Having a conversation with an Obama supporter I heard yet again the argument "nobody is pro-abortion."
This made me wonder just why it is that people who support legal abortion as an option don’t want to be called pro-abortion? This seems to me to say quite a deal. If as they often contend that it is not a child and just a lump of tissue of the equivalent of a tadpole then what is the big deal if I or someone else call you pro-abortion. Why should their be any argument about this and why shouldn’t they be proudly pro-abortion? If they are not pro-abortion then do they think they are anti-abortion? Is there a middle ground where you are neither for or against abortion? Don’t think so.
Besides the definition of "pro" that applies is "an argument in favor of a course of action." If you say that abortion is an acceptable course of action then you are in fact pro-abortion. There is often an equivocation about letting it be a choice for somebody else to make. But again if you support somebody in their choice of action you are in favor of that action happening. If I said it was okay for an individual to choose to go around shooting people or not based on their preference, I would in fact be pro-murder even if I never shot someone myself.
I think abortion supporters get upset about being called pro-abortion because they do no really believe what they say they believe. Very few will admit that it is murder, but that they still believe the women has the right to murder in this circumstance. Instead they will talk about reducing abortion and never explain why "an acceptable moral choice" needs reducing. They will call abortion a right, but as others have noted can point to no other right that needs reducing. They set up a barricade of linguistic obstacles such as being pro-choice (they don’t mind the "pro" in this case) as if anybody in the world was anti-choice. It is like saying you are pro-air. The reality of abortion must be obscured in a cloud of words so that what you say you are supporting doesn’t sound all that bad. The morality of abortion in phrased in the circumstance of the pregnant women instead of addressing whether they are killing a person or not. The language used to defend abortion is deeply conflicted simply because the logic involved is conflicted as well.
Either dismembering a child in the womb is an acceptable moral act or it isn’t. If you think it is then you are pro-abortion and should admit it.
The very simple reason that people prefer the term pro-choice to pro-abortion it that many pro-choice people do not actually support abortion, but simply do not feel the need for there to be any kind of legeslature against it.
Episcopal Spine sighting two points of the port bow!
By definition, all the people making/holding signs reading “Keep abortion legal” or similar ones ARE pro abortion.
Jeff, stop being so anti-sophistry.
“Either dismembering a child in the womb is an acceptable moral act or it isn’t. If you think it is then you are pro-abortion and should admit it.”
The amazing thing is how many people DO admit it.
“If you say that abortion is an acceptable course of action then you are in fact pro-abortion.”
One can believe that Americans have the right to perform an action without being in favor of committing that action. People can support the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment and still oppose handgun ownership.
I support abortion because I believe it’s a personal decision that not should be made by the state. That doesn’t mean I’d make the choice myself.
“I support abortion because I believe it’s a personal decision that not should be made by the state. That doesn’t mean I’d make the choice myself.”
“I support slavery because I believe it’s a personal decision that not should be made by the state. That doesn’t mean I’d make the choice myself.”
“I support racism because I believe it’s a personal decision that not should be made by the state. That doesn’t mean I’d make the choice myself.”
“I support murder because I believe it’s a personal decision that not should be made by the state. That doesn’t mean I’d make the choice myself.”
your support of abortion does not answer the question as to whether it is a moral evil or not.
Evangelium Vitae by JP II is 13 years old.
What situation would we have now if the USCCB behaved not as Protestants, but teaching & enforcing Roman Catholic doctrine?
Or request Catholic media to reclaim that, and not to be obsessed with pompous little professors, or marginal groups as if they were in the same standing with Rome?
Please read this comment:
“The general tenor of the USCCB’s, has been mealy-mouthed. They consistently oppose abortion, but with the same tone and force they also oppose, for example, “poverty in America,” global warming, capital punishment, the war in Iraq — thus burying a moral absolute under a series of Democrat-friendly moral imponderables, and wantonly confusing an unambiguous doctrinal issue with a smorgasbord of secular judgment calls”.
Is not time to DEMAND PUBLICLY!, responsibilities from the USCCB?
Rogers Cadenhead – you wrote “I support abortion because I believe it’s a personal decision that not should be made by the state. That doesn’t mean I’d make the choice myself.”
How very nice of you – that you would not make the choice to have an abortion. By your name, I take it that you are a male, and therefore incapable of actually having an abortion.
According to you, the state should not make a personal decision for a person. However, they do that every day. We have laws against child abuse, we have laws about how fast we can drive, where we drive (one is not permitted to drive through another’s back yard), we have laws about seat belt wearing, etc.
So – you are telling me that the state should stay out of personal decisions. Well – they do not. The saddest part about this “personal decision” is that a United States Citizen is killed each time an abortion occurs.
Now, what is personal about that? Do you believe the state has the right, indeed, perhaps a duty to safe guard its citizens’ lives? The states are mandated to take care of its population.
