Choosing an Abortion = Choosing a Handbag?

kenneth cole: what you stand forThere’s been a lot of attention recently on a ridiculous new social media campaign by Kenneth Cole titled, “What You Stand For” that, among other things, compares abortion to shopping. On the “What You Stand For” site, clicking a button that says “Pro-Choice” brings up a a video in which a woman is shown agonizing over a decision — presumably, whether or not to have an abortion. But then she is shown picking up a handbag, and then walks off. My co-worker Eric Scheidler was interviewed this week for a Fox News story about the new Kenneth Cole campaign:

“It so trivializes the issue. I think it would be offensive to anyone on either side of the abortion issue,” Eric Scheidler, the executive director of the Pro Life Action League, told FoxNews.com. “Even staunch supporters of abortion will admit an abortion is an anguishing decision and to compare it with buying a handbag is really offensive to women. Of course I also find it deeply offensive to the sanctity of the life that hangs in the balance.”

Indeed, many staunch “pro-choice” advocates do admit that having an abortion is an anguishing decision for a woman. This, of course, raises the question: Why is having an abortion such an anguishing decision?

If It’s Not a Baby, Why Is Abortion Such a Big Deal?

For pro-lifers, the answer is simple: Because a pregnant woman knows that what is inside her is not merely “tissue” or a clump of cells, but is actually a baby — her baby — and convincing herself to have an abortion, often due to extraordinary pressure or coercion, goes radically against what her conscience is telling her to do. But pro-choicers have no good reason to believe abortion is an anguishing decision. Sure, they say that no woman takes an abortion decision lightly, but this really illustrates a gaping hole in their position. Namely, if an embryo or fetus is not a person and is instead merely “potential life” — as the “pro-choice” movement claims, by and large — then what’s the big deal? Why should any woman anguish over the decision to have an abortion?

An Unborn Child: “Part of a Woman’s Body”?

Earlier this week RH Reality Check blogger Sunsara Taylor wrote:

The only basis for viewing the decision of a woman not to carry every fetus to term as a “moral” or “ethical dilemma” is the unscientific lie that treats fetuses like people, rather than as a subordinate part of a woman’s body.

That, in a nutshell, is the most commonly professed “pro-choice” position on the unborn: A fetus is a subordinate part of a woman’s body. Except it’s all too rare that this belief is stated with such brutal honesty. Now, take this argument to its logical conclusion: If an embryo or fetus is merely a “subordinate part of a woman’s body,” there there is absolutely nothing wrong with abortion. In that case, it would be no different from having a tooth pulled, or having an appendectomy, and it certainly wouldn’t be cause for anguish. Which brings us back to the Kenneth Cole video. The clear and obvious purpose of the video is to propagandize the idea that choosing whether or not to have an abortion is, in a very real sense, the moral equivalent of choosing what type of handbag to buy. In so doing, Kenneth Cole is self-evidently trivializing abortion — which, from a moral standpoint, is exactly what the “pro-choice” movement seeks to do.

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