The "F" Word: pro-choice or anti-choice, it's still a woman's issue
Columns / April 20, 2015
Let’s talk about one of the most controversial topics in society—abortion. This matter seems never-ending because it’s one of those topics that splits society right down the middle. According to Debate.org, abortion is one of their biggest and most divisive issues, as the poll usually stands at more or less 50 per cent while most other topics predominantly lean to one side or the other. So even though abortion is legal in Canada and certain other countries, there will always be a large portion of the population trying to push for it to be abolished.
Anti-choice groups are often—but not always—religiously motivated. Christian and Catholic populations aren’t the only ones that are against abortion, though, as some Islamic people do not believe in it as well. However, the Islamic laws might have a less restricting approach to it. According to “Islamic Ethics of Life: Abortion, War, and Euthanasia” by Gene Outka, it is acceptable for a woman to get an abortion if the pregnancy is a threat to her life. Unlike the Christian and Catholic belief, Muslims believe that the mother’s life is the primary concern because she is the actual existing life, while the fetus is only a potential life.
Anti-choice groups often come with loaded reasons as to why abortion should be abolished. One of the biggest reasons why people are trying to put a stop to abortion is because they want an end to sex-selection abortion. Even though most doctors in Canada will not perform an abortion procedure if they know it is for the purpose of sex-selection, it still happens under false pretenses. But abolishing abortion won’t solve this problem, it’s merely indicative of the larger patriarchal problem facing society. If female and male babies are equally valued, sex-selection abortion will disappear.
If the anti-choice movement is religiously motivated, they might say it’s a sin to play God because the right to abortion means the right to determine the existence of someone’s life. They will also argue that the fetus—at any stage—is considered a fully living thing and that it’s morally wrong to take one’s life. This is often argued with the biological definition of what a “living” thing is, which is when something has the capacity to grow, reproduce, metabolize, etc. But under this definition, why is it way more acceptable to kill a cow than it is a human? Society often views the human life to be more important than an animal’s. We don’t often think about where this idea comes from, but it’s rooted in the Christian faith—that human life is superior to other species. There are people who believe that a human’s life is equal to any other animal’s, so at the end of the day, the value of someone’s or something’s life is depended one’s opinion.
Julianna Baggot, a published novelist from the University of North Carolina, once said, “I am politically pro-choice, but personally pro-life. I have my faith but refuse to force it on the world at large—especially this world, so brutal and unjust. I cannot make these wrenching personal life and death decisions for others—nor do I believe they should be made by a church run by childless men.”
Not only does Baggot argue it’s okay for someone to be pro-choice while you’re personally pro-life, but she is also saying that pregnancy isn’t such a light topic for other people to govern. Especially when it’s men governing women. Men do not have to deal with the physical complexity of childbirth, so they should not have a say in whether or not a woman should keep her baby.
I want to make it clear that being pro-choice is not about encouraging women to have irresponsible and unprotected sex all they want because an abortion is an easy-fix. Pro-choice is about allowing women to have control over their own body and life decisions. This does not mean restricting women to abortion only under certain circumstances like rape or physical complications (mother or child). Women should have the right to choose if they want to keep a fetus, whether it’s financial or emotional reason, or even if they simply do not wish to have a child at all.