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Abortion: A Thought (or Two)

The Republicans running for the presidency are unanimously and vigorously opposed to a woman’s right to choose about terminating a pregnancy. None are pro-choice. All claim to be pro-life.

But being pro-life isn’t straightforward. It sounds like it should be when painted on a banner or shouted through a bull horn. There’s some tricky here.

First, are pro-lifers really pro-life or merely anti-abortion? If you’re pro-life then you should be in favor of programs that support life like sex education, parental leave, pre- and post-natal health care, Head Start, pre-K schools, after-school programs. But, of course, none of the supposedly pro-life candidates back these because they really aren’t pro-life. They’re just using the label as a cover for anti-abortion stances.

As Barney Frank, famously, put it: “Republicans think life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

But there’s another, deeper element here. When pushed, the right wingers will acknowledge that there are some circumstances where abortion is acceptable — rape and incest are the usual cases. Here, they maintain, it’s okay to terminate a pregnancy, kill the baby, abort the fetus — take that living, breathing potential human being and toss the pureed tissue in the dumpster.

Stop and think for a moment what this position entails. It requires one to both accept and reject abortion, to accept and reject the legitimacy of terminating a pregnancy — to believe that, somehow, a fetus conceived by sexual actions between two consenting adults must be preserved and defended as a person fully protected by the Constitution but one who, with no role to play in the drama, was the result of a criminal act of a man upon a woman can be denied the right to life.

When you put it this way it becomes clear what the anti-choice campaign is all about. It has nothing to do with life. It is all about fucking.

If a woman fucks for pleasure and not specifically for the purpose of procreation then, in the narrow minds of the right-wingers, the fanatical religious zealots, she has sinned. Any pregnancy that results from such actions shall be punished and the sentence shall be for the offending woman to bear and raise that child.

But, pushing this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion:  if a woman is raped or forced into an incestual conjoining, the fetus is not one conceived through “illicit sexual pleasure” but one born of violence. This life can be terminated.

The hypocrisy here is crushing and the underlying ethic apparent.

The “pro-life” position is utterly divorced from and has nothing to do with life. It is a simplistic anti-sex position dressed up in pseudo-ethical clothes. Those who want to make abortion illegal are not pro-life. They are simply against women enjoying sex — specifically sex without the specific intent to become pregnant.

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