Pro-Choice Yet Pro-Life?

Can one be pro-life and yet pro-choice? More and more people are saying that they believe that life indeed starts at conception yet also argue that abortion should be legal. Are you one of those who think this way? If not why not?

Please read and comment.

This article (“Inside the Controversy Over Man Charged with Murder for Slipping an Abortion Pill to Pregnant Girlfriend”) by Mary Elizabeth Williams was first published by Salon  and reprinted on AlterNet and is reprinted here by permission.

 

Florida man told her it was an antibiotic.

Photo Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

 

John Andrew Welden is charged with the murder of a person who was never born.

As Tampa’s WFTS-TV news reports, Welden is facing first-degree murder charges for allegedly giving his pregnant girlfriend Remee Lee an abortion pill and telling her it was an antibiotic. Welden worked in his father’s Florida clinic, a“specialty infertility practice.” When Lee began bleeding and experiencing cramps, she went to her local hospital, where doctors informed her the container labeled as amoxicillin was in fact the labor-inducing Cytotec. The fetus died in utero. “I was never going to do anything but go full term with it,” she told reporters this week. “And he didn’t want me to.” It’s an appalling tale, which will once again force us to ponder what constitutes a human life — and when one has taken it.

Very different fetal-homicide laws are on the books in roughly 80 percent of American states. In Arizona, for example, the charge can apply toward “any stage of development” for a fetus, while Arkansas limits it to an “unborn child of 12 weeks or more gestation.” South Dakota stipulates the accused must have known, “or reasonably should have known, that a woman bearing an unborn child was pregnant.”

In Welden’s case, he’s being charged under the Protection of Unborn Children Act. His state has tough laws for killing the unborn that also include DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and willful killing. In Ohio, where kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro will stand trial, he faces possible charges of aggravated murder. Castro is accused of allegedly beating one of his reported victims until she miscarried the pregnancies she endured in captivity. Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty has said he will pursue “each act of aggravated murder” — and a conviction could lead to the death penalty.

And in Philadelphia, of course, Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for killing three infants — by severing their spinal cords – who were born live during the late-term abortions he provided. Pennsylvania law has a whole category of offenses, including first- and second-degree murder, for any unborn child “from fertilization until live birth.” What distinguishes the Gosnell case — and has often been lost in all the shouting about it — was that the murder charges were for babies, not fetuses. Yet the issue of what constitutes the taking a life is not always an easy one to discuss or decide.

As much as we need the law to be clear, the reality of life and death is often far more ambiguous. As Jon Hurdle and Trip Gabriel noted this week in the New York Times, much of the furor over cases like Gosnell’s is the question of “why a procedure done to a living baby outside the womb is murder, but destroying a fetus of similar gestation before delivery can be legal.” Remee Lee, meanwhile, was six weeks and five days pregnant when she lost her baby. Should taking a life that wouldn’t have been viable outside the womb carry the same consequences as killing an adult? Would the alleged crime be different if she’d been three months pregnant? Six months? Nine?

I believe that human life begins at conception. I believe that if you force a woman, either by violence or deception, to lose a fetus, you have taken a life. But I also shudder at the prospect of the anti-choice lobby exploiting revolting crimes to prevent women from access to their constitutional right to abortion. We have spent the last several years watching it happen, as abortion opponents have tried to leverage fetal-protection laws to chip away at choice. That’s why we need to continue to be vigilant in articulating the difference between a choice a woman makes and an act of violence against her body and her fetus, an act that robs her of that very freedom she is entitled to. We must be clear that being pro-choice is not tantamount to condoning repulsive, criminal behavior. Remee Lee told reporters this week that she’s grieving because she “dreams of becoming a mom.” And this, she says, “was my chance.”

 

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of “Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream.” Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • randall.morrison90

    If the Pro Choicers are wrong, then they have aided and abetted murder.
    What a terrible position to be in.

    • Lectorel

      If pro-lifers are wrong, they’ve aided and abetted murder of pregnant women. Actually, even if they’re right, they’ve done that.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Really? Can you find even ONE case where a pro-lifer has stabbed a pregnant woman to kill her child? Because I can find a lot of cases where abortionists have done that.

        • Lectorel

          I can name plenty of cases where prolifers have refused to allow abortions, which resulted in the death of pregnant women. I can name plenty of cases where abortion being illegal lead to women turning to back-alley butchers or trying to induce miscarriage themself, and dying as a result. I can name cases where women killed themselves because they could not get an abortion and would rather die than be forced to deal with the costs of their pregnancy.

          ‘Prolife’ cost lives. At least be honest about that.

          • randall.morrison90

            Yes, it can.
            But not nearly as many as “Pro Choicers” have.
            At least be honest about that.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            How many in the last week?

            Pro-choice cost 15,000 lives in the United States *last week*.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Also, aren’t the suicides also the fault of the bigotry against motherhood bred by the pro-choice movement?

          • David Gates

            Ignorance cost “lives”. At least be hones about that.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Abortion is always violence. *Sometimes* it is violence done in the service of a subjective good, but it is always violence.

    The only person who should have choice in this matter is the doctor in an emergency room- and that is the only place an abortion should ever occur, and sometimes, depending on injuries and illness, it’s the mother that needs to be let alone to die when they save the child.

    But to call invasive surgery non-violent is, I think, a bit beyond the pale.

  • randall.morrison90

    Notice how Franks wants to be on both sides of the issue at once?
    Who knows what he really thinks.

  • hippiewill

    It is better to have safe legal abortions rather than unsafe illegal ones. Our efforts should be focused on prevention through education and easier access to contraception.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      There is no such thing as a safe abortion. One patient always comes out dead, sometimes two.

  • David Gates

    Please let us not mince words. When you say a woman’s constitutionally protected right to obtain an abortion, the real meaning is “a woman’s constitutionally protected right to kill another human being”.

  • David Gates

    Let us not mince words. Rather than say “a woman’s constitutionally protected right to have an abortion” one should say “a woman’s constitutionally protected right to kill.”


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