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According to my friends page, yesterday was, apparently, blogging for choice day. Yes, I'm late to the party. I always am. However, I'm opinionated, so I'm going to write about this anyway.

I am pro-choice.

I am also pro-life.

Really. This isn't rocket science. I know very few people who going around saying "yeah, life sucks, let's kill it all" or "I hate choice; I wish that everything was controlled by the government and we got absolutely no say in our life". This isn't to say that I like all life or all choice, mind. Cholera and tape worms, for instance, both suck, as does people choosing to punch me in the face.

"Pro-choice" and "pro-life" are both entirely meaningless as labels; what's the point of labelling yourself as being in favour of something that pretty much everyone is in favour of? It's all just a case of rhetoric. Label yourself as in favour of something, and then imply that the people who disagree with you are opposed to it. Sorry, but I'm not buying it.

People who believe that abortion is wrong are not anti-choice. They just happen to believe, rightly or wrongly, that one particular choice is sufficiently bad that it should never be taken.

Likewise, people who believe that abortion is a viable alternative are not anti-life. They merely believe, rightly or wrongly, that in some cases there are other more important priorities than preservation of life at all costs.

Anyone with an ounce of sense is aware of this, and to portray things otherwise is disingenuous. Let's not kid ourselves here: this is a complex issue. If it was simple then we'd have figured it out already. There are perfectly reasonable and rational people who hold wildly different views (and entirely unreasonable and irrational ones who do, too). So can we quit it with the "abortion good, no abortion bad" (or vice versa) rhetoric that is reminiscent of nothing so much as the sheep from Animal Farm? It isn't convincing anybody.

And yes, I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking, "But rho, the other side uses this sort of rhetoric. We have to respond in kind to be able to compete with them, and if we don't do that then we'll lose the ideological battle and end up in an undesirable world." I don't buy that one either. It's basically the "but they started it!" argument that didn't wash when I was 5 and still doesn't wash now.

This is the sort of thing that everyone does because everyone does. I truly believe that on this, and on any other issue, most people are not fanatical zealots. Most people are willing to seek some sort of sensible compromise and middle ground. The problem is that in many cases, there's nobody to compromise with. Everything is polarised with no middle ground, so people feel compelled to come down on one side or the other.

Compromise has to start somewhere. There has to be someone who says "actually, no, I don't buy this dichotomy". There has to be someone who will stand up and reject the party line on each side, and stand in the middle. There has to be a start for moderates to rally around. In fact, with billions of people across the world, it takes a good number of people to make that stand. Make yourself one of them.

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*wild applause* This is a fantastic post. I have nothing to add except to tell you how much I appreciate it. Yay rho.

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They just happen to believe, rightly or wrongly, that one particular choice is sufficiently bad that it should never be taken.

Sufficiently bad that they will forcibly prevent others from taking it. I have no argument with people who believe that abortion, or stepping on cracks in the pavement, are such bad choices that they should never be taken. I have extreme problems with people who attempt to impose these moral choices on others by force.

Agreed. And this is the crux of the matter. The pro-abortion campaigners labelled themselves as pro-choice because they needed a positive term to fight back against the pro-lifers, it's not about abandoning the middle ground or creating a polarised political stance, it's about fighting extremists with extremism in the hope that when the dust settles there will be a viable solution lying between the two groups. Admittedly, the resolution is not coming as soon as one would hope.

Gagh, I kinda contradict myself by saying 'it's not about creating a polarised political opinion/it's fighting with extremism'. What I mean to say is that it is not a *desirable* place to end up arguing from, but the nature of the argument requires campaigners to occupy an unequivocal standpoint

I think that this is the nub of it really. I don't believe that it is necessary to espouse the unequivocal position, and I don't think that it's necessary to fight extremism with extremism. I tend to believe that doing so just lends validity to the original extremists, whereas responding with reasoned moderation just makes them look silly.

It may well be that this makes me a hopelessly naive idealist, but I think that's something I can live with being. I also know that people I like and respect disagree with me on this one, and I can happily live with that one as well.

