Saturday, January 29, 2011

"When I was a pro-choice atheist"

Karen Edmisten speaks about her past:

Working out the meaning of freedom was clearly central to my position. Because I accepted premarital sex and birth control as givens, everything proceeded from those givens: "If I choose to have sex, and choose to use birth control but my birth control fails, the only way to remain free (i.e., to continue with my life as I have envisioned and structured it) is to remove the pregnancy from the picture." Period. End of story. If I did not have access to abortion, I couldn't do that. And anyone proceeding from the opposite premise ("You shouldn't have been having sex in the first place!") lost me. I wrote them off as religious fanatics. They lived an entirely different morality than I did.


For many who hold a prolife position, it may sound absurd to characterize a pro-choice position as compassionate, but that's exactly what I (and many of my friends) did. We saw ourselves as the compassionate ones -- we cared about women. We cared about the fear that accompanied an unexpected pregnancy. We cared about the financial inability to care for a child. We cared about the health concerns that might make carrying a baby to term precarious or impossible.

But what about the baby, you say?

Indeed. What about the baby? As I've said before, the baby wasn't on my radar screen.

Exactly. The baby's existence, pain and suffering are of no consequence to feminists. It interferes with female empowerment.

When power matters more than human beings, there's a problem.

I think she has a point about not labelling people murderers and other epithets. People who support abortion tend to be woefully misguided. Most people support legal abortion because it's the default stance of not recognizing the fetus as a person.

That being said, some people won't listen to you no matter what. I wouldn't label them "murderers" either. But at times, you have to know who's reachable in the circumstances you're in, and who's not.