Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Taking Back Pro-Life

I have confessed to being some pretty radical things on this blog. I have confessed to being a Christian who questions the existence of god. I have confessed to being a die-hard Marxist with strong anarchist tendencies. I have confessed my sympathies for benevolent dictators and designated terrorist organizations. I have confessed my undying love for the proclaimed villains of this society and my abject disgust with it's so called heroes. Yes, I have confessed to being some pretty radical things, which is a big part of why I started this blog. After years of hiding from the outside world, I made the downright terrifying decision to stand naked before it and invite the stones of the angry villagers, who once drove me away, to rain down upon my bare flesh and baptize my new found freedom in a shower of my own blood, (what? Too emo? well, fuck you then).

So here I stand, once again, before the glow of my computer monitor, to make yet another radical confession, sure to rile up a few more perma-pissed villagers and demolish a few more bridges. For I, Nick Reid AKA comrade hermit, confirmed leftist and feminist, don't very much regret to inform you that I, for lack of a better word, am pro-life, so gather your stones, dearest motherfuckers, while I attempt to explain my latest transgression against your precious established paradigm.

Let me start by saying that this is not a position that I have come to easily. I have struggled with it for years. As I said I consider myself to be a feminist and I don't wear that label cavalierly. Abortion is not a simple issue. One thing I feel it's equally important for both sides of the issue to recognize is that this shit is not black and white, none of it is. It's all grey and messy and complicated.

There is no way to avoid the fact that, regardless of your position, this is very much a women's rights issue as well as an unborn rights issue. The two are ire-tractably entangled and connected, just like the biology of the mother and child. You can't grant rights to one without subtracting rights from the other. It's a perilous balancing act and as someone who has spent time on both sides of this issue, I can honestly tell you that this is one debate with no clear-cut good guys or bad guys. Both the pro-life and the pro-choice are concerned first and foremost with human rights. There divergent passions share the same source. The thirst for equality and dignity for all living things. They also share many of the same blind spots, most stemming from this very thirst and the passion it inspires.

I am a man, thus I can never truly understand what it feels like to have aspects of my own internal biology be a matter of public policy. To face the unsavory prospect of having someone else instruct me on how I can and can't operate my own body, especially if that person doesn't even share that biology and shows zero interest in attempting to understand it. I also can't deny that a great deal of anti-abortion legislation is sadly governed from a place of chauvinistic patriarchy.

But I also can't ignore the fact that a fetus, unborn or not, is indeed a human being deserving of some set of human rights. To argue otherwise isn't just wrong it's downright asinine. If a fetus isn't a human being then what the fuck is it? A house plant? A Hot Pocket? A toaster oven? You can sensibly debate the quality and viability of this human being but to deny the basic scientific nature of it's existence requires a level of irrationality rarely seen outside the Christian right. You might as well deny the existence of evolution and global warming.

The fetus, just like the mother, is a human being deserving of rights and dignity. The only difference is the unborn child's rights rarely come at the expense of the woman's life. Whereas as far as abortion is concerned, the mothers rights come almost exclusively at the expense of the child's life. Which is precisely why I consider myself to be pro-life. A fetus may or may not be as viable a human being as a grown woman but, regardless, that doesn't give the mother or anyone else the right to extinguish it, especially if its simply a matter of inconvenience. Cheapening life, any life, to such a degree, cheapens the concept of humanity itself. It cheapens us all, regardless of gender.

Holding such a position was not always so partisan. At one time it wasn't unheard of for people on the left, even the far left, to uphold the sanctity of life. But somewhere along the line we confused abortion with feminism itself, as if the two were one and the same. This started when the hierarchy of the second wave of feminism decided to make abortion rights the cornerstone of there platform and ever since the movement and its natural sympathizers on the left have viewed the issue with a degree of undying dogma usually reserved for the Jonestown set. Anyone who dares question the wisdom of of the self anointed founding mothers of the second wave (too many of whom were actually transphobic, queer bashers) are automatically cast out into outer darkness for there unforgivable ideological transgressions.

I, personally, don't fucking appreciate facing down a goddamn firing squad every time I'm outed as a pro-life feminist. I am as committed to equality as any other self proclaimed feminist. I vehemently support, fuck that, demand gender equality everywhere from the workplace to the bedroom. My blood boils like a witches cauldron every time I see some unsuspecting girl get eye groped by a pack of wannabe he-men for the crime of daring to walk down the fucking street with anything less then a goddamn burka on. Many of my heroes are strong, outspoken, proudly dangerous women like Mary Magdalene, Dorothy Day, Emma Goldman, Angela Davis, Courtney Love, Frida Kahlo, Kim Gordan and Rosa Luxembourg. These howling voices have given me strength and direction with my own struggles. Shit, as I write this I'm listening to PJ Harvey's Rid of Me for Christ sake. I despise the patriarchy that reigns over western society and I am fully committed to its destruction. So don't you dare accuse me of fucking sexism just because I can't stomach the prospect of surgically eviscerating a fully formed fetus. I wouldn't dare call someone an anti-humanist just for supporting abortion rights even if I do disagree with them. Please afford me the same basic courtesy.

