In the abortion debate I am pro-choice. When I mention this I have had Christians tell me I am pro-abortion. That angers me because I hate abortions but I think a person should have a choice in this matter. How come Christians think pro-choice is the same as pro-abortion?
I can understand your frustration at being labeled as being in favor of something that you detest. Most people would consider your stance rather neutral. You are not in favor of abortion but neither do you think people should be restricted from having them if that is their choice.
First of all, I know of no one that would say they are pro-abortion. No one who understands even the most basic aspects of abortion, its trauma to the woman and the death of the child, could say they are pro, or in favor of, abortion. The reason, however, some people equate pro-choice with pro-abortion is because if you look at the practical outcome of a pro-choice stance it produces the same thing a pro-abortion stand would produce. For example, a pro-choice senator asked to vote on a measure limiting abortion would vote the same way as a pro-abortion senator, if such a person existed.
Let me try to illustrate why that is true by looking at a parallel example, another hotly debated topic – gun control. Let’s assume you hate guns but you also believe people who want to own them should be allowed to freely own guns. You have a pro-choice stance. If you were forced to vote or take a stand on the issue, even though you hate guns you would have to side with the pro-gun people to oppose restrictions on gun owners. Therefore, though you would never say you are “pro-gun”, the ultimate outcome of your position is the same as the pro-gun people. In this case, pro-choice is virtually the same as pro-gun, it produces the same outcome, no limitations on the ownership or use of guns.
Apply this same template to the abortion debate. You hate abortions (guns) but you feel people should be able to freely have an abortion (a gun) if that is their choice. Therefore, the practical outcome of your stance is as if you were pro-abortion (pro-gun). As much as you hate abortion (guns) a pro-choice stance puts you squarely on the side of those who profit from the death caused by abortion (guns). If you hate guns, like we assume you do for this example, it would likely make you angry to be called pro-gun but your “neutral” stance actually advances the distribution and uncontrolled ownership of guns – the pro-gun position.
However, there is an even stronger reason that some would say being pro-choice is equivalent with being pro-abortion. If I am pro-choice, I am saying I am in favor of a person having the right to make whatever choice they desire – either option – keeping the child or aborting the child as long as it is that woman’s choice. I am pro her keeping the baby if that is her choice. But, I am also pro aborting the child if that is her choice. If I am “pro”, or in favor of, only one choice then there really is no choice. To truly be pro-choice I must be in favor of either option – keeping or aborting the child. Therefore, to be pro-choice says I am pro, in favor of, abortion in the case where that is the woman’s preferred choice. In that case I am pro-abortion. I cannot say I am pro-choice if I do not support one of the two choices available. So, quite literally, while I might hate abortions, if I am pro-choice I am also pro-abortion at least on occasions where the woman chooses to end the child’s life. If abortion is her choice then abortion is my choice for her – or I am not truly pro-choice.
While it may be frustrating to have people align you with something you hate so much, in reality, your stance is one that fosters abortions and, at least in some cases, is pro, or in favor of, abortions. If you are not in favor of abortions even if that is the woman’s choice then you are not pro-choice. If you are in favor of abortions when it is the woman’s choice then you must admit that, at least sometimes, you are in favor of abortions, or pro-abortion. There is no neutral stance on this issue. Think about it. I would love to hear your comments and if there are any fallacies in the reasoning or something I am missing, please point it out.