This is a must-read article by one of my Twitter pals Jodi Jacobson (@jljacobson), Editor in Chief at RH Reality Check. It’s not a short piece, but substantive as hell, informative, and chock full o’ something conservatives will have a tough time with: reality.
She correctly takes issue with the anti-choice phrase, “Life begins at conception” because “it confuses simple biological cell division both with actual pregnancy and with actual, legal personhood, which are all very different things.”
Amen to that.
She also uses another phrase that I use here often: “Pro-forced birth.”
Amen to that, too.
Here’s an excerpt, but again, link over and read it all. She makes a whole lot of sense and *gasp!* educates and enlightens:
Preventing conception or having an abortion isn’t just about getting through the “inconvenience” of a pregnancy, as the right often asserts, though in many situations pregnancy does in fact pose substantial risks to the health and lives of women... It is about whether or not a woman wants to and is able to make a lifelong emotional, financial, and physical commitment—often at substantial cost to herself and/or to her family—to the person who will exist if a pregnancy is successfully brought to term. In the case of a wanted pregnancy, or an unintended pregnancy a woman decides to carry to term this can be a joyous, hoped-for, and much anticipated event. Under other circumstances, and without recourse to safe abortion care, an unintended pregnancy is a forced pregnancy and a forced birth, and amounts to reproductive slavery. Only one person—the woman in question—has the right to decide whether, when, and under what circumstances to bring a new person into the world. And the vast majority of women who have an abortion know they are ending biological life that they can not or do not want to sustain because the commitment to an actual child is a moral commitment they are not able, willing, or ready to make, or can not make for reasons of health or life.
In the end, when you hear the phrase “life begins at conception,” remember the implications. In debating the “personhood” of eggs, embryos, and fetuses prior to viability, we are also implicitly and explicity debating the personhood of women. Because if you have no choice and control over your body, you are less than an actual person in the eyes of the law. If the right is so worried about abortion the closer a pregnancy gets to viability, then anti-choicers would be making sure both contraception and early, safe abortion were widely available. That really is not their actual concern.
The development of a potential human life requires conception as a first step. But that is not the same as either pregnancy or personhood. You can’t reduce complex reality to a slogan, and when you try to do so, you actually minimize the personhood of women.