Those who call themselves pro-life are, to say the least, a self-deceiving lot; they’ve been convinced — from without and from within — that all fetuses should go to term and be born, no matter the consequences to the safety of the woman, the child, the family, or the planet.
I wouldn’t call these people pro-life. They’re pro-birth. Better put, they’re pawns of politicians and so-called religious leaders, dominated by white Christian men, who use the pro-birth status to enforce outdated sexual mores and to handmaid women.
If these people were pro-life, they would place as much value as they do on conception and fetal development as they would on post-birth humanity and the societal structures to support a human being from 0 to 18. Examples of what the pro-life cohort should value, in a more just society, are easy to come by.
People who are pro-life value the safety of children in school, so they’d support a ban on all assault weapons, the ownership of a gun until the age of 21, and a gun-owner’s rigorous licensing procedure to include mandatory, certificated training, renewal tests, and more — just as we do with drivers’ licenses.
People who are pro-life value the life of a mother-to-be and fund clinics that protect the health of the pre-born and the born. Pro-lifers accept that a woman’s reproductive right is encased in her relationship with her doctor and am equally involved conceiving partner.
Men who are pro-life, whether as IVF donors or as the source of a fetus’s existence, take full responsibility for their role from the point of conception onward. Pro-life men take a paternity test, pay for half the medical costs of the pregnancy and birth, sign an affidavit to support the child until age 18 — if he does not, the pro-life state will garner his wages sufficient for the child’s benefit.
If men are not named or fail their responsibility to the fetus or the child — in short, if the woman does not name him or the father absconds — the pro-life state should pay for a substantial amount if not all of the child’s welfare.
People who are pro-life believe in life before and after birth because they see themselves as financial, social, and spiritual stewards of life. The sanctity of life — a catchphrase that has devolved to mean God bets only on those who make it to the starting gate — applies to the well-being of all persons, as fetuses, as children, as human beings.
If you who are pro-life value personhood, include in your definition the person who has been forced by the state to be born. Think, not of yourselves or your political/religious agenda, but of the mothers most of whom you don’t know and who already have children and do not want or cannot support another child; think of most fathers who rarely take responsibility or are pushed beyond their means to provide for enlarged families; and think how sanctified life can actually be if it is cruelly forced on men, on women, on families who in most cases — along with the child born into their milieu — can seldom live up to your pro-birth agenda, a force majeure, which they never bought into anyway.
What right does a pro-birther have on a woman and, by extension, her family, who does not or cannot share that value? Think how a society in which values are not decreed but voluntarily shared, consensus-driven, how those values should be the ne plus ultra of our moral existence and the kind of society we all want to live in.
Thomas Larson is a San Diego-based freelance writer.