Quick Response #20: Pro-Life People Are Just Pro-Birth

Pro-life people are sometimes, usually mean-spiritedly, called “pro-birth” or “forced birthers.” Emily Albrecht explains why this is a totally inaccurate representation of what pro-lifers believe about abortion and why they believe it, as well as showing that pro-life support systems for women disprove the label.

Watch all the videos in ERI’s Quick Response series here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsN8Ay8poS-It-dWSmblq1ZufOH-MVj1L

Related Links:

The Equal Rights Argument:

Care Net:

Heartbeat International:

Script Text

The less kind pro-choice people have several names they like to call pro-life people, often in order to avoid saying that we’re standing for life. Anti-abortion is at least accurate; anti-choice, far less accurate. But it’s both inaccurate and explicitly mean-spirited when pro-choice people call us “pro-birthers” or say we support forced birth.

(intro sequence)

My position as a pro-life avocate is very simple: it generally shouldn’t be legal to kill people, and a fetus is a person who should have an equal right to life. Therefore, killing a fetus should be illegal. If you or the person you’re talking to doesn’t agree with my premise that the fetus is a person who should have an equal right to life, check out our video on the Equal Rights Argument and then come back to this video. Link in the description.

Okay, so now that I’ve argued for the personhood of the unborn, I can assert that abortion is a lethal act of violence against an innocent person. By refusing to support abortion, I am NOT supporting forced birth—I am refusing to support legalized killing. I am saying “don’t kill,” and that is NOT the same as forcing someone to do something. Yes, other things do naturally follow from my “no killing” stance, because if you can’t kill the child in utero, then you essentially have to go through pregnancy, give birth, and parent the child or pass along that responsibility to someone else who can. But me saying you can’t kill is NOT the same as forcing someone to give birth. If you think I’m just making an irrelevant distinction between words, let’s imagine for a moment that there is a single-mother with a two year-old son, and she is at the end of her rope. She’s struggling to make ends meet and finish school, so she comes up with a plan to kill her son and make it appear that he died of natural causes. I think we can all agree that it would be horrendously wrong for this woman to kill her son, and us telling this hypothetical woman that she can’t kill her son isn’t “forcing” her to be a parent. She already IS a parent—we’re telling her that she can’t kill her son! Being opposed to someone killing a child is a very different thing from forcing a woman who doesn’t have a child to cause a new child to come into existence.

When a woman is pregnant, that child already exists. I’m not forcing anyone to have sex or get pregnant, I’m simply saying that you can’t kill a person who already exists. If we had some cool Star Trek technology where we could just beam the fetus out of the mother’s womb and into an artificial womb where she wouldn’t have to be pregnant anymore or give birth, and the fetus would continue to live normally and come out of the womb at the proper time, I’d totally be open to entertaining that idea! I’m not in the business of forcing women to give birth. I just want to end lethal violence against innocent people.

I think there’s another aspect to the “pro-birth” accusation too: that pro-lifers only care about getting the child born, and then we couldn’t care less what happens to the child after that. If that’s what you think about pro-lifers, I’m really sorry. I’m sorry that you probably had a negative experience with a pro-lifer at some point that made you think that we don’t care about children after birth. I’m not going to stand here and pretend that I personally know every pro-life person on the planet, so maybe there are a handful of outlier pro-lifers like that out there, but I nor any member of our staff have ever met a SINGLE one of them. If pro-lifers were just pro-birth, why would we found nearly 3,000 pregnancy resource centers that offer things like parenting classes, health resources, life coaching, support groups, and material assistance to women long after they’ve given birth?

While I’ve heard many false accusations about these centers as being “fake clinics,” that couldn’t be further from my experience with pregnancy resource centers. National PRC organizations like Care Net and Heartbeat International train their centers to be incredibly clear both on their websites and in-person that they do not refer or perform abortions, and many clinics have all clients sign a form stating that they know that prior to even walking past the lobby. Furthermore, PRCs that offer any medical services whatsoever must have medical staff and licenses to perform those services, such as ultrasounds and STD/STI testing. These PRCs are licensed and monitored by the state, and every PRC I’ve ever been in hands out the state Department of Health’s brochure to educate women on the risks of pregnancy, childbirth, and abortion. It’s pretty hard to argue that the brochure from the state Department of Health is fake. I’ve never seen a client that seemed like she felt pressured or deceived, and instead I’ve heard countless stories from women who felt empowered and cared for after spending time with the PRC staff. Furthermore, PRC services don’t end after the child is born, they often offer the woman parenting classes, material support, life coaching, childcare, support groups, and countless other services available to women for years to come.

I want women and children to have the support they need during and long after pregnancy. But killing a child shouldn’t be an option on the table.

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