Why not the life of an innocent citizen? Abortion is the taking of innocent life – and it is a “I am bigger than you” mentality along with “I CAN kill you so I will”.
Rogers – what is your personal opinion on the dismembering of a human being?
Oh and for the record, African Americans currently have a 50 % … that is one out of two … abortion rate. A baby is worse off in America today if he or she is being carried by an African American woman than he or she was during slavery…what a sad, sad situation.
Thanks for keeping this issue out there on the front burner! Let’s continue to pray for our nation as we grow closer to November 4th.
It is a sad day when so many people say “I would never kill my own child” then turn around and advocate for the right of their neighbor to kill his/her child. As if the murder of our next door neighbor’s children does not affect us all. Like the entire neighborhood isn’t affected by the jerk down the street who beats his wife and kids. Like the entire neighborhood isn’t affected by the child molester around the corner. As if no one around us and nothing they do will have any affect on us so long as we “do the right thing”, those other people can do “their own thing” and no one need ever step out of their narccisstic bubble. This whole ‘every man an island unto himself’ thing has gone a bit far.
Not to burst any bubbles, but following your course of logic, “pro-life” is also a little misleading. If we take “pro-abortion” to mean “I support some cases of abortion”, then “pro-life” means “I support some cases of life”, the direct opposite of which would be “I do not support all cases of life.” So to be “anti-life” would be preposterous: I would be against my own instance of life!
So I think (in English, anyway) that “pro-” has the connotation of 1) “I support in every case of ___” or 2) “I support in some cases of ___g”. Conversely, “anti-” could be thought of in a similar manner. So when the person said “nobody is pro-abortion”, they were wanting to say “nobody supports abortion in every instance” (because it is absurd: you would be in favor of even your mother aborting you). Just so, to say that you are “pro-life” is taken to mean “I support life in every instance.”
Overall, great article! I shared it with my friends, who also loved it. Great use of logic, and good flushing out the idea of what “pro-abortion” really means. It’s just too bad that “to be in favor” can have some logically different connotations.
While participating in 40days4life and holding a sign that said “Pray to End Abortion,” quite a few people (all men) flipped the bird at me . . . now I ask you, why couldn’t people agree, since everyone is so opposed to abortion, that maybe it would be a good idea for abortions not to happen? You would think they would at least be willing to want the situations that end in abortion to end. Ugh!
Before Pope Benedict came to America to celebrate Mass in New York and Washington, it was revealed that as a young boy in Germany he had had a cousin with Down Syndrome. One day a Nazi doctor came and claimed his cousin for the Third Reich. Taken to be “cared for” at the “hospital” young Karl Ratzinger never saw his cousin again: one of the host of “useless eaters” marked for extermination by that brutal regime.
My wife and I operate St. Joseph’s House, a daycare and respite care home for handicapped children. As it happened one of the children we care for, a wheelchair bound young lady, was chosen along with three other handicapped folks to carry the gifts up to the altar before the consecration at the Mass at Nationals Stadium in Washington D.C. on April 17, 2008. One of these was James, a 30ish man who works in the Officer’s Club at Andrews AFB. James has Down Syndrome. He was chosen to carry the large host which would become the Body of Christ lifted up before the assembled. As James with great ceremony advanced toward the Pope, his native enthusiasm overcame his reserve and he started to run. Simultaneously the Holy Father leapt from his chair and walked towards James with his arms outstretched. We have a picture of this moment which I cannot look at without tearing up. What did he see as he gazed so lovingly at James? I believe he saw his cousin. I believe he saw the face of Jesus. And I believe that his great prayer as he elevated that host on that impossibly beautiful day was “As long as you did to these the least of my brethren, you did it to Me.”
The next day April 18th, a boy was born to of all people, the Governor of Alaska. They named him Trig.
“People can support the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment and still oppose handgun ownership.”
Can you clear this up a bit? Is it ok to have long guns but not hand guns?
“your support of abortion does not answer the question as to whether it is a moral evil or not.”
I think you already know how I’d answer that question.
I read Curt Jester because he’s a local and I was raised Catholic, so I’m interested in his viewpoint, but I don’t post here often. My comment was about the semantic issue of whether people who support the legal right to abortion can accurately be described as “pro-abortion.”
If you want to expand that subject into one in which we just argue about abortion itself, I’ll pass.
I find that many so called “pro-choice” people are against measures that would make it easier for a woman to have the baby, even if they would be optional. How can they really call themselves anything but pro-abortion?
Pro-abortionists (or pro-choice, if you insist) claim this is just a matter of semantics- that pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion. However, the “choice” for which they are “pro” is whether or not it ought to be legal to kill a baby. It just happens to sound nicer to say you’re “proc-choice” or “pro-women’s rights” than “pro-killing babies.” (Sidebar: since when is killing someone a right? Or a women’s right? Or anyone’s right?)
