Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What It Really Means to Be Pro-Choice

I find it to be amazing just how careless and capricious people can be with labels, especially in the political realm. Negative labels such as "socialist" or "Nazi" are loosely thrown around to disparage one's opponents. Positive labels are used to make oneself look so great that attempting to argue against their stance comes off as a non-starter. As I was reminded while looking at the website for Reason Magazine, using the label "pro-choice" happens to be one of those positive labels. The label of "pro-choice" is really used to denote "pro-abortion." The purpose of using this device is so that when an individual disagrees with someone who self-identifies as "pro-choice," the disagreeing individual is thus labeled as "anti-choice." In a country that was founded on freedom and liberty, how can one oppose an individual's right to choose?

You would think that in libertarianism, a political philosophy that embraces the idea of freedom and allowing individuals make their own choices, the "libertarian stance" would be self-evident, but the truth is there is even debate in the libertarian world on this topic, especially with regards to the extent to which one considers the unborn child a life. Libertarianism strongly believes in the nonaggression principle, which essentially states my natural rights [of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] end where your natural rights or the natural rights of any other individual begin. I have my own opinion on the matter, and I'm not here to resolve the hot-button issue of abortion.

What I wanted to do in the previous paragraph is use the most common [political] usage of the term "pro-choice" as a springboard for a further discussion. If those who claim to be "pro-choice," would they say that they're pro-choice on the following questions:

  1. Is it acceptable to allow individuals to purchase a gun and carry it in self-defense?
  2. Instead of requiring people to pay into Social Security, should people have the choice of investing in their own retirement account
  3. Should parents be allowed to send their children to whichever school instead of having such immobility where many students are de facto trapped in the public school system? 
  4. Does an individual have a right to smoke cigarettes or drink sodas greater than sixteen ounces, even if it's clearly an unhealthy choice?
  5. Should people be able to buy SUVs and incandescent light bulbs if there are more "green alternatives" that emit less carbon such as hybrids and CFLs?
  6. Is there a moralistic problem with forcing people to buy health insurance?
  7. Should businesses be allowed to make the choice of outsourcing their labor overseas? 
  8. Would you have a problem if people couldn't buy products produced in sweatshops?
  9. Even in spite of the fact that "the rich" pay an extremely high amount in taxes that is arguably more than their fair share, should we scale back the tax burden so individuals have more freedom to do what they want with their money? On a similar vein, how about getting rid of wealth transfer programs such as welfare and food stamps so individuals have more economic freedom?   
I can continue with this line of questioning, but my point is that if you asked these questions to abortion proponents who use the label "pro-choice," they would overwhelmingly respond to these questions in the negative. If you were truly "pro-choice," you would have responded in the affirmative to most or all of these questions. However, that is not the political reality of the term "pro-choice." Invoking the "pro-choice" label while having the desire to deny choices in a multitude of instances is very disingenuous, to say the least. It would be more accurate for said individuals to use the label "pro-abortion, but that's not nearly as politically expedient as using "pro-choice." Rather than use "choice" out of political convenience, we should be working to actually make choices more readily available to the people.


  1. The abortion extremists aren't about choice. They're about dead babies. Leftists are motivated by hatred of virtue. A baby is, therefore, their ultimate object of disgust.

  2. I consider myself pro-choice.
    I agreed with all but 2 on your list. I view it as this, Most people who say they are pro-life(mostly republicans) are always harping on about big government and cutting social programs, like foodstamps. Well, if you FORCE a woman to bring a baby into the world that she cant afford to care for, guess who will be footing the food & heal insurance bill..thats right, everyone paying taxes. This is when they suggest adoption. Well adoption takes time and lets face it, white babies with pretty blue eyes and blonde hair move a lot quicker than the negro with difficult hair. So the child will most likely end up in the system, where taxes will be covering EVERYTHING! I agree having an abortion is a very personal and tough decision. I absolutely believe in freeom of choice.