There are many pro-choicers who I have heard accusing pro-lifers of incrementalism—saying that they can’t give into something like a national third trimester ban, because pro-lifers wouldn’t stop at that. Once pro-lifers attained that, they would keep pushing for more and more, until the right to end the life of a fetus was completely lost. I do think that if this country could attain European-style limits on abortion (i.e. a limit somewhere mid-second trimester) the pro-life movement would lose its critical mass to be effective; mild pro-lifers just don’t get as riled up when the humans in question for extermination don’t look very much like a baby. But I don’t think these accusations are without merit. I certainly would still be politically anti-abortion, and I know many other activists would be as well.
But I think what doesn’t get talked about so much is the incrementalism of pro-choicers as well. The conversation among pro-choicers is often cast in the veneer of protecting Roe v. Wade, but that’s not all it is about these days. It is about pushing for more and more on the side of being able to kill your offspring in fetus form. Nowhere was this more evident in the recent decision by the Democratic Party to include in its platform, an effort to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions.
I feel like this incrementalism is apparent even more so on the state level. In some states, we see forces like planned parenthood decrying “anti-choice” for requiring clinic regulations that would ultimately likely result in the closure of those non-complying clinics. A common refrain from pro-choicers is that it’s not like the government pays for abortions, so the pro-life movement should just back down and let people do what they want.
But that is not what is being said in my state of residence. Oregon, one of the few states to allow abortion up to the moment of birth, also has the distinction that state funds most certainly can be used to pay for these abortions. For whatever reason.
In this extreme pro-abortion rights state, this is what counts as where the battle line is drawn. Not requirements of hospital access. Not term limits. Not parental consent. There are none of those laws here. The battle line is drawn about whether or not a person should be compelled to pay for the killing of someone else’s unborn child.
Dear pro-choicers, of whom, I feel so many do mean well,
Not forcing your opposition to pay for the thing they are so strongly against, I feel like, is the tiniest, most basic of bones you could toss them. It is the very least you could do to try to get over this huge rift in our country and get to something to quell the useless moralistic outrage on both sides. The people against Measure 106 are my friends and neighbors of course, so it kills me when I can chat with them about how we don’t want to fund the next blood-for-oil war, and that it is unjust that we should do so, only to then have them later justify their opposition of 106 with a shrug and an “everyone has to pay for things they don’t believe in”. It so completely demonstrates to me how pro-choice activism ratchets up to pro-abortion through incrementalism.
So to me, I have come to a new frame of mind as a result of this local conversation. While I to believe it to be unjust, I personally have less political will to fight policy about RU-486, or super early term abortions. But I know we in the pro-life movement must treat those causes with as much seriousness as elective third trimester abortions. Because once the pro-choice side wins on that, they won’t clap their hands and go home. Next up, they will be demanding abortion up to birth in every state, then that every tax payer pay on demand for anyone to kill their child for any reason.
[Today’s guest post by KB is par of our paid blogging program.]