The pro-life community has long been stereotyped as a group of unintelligent bigots, generally of the Christian fundamentalist variety. But if we clear away the propaganda (or examine it) it becomes clear that the pro-choice movement can be profoundly anti-intellectual itself.
The pro-abortion group NARAL recently released a website and video (or as they prefer to call it, an “experience”) that serves as a good example. The video, which is a stop-motion compilation of thousands of photographs, was created to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. No argument is made. No evidence is presented. The video is simply an expensive piece of eye-candy designed to affirm people in their support of abortion using fluffy statements like, “It’s really important for me to be able to determine my own future.”
The slideshow that accompanies the video contains more of the same. Next to pictures of professional models sit snippets of text in beautiful typography, one of which is “Choice is the utmost act of selflessness and compassion for humanity.” The movement that spawned the slogans “My body, my choice!” and “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!” (Emphasis mine. But not really.) is now being cast as selfless? It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. The simple reason for this is that pro-choice community needs to feel good. For many pro-choice people, their support of abortion is entirely about feelings.
The “No uterus, no opinion” slogan repeated ad nauseam on blogs and campuses is a classic example of the sheer emotionalism that fuels the pro-choice agenda at the expense of rational thought. It is revealing that they are willing to discount the opinion and arguments of an entire people group because of their gender, but even more so that their reason for doing so is that the group they are discriminating against can “never know what it is like to be pregnant.” This is nothing short of an admission that it is feelings and not facts that determine their stance on abortion.
The ultimate expression of this sentiments-over-science mentality may be unearthed when one asks a pro-choice person at what point the unborn child becomes alive. Shockingly, there are those who claim that the child is not alive until it is fully born. The belief that there is essentially some sort of a magic wand that passes over the unborn child and transforms it from a fetus into a baby as soon as the umbilical cord is cut is sheer nonsense. Even more surprising are those who claim that the unborn child is a baby if the mother wants it and a fetus if she does not. It is yet another example of feelings being more important than facts to the movement.
I would like to conclude this article by saying that I do not label every person within the pro-choice camp as anti-intellectual. There are those, such as the perceptive feminist Naomi Wolf, whose intellectual prowess I have great respect for. I am speaking of the rank and file of the movement, the average pro-choice person on the street. Yes, I will admit that there are those within the pro-life camp who could be labelled as anti-intellectual as well, but every movement has supporters who do not represent it well. There is, therefore, a question that needs to be asked: Does the movement itself foster anti-intellectualism? I believe that in regard to the abortion rights movement the answer is “yes.”