My friend, Tracy posted a link to it this morning. Tracy and I have many similar opinions and one thing we are both very passionate about is the ability for individuals to make decisions about their own bodies and their own families, without religious or government intervention. So when she posted this link, I knew there was more to the story than the headline.
The author, Thomas Friedman eloquently stated his opinion that the pro-life movement shouldn't stop at conception. Pro-life, according to Friedman, was a phrase that was co-opted by those who believe that life begins at conception and anything beyond that - support for early education, healthcare benefits, environmental issues, gun control, death penalty -- a separate discussion.
I found myself nodding in agreement as I read his argument. I felt compelled to share the article on my Facebook page as well -- it was the first time I had read such a well-thought out argument for being what is called "Pro-Choice." (Of course, my girlfriends, who know my views well, all felt compelled to read it and comment as well.)
I have had the good fortune to be blessed with a wonderful husband and two children. I felt life kick and jump inside my womb -- and I know what it is like to have responsibility for living beings that cannot care for themselves. This is one of the primary reasons I felt aligned with those that want to preserve a woman's ability to choose to give birth or not. Life is so precious that I believe you have to be really ready to step up to the intellectual, physical, emotional and financial changes that having a family brings. I do not think having a child is a right -- I think it is a privilege.
Although I am not a member of any church now, I was raised Catholic . I have many good friends who are still very strong adherents to the teachings of the church. Many, if not most, identify strongly as pro-life. But many of them are also adament about welfare, socialized healthcare, money for education, etc. Those are all issues that involve a discussion and reverance for life beyond the womb!
And that's what I think gets me the most. It's the implication of the words "Pro-Choice." If you are a thinking, politically aware person, you know that to many, they are the equivalent of Pro-Abortion or Pro-Death. When you say you are for choice, you are labeled as someone who believes in killing babies. And that's just not the case. It's not that simple.
I can't imagine anyone who has ever been delighted to see a sonogram with a heartbeat or who has held a new baby in his or her arms can callously dismiss the joyous occasion that a new life brings. Nor can someone who has been abused or taken care of abused children, be it drugs, sexual or physical abuse ignore the fact that not everyone is ready to be a parent. Both sides are very aware of what can happen to a life that is wanted versus one who isn't.
I believe that many of us in the United States are much closer in opinion than we realize. It's not the the Right clings to Guns & Religion and the Left are all looking for handouts -- it's so much more than that. Let's make be clear: we are all intelligent, educated, caring beings. We want the same thing -- to raise happy, healthy, productive members of society. Let's get back to the root of the problem: birth control.
I am Pro-Life Choices, and I believe in family planning and choice when it comes to medical care -- including reproductive issues that may include abortion. I believe that we cannot let anyone co-opt the word LIFE to imply that those who believe that there is more to decisions than religious dogma.
I believe the ultra conservative Right and the uber liberal Left cannot speak for those of us in the middle and it's about time we take back our power to articulate what we really believe. We need to raise our voices and get our hands firmly back around that word -- LIFE -- as it is too precious to take lightly.