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Those who call themselves pro-life conflate human life with life itself. The two are not synonymous

This headline may baffle readers. Let me reword it so the meaning is perfectly clear: I am 100% pro-choice because I am 100% pro-life.

"What?" a reader might ask in disbelief. "Your 'clarification' is even more contradictory than the headline."

Before I reconcile the two, let me restate what my declarations seem to say. They seem to say that I'm wholly in favor of abortion and at the same time I'm totally opposed to abortion. They seem to say that a pregnant woman's right to choose her own life (pro-choice) supersedes the fetus' rights to be born and have its own life. It also seems to say the opposite, that the fetus' right to be born and have a life supersedes the pregnant woman's right to her own life. The reader may be thinking, "OK, mister. Stop parsing words. Get off the fence! Choose! Take a stand! Either you are for a woman's right to choose or you are for a fetus' right to a healthy life. You cannot want both."

But I do want both, and more, I want a healthy world for all humans.

I am 100% pro-choice and will never change because if a woman is not free to direct the course of her own body, then she has been deprived of freedom and the right to her own life. If she is prevented from terminating an unwanted pregnancy, if she is being forced to carry her pregnancy to term, then, in effect, she has been enslaved. Her status has been diminished. She is subservient. I find this reprehensible. Women must be independent and free to believe as they choose. Some people believe life begins at conception. Others believe life begins when the fetus is naturally viable outside the womb. Still others believe life begins at birth. They are all beliefs. Those who believe that life begins at conception want to impose their belief on everyone by banning abortion. This is not only unconstitutional — an abridgment of the woman's right to religious freedom, and to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — but also a form of religious intolerance akin to the imposition of sharia law. It is abhorrent and unconscionable. 500 years have passed since religions dictated people's beliefs. We've come a long way and we won't go back.

I am 100% pro-life because life is precisely what the world is losing right now: elephants, orcas, butterflies, honey bees. The rate of extinctions is approximately 1,000 times higher than normal, a rate associated with mass die-offs, like the extinction of dinosaurs. Hundreds of millions of human lives are at risk because, quite simply, there are too many humans. We are overwhelming life. The consequences of over-population include decimated forests, exhausted fisheries, polluted rivers and lakes, a heated atmosphere, rising seas, human mass-migration and ethnic violence.

The living system — life itself — is shrinking. The world does not need more humans; it needs those who are alive to be 100% pro-life. Yes, I love the natural world. And am passionate about preserving nature's sanctity and rich diversity. I also love and want to secure humanity's place on it.

Those who call themselves pro-life conflate human life with life itself. The two are not synonymous. The facts speak for themselves: those who would ban abortion have taken a stand against life, and against the health, well-being and even survival of humankind.

Peter Wright is a Lake Oswego resident.


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