Does Pro-Choice Mean Pro-Abortion?

The March for Life on Monday went off without a hitch. Events like this always spark a personal debate for me: can a person be pro-choice and simultaneously anti-abortion?

Having been raised in the liberal suburbs of New York City, I have always (and still do) considered myself pro-choice. I believe in a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her body, and I believe that a woman’s decision to have an abortion is her prerogative.

And yet still I disagree-I disagree with the act in itself and with the fact that a fetus, a developing human, which given a few more months of nurturing and care would become a child, is treated as nothing more than blood and tissue. Who decides that this creature has not yet attained life? Who makes that distinction? But this is what we learn. We are not taught that we are aborting a life; we are told that we are merely ridding ourselves of an inconvenience.

I feel guilt at these assertions; it is unsettling to acknowledge a fetus as alive. On one hand, I have enormous respect for the sanctity of life. On the other hand, by discussing these grim realities, I feel that I am somehow disrespecting women by weighing in on an incredibly sensitive and personal issue that I have never experienced and God willing will never have to face.

There is one crucial thing that I overlook in my guilt. It is something perhaps so obvious that it is easily ignored: pro-choice does not signify pro-abortion. Pro-choice signifies pro-choice!

Pro-choice supports the ability of one to decide for oneself: the very position I support. The idea of an abortion troubles me, but if I were to stand against it, I would be standing against a freedom that should not be taken away from Americans by the government. Does my point of view mean that I support abortions occurring in the U.S.? No, it merely means that I support people’s right to choose for themselves. Admittedly abortions are disturbing to me, but I can’t allow that to let me fight against the rights of those who may feel differently.

Pro-choice is a stance regarding legislation, while anti-abortion is a personal view. Personal views such as these should not color one’s political stance and while I may disagree with the procedure, I cannot be the one to decide that for someone else.

— Adam I. W. Schwartzman