don’t do better than pro-life ones in reducing abortion rates or preventing unintended pregnancy, or which social programs actually help the needy and which ones simply waste money and foster dependence on government. Here, though, let’s focus on the author’s visceral aversion to frank discussion about sexual responsibility.

Hyperbolic “slut” descriptor aside, the underlying point – that poor women (other than rape victims) get pregnant because they knowingly chose to do something that potentially results in pregnancy – is self-evidently true, as is the commonsense advice that not having sex is the only foolproof way to avoid pregnancy. Why is it offensive to say so? Isn’t prevention a vital, legitimate part of any discussion of the troubles afflicting the poor? Most importantly, why aren’t we allowed to take into account somebody’s responsibility for creating a baby when evaluating her wish to destroy him or her?

After asserting that Margaret Sanger was actually “cautious of the indiscriminate use of abortion” because she understood its “physiological and psychological affects on women and their partners,” Sundaram takes even more fatuous leaps of logic:

In a civilized society that values individual liberties, however, how can a state or federal government say that you basically have “one” chance to avoid pregnancy – through birth control?  (a right, which we might note it took almost 65 years to achieve).

Abortion doesn’t “avoid” pregnancy; it ends it by killing a mother’s baby. And therein lies the problem – it’s not that pro-lifers are trying to give women as few reproductive choices as possible; it’s that one particular choice in dispute is unacceptable because it kills an innocent person. Like too many pro-abortion ideologues, Sundaram sustains her outrage by simply refusing to even reference why pro-lifers object.

Then again, maybe it’s for the best that she skips over the heavy lifting; in the comments, she tells someone that “how you want to define ‘human being’” is “a personal choice” (um, no) and that her basis for “choice” trumping fetuses’ right to life is that women “are contributing members of society.” Sounds like bad news for children, the severely disabled, and many of the elderly…

If however,  for any reason (error, or inefficacy) you screw up, you must be forced to have children you cannot afford?

You must be forced to bear a child (simply because we don’t have another nonlethal option), but you’re not forced to keep that child. Poor women can give their babies up for adoption, and if that’s too much trouble, most states also have safe haven laws letting women leave their newborns at hospitals, fire houses, and police stations.

It is reprehensible enough when governments like the Chinese enforce a rule of no more than one child per family.  How is it any different when a government insists that we cannot limit the size of it?

Er, maybe because in one case the government is forcing you to kill someone, and in the other the government is forcing you not to? Seems pretty self-explanatory to me.

Why doesn’t abortion get the candid, productive discussion it deserves? It’s not because pro-lifers are unfeeling dogmatists. It’s because pro-choicers stigmatize the discussion of inconvenient truths, ignore us when we tell them what they pretend they want to know, and coarsen the debate with demagogic questions they already know the answers to.

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