What Pro-Lifers REALLY want
I held a coffee morning for pro choice parents in my small country town recently. The third person to arrive was an agitated man. He was tall, in his late 30’s and had cropped hair.
“Is this the coffee morning for choice?” He asked.
“Hi, yes it is…” I said, about to offer him a seat when he cut me off.
“Well I’m delighted to see you have so little support!” He said angrily.
I was rather taken aback, as was the other mother present.
“Well in fairness I only created the event 2 days ago and it has just started.” I said.
“So you want to kill babies!” He said.
“No. We want people who are pregnant to be able to make choices about their own bodies.”
“By being able to murder a baby!” he said.
“No, most abortions happen before 12 weeks, almost 90% of them happen then. And legalising abortions ensures that they happen super early, rather than the situation we have, with women having to save money to travel…”
“Well they shouldn’t be getting pregnant if they don’t want a baby!” He said, leaning over me.
‘Ah,’ I thought, ‘you’re one of those.’
“Ok,” I said trying to stay calm. “Let’s take the case of the 10 year old girl raped by her father, do you think SHE should have to continue with the pregnancy?”
He shifted a bit. “No.”
“So you do believe in abortions, just you think you should get to determine who is worthy of one and who isn’t? And the people you think aren’t worthy of an abortion should be punished with a child?”
He seemed a bit stumped. “I don’t believe in abortions.”
“Ah but you just said that 10 year old girl should be able to get an abortion.” I said. “So here we agree, repeal the 8th to allow people like that girl to access abortions.”
“No, we don’t agree. I don’t believe in repealing the 8th. She can go to England.” He said. “We don’t have abortion here, we need to keep Ireland pure.”
“So you are not morally against abortion at all?” I said. “You are all for women being made to travel to England to access reproductive healthcare, just so you can live in a PURE country?”
He looked angrily at me and stormed out.
This man’s views are not uncommon. There are many pro “life” people who are not morally against abortion at all. They just don’t want it happening in their country. They are happy to send women away for it (and conveniently not think about those women who cannot afford to or are unable to travel and are forced to continue a pregnancy they don’t want). Similar views have been aired at pro “life” meetings in the last few months and it seems to be an acceptable viewpoint to many people.
To the people who want to “keep” Ireland “pure” I say this, Ireland is not “pure”. Ireland, under it’s own rule, locked up, enslaved and abused generations of women and children. It literally murdered tiny babies. It continues to practice obstetric coercion and violence on women and it’s laws have been found to be “discriminatory, cruel and degrading” treating women as nothing more than “vessels”. Purity is not sending 11 women a day out of the country in their hour of need. It is not making suffering women stay silent about their pain. It is not cutting women up against their will or drugging women and force feeding them to uphold some sick and twisted idea of purity. Nothing about these actions scream purity to me.
I wonder about the particular term being used, “purity”, while it has overtly religious overtones, it also it is as if these people are yearning for an idealised version of Ireland, one full of comely virgins maybe. An Ireland where nothing bad ever happens, and no one ever needs an abortion. This desire for a “Pure Ireland” is an extreme and delusional view because it holds onto an Ireland that never has, and never will exist.
Purity in my view is a clarity of thought and pure intent towards kindness and compassion. The Pro-Choice position is the kind and compassionate position. To be pro-choice is not to be Pro-Abortion — it simply means you believe that other people should have the right to make choices about their own body and situation. That crazy idea that you do not know what is best for someone else. Respecting the rights and autonomy of other humans is a pretty pure stance I think.
My pro “life” friend left in a huff because I had him backed into a logical corner and he couldn’t get out. First he was against abortion, thought it was murder, then he was ok with it in some circumstances, then he was down with it as long as it didn’t happen in his country (which must be kept pure). Maybe he was worried if he stayed any longer he might have to logically address the many holes in his argument. But as I now know well, logic isn’t a big part of pro-forced birth supporters thinking.
- Note to any Pro-forced birthers reading this, I’m totally open to seeing some evidence of this “Pure” Ireland you’re so keen to keep…