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beliefs about reproductive rights

How Consistent Are Your Views?

Consistency in Sports and Politics

It’s not easy for a human to be completely consistent in their views. I wonder if we all have a hint of hypocrisy in us, no matter how much we try to arrange our beliefs into a cohesive schema.

We notice this in sports when we are hyper-vigilant and hyper-verbal about referee calls against our team, but we accept without question calls against the other team.

We notice this during election time, when we excuse behavior of the candidate from our party even though we excoriated the person from the OTHER side for doing something similar just a few years ago. Which we my have conveniently forgotten.

We find ways to justify.

(UPDATE: Witness your position on the recent Supreme Court vacancy. Would your stance on what the President/Senate should do remain consistent if the tables were turned?)

beliefs about reproductive rights

I got to thinking about consistency in the realm of reproduction.  Let’s take, say, abortion (nothing like a little light banter to start a post!). 

On one side are people who say life begins at conception and the rights of that life — a baby — must be considered. On the other side are people who say that the rights of the woman supersede those of a set of cells that has only the potential to become a person.

This post is not about which view is “right,” and rarely do I see anyone change another’s mind online, so let’s not make the comments section a debate about pro-life vs pro-choice.

This post is about consistency of views. How easy is it to remain consistent in one’s beliefs?

Consistency in Reproductive Rights

I was taken to task for a post I wrote last year. The topic was openness between parents and children created by donor gametes — donor eggs, donor sperm, and donor embryos.

The scolder took issue with embryo adoption/reception as a method of family building for those enduring infertility. She argued that:

  • The baby has the right NOT to be created just to be transferred from one set of parents to another.
  • Third party reproduction should be fought rather than supported. The person the embryo would become, she said, has rights.
  • A woman should not have the right to use certain available reproductive technologies. Just because a she can give birth to another couple’s embryo doesn’t mean she should. The title “mother” is only a potentiality, and her standing is inferior to that of the already-existing embryo (also arguably a potentiality).

I had this woman pegged. By her comments, I could tell she fell on the side of the rights of the baby. The rights of the would-be mother are subordinate to the rights of the would-be baby.

But wait. Upon investigation, I found that this same person has a pro-choice stance on abortion. She cites the rights of the baby in one situation, and the rights of the mother in another.

This woman may not be alone in such inconsistency. To some, “reproductive rights” might mean the right to choose how to handle a pregnancy. To others, “reproductive rights” might mean using any available technology to build a family. While there is significant overlap, I see a sliver where the rights of a potential mother and the rights of a potential baby are at odds.

Consistency in Myself

As for me, I tend toward libertarianism . I value personal and economic freedoms (and responsibilities) and believe that government generally should not infringe on them. However, I am also an advocate of post-adoption support for families, which will likely have to come from government mandate and/or government coffers.        Hashtag inconsistent.

Have you noticed people — maybe even yourself — holding inconsistent viewpoints?


Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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9 Responses

  1. You bring up a lot of good points with this post. The argument for embryo rights is very much in line with a pro-life argument. I makes me wonder about where one person’s rights trump another’s.

    I think what’s really important is also measuring our fear when confronting these issues. Those that find themselves so terribly hypocritical often are hiding. With supporting women’s rights to reproductive choices, one needs to ask why they would inhibit someone to expand their family. Is there fear about one’s own worth?

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  2. I stand firmly on the right of the child to know where they came from – whether adopted or embryo. No one has the right to take that away from another human being…

    We all have biases, hypocrisy…it’s part of being imperfect human beings…

    …but I do call foul when a call is bad for either team…perhaps I’m just not invested enough, or, I realize it’s just a game, not the end of the world…

