Highlighted in a recent piece by The Huffington Post, a new clinic, “CHOICES,” has opened in Memphis, and claims to be “radical” in its approach to reproductive care for women.
In an effort to be consistent in their pro-choice rhetoric, they’re making plans to roll out care for both abortion-seeking and life-seeking moms in 2019.
“At CHOICES, a reproductive health center and abortion provider in Memphis, we’re doing something radical. We’re opening the country’s first nonprofit clinic to offer fully comprehensive services including abortion care, LGBTQ+ inclusive fertility assistance, transition-related care for transgender people, integrated mental health services, prenatal care and a midwife-led birth center. All of these services, and your right to access them, center around bodily autonomy.”
Yes, you read that correctly. In an effort to be consistent, they’re promoting both abortion and parenting under the same roof.
In even simpler terms, they say they’re supporting both life and death.
And here’s why that doesn’t work.
First, it’s inconsistent. Even as they try to convince us that the pro-choice narrative and worldview can be consistent, they demonstrate the glaring inconsistencies.
If a woman decides while she’s pregnant with a human being that she doesn’t want to be pregnant, she can “end the pregnancy.” Just so we’re all clear: when people talking about “ending a pregnancy,” that’s a sterile way of saying “ending a life.”
But if this clinic is offering prenatal care, they are acknowledging that there is life in the womb. And not just any life — but a life that has value enough to be cared for and protected even while it’s in the womb.
It’s simple: by offering prenatal care, they are acknowledging that a fetus is not a “clump of cells” or a “wad of tissues.” It is a human being, in need of care, and perfectly formed for its stage of life — but, only if it’s wanted.
Second, CHOICES tries to support their position and services by claiming women have bodily autonomy.
This “argument” has seemed to be the most untouchable pro-choice capstone argument. It goes something like this: Women shouldn’t be forced to do something with their bodies they don’t want to. If they don’t want to be pregnant, and don’t want to support the life growing inside them, their right to their own body supersedes the right of the fetus.
In a civilized society, the answer to the problem of not wanting to be pregnant should be to take the proper precautions to guard against that while having sex, or to abstain from sex. That’s bodily autonomy. In a free country that values the “inalienable right to life,” ending a life in the womb simply because you don’t want to be pregnant is insufficient and selfish.
Third, it doesn’t work because women deserve real-world choices, not choices that exist in a world devoid of logic and common sense. The choices between life and death only work if we forsake morals and ethics… and reasoning.
It’s selfish of any clinic to not provide actual help women need when they’re facing unwanted pregnancies.
Why is abortion always the answer? Why not financial assistance for the woman who really does want to be a mom but can’t afford a child? Why not adoption referral information to women who don’t want abortion but also don’t want to parent? Why not other material resources to women who just need help getting on their feet and would gladly welcome a child into their life?
Why are women who face unwanted pregnancies not afforded the right to make choices that are free from external pressures, political ideologies, and personal philosophies? Is that not the very meaning of “autonomy”?
Finally, we circle back around to CHOICES. “Wait!” They exclaim. “We do provide prenatal services to women who want to keep their babies.”
Yes. But they do so at the same time as acknowledging the right of another woman to end the life of her baby. This isn’t a “choice” game you can play anymore. Women shouldn’t be told in one room their “pregnancy” is insignificant so it’s okay to discard and be told in another room that their baby is worth protecting and nurturing.
“Newly pregnant people frequently feel alienated at their first prenatal appointment. Messages around “what is best for the baby” often dominate the conversation. Of course, fetal health is important, but what about what’s best for the mother? Where does she fit in?”
Did you catch the contradiction? Fetal health can’t be important if you think women should have the option of ending the life of the fetus. A life has value or it doesn’t… which is it?
If they truly wanted to know what’s best for the mother, they wouldn’t offer abortion as an option. Just because it’s a legal option doesn’t make it a good one. Study after study has proven the negative side effects of abortion on the mother. There’s an 81% increased risk of developing mental health problems, and increased risks of breast cancer and future infertility.
Aside from the fact that abortion ends a life, it wreaks havoc on the emotional and physical well being of the mother. The pro-life movement is not against women getting health care–it’s quite the opposite. We believe a woman deserve access to real health care and real information, while also respecting the “autonomy” of the life of her child. That is health care.
Clinics like CHOICES should stop pretending to care for women’s health when it’s clear they only care about trying to be consistent with the term “pro-choice.” A woman’s bodily autonomy will never be a sufficient enough case for abortion. Bodily autonomy ceases to be a right once the pregnancy has begun.
That’s not dogma. That’s science. End of story.