Monday, February 01, 2010

How do you "choose" life without a "choice"?

I don't know Tim Tebow or his mother Pam.  I've only recently learned that Tim is a Heisman Trophy winner and, like other members of his family, a Christian Fundamentalist.  And now I've learned that during a CBS Super Bowl commercial, Tim and his mom will sit side-by-side and discuss the ordeal she went through during her pregnancy with Tim and why she is "pro-life."  The prescribed moral of the story: Choose life.

I am pro-choice. 

I don't have an opinion one way or the other on Pam Tebow's religious choices to continue with a risky pregnancy after doctors told her the fetus was damaged.  Apparently, as a missionary in the Phillippines having contracted amoebic dysentery, she was diagnosed with placental abruption, a premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. The doctors predicted a stillbirth and recommended abortion.  But Pam was against abortion, she had faith in God and she refused.  That sounds like a terrible ordeal and a very courageous decision.  Although I am happy that because of her faith-based choice (and some medical science thrown in there), Pam gave birth to a healthy boy and all was well; I am happier that she had the choice to make. 

What makes me unhappy about the story, and many similar stories shared by "pro-lifers," is the omission of the very salient fact that these women like Pam Tebow, HAD A CHOICE.  

No one -- I repeat, no one -- is upset that Pam Tebow (or Sarah Palin or whoever else) chose to give birth to their respective children.  Had Pam Tebow acted on her doctor's advice and had an abortion, she could have, because abortion is legal. Sarah Palin could have chosen not to give birth. The fact that they did give birth is fine. Good for them for doing what they felt was best for themselves. The point is, if abortion were illegal (and I'm pretty sure they would like it to be illegal), they would not have had a CHOICE in the matter. They would have had to give birth, by law.  Pam Tebow's doctor could have said "this pregnancy is complicated and may result in your death," period.  Because if abortion were illegal, that's all he or she could have said. The doctor couldn't recommend an abortion, regardless of the medical situation, if abortion were illegal.

The reason these women and others can pride themselves on "choosing life" is because THEY HAD A CHOICE.  Without legal abortion, there would be no legal choice but to give birth.

This is not a case of anyone being "anti-life" or "anti-birth" or "anti-women" or "anti-babies" or anything even close to that. This is about people pointing out that those women HAD A CHOICE in the first place. This is about anti-choicers touting the CHOICE they made as the only one that should be allowed.  If they had their way, no one would have a choice.


cheesefairy said...

I had this very same thought a few minutes ago when I found myself scrolling through a pro-life site (Canadian) that claims "women need to be empowered to make the choice to be pro-life" ARGH. PRO FUCKING CHOICE. (I hope I'm allowed to swear here.)

So I set my computer on fire.

Jeniene said...

Smart choice. Thanks.

Matthew said...

----->(*) Way to hit the bulls-eye.

The arrogance of the so-called "pro lifers" (as if people who are pro choice are pro death). The problem with this, and many other issues, is that one side feels empowered/emboldened by God, and therefore has better and more righteous footing than the other. That's position almost creates a no-win for anyone looking to have an honest conversation. There is no other side.

Thanks for articulating the paradox.

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