I once told my Childfree Girls co-founding non-mothers that arguing with people who identify themselves as “pro-life” is pointless. It was in a moment when I was in the middle of a discussion with someone else who had been going around in circles for a while, and I was tired and angry that some people not only still think it’s OK to tell women what they can or cannot do with their bodies but are also very supportive of heavy legal regulation in this matter.
While this person and I were discussing rape, birth control, and abstinence, I noticed he kept pulling the conversation back to a point where he could argue one more time that “zygotes and fetuses are also human beings; therefore, abortion is murder.”
I had been watching Jailbirds on Netflix earlier that week, and my personal thoughts about abortion reminded me of a scene I’d seen on S1:E2, “Ima Be That Phatt B*tch.”
Rebecca “Baby Girl” Temme, a 36-year old real-life inmate in Sacramento County who was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery, introduces herself like this:
“When I was born, my dad was 15, my mom was 13.
My mom didn’t really raise me. My aunt did.
My aunt was 11. She used to take me to school with her. My mom spent most of her time getting high. So, I ended up getting into foster care.
I was fighting all the time. I was already running away from home. I was already involved in drugs by the age of ten. I started gangbanging at twelve.
I spent my 18th birthday in juvenile hall.”
There are no specifics about the nature of the relationship between her mother and father when she was conceived, but I believe that we can all agree that at 13 and 15, respectively, they were still kids when she was born and therefore unfit to parent. I think we can also say that whatever her family situation was at that time, it couldn’t have been a good one if your 11-year-old aunt is raising you because your 13-year-old mom is getting high most of the time.
With this in mind, did Rebecca Temme ever really had a good shot to make it out of a vicious crime and drug-related circle she seems to have been born into?
She continued her introduction by saying:
“No matter what you do in life, there’s a good or bad consequence. I chose to commit crimes, I chose to gangbang, I chose to live a different lifestyle than your average citizen.”
It is true that any and all actions carry a consequence, and many will argue that becoming a criminal was her choice indeed, but what are the actual chances that she could’ve turned her life around before her tenth birthday?
Isn’t this the same story of hundreds of kids in the US alone?
Whether it was rape or consensual, imagine that Rebecca Temme’s parents had had the support of their family, of their community, and of their government. Imagine they had assessed the situation and decided that this was an unfit environment for a baby. Imagine they had had the option to safely terminate the pregnancy and to receive counseling. Imagine they had had the chance to receive guidance and be properly educated about birth control. Imagine they had been offered to go to rehab, to start a program that would allow them to turn their lives around.
I knew exactly what I wanted to ask this “pro-life” individual who kept lecturing me about how two human cells already equal a human being, and that the moment I became pregnant the choice was no longer mine, as if my body would instantly become public property.
So, I shot back:
“I wonder what people who reason like you think about the children who grow up abandoned, badly taken care of, in horrible conditions, ignored, abused, violated, victimized, etc. etc., because they were unwanted yet someone or some law forced their mother to have them. Care to explain?”
This man didn’t want to explain. He sidestepped the question, accused me of not being able to counter his scientific facts about fetuses and then nothing. Silence.
Since then, not one single person who calls themselves “pro-life” has answered my question. They are rather quick in telling me that I will burn in Hell if I ever get an abortion, but they seem to never want to really face the ugly truth that is the life of many unwanted babies.
Pronatalism at its best.
To my initial comment about how arguing with pro-lifers is pointless, Kristen replied: “probably is in most cases, but some part of me always thinks that calling things pointless means giving permission not to try.” And she’s absolutely right.
Isabel Firecracker is the founder and firebrand of The Uprising Spark, a platform designed to help modern, childfree women define and reach their life goals. She is a world traveler, an avid kitesurfer, and loves dogs. Pragmatic, no-nonsense life purpose igniter and host of The Honest Uproar podcast. Childfree intersectional feminist.