Abortion: I am a product of my mother’s choice, not yours

Caleb HendrichGiven the increased renewed focus on abortion here in Colorado, and given our history with the issue of life vs. choice, it is time for me to make something clear.

First, a caveat. I am pro-choice, for a number of different reasons. This is my perspective, take it or leave it.

I am a man, and therefore have no significant role in pregnancy beyond fertilization. I do not carry the fetus, I do not suffer the complications thereof, and I am biologically incapable of giving birth. This is a female-centric issue, not a male one.

I also do not believe that it is the role of the government (state, national or otherwise) to have a say in what a women does or does not do with her pregnancy. To do so, I think, is a clear overextension of government power, which takes it beyond the realm of responsible and into the realm of the draconian.

Contrary to popular opinion, this does not mean that I am “pro-abortion.” I do not like abortions, I do not like that people use it as a last resort, and I do not like the idea of terminating a potential life. Regardless, it is neither my place nor the government’s to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body.

One of the pro-life arguments that routinely comes up, and that I therefore routinely have to counter, is the argument of “Smile, your mother chose life.” The implication being that I should be thankful that I was not aborted prior to my birth.

To some in the pro-life movement, this seems to be an irrefutable argument. How can someone, they appear to reason, argue for their own non-existence? How can you argue that you should be dead?

However, what they do not seem to realize is that this argument undermines every one of their positions. It invalidates the entire case that the pro-life movement is making.

Yes, my mother chose to carry me to term. My mother chose to conceive the child that would eventually become me. My mother chose to carry me, she chose to give birth to me, and she chose to raise me. I owe my entire existence to my mother’s choice; everything that I am and everything that I ever will be is a product of that choice.

And nobody told her that she had to. There was no body of authority telling her that, under penalty of law, she had to give birth to me. There was no shadowy third party that followed my development every step of the way to ensure that I would be born. There was no angry mob that was intimidating my mother into having me.

That is what choice is all about. To have the autonomy to make your own decisions regarding your own body. For a woman to have the power to choose for herself what to do with her baby is her choice, no-one elses.

It is not the choice of the church — any church — or the government, or the choice of the public. If a woman wants to have an abortion, then we the people have no say otherwise.

To those of you who would say, “I became pregnant at an early age and I did not have an abortion,” good for you. I commend you on the exercise of your power to do so, and I offer you my congratulations.

But that does not give you the power to force, either through voice or law, another woman to do the same thing. You do not have the authority to mandate your own choice for everyone else. You were allowed to have a say in what to do with your pregnancy, and that same right is enshrined for everyone else.

Remember the power that lies in choice, and remember the personal nature of that power. It is a power reserved for the individual alone. No government, no third party, no other person has the power to make that choice for them.

I am indeed grateful that my mother chose to bring me into the world. I am, however, even more grateful that she was able to make that choice free of any outside influence. I am a product of my mother’s choice, not of the government’s or the pro-life movement’s.

That is why I am pro-choice.