Coming to Life: Philosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering

By Sarah Lachance Adams; Caroline R. Lundquist | Go to book overview

8
The Pro-Choice Pro-Lifer
Battling the False Dichotomy

BERTHA ALVAREZ MANNINEN

The term “pro-life” tacitly implies that those who are on the opposing side of the abortion issue, those who are “pro-choice,” are anti-life. Then there is also the term “pro-abortion,” which many individuals interchange with “pro-choice.” Yet very few people (if any) are really pro-abortion; that is, very few encourage abortions or view them as a cause for celebration. Why, then, do so many equate being in favor of abortion rights with being in favor of abortion? How can those of us who are pro-choice battle this straw man of our position, and why should we care to? These are the questions I hope to address in this essay. I will argue that the pro-choice community needs to do more to illustrate respect for fetal life, and I will propose two ways in which this respect can be demonstrated. In effect, I am responding to Julia Hanigsberg’s call for the pro-choice community to articulate a “vision of the value of intrauterine life.”1


A False Dichotomy

The “pro-choice”/“pro-life” labels are a false dichotomy.2 Hanigsberg notes this when she writes: “The apparent dichotomization, which equates antiabortion forces with concern for ‘life,’ and ‘pro-choice’ forces with indifference to it, is an obvious and damaging oversimplification.”3 According to some, “pro-choice” is not just interchangeable with “pro-abortion,” but also with being anti-baby or anti-child.4 In a recent episode of the reality show 30 Days, a pro-choice advocate spends a month living among pro-life

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