So with the recent controversy over common-sense bill in Texas HB2, I've been hearing a lot about it. Of sexually-explicit signs being held by teenage girls and now a pro-choice slogan gaining ground, "bro"-choice (hilarious). Though I do love a good pun, there's been a lot of controversy over this term.
To give you some insight, according to an article by Salon (which, unfortunately, has never taken the pro-life side seriously and makes really bad arguments for why abortion should be legal, and is usually blatantly dishonest about pro-life people), the term was coined by comedienne Sarah Silverman. I don't find Silverman funny, but she did say something in the linked video that I found very interesting: "Does a fight have to be yours for you to take it on?" This is a very apropos statement. It is just as fitting for the pro-life movement. We are not the ones legally targeted for destruction by abortion, yet we are the ones standing up for those who have no voice.
Pro-choice advocates have a long history of making the abortion debate an "us vs. them" mentality. In fact, women seem to believe that abortion is the only right enjoyed by women, since all of their rights allegedly hinge on whether or not they can get an abortion legally. Abortion is usually referred to by the euphemism "women's rights." Nevermind that the original feminists who were fighting for actual equality (e.g. the right to vote, own property, etc.) were pro-life and viewed abortion as the ultimate exploitation of women.
So what does "bro"-choice mean? It's essentially a way to get men involved in the "fight" for "women's rights." Salon mentioned a video by Christian politco Caleb Bonham talking to people about what it means to be "bro"-choice, and apparently the responses of many people were that we should support women's rights because we'll get to have sex more often. Salon scoffs at this view (though at the end of the article, writer Katie McDonough argues that there's nothing wrong with having sex more often just because you're pro-choice). But making abortion legal has had detrimental effects on women. Not just the women who have died or become sterile, or other things, because of legalized abortion. But because legalized abortion allows abortion providers to hide statutory rape and sex trafficking, as well as other detestable crimes and practices.
But let's face it. Some "bro"-choicers take the motto seriously, that pro-choice means more sex. Blogger Ben Sherman wrote an article appealing to men to be pro-choice because, in his own words, your sex life is at stake. He goes on: "Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don't be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by."
Now I can't speak for all pro-life advocates, but I know many pro-life people who lead fulfilling sex lives. Studies have actually shown that Catholics tend to lead the most fulfilling sex lives, and being a pro-life, monogamous institution, they don't have to worry about whether or not an abortion will be available because they value life at all stages of development.
Kirsten Powers wrote an article about this new movement, and let's face it, if you're pro-choice because it will get you "more tail," then that's a really dumb reason to be pro-choice. Sherman includes three other reasons to be "bro"-choice, but he should strike this fourth reason from his argument. We should all take pains to address the best arguments from both sides, and if your response to a pro-life person's argument that the unborn are valuable and should be protected is that "women should be able to kill them so that they can have as much casual, worry-free sex as they want," then I truly don't want to live on this planet any more. His other three arguments are better, but only slightly.
His first argument is that your girlfriend/wife's life will be at stake. He says, "Making abortion inaccessible for millions of Texas women is going to put them in danger if they ever need to terminate a pregnancy. Black markets for unsafe abortions will emerge, and women will be pushed into potentially fatal back-alley abortions. That's your girlfriend's life we're talking about."
Now let's be clear. This is a valid concern. No one, not even pro-life people, want women to risk their lives, or undergo a dangerous operation. But abortions have become safer in the United States. This is not because it was made legal, but because medical knowledge and technology have improved since the early 1900's. Even before abortion was legalized in 1973, illegal abortions were no less safe than they are now legally. Obviously I mean safe for the woman, as a successful abortion always results in the death of a human child. But even before 1973, abortions were still done by physicians in good standing in their community. And even now, if abortions were "relegated" to underground status, there would still be ways to do it that wouldn't involve a coat hanger. See my article here for a more involved treatment of this concern.
So Sherman is just wrong when he says that black markets for unsafe abortions will emerge, and they'll be pushed into back-alley abortions. Finally, as Scott Klusendorf argues, the law should not be faulted for making it more dangerous to kill innocent human beings.
Sherman's second argument is that your freedom to choose is at stake, too. He continues, "While it is ultimately a woman's choice whether to have an abortion, many women choose to make that decision with the man involved. Do you want that decision ready-made for you by politicians in state government? Not if you value freedom, you don't."
This is always a bizarre argument to come from the pro-choice side. Pro-choice people who speak of "freedom" in relation to the abortion issue have no idea what freedom actually is. Freedom is not giving us the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want. There are a lot of things that are illegal that don't infringe on our freedoms. If abortion kills an innocent human being, then it is not a violation of freedom to make abortion illegal, any more than it was a violation of plantation owners' freedom to make slavery illegal.
Also, pro-choice people tend to conveniently ignore the fact that Roe v. Wade was decided on and passed by a panel of nine men. So it's just a hypocritcal argument that nine men should be able to make abortion legal but that nine men shouldn't make it illegal. If you remove men from one side of the issue, you have to remove men from both sides of the issue. Or just not make this ad hominem argument in the first place.
Sherman's last argument is that you want to decide when and if to have kids. He goes on, "This bill will force thousands of Texas men into unplanned fatherhood by making it impossible for women to access an abortion in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. Even if you want to have kids, you probably don't want an accident to make you a father before you're psychologically ready and able to care for a child. If you don't want kids, you don't want the narrow, personal views of politicians in the state government to force you to have them."
On first blush, this is an argument that pro-life people can agree with. No one should be forced into parenthood, and certainly not before they're ready. But sex is what creates the child. What Sherman, and many other pro-choice people overlook, is that if a woman is pregnant she is already a mother. She has a growing child inside her, and by extension the man is already a father. We don't allow parents to kill their toddler if they decide after trying that they're not ready to be parents. If the unborn are human beings, as science has shown that they are, then how can we justify that while they're still in the womb? If you don't want to become parents, you must use contraception to prevent conception of a new human child, and the only sure-fire way to avoid pregnancy is to abstain.
Sherman also makes a puzzling argument, that if a woman is forced to keep her child a man will be forced into unplanned fatherhood. But if a woman decides to keep her child, even with legalized abortion on the table when a man doesn't want to keep the child, he will still be forced into unplanned fatherhood before he's ready. So would Sherman, then, advocate forced abortion if the man doesn't feel ready to be a father? I would guess not. So this should, like the sex life argument, be stricken from his rolodex (remember those?) of pro-choice arguments. The reality is if the man, and/or the woman, are not psychologically ready to have children, then they're not psychologically ready to be having sex. Adoption is also always on the table if two people who have sex do not feel ready to have a child.
This whole "bro"-choice movement is just meaningless nonsense. And while they do make some statements that seem to have the woman's interests at heart, there are also underlying assumptions, that our sex life is at stake and that men will be forced into fatherhood before they're ready, that I don't think pro-choice people ought to be making. Pro-life people are often accused of being misogynistic, but legalized abortion has allowed men to safely rape women, even underage girls, and get away with it because they can just remove the evidence, the child, and the woman is too traumatized to do anything about it. It also allows guys to use women for sex, then coerce them into getting an abortion.
The bottom line is, no one should be excluded from the abortion discussion. If a man truly thinks that legalized abortion is the right option, they should be allowed to speak out in defense of the practice. Likewise, if men believe that abortion is a human rights violation, they should also be allowed to speak out against the practice. In fact, it would be their moral duty to speak out against it. "Bro"-choice is a cute pun, but when you really unpack it the underlying assumptions are those that I don't think pro-choice people would want, or should want, to support.
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