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Can I Be Pro-Choice and Anti-Death Penalty at the Same Time?

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Welcome our new weekly column, “Ask a Grown Up” in which you can ask and have your most burning questions answered by a supposed grown up.


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Welcome back, broke asses! It is remarkable to me that the year 2019 has become the year that the most serious attack on Roe v. Wade has occurred since the year of my birth, 1973.  That year also happens to be the year that the Supreme Court decided this epic, landmark case about the bodily autonomy of women. Here we are, 46 years later, with multiple states proposing legislation to ban all varieties of abortion (even those deemed to be life saving to the mother… I’m looking at you, Georgia- you shit show) and passing it.

It’s like we have truly travelled back in time to the 1950s. It’s disgusting.

Given this, it’s natural that safe abortion and the “moral” issues surrounding it would be on everyone’s minds more than it was, say, in 2016 (when our civil rights were still somewhat intact.)

I actually got a pretty interesting question involving abortion and choice this week… so I’m gonna answer it.

MK asks via Facebook:

“Supposed Grownup, can I be pro-choice and anti-death penalty?”

MK, this is going to be the shortest column I’ve ever written in the history of writing this column. To answer your question:

Yes. Obviously you can be pro-choice and anti-death penalty. This, indeed, is the ONLY way to be, IMHO.

Thanks, y’all! See you next week…

Wait. You’re still here. What, you want more of an explanation? Okay, let’s break this down:

Being pro-choice and anti-death penalty make sense together. They literally go hand-in-hand. Why, you ask? Because they are all about one simple word: CHOICE.

I will elaborate.

Photo from Care2

There is this really weird misconception that being pro-choice means that you’re also pro-abortion. And, yes – many people who self-identify as pro-choice are also pro-abortion. But, many are not necessarily. Such as myself.

Having had 4 abortions (all legal and safe,) 6 miscarriages (tragic and heartbreaking,) 2 pregnancies (both difficult,) and 1 living child (the joy of my life) it would be correct to assume that I have very complicated feelings surrounding the female reproductive system, pregnancy, terminating pregnancies, and motherhood. I have taken advantage of legal, safe abortion when needed – and – I have been protected by the fact that abortion is legal and safe when I have had miscarriages (most of which require some sort of procedure to ensure your failed pregnancy has been vacated from your uterus and is not causing sepsis.) I deeply understand the heartbreak involved in all of those above.

Yet, I am not pro-abortion, so to speak. Who is pro-abortion, though? Growing up, I never saw myself as the type of woman who would have an abortion. This is not an aspiration young women have. In fact, I have always wanted to be a mother. A weird, aging goth-punk, tattooed, free spirited, raising a weird baby to save the world, mother, but a mother none the less. Which means, that I am, at least somewhat, against having an abortion in a very loose and tangential way. I am against abortion for myself. Those are my feelings. My body, my choice. It is none of anyone’s business what I choose for my uterus, my life, my family in terms of pregnancy.

And, it’s none of my business what your feelings or choices are about and for your own body.

This is the essential point of the pro-choice movement that many people fail to grasp: It’s not about abortion. It’s about choice. It’s about who gets to decide what you do with your own body. Whether that means you get an abortion and are fine with it, you don’t get an abortion and are fine with that, you get an abortion and aren’t fine with it, or, don’t get an abortion and aren’t fine with that, either… it’s YOUR CHOICE. No other person, government, or religious order gets to dictate what is right for your body, what is right for your life. Just you. Only you. You have autonomy over your own body. End of story.

Do you know what else is about choice?

That’s right. The death penalty.

The death penalty is not a choice. Clearly. It is an antiquated, cruel and unusual method of punishment which has been dressed up as a moral issue based on some ridiculous, arbitrary rules that some people think a Sky God up in space handed down to us when he created the world in 7-days.

It’s bullshit, frankly.

Prisoners, especially those on Death Row, do not have bodily (or, any other kind of) autonomy. Once the “justice system” has determined someone guilty of a crime, they lose all rights and privileges previously afforded them by the law. Granted, there are laws in place that are supposed to protect prisoners’s rights… but, we all know the reality of the situation. From all accounts, prison is a very very tough and scary thing, none more tough and scary than death row. Those on it 1 million percent do not have a further choice in their fate – that is completely out of hand. The only choice in the death penalty is whether we, as a society, continue to allow and condone this petty revenge-ism to pervade amongst us. Which, clearly, we are not doing that well at.

Intelligent people, of which I assume we are, recognize the utter hypocrisy that the pro-life, pro-death argument posits on the world. The rationale and argument behind my saying you should be pro-choice and anti-death, obviously, can be much more eloquently argued by those much smarter (and far less stoned) than I am. That is the crux of it, though. Yes, you can be both pro-choice and anti-death penalty. Free will should be a core component of our society, as opposed to the idea of morality.

Wow, that’s deep and pretentious… guess this column is over now. Have a great week!

Got a question you need Supposed Grownup to answer? Email askagrownupkate@gmail.com and we’ll get our crack team of researchers right on it! 

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Kate Rice - Supposed Grown Up

Kate Rice - Supposed Grown Up

Kate Rice is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on DollyMix (UK), BitchBuzz (UK), Broke Ass Stuart’s Goddamn Website, the Chicago RedEye, ChicagoNow, Wired: GeekMom, Bleeding Cool, Wizard World Digital, The Beat and GeekNation, where she also hosted the weekly podcast “ComixChix.” Kate has appeared on Good Morning America, WGN Radio and a slew of geek related podcasts. She writes the daily blog The Adorkable Grrl. Kate lives in LA with her #BritishHusband, her daughter, and dog Max. Follow her on Twitter @AdorkableGrrl or on Facebook or on Instagram @TheAdorkableGrrl

4 Comments

  1. April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am — Reply

    The unborn have even less autonomy than death row inmates, and they are innocent. If you support killing them, you can’t say it’s wrong to kill a murderer.

    • THE_ORIGINAL_STARCHY
      April 20, 2020 at 7:24 am — Reply

      maaaaybe because the “unborn” aren’t human beings, and there are/has been plenty of innocent people on Death Row

      • April 20, 2020 at 7:24 am

        They are human beings as soon as sperm meets egg. If it were not so, they would never be human. Of course, oppressors always tell themselves that their victims aren’t human beings, because otherwise they would have to admit that those who violate the victims’ rights deserve death.

      • THE_ORIGINAL_STARCHY
        April 20, 2020 at 10:42 am

        nope, not by the definition of the phrase “human being”.
        By definition, a human being has been born.
        when “sperm meets egg” it’s a zygote

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