"My body, my choice" has become the rally cry for pro-choice people ever since the passing of the abortion ban in the state of Alabama. It has led to conversations mostly centered around that very question - the question of choice. What exactly do we have the freedom to choose? Especially being in the United States, we love to focus on our personal freedoms. We can do what we want, say what we want, go where we want, act how we want, and we declare that we have the "freedom" to do so -- freedom of speech, freedom to express ourselves, freedom to pursue whatever prosperity and lifestyle one may desire. But even in a society so free, we still have limitations and boundaries on those freedoms. You are not free to go steal your neighbor's car. You are not free to physically assault someone else. You are not free to take someone else's life. You may be free to drink as much alcohol as you want, but you are not free to then go operate a vehicle. Understandably, our freedoms are limited based on their impact to other people. So we are free to do whatever we want with our own bodies - as long as it doesn't harm someone else.
This becomes the main point of contention between pro-choice and pro-life groups. Pro-choice groups rally behind that cry of "my body, my choice" as if abortion were only the woman choosing to damage her own body by her choice. However, abortion does not only harm the woman. Abortion harms the woman while taking the life of someone else. From the moment of conception, a set of human DNA is formed that is separate and distinct from the woman. By five weeks gestation this separate human being has his or her very own heartbeat, separate from the woman. By eight weeks gestation, this separate human has his or her very own set of fingerprints, major organs, nervous system (so yes, it can feel pain!), and reproductive organs, separate from the woman. From the science that we know today, there is no denying that the baby in the womb is in fact a human baby, a separate person from the woman. Therefore this idea of choice is not just for one person to do what they want with their own body -- because this choice now effects two bodies: the woman's and the baby's inside of her.
The issue for abortion then is determining under what circumstances should a woman be allowed the "freedom to choose" what happens to another human being. Many pro-choice woman say they are not for abortion only for a woman's right to choose. But respecting someone's right to choose depends on the choice being made. Would we make the same argument if someone decided to choose slavery? Would you say that you wouldn't choose to own a slave for yourself but if someone else chooses that, then that is their choice? Would we respect someone's "choice" to shoot up a kindergarten classroom (meanwhile abortion in this nation has wiped out 357 kindergarten classrooms PER DAY)? Would we respect as a "choice" someone who chooses to physically assault homosexuals? Yet abortion literally rips a baby apart limb from limb while in his mother's womb, what is supposed to be the safest place for him. Would we respect the "choice" of a woman who chooses to do drugs while she is pregnant? Yet people are fighting for a woman to take drugs that will destroy life as long as it is administered by an abortionist.
This is where we need to stop and take a moment to determine what kind of society we want to be...or really what kind of society we already are. In several discussions with pro-choice women, I've made the comparison of abortion to the Holocaust. I don't know if they are willfully refusing to see the analogy or if they truly are that ignorant to what they are "fighting" for, but abortion is our nation's Holocaust. When Hitler proposed the "final solution," it was a means of disposing of those that he deemed less than human. They weren't people to him anymore. They were unwanted. They were unloved. (Sound familiar? alabama-democrat-on-abortion-kill-them-now-or-kill-them-later/). They were unnecessary and actually a hindrance on the progress of the nation. Hitler devalued those people - Jews, gypsies, disabled, mentally handicapped - and his "choice" was to remove them from the population.
You can see the same ideology of abortion with the origin of Planned Parenthood. When Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood it was as a means for controlling the black population. She said, "All of our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class... Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race.”  In 1920 in an article titled "Woman and the New Race," Sanger states, "“Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives… If we are to make racial progress, this development of womanhood must precede motherhood in every individual woman.” And in a letter she wrote in 1939 to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble, Sanger writes, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Yet Sanger is the role model for the pro-choice movement and champion of the "woman's right to choose."
Abortion is our Holocaust. It is doing exactly what Hitler dreamed of doing - only we've made it more efficient. Hitler's persecution took the lives of 17 million innocent people simply because he chose to treat those as less than human. To Hitler, they were unwanted and undesirable. We have killed over 60 million babies because our society has deemed certain pregnancies as unwanted and undesirable. For Margaret Sanger it was about controlling and limiting the black population. Now, our society is trying to rationalize and sort out who we think is worthy of existing. That's not our place to decide whether this person or that person is deserving of life. That is exactly what Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and many others did. They decided your ethnicity made you unfit to live. In some places around the world, they are making that decision based on gender. Our society is deciding whether someone's economic level, someone's desire to be a parent, or someone's potential "quality of life" of life makes an unborn baby a human being deserving of life or not.
But the baby in the womb is a human life, then it has value no matter how it was conceived, no matter how bad we think the circumstances around the birth and the life for the baby may be. We don't get to decide that this life doesn't matter. We don't get to choose that this life is disposable. When we do that, we are no different from the Nazi's "Final Solution." When there is a difficult, unplanned pregnancy, there are lots of things we can blame. We can blame some men for being crappy dads. We can blame some men for taking advantage of women. We can blame much of society for failing to emphasize the importance of the family. We can blame some women for making poor relationship decisions. We can blame the government and some corporations for not supporting motherhood enough. But what we can't blame is that baby. That baby is a human being, innocent and defenseless. It deserves life regardless of the circumstances of its conception. The value of innocent human life doesn't change whether the woman is poor, whether the man is a jerk, whether the woman already has other children, whether the woman is young, whether the woman has a career or school to consider, or whether the woman wants the baby. How we feel about the conception does not change whether the baby is a human or not. And we don't get that choice to destroy another human for our own selfish reasons.
Abortion is not an issue about choice. It is an issue about the value of life. We don't get to "choose" whose life is worth living or not. When we allow society to pick and choose the value of an innocent life, we are in a dangerous position. So I applaud Alabama, as a life-long resident of this beautiful state, for being in the national headlines on the correct side of valuing human life. Here we have said that it doesn't matter how you were conceived, what kind of parents you have, or where you are going to live. Your life has value and it will be treated as such. Alabama has been bold enough to say that there are all kinds of choices you get to make, but you do not get the choice to destroy an innocent human life.
(More posts to come on this issue...)
Quote from inside an abortion clinic in Alabama: When asked why does she work at this clinic, this woman replied, "Who else is going to do this? It's very hard to get somebody to do this job. I've worked here 14 years. Even though I've never personally had a termination, I've assisted in about 20,000. And I feel like this should be as common as going to the doctor and having a bunion removed. Nobody ridicules you, nobody asks you. 'Why did you have that knot taken off the side of your foot?' So nobody should be ridiculing you or asking you why did you have that fetus removed from your uterus."
1. Margaret Sanger, "Morality and Birth Control," Feb-Mar 1918.