Em-URGE-ing Voices

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The Truth Behind the So-Called “Culture of Life”

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January 6, 2014

Something that has been getting under my skin recently is the preservation of “life” at all costs by anti-choice activists and politicians. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how painful or risky it is, all “life” must be maintained.

So-called pro-lifers have become so obsessed with making sure that a heartbeat is sustained that they’ll ignore the circumstances surrounding it. In fact, that is the entire flaw around being anti-choice. The intricacies and complexities of a person’s life are completely ignored. This goes beyond just the choice to terminate a pregnancy.

The recent story of Marlise Munoz made me think about this concept. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she went into a coma from a blood clot in her lungs. There is no chance that she will live. But despite her and her family’s wishes, she is forced to be kept on life support, because Texas law mandates that pregnant women not be taken off of life-sustaining machines, no matter what their wishes may be (even if it’s official in a living will). It is reported that her fetus will most likely not survive. Essentially, she is an incubator for a child that may not be born alive, while her family is forced to watch with a lack of closure.

This has been a huge issue among abortion rights activists, as ultimately, taking Munoz off life support will knowingly lead to fetal death.  This reminds me of the one of the most outrageous sentences I’ve ever read on an anti-choice blog. It claimed that reproductive rights activists create a culture of death. When I think about the framework in which reproductive justice is centered around, it sounds like the most ridiculous statement.

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify what exactly reproductive justice activists are fighting for. We are fighting for a life that people have the right to make decisions about. We are working for agency over our own bodies and lives, whether that is continuing a pregnancy while single or choosing to live child free. It’s about having access to services to improve our sexual and reproductive health in order to make decisions that are best for our lives.

When it comes to being “pro-life,” we have to remind ourselves that extreme acts to keep a fetus alive are ultimately a way of punishing people who don’t want to reproduce. The fact that people have sex solely for sexual pleasure is terrifying to a lot of people. It’s the same reason why conservatives are afraid of marriage equality. Sexual desire and agency over our lives is power.

At the first blog post of 2014, let’s take this chance to remind ourselves as we start taking the steps for fight for reproductive justice what this fight is all about: it’s about more than a heartbeat, it’s about life, choices, circumstances, and understanding the complexities of the world and our decisions.

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