There isn’t a lot of middle ground here. A person either recognizes that babies – regardless of the number of cells they have or whether they happen to live inside a uterus or outside of one – have the right to live just like the rest of us, or they don’t. We *know* beyond any doubt that life begins at conception (http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html) Maybe I’m thick, but I simply cannot understand how people can rationalize ending innocent lives. Even the non-religious person could arrive at the same conclusion just by applying natural law.
John, what a beautiful story! Thank you! It was great to wake up my soul to a light shining in the darkness this morning. A “dawn” story.
Supporters of legal abortion used to call themselves pro-abortion before they invented the euphemistic PR spin term “pro choice”. An editorial in the July 2, 1977 New Republic supported not only legal abortion but using taxpayers’ money to pay for abortion. The editorial had been written to deplore a House vote to ban the use of federal money to pay for abortions along with a Supreme Court decision issued three days later that neither the Constitution nor federal Medicaid legislation prevented states from barring the use of Medicaid money for abortion, apart from special cases as when the life of the mother was threatened. One paragraph began:
“The pro-abortion forces have brought this disaster upon themselves. Or rather they themselves have brought it upon hundreds of
thousands of poor women who will be forced to bear and raise children they don’t want; and upon the taxpayers who will be forced to support many of these unwanted children. By relying on the courts to do their job for them, they have abandoned the processes of democracy to the ardent pro-lifers….”
I wonder why that last comment went through twice. Anyway I have remembered a signatur tag I use sometimes: Robert E. Lee was pro-choice on slavery.
James, You say: “following your course of logic, “pro-life” is also a little misleading. If we take “pro-abortion” to mean “I support some cases of abortion”, then “pro-life” means “I support some cases of life”, the direct opposite of which would be “I do not support all cases of life.” So to be “anti-life” would be preposterous: I would be against my own instance of life!”
I agree with you that there are two senses of “pro”, but I would note that the reason for the two senses is not arbitrary, and it’s not simply a question of semantics. There is a natural reason for the different meaning of “pro”, namely the different nature of the goods in question. Life is held by many to be an intrinsic and inviolable good, and therefore, when one refers to people who support life, and uses the word “pro-life”, one naturally means people who go all the way, and support life as an inviolable good, and that means, consequently, to support it in every instance.
But no one holds abortion to be an intrinsic good, but rather, a useful good, or a good that is necessary on account of circumstances. And therefore when one refers to people who support abortion, and uses the word “pro-abortion”, one naturally means people who support abortion as a “useful” good, and that means, consequently, to support it in some instances (since useful things are only useful in the right circumstances).
No one would take “pro-abortion” to mean that someone supports abortion as an intrinsic good, because no one (or only people who are against human life in general, and would like to see the human race come to an end) supports abortion as an intrinsic good.
This natural basis for the different meaning of “pro” in “pro-life” and “pro-abortion” isn’t often explicitly mentioned, though it’s somehow at the root of a lot of arguments.
The same thing doesn’t entirely apply to slavery: because some people argued that it was in accordance with the nature of “inferior” types of persons that they be slaves, they could be called “pro-slavery” in the sense of being in favor of the slavery of those persons as an intrinsic good, while others could be called “pro-slavery” only in the sense of being in favor of slavery as a useful good, and leaving it up to the choice of persons whether to use this good or not.
A long, long, time ago, I worked for a local newspaper that did printing and typesetting work for outside customers. We got a job once to print a program for a meeting of the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights.
These people went beyond “abortion should be legal so that young girls will not be killed in botched abortions.” I remember one article assailing the (perceived) view that, “women were incubators.” And those opposed to abortion were not described as antiabortion but as “natalist”, as if giving birth were a loathsome disease.
And of course, the pro-abortion side has always oppposed even reasonable and popular regulations on abortion that would guarantee that the act was indeed a free and informed choice, made by an adult, and was performed by qualified medical personnel in adequate facilities. (Wasn’t the whole point of legalizing abortion to make it safe, at least for the mother?)
I think the facts show that the advocates for legal abortion are not merely “pro-choice”, but also pro-abortion.
As a prolifer, I wear the label anti-abortion with pride!
The choice is in question—not the act. Because you seem to prefer black and white: you either support the choice (of abortion) or you don’t support the choice (of abortion). I am anti-abortion but pro-choice; that is, women should have the right to choose because it may or may not be better overall. I’d be content if abortions ceased, but someone who is “pro-abortion” wouldn’t. I’m pro-choice because I support the issue in question—the choice. Your article favours an anti-choice view because it’s against the issue at hand—the choice. The distinction may seem subtle but is certainly not and is fundamentally vital.
So you think that if someone is raped, they should not be entitled to an abortion? Just because you feel that it isn’t right, doesn’t mean that its not right. To limit what people can do with their body to this extent would be a moral infringement on people’s life.
I support abortion, but doesn’t mean in every case. I think abortions should be regulated through some means, but I don’t that the government should forbade abortion. Because of the fact that some people need it for either mental or physical health reason.