Do you ever get the feeling that people think they can use words however they want? I fully understand the plasticity of words: they change; languages are not static, etc. But in order for meanings of words to shift, they have to actually mean something in the first place. Otherwise, it’s not a shift, but a bare, neological assertion, and who’s to say that one meaning should be privileged over another?
Take this, for example.
Can we have the term “pro-life” back, if everyone else is just going to misuse it?
I’m pro-life because I value all human life. I value the lives of every person living in my country. I value the lives of children living in poverty, and victims of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in the Third World. I value the lives of criminals on death row, homeless living in the streets, and soldiers serving our country abroad.
I also value the nascent human life of the unborn.
In this case, it’s not an assertion that “pro-life” means nothing, but that it means everything. The author’s title is “I’m pro-life and I support Planned Parenthood.” Which apparently is supposed to follow from his claims about contraception. He seems to believe, along with many (most?) Americans that Planned Parenthood [sic] is basically a “women’s health” organization that mostly educates and distributes contraception to poor women who couldn’t otherwise get such “basic health care.” Sure, it does a few abortions, but that’s a necessary evil, considering all the “good” they do. (It would take hours to detail how wrong that is. But if you’re interested, you might visit here.) Even if he did buy this line of reasoning–that contraception and sex ed. are unqualified goods, and that PP does everyone a service by providing them–he could still support contraception and even sex ed., and still not support Planned Parenthood. But PP has done a great job of convincing nearly everyone that it alone can make sure that every woman has a “right to choose.” Only PP can give out contraception. Only PP can educate your children (if I ever hear that PP is involved in “educating” my children, my house will be turned into a home-school so fast…). Why, then, does PP support no restriction–not a single one–on abortion? You want to make abortion rare? The last organization that would have an interest in doing that would be one that makes millions of dollars from abortion. And, whose abortion numbers have increased by over 67,000 in the last five years. And, who does 340 abortions for every one adoption referral. Yeah, I’m sure they want to see those numbers go way, way down.
But back to the Salon piece. Sorry, but if you put “nascent” in front of “human life of the unborn,” I automatically do not trust you. There is nothing “nascent” about unborn human life. It is fully human life, and there is simply no disagreement on this point. It never was, is not, and never will be anything but human life. It’s legal to kill it, and you can pretend that it doesn’t matter because it’s small, or because it’s still inside the mother’s womb, but don’t be an idiot.
So why aren’t I trying to defund Planned Parenthood, calling abortion doctors “murderers,” and petitioning the federal government to overturn Roe vs. Wade?
For that matter, why haven’t I emptied my bank account – and demanded that the government do the same – to send meals and vaccines to every person on the planet? Why don’t I spring for motel rooms for every homeless person I meet, unlock the cells in every prison, and demand our country surrender every war?
These would be ridiculous actions because they completely miss the point. They substitute ideologies for solutions, and favor short-term irrational emotion rather than long-term pragmatic decisions.
Huh? All you have to do is apply these “arguments” to Nazi Germany, and you’ll see how stupid they are. I can’t even count the non sequiturs in that excerpt. There may be some pro-lifers who want all or nothing: illegal to have an abortion, or nothing at all. I’ve never personally met any. I am fully in favor of abolishing human abortion but that doesn’t mean that I’m not for “long-term pragmatic decisions.” I want waiting periods; I want declarations that extend human rights to babies from conception; I want full information given to women considering abortion; I want sonograms. What are those? “Short-term irrational emotion”? Hardly. But if you can consider abortion with open eyes and you never have a little “short-term irrational [or rational] emotion,” you are not pro-life, you are a heartless ba…well, let’s just leave it there.
But how, again, does homelessness = prisoners = war = abortion? Besides, that’s not the problem at all. It is not the case that no one cares for or helps or gives to put an end to homelessness, hunger, crime, and war. But there are those who think that abortion is not only not a problem, but a good–and a necessary one at that. When was the last time you saw Planned Parenthood fighting for more homelessness, more hunger, more crime, more war? Ah, but they do and will fight–tooth, claw, and legislative action–for more abortion. Planned Parenthood will happily use Mr. Saveland’s piece to promote themselves; but they do not want fewer abortions, and they certainly do not want abortion numbers to plummet. They would go out of business.
That seems like a very pragmatic solution to the evil of abortion. But Saveland doesn’t want to defund Planned Parenthood because he’s bought their ideology. This is a very common problem, as illustrated by the Komen fiasco: those who support Planned Parenthood are not driven by ideology or politics, but those who oppose them are ideological zealots and political wing-nuts. That could be true only if all you’ve done is listen to Cecile Richards, and never actually looked at Planned Parenthood’s website and their policies.
He closes with a one-liner he was clearly longing to use:
If the only thing that matters is righteous ideology without concern for results, then we want the term “pro-life” back. You’re using it wrong.
I’m not particularly interested in defending the term, but, if it means anything, “pro-life” must mean not supporting Planned Parenthood. If there’s any group with “a righteous ideology without concern for results,” it’s Planned Parenthood. Their zealotry on behalf of the unlimited abortion license knows no bounds. And if you try to convince me that supporting Planned Parenthood and not wanting to end abortion on demand makes you pro-life, I simply cannot believe you. If you think abortion in the United States is simply a “problem” to be “lessened,” you are ignorant of the facts, or you simply don’t want to face what legal abortion has meant for my generation–both in terms of lives taken and the moral, emotional, physical, and psychological toll it has taken on so many mothers and fathers.
I simply do not want Planned Parenthood’s foxes guarding the hen-house of “women’s health care.” Call it what you want, but if that’s using “pro-life” “wrong,” I don’t want to be right.