Oh, I have extreme problems with these people as well. I just don't think that "anti-choice" is a valid label for them when there's only one particular choice (that related to abortion) that they're opposed to. I'd be more inclined to call them something along the lines of "violent anti-abortion extremists". What they do is bad enough that we don't need to additionally stigmatise them with hyperbolic descriptions.

There are some who wish to dictate the morality of others by personally engaging in violence, such as bombing clinics or killing doctors, it's true. Perhaps you can call them "violent anti-abortion extremists". But there is a much larger group of people who, while they are not violent themselves, wish to forcibly dictate the morality of others by making one of the choices illegal.

They believe that one particular choice is so bad it should never be taken. Fine! They have made a moral decision. Good for them. But then they work to use the law to decide what moral decision everyone else is allowed to make: people will no longer have a moral choice, but only a need to evaluate whether to break the law instead. They have had their moral choice taken away from them. That is why people who want this can be called "anti-choice".

No.
See, some people who are against anyone having access to safe legal abortions, they go and get abortions when they need them.
http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml

Safe legal abortions should be available to all. Because we can't know everyone's story.
I see no 'middle'. Who should I compromise with? People who would endanger women's lives for the sake of the idea of an unborn baby?
There seems to be a belief that pregnancy is never bad or dangerous. It often is. It can kill women. Making self-defence a crime is not something I want to compromise with.

Could you explain where the compromise would be?

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What elmyra said. A basic compromise could be along the lines of "While abortion is an undesirable act, it is sometimes necessary and far better than any alternative. As such, it is necessary to ensure that abortions are available safely and legally to all who need them, while simultaneously taking steps to ensure that fewer abortions are required. These steps can include better sex education, more empowerment for women to say 'no', increased availability of contraceptives, and increased financial and emotional support for prospective mothers."

And of course there are anti-abortion extremists who perform reprehensible acts and are not willing to compromise in any way. When I talk of compromise, I absolutely don't mean giving in to their demands. I mean listening to the moderates who have genuine concerns about the morality of abortion, having proper debate, and trying to compromise with them.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe that the majority of people who are opposed to abortion are not hypocritical, bigoted extremists. It's just that those are the most visible sort because they tend to be the loudest and the most obnoxious.

"While abortion is an undesirable act, it is sometimes necessary and far better than any alternative. As such, it is necessary to ensure that abortions are available safely and legally to all who need them, while simultaneously taking steps to ensure that fewer abortions are required. These steps can include better sex education, more empowerment for women to say 'no', increased availability of contraceptives, and increased financial and emotional support for prospective mothers."

...
But that's a lot of what I have been seeing and reading and hearing from the Pro-choice people. More education, contraception, choice, fewer abortions necesary.
Though I have not seen so much of the last one, the increased support for prospective mothers.

Just to clarify...

So that's "blogging for choice" for 'abortion' values of 'choice'?

If so, I'm glad I missed it. Sounds like the sort of thing that can only end in flame...

Re: Just to clarify...

To your three sentences, yes, yes and yes. Not necessarily in that order.

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Oh yeah, the pro-life side has done a lot to make being pregnant a desireable state. Back when I couldn't afford medical care and knew that without medical care I might die, but couldn't know for sure, because I couldn't get the medical care to find out, there was exactly one way out. I could become pregnant. If I became pregnant, then I could get medical care. Lots of people would help me get medical care were I pregnant. And then, I could get the latest stage abortion that was legal. Since I certainly would not have a baby under such circumstances.

I didn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to do that.

But I wish the system were such that it wasn't the smartest, most sensible thing for me to do.

Yet, I don't see a lot of pro-lifers working to make medical care available to people who aren't pregnant. So, becoming pregnant is the only way to obtain it.

On a side note, I managed to get legally marked as disabled because of my ill health. But in the US, you get health care 2.5 years after the recognized start date of your disability. This was within the 2.5 year waiting period. During which my health problems became worse and probably more expensive to deal with.

This may be only tangential. But the basic point: the system sucks in so many ways. Fixing the problem means looking at countless things that at first glance may not seem to relate.

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