  3. Definitely a thought-provoking post. I am sure that I have inconsistencies in my views somewhere. When it comes to reproductive rights and pro-choice/pro-life, I feel I’m very consistent though. I believe in choice. I believe that it is my choice to wish for my remaining embryos to be placed with another family, because I see them as potential life that deserve a right to become actual. This is because I purposely created them out of love and meant for them to be supported. However, I would not foist this choice on anyone else. I believe that someone else should have the right to destroy their embryos. I would not at this point in my life have an abortion, but that is because I can support and desperately want to support a tiny life. But, I don’t think it is my right to tell someone else that they need to carry a tiny life to birth if they cannot support it, even for the sake of placing for adoption (which would quite frankly benefit me, as a potential adoptive parent). It’s not my choice. It’s their choice. I believe it’s life, but the choice remains with the life impacted by the carrying (and medical professionals), by the myriad decisions and consequences physical and mental that follow any of those choices. Deep stuff, this post! As far as the politics go, there’s no consistency anywhere. I’d love to think that our rules should be our rules no matter who is in charge, whether I like them or not. Otherwise the future is a scary place… Where choice may cease to exist.

  4. I think we all are inconsistent until someone points out our inconsistencies and we’re forced to really think our position to make it make sense.

    I am constantly shocked by people who vote Republican and want tax cuts, but then are upset when budgets are cut, such as what happened in our state. People voted for this Republican governor who promised to lower taxes. Those same people are complaining that he cut the education budget, creating overcrowding in schools, a lack of resources for teachers, and a lot of education job loss. What did they think would happen? How can they complain now when they caused Y to happen by doing X? Yes, their children will be affected by their voting decision, so it seems bizarre to me when people say that they care about education but vote for people who promise to cut spending to education.

    I’ve long said that reproductive rights aren’t a pu-pu platter. You don’t get to pick and choose and expect the rights you want to still be there when you’ve worked against other, connected rights.

  5. I think people have rights, and I define person as someone who has been born. I believe a woman has the right to make decisions regarding pregnancy. If that pregnancy continues and a child is born, then that child has rights from the moment of birth onward. One of those rights is to know his or her origins.

    Another right (I believe) is to have an accurate record of his or her birth. By accurate, I mean that the mother and father on the birth record reflect the genetic mother and father. If that means we need an additional certificate to state “these are the people who are my parents, and who may or may not be my genetic parents” so that we can register for school, etc… then let’s do that. Certainly, a little extra paperwork is better than a permanent violation of human rights.

    As with any “right”, our rights extend to the point where they impact the rights of others. So, if we’re going to create people via embryo adoption, or via sperm or egg donation, then we need to make sure that we do so in a way that does not violate the rights of the child once born. It is certainly possible to do so. It just requires the adults to be adults.

  6. I am sure I have many inconsistencies on my views with how I was raised. My husband said many would be surprised that I tend to be more liberal. I grew up very naive and sheltered, even if it was what most would consider a far-extreme dysfunctional adoptive family. Many times lately, I’ve had to ask myself, “Would I look at the tough controversial issues differently? For example, if my younger birth brother wasn’t gay; if I wouldn’t have had a late messed-up-transgender adopted brother; and if both my adoptive mother and adopted brother hadn’t struggled so with serious mental health issues, etc.” I’ve learned a lot about life and walking in another person’s shoes and trying to not pass judgments based on my personal story. What a great thought-provoking post that will truly help me during one of those times when I am trying to decide how I feel and my opinion based on my brain that scarecrow was searching for and I’ve had for a long time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’m consistent about is my desire to have rights to my body without old men deciding them for me.

    I think I’m consistent in other areas given where I work. Obviously I’m not going to be pounding the pavement for smaller government…..

  8. I am both pro-choice and anti-anonymity in donor conception. I don’t see this as inconsistency at all as these are 2 different processes for me. I don’t believe in ANY embryo’s rights to be born (in whatever way it came into being) but if the decision has been made to create the embryo, then there needs to be a full record of its genetic origins, so that if it becomes a person one day (i.e. is born unless the woman carrying it decides otherwise), this person should enjoy the full spectrum of human rights and not be cut off from some of them right at the beginning, by decision of others.

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