Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Labels, Labels, Labels: The Best One?

Are you a pro-choicer who kind of doesn't like the term "pro-abortion?" Seem a bit too extreme for you? Well, I'm not one of those pro-choicers. I actually strongly prefer the term "pro-abortion" and have for some time. I know some pro-choicers who say, "Well, no one is really pro abortion!" I am. Completely. Whole-heartedly. And absolutely unapologetically pro-abortion. For whatever reason. If a woman wants an abortion, then I'll be her whatever-she-needs-hand-holder-tear-wiper-cheerleader-pro-abortion-girl. If a woman says she wants to carry her pregnancy to term and become a mother (even if she's 15 and lives in a car), then I am pro-motherhood. I will be her referral-seeker-set-up-an-appointment-with-an-ob/gyn-get-on-prenatals-find-out-a-way-to-stay-in-school-cheerleader-pro-motherhood-girl. My point: I'm really pro-woman. All real Abortioneers are.

"Pro-life." Oh, how I hate that term. Really. It's such an asinine label. Seriously. Who isn't pro-life? Um. Besides the likes of crazy mass murderers? I've said it in another post before, Abortioneers, pro-abortioners, pro-choicers (whatever you want to call us!) are the most pro-life people I know! Why? Because we value the life of actual human persons, not just the embryos that have the potential of becoming human persons. (Let me just say that we will also get excited, becoming pro-motherhood girls, for those who want to love their potential human persons. FYI: lots of abortioneers happen to be mommies, too.) If you like where I'm going with this, don't get too excited: I'm not a fabulous philosopher; but Leonard Peikoff is.

Who? Leonard Peikoff. Don't worry, I only just learned about him, too. He's a philosopher of objectivism (termed for the philosophy of famous author, Ayn Rand). He wrote a fabulous essay called "Abortion Rights is Pro Life" and you can read it here. Read it! Well, and though I am a self-proclaimed feminist, I'm not a HUGE fan of Ayn Rand's books. (Gasp!) I am, however, a fan of this quote of hers:

I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object...Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today's intellectual field, they call themselves 'pro-life.'

Yay Ayn Rand!

The term pro-choice? Well, I suppose that's just the default political label, but I don't really like it. It's a bit lame for my taste. Abortioneers are more than pro-choice. We're pro-abortion and pro-woman and pro-motherhood and pro-adoption and pro-whatever-the-hell-a-woman-believes-is-best-for-her-at-this-point-in-her-life type/label/people. We're out there doing the direct service work, day in and day out. We're the real experts in this field (not to toot our own horns) because we're the ones with our fingers on the pulse of women's lives. And really, we're not the experts. I was being coy. The women are the real experts. (Nearly one in four American women, to be exact!)

So we throw all these labels around like they actually mean something; and they don't really: I know people who call themselves pro-choice who are actually anti-abortion in certain circumstances and I know people who call themselves pro-life who are actually very pro-abortion in certain circumstances (like rape). We talk about all this abortion stuff like what we do is rare. Like abortion is rare; but it's SO not. It's very common. And I suppose that's the ONLY common ground all of us label wearers will ever have. And that's just fine with me.


  1. What a great read!!!!!

    Ayn Rand, eh? That's funny, because she's about the third biggest C-word I can think of, after Ann Coulter and Rachael Ray. Even as the biggest class enemy on any side of the Mississppi, I guess her Objectivism allows for serious self-determination that lends itself nicely to abortion.

  2. Ha, poor Rachael Ray. But seriously -- I too am super-anti-Ayn-Rand, both as a terrible writer and as a terrible political thinker. BUT I've always said that I have to give her a little credit for being one of the rare libertarians who stays true to libertarianism when it comes to women's bodies. I CANNOT TELL YOU how many times a "libertarian" has then told me "...except for abortion." (And that's why I don't talk to strangers anymore.)

    Anyway, aboutagirl, thanks so much for writing this <3

  3. I'm not a big Ayn Rand fan either, and this quote reminded me why. I mean, pro-life people are obviously disillusioned, but I wouldn't say they are "against any value that brings happiness to human life".

    But, a good post nonetheless.

  4. Sometimes, when people go "you're pro-abortion!!" I say "Fine. You can call me pro-abortion. But also call me the other things I am: pro-babies, pro-adoption, pro-parenting, pro-pregnancy, pro-contraceptive, pro-famiy, pro-abstinence, pro-comprehensive sex ed, etc."

    Of course, they cannot grasp the complexity of being in favor of what the woman wants.

  5. Isn't pro-abortion, pro-motherhood, pro-abstinence, pro-adoption, pro-whatever all just a subset of being pro-choice? I think pro-choice is a better word for how you describe yourself. You are pro-whatever decision a women decides to make. Pro-abortion doesn't make you "more than pro-choice", being pro-choice makes you more than pro-abortion. Just my two cents.

  6. I am pro-abortion, and I regularly get highly confused as to why that is thrown at people as an insult? I mean, how is there a choice (in the case of failed birth control) WITHOUT abortion? And why should I be ashamed to support it?


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