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Monday, March 1, 2010

Being Pro "Life" or "Anti" Abortion

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/opinion/28kristof.html?em

While I consider myself a general moderate on issues of abortion and valuing a combination of liberty and affirmation of life, it can be frustrating to hear the same people who complain about how "abortion is murder" or how homosexual activity is "destroying the family values" or some such drivel will also support war in any form or force people to go through grueling anguish and suffering to bring children into the world that will not survive beyond their 5th year or more. It's that combination of willful hypocrisy and self imposed compartmentalization that makes me think it's just a matter of clever labels that avoid implied positions like "anti abortion" or "anti GLBT". Instead they call themselves "pro life" and "pro family" to avoid the fact that there is little connection of pro life to valuing the death penalty or waging war in lieu of nonviolent means; and similarly that being pro family does not involve denying gay couples the right to adopt children and give them a family they'd otherwise be without because of the red tape and waiting lists that come with adoption agencies simply because they are two men or two women.

With pro life, it seems like it should be affirming life as a valuable thing in and of itself. Not just in the context of a potential life or the preservation of it to the detriment of other lives interconnected with it (maternal death due to poor medical care for instance or the demonization of abortion only pushing women to get back alley procedures that only cause them more suffering than necessary). Pro life should reasonably say that even a murderer should be given life in prison to ruminate on their crimes and misdeeds instead of saying that we can take their life in our hands and use it in whatever way we see fit to fulfill a twisted sense of justice. And instead of trying to force abstinence only education on children, perhaps it would be best to approach sex as a natural process that leads to life, but also teach teens responsibility for such an act that carries that value. Pro life in short, has to be expanded beyond what is a thinly veiled hatred of abortion that spreads misinformation or general bigotry towards a procedure that while objectionable in some theological manner, does not automatically become the ethical equivalent of me pulling a gun on a stranger and repeatedly shooting them. Especially considering the so called "child" is commonly a child only in the eyes of parents who love it, not every woman who happens to be pregnant and in many cases scared beyond imagination.

And with pro family, there is a parallel need for expansion of the position beyond saying that gays and lesbians cannot adopt because two men or two women can't bring up a child with distinct gender roles and also a clarification that sex is only part of a meaningful relationship of people who love each other. It could stand to expand the idea of family to transgendered individuals as well, though one might have you believe they're confused or trying to play God with their biology. Not to mention the idea that any family that isn’t a male and a female seems doomed to failure in the eyes of this position. Not even a single parent is as esteemed as two people who only feel obligated to stay together because of divorce being anathema to them or a so called duty to society that overrides keeping their children happy and well cared for. But as long as people insist on keeping ideas of life or family within narrow and purposely ignorant constraints that keep out minorities of one stripe or another, the real essence of their message is mangled beyond recognition. Not unlike tearing me apart and saying that I'm only a valuable person because of the part of my brain allowing me to think critically on topics such as this. But I kind of need my hands and arms and torso and eyes to sit at this laptop and put this together, don't I?

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