Abortion continues to be a highly-contentious issue, even as this week marks the 40th anniversary since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court verdict was handed down. It’s a never-ending battle, typically colored by raw emotion. While one polar side traditionally argues that life begins at the moment of conception, the other tends to shy away from any recognition that the unborn qualify as human lives.
This pro-life versus pro-choice dynamic often leads to intense clashes in the public sphere, with both sides accusing the other of restricting rights and advocating damaging policies. In a new piece that was published this week, Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams, a pro-choice adherent, decides not to steer clear of the “life” issue and asks: “So what if abortion ends life?”
The question, itself, is enough to send anti-abortion advocates into a tizzy. Williams, who identifies herself as pro-choice, takes a divergent route from others on the left who have staunch views about abortion rights. Rather than denying the fact that fetuses are human lives, she, like pro-lifers, fully embraces this ideal. However, Williams differentiates between the rights that the unborn have from those that belong to women.
“Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life,” Williams wrote. “And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.”
She went on to decry the “semantic power” that is inherent within the modern-day debate, taking particular aim at those who oppose abortion by using the word “life” to win the debate. But rather than cowering to what the writer says are the “sneaky, dirty tricks of the anti-choice lobby,” Williams proposes that pro-choice advocates should not cower when the word “life” is brought into the discussion. Instead, she believes that pro-choicers should double down and explain why women should have more rights than fetuses.
Read more here.