Pro-Both      Preserving Life by Promoting Choice

What is Pro-Both?

To be pro-both is to be both pro-life and pro-choice. It a viewpoint rooted in two moral principles:

A humane society must seek to make abortion a rarity.

Society must not infringe on a woman's right to control her reproductive destiny.

Though often viewed as contradictory, these principles align perfectly if we focus not on blocking women with unwanted pregnancies from having abortions, but on helping women who don't want children to avoid pregnancy. The key to being pro-both is to recognize that the abortion problem is a symptom of the unwanted pregnancy problem.

A pro-both policy is one that works simultaneously to reduce the abortion rate and increase the ability of adults to personally control the course of their lives. Many such policies are possible. Improvements in education and the development of better contraceptives are among the most obvious approaches to take.

Substantial progress has been made with these kinds of efforts in our lifetimes. But if the energy now expended in the debate over the legality of abortion were put behind constructive programs such as these, then far greater reductions in the abortion rate could be achieved.

Can a pro-both agenda end abortion? Of course not. But it is futile to hope to end abortion by any means. Even if abortion were illegalized, women who want abortions would still find ways to get them. Pro-both can do as much to reduce abortion as illegization could, and do it in a positive and constructive way that improves life for all people.

The pro-both agenda works with women who don't want children to help them get what they want, rather than working against women who do want abortions to prevent them from getting what they want. This makes it more effective and more respectful of human dignity and freedom.

The pro-both agenda is founded on the idea that with choice comes responsibility. In seeking to encourage and facilitate people's control over their reproduction, it sends a message that our society desires and expects that people will exercise sound, mature judgement. It endorses and encourages responsibility but does not punish inevitable failures.

The idea that life and choice are contradictory and irreconcilable goals is one of the big lies of modern American politics. It is a lie that has divided the nation into two warring camps. The pro-both platform is a call to lay down arms and recognize that there are sound, moral arguments on both sides. Once we change our focus from defeating the enemy to solving the problems, it becomes clear that we can make real advances on both agendas without needing to compromise, because the most effective and most practical ways to advance the causes of life and choice turn out to be identical. All sides can win.

This web site presents the case for pro-both, and suggests an agenda for achieving its goals. It addresses the question of why you should consider calling yourself pro-both instead of pro-life or pro-choice. The comments page lets you see responses from others, and submit your own.

Copyright April 2005 - Jan D. Wolter