Women’s Rights: A Rose By Any Other Name

~ The Second Installment of This Discussion

Before we have our babies, we scour bookshelves and magazines and internet sites, seeking out the perfect name for our little bundle of joy.  Sometimes we examine the meaning of a moniker in hopes that our child’s name will determine their character or in fear that it may tempt the fates.  Sometimes we select names by their sound or the way their letters look together (I personally like ‘y’s – I think that comes from my mom, who chose the spelling both my and my sister’s names because of the ‘y’).  We speak the name out loud to hear the flow of it.  Hopefully we check the initials lest they spell some unfortunate acronym that our poor child will have to live down someday.  When our second child took her first breath and the doctor crowed, “It’s a girl!” I turned to my husband and said wonderingly, “We have an Aliyah!” (I was not expecting her; I really thought our girl’s name was unnecessary).

Naming a business or a belief is equally important. Placing a name on an ideology automatically denotes its strength, its intent, and its direction.  But equally, it suggests an opposite, a flip-side, and that also must be considered.

For instance, note the term pro-life.  It suggests that it fights for life, for breath, and for the future.  The same name says it is anti-death, and that anyone who is not pro-life is then pro-death.

This is certainly not the case.

On the other hand, take a look at pro-choice.  Pro-choicers stand for rights, the ability to think and reason and make a decision.  Anti-choicers are therefore against choice.

Neither of these particular monikers hold all of the truth behind the ideology.  Pro-choice and pro-life are not opposite ideologies.  They are monikers promoting an image, radiating a purpose, and standing for a good fight.

There is one problem: only one of them can be right.  The ideologies they stand for are direct opposites.  But the battle is often fought on different terms and stations.  The arguments are not parallel; if they were, we might actually hear each other.

So let’s look at the names, then.

I am pro-life.  I believe in allowing people to live freely, to pursue their health, to have access to air and water and food.

I am anti-death.  (Let’s face it, none of us really look forward to that last breath we take, regardless of what we believe of the afterlife).

I am pro-choice.  I believe we should have a hundred million choices – from the smallest details of our lives like our clothes, our hairstyles, and our vehicles, to the largest details of our lives – whom we marry, when we have children (although, regrettably, that isn’t usually our choice), what career path we follow, where we live.   Choice is integral to independence and identity.  I started giving my babies choices before they could talk (in Aliyah’s case, that was practically in utero, but that’s beside the point).  Those choices often prevent major blow-ups, by the way (parenting tip number one).

I am also anti-choice.  Not all choices are created equal.  I am against choosing to steal, choosing to harm others, choosing to assert one’s will over another’s freedoms, choosing to assert one’s rights at the expense of another’s life.

And that is the point, isn’t it?

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