June 24, 2013 by Alex Johannigman
Abortion has been back in the news in the past couple weeks as bills that would limit abortion access in Texas and criminalize abortion after 20 weeks nationwide are being considered. Whenever things like this hit the news, my facebook feed tends to get lit up with a mix of joy and angst, support and criticism, from my diverse group of friends with very different opinions on almost anything you can have an opinion on. Something that’s always bugged me about this debate and many others is how frequently it resorts to name calling. Pro-lifers say that those who support abortion are baby haters/ killers. Pro-choicers claim that those who want to limit abortion are all just “anti-choice” and hate freedom and women. While both sides are guilty of taking their opponents’ views to the extreme, as I think about the term “anti-choice,” I’ve realized that it may be a more accurate description of my view on abortion and law in general than I previously wanted to admit.
By being “anti-choice,” as abortion advocates like to say, I don’t believe that everyone should have the right to do whatever they please. Basically, I think there are some things that people should not be allowed to do without some sort of criminal punishment. Is this really such a bad thing though? I’m also “anti-choice” when it comes to stealing. I don’t think someone should be allowed to take what isn’t theirs just because they really want to. Am I limiting their freedom? Do I hate poor or desperate people who may have a need to steal? I just think that their choice on what they are allowed to take home with them from a store should be limited by how much money they are willing to give up before they leave. I’m also “anti-choice” when it comes to rape and child abuse. I don’t think anyone should be allowed to make the choice to commit either of those awful acts (or abortion, which is just as bad if not worse) without being charged as a criminal. But by the abortion advocate’s line of thought, wanting to restrict things like theft, rape, and child abuse could just as easily be considered to be hating freedom, if freedom means the ability to do what you want to do or think you have the right to do.
“But wait!” I hope some of my pro-choice friends would say. “You’re taking this too far. I’ve never said that any of those things should be allowed! Those are all awful things.” If you said that, then I agree with you. I did intentionally take this too far to prove a point. We’re all (hopefully) anti-choice in some way. Only the most confused and depraved of people would vote to do away with all laws that restrict our right to make certain “choices” that hurt others.
Now I understand that we still are at an impasse about whether abortion is actually a terrible thing or not. And I hope that those who still see no problem with abortion consider the arguments presented at a site like this one which rely entirely on secular logic to explain why abortion is a grave human rights violation. But I also hope those of you who are still reading this and consider “anti-choice” to be some great and clever dig at your opponents stop and think about how we need to be “anti-choice” in some situations in order to preserve true freedom, which guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (in that order) and, in the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, “consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”