In recent weeks, the Democratic party has made headlines and sparked outrage by announcing that they were willing to fund candidates who oppose abortion rights.
While I appreciate and generally support the central point of this outrage--that an issue as important to many women, especially those from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, as reproductive freedom is not something on which any purportedly progressive party can compromise--much of the rhetoric surrounding the outrage disturbs me.
The primary point of this outrage, like much of the Left's arguments surrounding abortion, is that to be "pro-life" is to be, automatically and without exception, anti-woman. Not only is that not really a fair statement, it also makes the Left sound smug and uncompromising, which we have been accused of being many times in the past. It also vastly oversimplifies a complicated issue.
Personally, I am pro-choice for many reasons. I know that regardless of whether there are laws preventing it rather than allowing it, many poor and desperate women will attempt to perform abortions anyway, only these would be much more dangerous and would pose much greater threats to the woman's health.
I also think that the point at which an embryo or fetus becomes a human being is a very individual question whose answer is oftentimes derived from one's religious views and that the government has no place in making that determination for all women.
I think the best ways to reduce abortions is to provide aid to struggling women and make birth control and other contraceptives more easily accessible. The best way is certainly not to criminalize something that almost 60% of adults think should be legal in all or most cases.
And, yes, I support a woman's right to bodily autonomy. However, I do not think that dismissing people who identify as "pro-life" as being anti-women is a fair summation of their beliefs or arguments.
To say that people who are not pro-choice are only not so because of a deep-rooted vendetta against women and their liberties is not a fair summation of their beliefs or arguments.
The truth is most people who identify as "pro-life" do not do so out of a desire to deprive women of their rights or out of a desire to control women's lives. Polling suggests that men and women express similar beliefs on abortion, and within my own life, almost all of my friends who are most vocally and passionately anti-abortion are female.
This does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that abortion is not still a women's rights issue or that internalized misogyny or outright sexism don't play a role in some individuals' views on abortion.
What it does mean is that those on the Left need a new, more fair, more compassionate response to "I'm opposed to abortion rights" than "WHY DO YOU HATE WOMEN????"
To continue to oversimplify this issue while demonizing almost half of the nation as anti-women is counterproductive and unfair. It only feeds into the Right's narrative of us as being smug.