This is the second part in a five part series that will address the primary assumptions within the Shout Your Abortion movement. If you missed our first article, Should Women Shout Their Abortions?, I’d encourage you to stop now and read it first.
This week, I’ll be exploring the first assumption of Shout Your Abortion: Abortion is freedom.
Abortion is Freedom
The argument is usually something like this: To tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body is infringing on her rights. Government should not be able to tell a woman what kind of healthcare she chooses for herself. A woman should be free to make choices about her own body and also about everything else in her life.
And actually, I agree 100%.
I should be able to choose my own healthcare. I should be able to choose whom I vote for. I should be able to choose whom I marry, where I worship, where I purchase clothes, and what I have for dinner.
But I would argue that some choices are wrong. And some “freedoms” are not legitimate or appropriate.
Abortion Isn’t About Freedom
Here’s an example for you.
If you try to tell me that I shouldn’t be allowed to have an annual doctor appointment, drink Diet Mountain Dew, watch reruns of Psych, or wear sweatpants around the house, then I’m going to take issue with that. Because those are my choices. And quite frankly, it’s none of your business if I prefer Psych over Gilmore Girls or Diet Mountain Dew over coffee.
On the other hand, if I walk into Target and make the choice to fill my purse with Diet Mountain Dew and Peanut M&Ms and then walk out without paying for them, suddenly it is someone else’s business. I’ve made a choice that is wrong, that infringes on the rights of someone else (in this case, the store owner).
A silly example, but you get my drift.
Abortion isn’t about freedom. It isn’t about some people being “pro-choice” and others being “anti-choice.” Because I guarantee you that every single person on the face of this planet who identifies as “pro-choice” is actually very anti-choice about some things. We all are.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”I guarantee you that every single person on the face of this planet who identifies as “pro-choice” is actually very anti-choice about some things. We all are.” quote=”I guarantee you that every single person on the face of this planet who identifies as “pro-choice” is actually very anti-choice about some things. We all are.”]
If someone walks into my home and threatens to harm my children, you’d better believe that I will do whatever it takes to stop the intruder. And if I did stop that person, no one in his right mind would say that I’m being anti-choice in that moment by not letting the intruder “do what’s right for him” or “exercise his freedom.”
Quite the contrary. I’d be commended for protecting my children.
So let me summarize my point in this one statement: Some choices—some “freedoms”—are wrong choices and should be stopped. They’re not justifiable freedoms once they infringe on the rights and freedoms of another person.
My Body, My Choice
But Mary, you might be thinking, we’re not talking about stealing Peanut M&Ms or breaking into someone’s home. We’re talking about a woman’s own body. Do you really think it’s okay for the government to tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body? Shouldn’t she have the freedom to make her own decision, to decide if she wants to be a mother or not?
That’s the core question, isn’t it? And that’s the heart of the “Shout Your Abortion” movement. Reasons for abortion shouldn’t matter. It’s my body, and I have the right to do whatever I want with my body. Period.
To quote Amelia Bonnow, the co-founder of Shout Your Abortion, abortion is her right and choice because, “I feel like if I’ve been forced to create life, then I’ve lost the right to my own life.”
According to Amelia, for those reasons, abortion is necessary. The prospect of being “forced” to bear a child was, for her, synonymous with imprisonment. Becoming a mother would limit her ability to carry out her plans for her life. Abortion was her key to freedom.
And that might be true if abortion does not take the life of an unborn human.
What is the Unborn?
The fact that an unborn child is human should be self-evident, and embryology has clearly taught this truth for decades. Unfortunately, the majority of justifications people give for abortion—including the “abortion is freedom” argument—make the dangerous assumption that the unborn child is not human.
This is an important distinction to recognize. In the words of apologist Greg Koukl, “If the unborn isn’t human, then no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is human, then no justification for abortion is adequate.”
This is important because, if the unborn is human (which we’ve established), then suddenly we’re not just talking about a woman and her body. We’re talking about a woman’s body and a body within her body—the unborn child.
To take the life of an innocent human being is not an expression of freedom. Rather, it’s an abuse of it.
To take the life of an innocent human being in the name of personal autonomy or choice is a severe misuse and misrepresentation of the freedom that makes our country so great.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”To take the life of an innocent human being is not an expression of freedom. Rather, it’s an abuse of it.” quote=”To take the life of an innocent human being is not an expression of freedom. Rather, it’s an abuse of it.”]
To put this in perspective, consider this example:
If a woman had a two-year-old child she no longer wanted, would she be justified in having him euthanized in the name of autonomy and personal freedom?
Of course not.
Because that child is a human being with rights. He or she deserves to be protected just by virtue of being human. And that woman’s “freedom” to kill her child is not a justified freedom at all. Rather, she now has the responsibility to protect her child’s life.
Case in point: Embryology establishes the humanity of the unborn. And the only differences between the unborn human and the toddler I just mentioned are their size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. And none of these differences are good reasons to justify killing one person (the unborn child) but not the other (the toddler).
We are More than Our Freedom
We must acknowledge that the concept of freedom does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, freedom, morality, love, and sacrifice coexist as we seek to live in community with other people. If we operate from the perspective that personal freedom and autonomy are all that matters, then yes, we will live as we wish. But we will also bear no regard for anyone other than ourselves.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If we operate from the perspective that personal freedom and autonomy are all that matters, then yes, we will live as we wish. But we will also bear no regard for anyone other than ourselves.” quote=”If we operate from the perspective that personal freedom and autonomy are all that matters, then yes, we will live as we wish. But we will also bear no regard for anyone other than ourselves.”]
Sometimes, doing what is morally right means making personal sacrifices.
It means laying aside one’s own “freedoms” in order to uphold the value and well-being of others. It means recognizing that harming another innocent human being is unjust.
Mother Teresa once said about abortion, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
Abortion is not freedom. It is a poverty.
But to sacrifice our own comfort for the good of another, not because it’s easy, but because it’s right—this is one of the great mysteries of humanity.
And that kind of sacrifice is worth shouting about.
If you find yourself in an unplanned pregnancy, we realize that you have very real obstacles ahead of you. The Care Center exists to empower you to face your unplanned pregnancy—and these obstacles—without fear by offering practical support and resources. We would consider it a privilege to walk with you during and after your pregnancy. Call us at 336-274-4881 to make an appointment today.
Mary Holloman is the Communications Coordinator at GPCC. You can find more of her work at www.maryholloman.com or follow her on Instagram at @marytholloman.