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March 27, 2013

Pro-Choice Is Not Pro-Abortion

Patrick W. Allen

From the beginning of our Republic, women have often made extraordinarily difficult personal reproductive choices as the result of deliberative thought and reflection. Generally, but with a fair degree of certainty, it can be stated that every woman in the United States is pro-choice.


Disclaimer: This topic may be sensitive to many, but must be discussed in the public square to challenge decades of misinformation and separate myth from reality. Before you read this, you will need to set aside any preconceived political and religious beliefs and focus on the facts.


To understand and analyze this assertion, women need to be divided into two categories:


1. Physiologically incapable of producing offspring: This category includes women who cannot bear offspring due to natural causes or as the result of an accident or illness. Women in this category have several choices available to them regarding their choice to fill their lives with young voices. To include, but not be limited to:


a. Take no action.

b. Foster Care Parenting

c. Adoption


2. Physiologically capable of reproducing offspring: This category includes women whose reproductive organs are intact and capable of producing offspring. Women in this category have several choices available to them regarding their choice to fill their lives with young voices. To include, but not be limited to:


a. Take no action. Live their lives without once becoming pregnant.

b. Carry their pregnancy to full term.

c. Abort their pregnancy.

d. Foster Care Parenting.

e. Adoption


Mitigating Debate Factors: Thirty-nine years ago, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States on the issue of women's rights, constitutional freedom of choice and abortion, became the law of the land.


Prior to, and following the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, three important facts have emerged:


1. Women in the United States who belong to the physiologically capable category continue to have the above choices available to them.


2. Women who choose to exercise their constitutional rights based on Roe v. Wade have come out of the back alleys where clothes hangers and knitting needle style abortions contributed to the death of thousands of women, and have since been able to privately consult on reproductive issues with their own qualified medical professionals.


3. The term Pro-Life became a part of the American lexicon.


Following Roe v. Wade, the pro-life movement began as a social and political movement opposing elective abortion on moral or religious grounds, and supported its legal prohibition or restriction.


Roe v. Wade led to the growth of a largely religious-based anti-abortion movement even as Americans became, in the 1970s and 80s, increasingly pro-choice. The first major pro-life success came in 1976 with the passing of the Hyde Amendment which prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions. This became the starting point for gutting Roe v. Wade from the inside out. The prevailing strategy was that if Roe v. Wade cannot be repealed, then use federal and state legislation to dismantle it one piece at a time and at every opportunity.


Within the Hyde Amendment era, far right-wing social conservatives continue to move further to the right, advocating a clever and often quiet strategy of running successful political campaigns to take over school boards, town councils, boards of commissioners. Then, these right-wing officials are groomed to take the next steps and run for House and Senate positions in state legislatures. The next and final step in the strategy is to move on to the big prize – the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.


With the successful execution and implementation of this strategy we are now faced with right-wing extremist in legislatures in over 30 states. All of which have legislation pending or passed that establishes the legal category and classification of "Personhood." This allows "life" to be legally established as beginning with conception or even at the time of a woman's last menstrual cycle.


Final Analysis: And where are the progressives and pro-women's rights advocates? Some might say they’re asleep at the wheel, looking the other way, or failing to look over the horizon to see what was coming.


In 1980, 30-plus years ago, the pro-life movement gained control of the Republican Party's platform committee, adding pro-life planks to the Republican position, and calling for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, banning abortion. 1980? Hello? Was anyone paying attention?


There is no politically correct manner to soft peddle the facts. The Pro-Life lobby, led by luminaries such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, James Dodson, the Christian Coalition and others, have successfully developed and implemented a strategy to wrap their opposition to Roe v. Wade within a religious context. Full-throated opposition to Roe v. Wade, using the moniker of pro-life, which by its very name implies that pro-choice advocates are not persons of faith or life, has controlled a 40-year narrative that women who choose their constitutional right to an abortion, as well as medical professionals who provide those constitutionally guaranteed services, are baby killers and murderers.


Prior to the 1973 decision by the Supreme Court, women were faced with the prospect of pulling together hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to pay for a medical procedure performed using clothes hangers or by practitioners who worked in the shadows ... most often resulting in subsequent medical procedures such as DNC or full hysterectomies to overcome or salvage a botched abortion.


Today, opponents of Roe v. Wade distribute wanted posters to identify medical professionals who perform constitutionally guaranteed rights, placing many of these professionals at risk. This assault on privacy has resulted in the death of numerous doctors as well as destruction of their medical clinics. The murdering Doctors by right wing "pro life" extremists is antithetical to the notion of protecting life. Currently, the pro-life movement is a disorganized coalition of individuals and organizations who choose to disregard scientific fact and established law ... disagreeing among themselves as they randomly move the "Life Begins At ... " goal posts.


The next time you are confronted by someone who says they are pro-life, remind them that they are actually pro-choice. Their choice may differ from your own, but it is clear that women in America are pro-choice. It simply boils down to which choice(s) they choose to make.


It's past due for progressives and pro women's rights advocates to get aggressively engaged. State and federal legislators, who work to subvert and dismantle women's rights, should be denied or removed from office – period.


If you are in a leadership position and you cannot bring yourself to assist in leading us out of this abyss, then step aside and let those who can reverse the assault on women's rights take the lead.


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