I more than welcome you to disagree with me but do not question my commitment to the cause unless you wish to find yourself locked in the prison of a never ending lecture that makes this one sound like a goddamn haiku by comparison. Fuck with me at your own risk, I can bitch like this for days. Don't fucking try me.

That doesn't mean that I'm letting the pro-life movement off the hook for there transgressions. Not by a long shot. In fact that's the primary reason I chose to post on this subject. I have grown sick and fucking tired of watching another cause dear to me get hijacked by a cartel of sexist, homophobic, Bible thumping hypocrites. I wan't my fucking movement back and I wanna kick the fucking trash out. I wrote this post because I want to take back pro-life.

The biggest problem with the pro-life movement is actually identical to the biggest problem with the pro-choice movement. It's there stark, black and white, dogmatic zealotry. The cold hard, ugly truth is that sadly, occasionally, abortion is a necessary evil. To ask a rape victim to bare the fruit of the monster who violated her is unspeakably cruel. To ask an underage girl who may or may not be capable of consenting to sex but definitely isn't equipped to deal with the full ramifications of these actions in any way, shape or form is beyond unfair. And to subject a woman to the death sentence of giving birth to a child that could literally cost her her life isn't just wrong, it is the antithesis of everything the words pro-life are supposed to stand for. It is slitting the mothers throat just to spite her predicament (here's looking at you Santorum). In all but the last of these examples I would strongly encourage the women and girls involved to spare the unborn child's life and chose adoption but I wouldn't dare be so grossly negligent as to leave them with only a rusty hangar as a plan B. If aborting a child, just out of pure inconvenience, is manslaughter then we have to accept the unfortunate fact that aborting a child to save a woman's life is justifiable homicide.

Which leads me to the second biggest problem with the pro-life movement, the hypocrisy, which is thicker then Beijing smog among the faithful. When I say pro-life, I fucking mean pro-life. This isn't a fucking fashion statement, it's an ethic and without consistency that ethic loses all meaning. That means apposing any and all acts of pointless/avoidable slaughter, whether it's unnecessary abortion, the death penalty, foreign military intervention and yes, forcing women to death by childbirth (I do however support voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide but the right to die is an issue for another blog).

The biggest hypocrisy of the pro-life movement, however, may be there abject refusal to use the greatest weapons in there arsenal in there fight against abortion. Birth control and in particular the morning after pill. With these two inventions alone, we have never been closer to making abortion completely obsolete. If the pro-life movement was truly serious about ending the needless waste of unborn life, they would be handing these fucking pills out at every rally and demanding there free availability at every hospital, high school, pharmacy, police station, ambulance and college campus. They should be handing this shit out like fucking Skiddles on Halloween. But no! They rather stick to there bat-shit delusion that Plan B, a drug that prevents pregnancy from even occurring, somehow amounts to an abortion drug and the offensively stupid notion that a barely fertilized egg and a fully formed fetus are both one and the same. This certifiably insane theory doesn't just belittle the cause, it cheapens the value of fetal life. Giving it all the moral cache of a jizz crusted Kleenex. If life begins at conception then a seed is a tree and a chicken is an egg. It's precisely this kind of blatantly anti-scientific horse-shit that helps give pro-life a toxic name.

And don't even get me started on all the whooped up energy being wasted on that bullshit fight to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that saves far more lives then it ends and is already barred by congress from even using tax-payer dollars on abortion, even some of the necessary ones. I may be pro-life but I'm definitely no fucking foot soldier in what can only be described as a war on women.

Being against abortion doesn't mean being against women but when your actively denying poor women vital health care services and re-violating rape victims with ultrasound equipment just to prove a point, you've earned the right to be called out as a chauvinistic pig and sensible pro-lifers should be the first ones to do it. But everyone on the left is too damn scared to take any kind of stand on abortion that isn't pre-approved by the Gloria Steinem intelligentsia over at Ms. Magazine. We need to man/woman up and rediscover our voice and we're not going to find it rubbing shoulders with despicable hypocrites like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. The so called Christian right has gotta go if we ever wanna be taken seriously as a movement again.

On the flipside, every pro-choicer who finds the idea of dispatching a full term fetus as it slides out the birth canal to be a step to far is scared silent by the prospect of being lumped in with a crowd of screeching, woman bashing, evangelicals and here lies the problem. The abortion discussion has become so polarized that only the zealots, on both sides, control the conversation and common sense and basic reality get replaced with more thoughtless, partisan bullshit and that's what I want to stop. Right here. Right now.

So let me say it again, loud and proud. My name is Nick Reid and I am a flaming left wing, pro-life feminist, hear me roar!

Now lets get out of these fucking closets and let the real conversation begin.

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