Two Movements, One Ideal: Pro-Life v. Pro-Choice

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Lifestyle Writer |Morgan Coovert| mc312215@ohio.edu

The age-old war between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice advocates continues to force its way into the cracks and crevices of our everyday lives. Whether it’s a poster, pamphlet, protest, advertisement, or speaker it’s clear that there’s no end in sight for the battle between the two movements. And there shouldn’t be, because although it may be a tired issue, its core involves human life and human rights, neither of which should be taken lightly.

Bobcats for Life held a protest with a fellow movement, Created Equal (an off campus movement from Columbus), at the top of Jeff Hill right across the street from Schoonover. At the same time, FEM (Feminist Equality Movement) and URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity), along with others, held a counter-demonstration.

Bobcats for Life, an Ohio University organization, holds anti-abortion protests and demonstrations. Their tactics normally include the use of graphic images and one-on-one conversations with passersby. Image via Bobcats for Life. Used with permission.
Bobcats for Life, an Ohio University organization, holds anti-abortion protests and demonstrations. Their tactics normally include the use of graphic images and one-on-one conversations with passersby. Image via Bobcats for Life. Used with permission.

The event was tense, complete with a gender-neutral uterus and graphic images of dead fetuses. Walking by, I felt the anger wreathing between the two, and it lead me to wonder: is it possible to be on both sides? I spoke with Jacob Hoback, President of Bobcats for Life, and the reproductive justice representative for FEM, Alainna Marincic, to find out. First, it’s important to understand the mission and arguments of not only the individual organizations associated with Ohio University’s campus, but the views of both movements as a whole.

General arguments from the Pro-Life movement according to the Family Research Council include exploration of life (key word) in the womb. Zygotes (the first cells formed after conception) are composed of human DNA and other molecules that are uniquely human. Along with this, the child’s heartbeat begins to circulate blood and can be detected by ultrasound around the 22nd day after conception. Therefore, anti-abortion activists claim that abortion is the murder of a young human being.

Jacob Hoback would agree, and he had this to say concerning the goals of Bobcat’s for Life: “Our mission is to change as many minds on campus as possible so that they may see the importance of giving equal rights to all humans, especially the younger ones.” The argument that goes hand in hand with this, are the reasons by which abortions are performed. A study conducted by the Center for Gender Equality in 2003 showed that the majority of women believe that abortion is only okay in “extreme and rare circumstances.”

Yet, the Guttmacher Institute (the abortion industry’s research group) showed that, “92% of abortions in America are purely elective—done on healthy women to end the lives of healthy children.” Knowing this, activists are left wondering why abortion is still legal.

Reasoning given by the Pro-Choice movement discusses things such as women’s health and safety; the idea that making something illegal does not stop it from happening. According to the Pro Choice Action Network, legal abortion also allows families to choose how many children they want, and more importantly, can afford. Abortion laws can provide families with a less stress intensive life, meaning that Pro-Choice supporters are actually Pro-Family, contrary to popular belief.

During Bobcats for Life’s demonstration, FEM brought a giant purple uterus for passersby to see and interact with. Image via Bobcats for Life. Used with permission.
During Bobcats for Life’s demonstration, FEM brought a giant purple uterus for passersby to see and interact with. Image via Bobcats for Life. Used with permission.

Another issue drawn to the surface is women’s rights. A quote by Margaret Sanger reads, “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body.” Some claim that the majority of Pro Life supporters are men, who will never experience pregnancy. Concerning reproductive rights, FEM’s, Alainna Marincic commented, “FEM believes that everyone, all genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds, deserves the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and futures, and these rights should be accessible to them.”

So again I pose the question: is it possible to be on both sides? Most would say no. Yet, some admit to understanding that sometimes certain instances must be picked apart and more closely examined before a judgment is imposed. Context is important, but most choose to ignore circumstance altogether. I thought I’d ask the members of both movements directly whether or not they believed it possible to double dip. Ironically, I got similar answers.

“There is no real objective definition for feminism, so I can’t really say,” Hoback stated. “That’s a tough question. Believing that someone shouldn’t be killed because of their age isn’t a female or male issue—it’s a human issue.”

When I asked Alainna Marincic that same question, she agreed that there is no subjective definition of feminism, and also discussed issues of humanism, as well.

“I’d say if you’re actually someone who is Pro-Life—truly Pro-Life—you’d also fight for people who are alive,” she said. “Then you’d be a feminist, but someone who is anti-choice and a feminist… I don’t know. I’m not one to police who claims to be a feminist or not.”

Despite dialogue with both sides, the waters are still murky. So the debate continues, and it remains unclear as to who has the advantage. Both sides have reasonable arguments and both are fighting for the rights of peoples. All of this can be summed up with two simple words, “it’s complicated.”

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