Yesterday, I wrote that “government-mandated childbirth is the essence of the pro-life position; if you don’t favor using state force to make pregnant woman give birth against their will, you’re not pro-life.”
Obeah, in the comments, wittily objected to this:
Well, no doubt some pro-lifers are interested in “the injustices that often lead women to seek abortion” and so on, but that’s not the defining trait of the movement. You don’t have to be interested in that stuff to qualify as pro-life.
The abortion debate is about one question: “Should the government force childbirth on pregnant women?” The answer to that question is what classifies someone as pro-life or pro-choice.
Everything else is extra; add-ons. An individual pro-choicer might be, like you, someone who dislikes abortion and wishes to reduce its incidence as much as possible (to make it “safe, legal and rare,” as the expression goes); she might be libertarian, or feminist, or anarchist, or vegitative activist, or whatever. The point is, it doesn’t matter which of these things she is; knowing that she’s a vegan or a libertarian or whatnot won’t tell us she’s pro-choice. Knowing that she’s against state-mandated childbirth tells us she’s pro-choice.
Similarly, some pro-lifers are Catholics, some are atheists, some care about women’s well-being, some are pro-death-penalty, some oppose the death penalty, some are republicans, some are libertarians, some are democrats, and so on. Because one can be any or none of these things and still be pro-life, none of these things can be said to be part of the core pro-life position.
So with due respect to Obeah, I’ll stand by what I said. The essence of the pro-life position is advocating laws that force childbirth on unwilling pregnant women. All the rest is optional add-ons.