Meet Joe, the star of today’s hypothetical. Joe hates wearing seat belts. He does wear them, but only because it’s required by law in his state and he’s gotten a few too many citations.
Joe gets into a serious car accident, but survives. Doctors tell him that without the seat belt, he almost certainly would not have made it.
Suppose Joe subsequently joins a campaign to repeal the seat belt law in his state. Suppose he vocally supports the right to choose not to wear a seat belt, and castigates his opponents as a bunch of condescending jerks who don’t trust people to make basic decisions. When you point out that he would have died without the seat belt law, he says that if he’d died, he wouldn’t be aware of it now, so it makes no difference.
How would you react to Joe? Would you find it strange that he opposed a policy that had saved his life? Would you be concerned that he had self-esteem issues, that perhaps he didn’t think his life was valuable? Would you simply be at a loss for words?
That’s the only analogy I can use to describe how I feel about diehard abortion supporters who were conceived in rape, prenatally diagnosed with a disability, adopted, or born into poverty. It just baffles me. It seems natural to me that people who have been in those situations would gravitate to the pro-life position. I think of pro-life advocates like Rebecca Kiessling (conceived in rape and adopted), Ryan Bomberger (conceived in rape and adopted), Troy Newman (adopted), Melissa Ohden (abortion attempt survivor and adopted), and my many pro-life friends with disabilities, including two who have written for this blog before, Sarah Terzo and Rebecca Stapleford.
And yet pro-choicers like Joe do exist, trying their hardest to be cozy with a movement and an industry that treats the possibility of their existence as obvious justification for abortion.
Jill Stanek recently highlighted one example, in which a pro-choice twitter user tried vainly to make RH Reality Check’s Jodi Jacobson understand why her use of the phrase “rape baby” was offensive.
I am 100% pro-choice. And affected by the issue in question. The wording is
Please consider how you’d feel if you or your child were called the term in
What I’m saying is there are other pro-choice people with this conception
history, who chafe at that terminology.
Interesting phrase, “conception history.” Much pro-choice thought implicitly rests on the assumption that there is some break in the continuity from embryo to infant. (It reminds me of the evil Principal Trunchbull in Matilda, who says, of children, “I’m glad I never was one.”) It’s hard to accept that assumption if you acknowledge your conception as part of your personal history. And yet she calls herself “100% pro-choice.”
Of course, I do not know this random person on twitter, so I couldn’t tell you why she supports abortion. And even if I could, her reason may not be the reason held by other pro-choicers conceived in rape. But I do have to worry about someone who “100%” supports an ideology that treats her life as a prime example of why abortion is necessary.
The core of the pro-life position is placing a high value on every human
life. We must start by valuing our own lives, however they began.