While we don’t agree with them on reproductive rights, we know there are many opponents of choice who are caring, rational beings. They prove it’s possible to disagree over an issue that touches on deep, personal feelings without calling out the National Guard.
Unfortunately, a sizable proportion of people who wear the “pro-life” mantle exhibit traits you’ll find everywhere in the DSM — the diagnostic manual for mental health professionals.
The most disturbing thing about the protesters who gather outside family planning clinics waving signs of mutilated baby corpses (those are not actual photographs of aborted fetuses) is how little regard they have for the born. Whatever personal traumas and neurotic disorders the “pro-lifers” channel into the “unborn” end rapidly at the bottom of the birth canal.
Thus it was surprising when the fringes of the anti-choice movement went bonkers over the announcement by Chelsea Clinton and her husband Marc Mezvinsky that they’re expecting. We thought they liked fetuses! But instead of congratulating the happy family, they had a field day accusing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of orchestrating her daughter’s pregnancy for political purposes — an accusation that seems logistically impossible.
The bulk of their criticism, however, hinged not on politics but rather on the argument that it’s hypocritical for women to have babies if they believe women shouldn’t be forced to have babies. They were outraged that the Clintons issued a baby announcement, insisting that calling a fetus a baby runs counter to the pro-choice movement’s differentiation between a fetus and a baby.
In fact, the Clintons announced that Chelsea Clinton Mezvinsky was having a baby not carrying one. And the Clinton and Mezvinsky families have every reason to believe the fetus in question will be born. They have the means to provide the expectant mother with the best pre-natal care in the world. When the baby is born, s/he will be showered with love, attention, the best health care and, eventually, the best education possible.
Unfortunately, this situation is far different from that of the majority of women who choose to terminate their pregnancies. The path to reducing abortions is not by forcing women to have babies, but by creating a society where all children have the same chance to thrive that the Mezvinskys’ child will have.
Unfortunately, the radical anti-choice crowd opposes virtually every public policy that would make that remotely possible. They’ve defunded Planned Parenthood clinics all over the country — clinics that provide family-planning, pre-natal and post-natal care to women who otherwise could not afford it.
The same crowd generally opposes sex education and the use of prophylactics, which could prevent countless unwanted pregnancies. They detest economic policies that would help women get the resources they need to provide for their families — policies such as equal-pay legislation, affordable child-care services, health insurance, nutritional assistance for women living in poverty, early childhood education programs — the list goes on.
Right-wing abortion foes dismiss those kinds of programs as “socialism” and “big government.” Which begs the questions: How do they characterize a society that forces women to bear children they don’t want and can’t afford — and then throws those children and their mothers under the bus?