For many who grow up to become professional anti-choicers, devotion to the crusade to end abortion is an unquestionable reflex. Former activist Libby Anne [read her story here], however, has realized that despite her own opposition to abortion, she can no longer call herself a member of the “pro-life” movement, which she now realizes is more about enforcing a moral code than about ending the termination of unwanted pregnancies.
Libby Anne presents a moving and detailed explanation of why she no longer believes in the pro-life cause:
[W]hen I first started blogging a year and a half ago I was very insistent that the anti-abortion movement should be taken at its word when it came to rhetoric about saving “unborn babies” from being “murdered.” I insisted that the pro-life movement wasn’t anti-woman or anti-sex, and that those who opposed abortion genuinely believed that a zygote/embryo/fetus was a person with rights in need of protection just like any other person. I believed that the pro-life movement’s actions were counterproductive, but that they were merely misinformed. I wrote a postwith practical suggestions for opponents of abortion. I believed that the pro-life movement was genuine in its goals, but simply ignorant about how its goals might best be obtained.
I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong.
As a child, teen, and college student, I sincerely believed that personhood, life, rights, and the soul all began at fertilization. I was honestly opposed to abortion because I believed it was murder. It had nothing to do with being anti-woman or anti-sex. I thought that the pro-life movement writ large – the major pro-life organizations, leaders, and politicians – were similarly genuine. I thought that they, like myself, simply wanted to “save the lives of unborn babies.”
I have come to the conclusion that I was a dupe.
What led Libby Anne to change her mind, and realize her movement wasn’t about “saving babies” as much as it was about restricting the roles for women to fit into their extremely limited worldview? It was by learning that restricting abortion doesn’t limit the amount of abortions performed, just the safety of the procedure, and that those who opposed abortion as the “murder of babies” are just as opposed to contraception that prevents unintended pregnancies, too.
Obviously, Libby Anne concludes, it’s not about babies at all.
The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about punishing women for having sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free, and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.
Libby Anne is only wrong in one regard. She’s still pro-life. She’s just no longer anti-choice.