I've always been more pro-life than pro-choice at my basic core--I saw the world premiere of a play called Flowers for Tilly, based on this book, when I was about 10, and it was unforgettable in terms of its impact on how I viewed the abortion debate. But as I've gotten older I've learned that no matter which side you take there's always going to be a grey area for you, the question of when a life becomes worth saving and why, and what lengths you have to go to to save one life at the expense of another. And I guess along those lines, there's one basic thing that bothers me.
The conservative majority that comprises the vast majority of pro-life voters in this country believes the life of a fetus is sacred and should be preserved at all costs.
Unless that fetus turns out to be gay, in which case conservatives would reduce them to second-class citizenship for the rest of their life, forbid them to marry, in some cases deprive them of the right to own a home, travel abroad, and, if they happen to be unlucky enough to be born in Ohio, deprive them of the benefits most unmarried couples have.
Unless that fetus turns out to be a black male, in which case he is more likely to drop out of high school, work minimum wage for the rest of his life, and experience a violent crime, than any other minority group in America.
Unless that fetus turns out to be of Arabic or Islamic descent, in which case they don't actually get to enter the country.
That's the thing that bothers me, deeply, about pro-life arguments. The argument is almost always being made as part of an overall line of thinking that contributes to the social realities that have led to women not wanting to bear their children.
The tragedy of life is not about fetuses being put to death before they are born. The tragedy of life is that, as it is being lived out by so many of us, it is about exclusion--about telling children every day that they don't matter, that their feelings and talents don't matter as much as their gender, their skin color, their sexual orientation, or the social class into which they were born.
Ever seen Sophie's Choice? Beloved? Every time I hear a conservative spouting anti-Islamic, anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-working-class rhetoric in one breath, and right-to-life rhetoric in another, all I can think is: thank god I'm not pregnant. Because I'm not sure I would choose to bring a child to term in the kind of world these people want to create.