I’ve been thinking about the fight for women’s healthcare a lot lately, mainly due to the influx of messages we’ve been getting to Skepchick in the past month virtually throwing a temper tantrum about Rebecca’s video “Planned Parenthood is Not Selling Baby Parts, You Fucking Idiots.” Although I am firmly on the pro-choice side, I always try to understand those who have opposing views to my own and in the case of abortion I understand why people who truly believe that a fetus = baby would be upset that abortions exist. I certainly get very upset over the idea of baby murder, but since I do not believe a fetus is the same as a baby and science backs me up on that point, I consider abortion to be merely a medical intervention to prevent a future baby. Someone who truly believes that a future baby is the same as a currently existing baby would obviously feel very differently.
However, the more I wade into the debate over abortion the more it is obvious that pro-life people do not actually care about the life of fetuses nor do they believe that killing a fetus is equivalent to killing a baby. In fact, the whole debate over abortion doesn’t seem to have anything to do with fetuses at all.
Nothing the pro-life and right-wing conservative movement does actually protects the life of fetuses. If the pro-life movement really cared about reducing abortions they would support comprehensive women’s healthcare, science-based sex education, contraception services, and anti-rape legislation and education. Instead, they spend their time and energy doing things like attempting to remove funding from planned parenthood clinics, which provide women with education, contraception and healthcare services, support abstinence-only sex education, which has been shown not to be effective in preventing teen pregnancy, and fighting “affirmative consent” legislation. All of these things increase the number of unwanted pregnancies which in turn increases the number of abortions, so they seem like strange policies to back if you actually believe that abortion = baby murder.
These policies only make sense if the true purpose of the pro-life movement was to stop women from having consequence-free sex. I know I’m the one millionth person to point this out, but the ultra-conservative pro-life wing of the conservative movement is far more interested in controlling the bodies and sexual lives of women than the lives of fetuses. Being forced to carry a baby to term and then birth that baby and raise that baby for the rest of your life is merely punishment for daring to have sex without the express purpose of procreation.
The claims that abortion = baby murder, that planned parenthood is selling baby parts, that women are naive and stupid and “tricked” into abortion by evil abortion doctors, that abortions are used as genocide against black Americans, and other claims by pro-life advocates are just a smokescreen to make people believe that pro-lifers actually care about the life of a fetus when all they really care about is punishing women for daring to have sex just for their own enjoyment.
Featured photo by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr (CC with Attribution License).