It’s time to be honest about the vocabulary used to describe the “pro-life” movement. I put the term “pro-life” in quotes because I prefer to use the term that describes what it actually is: anti-choice. Many anti-choicers fervently cling to the notion that their views advocate for life, but to whose life are they referring? Certainly not the life of the living woman whose body is needed as a host by the fetus in order to survive. Anti-choicers claim to defend life, but human life and human beings are two very different things. A skin cell, as well as a tumor, both qualify as human life. Are these things equal to human beings? Do they deserve equal, or even more rights than a human being? Rationale tells us no. Anti-choicers can do all the mental gymnastics they want, but the fact remains that a fertilized egg is not a human being, nor should its rights trump that of a living woman.
Thanks to years of religious-inspired misogynist zealotry, anti-choicers have been successful in persuading lawmakers and the general public that God thinks abortion is murder. This belief is largely rooted in the idea that women who have sex and become pregnant deserve what they get, even if it means dying due to pregnancy-related complications — so pro-life, right?
Many anti-choicers go even further and are adamant in preventing women and girls who have been raped or victims of incest from having an abortion. Any compassionate person would agree that women and girls who have been through the trauma of rape and/or incest deserve comprehensive medical treatment and any other services in order to help them heal. But should they find themselves pregnant, too bad. A story involving a 10-year old mentally ill Kansas girl who became pregnant after being raped by her uncle recently garnered international attention, because anti-choicers who want the doctor who performed her abortion, Dr. Ann Neuhaus, to lose her license. That’s right, they’re upset because a 10-year old incest AND rape victim was not forced to give birth. The zygote inside of her is more important to them.
Anti-choice zealots have even gone so far as to prosecute women who have miscarried. Personhood activist Ed Hanks, who is based in Colorado, wrote on the Mississippi Personhood Facebook page that, “society will understand why women need to be punished just as surely as they understand why there can be no exceptions for rape/incest.” In a moment of rare honesty, an anti-choicer let the veil slip and said exactly what the “pro-life” movement is really all about: punishing women. You can read his quote and more from anti-choice activists in this article by Irin Carmon of Salon.
More honest options for the re-branding of the “pro-life” movement include:
2. Pro-forced birth
6. Pro-fertilized egg
9. Pro-punish women
What happens if the entire United States goes the way of Mississippi, where a tractor salesman drafted anti-abortion legislation that got onto the ballot? Oh, I should also mention that he embarked on a state-wide anti-choice tour to promote his extreme anti-choice legislation entitled “Conceived in Rape Tour.” Yeah. Instead of campaigning to, oh I don’t know, help women who were raped, this “pro-life” man instead chose to campaign for eggs fertilized via rape.
Don’t let anti-choicers get away with calling themselves “pro-life.” Refer to them as what they really are: anything but.