Monday, March 03, 2008

NO DICHOTOMY

I watched Juno yesterday and thought it was a fine movie with some great acting by Ellen Page. Due to its story and theme, it's not one that would be considered in the category of "great" sweeping movies, but it is probably the best that could have been done for such a movie.

During the movie, I joked to my friend sitting next to me that I hoped that this was not a plug by the pro-lifers. When I was discussing it further with him later, I realized that there is something very simple that pro-life people don't understand. It's one of those facts that's simple but that cannot be emphasized enough.

That fact is that "pro-choice" people like me are not "anti-life". It's not that we are advocating killing embryos or fetuses. We are simply on the side of a woman's right to choose. We would prefer anyone not having an abortion; it's a painful choice for anyone and it does not usually reflect prudent behavior. But we would support someone who wants to nonetheless have it, especially if her circumstances are not favorable for the conception and bringing-up of the child. On the other hand, it's interesting that those who are pro-life are emphatically "anti-choice". I think this is a good illustration of how only something like religion can force people to deal in absolutes.

On a somewhat related note, many religious people also think that people who are pro-contraception are "anti-abstinence". That's not true too. I think abstinence- if you can practise it- is a good way to not unexpectedly become pregnant or catch a STD. I don't think there's anything wrong with promoting abstinence, especially as advice to young people. But the way the church does it is miserably evil- warning that people who don't abstain will go to hell, and that contraception will also get them on a fast track to the realm of brimstone. People like me can be pro-abstinence, it's just that we are also pro-contraception. We realize that one should make all contingency plans, given how fickle human nature is. Religion on the other hand wants to not only change human nature, but subvert it.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Kunal said...

I think its a little disingenuous to say that people who identify as pro-life are necessarily anti-choice. While there are definitely some people who are against abortion because they wish to limit a woman's right to choose, I think that a lot of this decision depends on when you believe a foetus gains the rights of a person. If you think this happens at conception, you have no choice but to be against abortion. If you believe a foetus becomes a person at birth, then you have no choice but to support a woman's choice to have an abortio if she wants to. In my opinion, both terms, pro-life and pro-choice are attempts to attack the motives of the other side, whether to say they don't value life, or to say that they don't support a person's right to do what they will with their body.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

While that's true, I think that's just pushing the issue one step further back. It's definitely true that if you believe that life begins at conception, then you have to be "anti-choice". But that's precisely the problem. The point is that a lot of religious people deal in absolutes. "Life begins at conception. Period". "Therefore we are not pro-choice. Period."

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Deepa said...

Nicely reasoned.
Now my 2cents on the matter... I believe that we need to trust women to make their own decisions. Not the government, not the church, temple or mosque.

Why should the religious convictions of a few dictate the way I live my life?

5:48 AM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

I agree

1:13 PM  

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