Anti-choice bf doesn’t fit the mold

My boyfriend is anti-choice.

He is a study in contradictions, however: he is adamantly liberal in practically every other way.  He is a graduate student at one of the US’ most prestigious universities, and is without doubt a feminist.  He is also an atheist.  I say this because before I ask for your help/input, I want you to know that he really doesn’t subscribe to any of the rhetoric that anti-choicers regularly spout.  He is incredibly discerning and admits that he hates being grouped in with other anti-choicers– he simply doesn’t share their beliefs.  Being an atheist, he doesn’t believe that fetuses have ‘souls'; being a feminist, he doesn’t believe– in any way– that women should may made to feel ashamed of and controlled by their sexual and reproductive choices.

Given that: my boyfriend is anti-choice because he feels that that life has a right.  Not an elevated right over the woman, but an equal right.  I know, I know, it’s not ‘life’ yet; he means that cluster of cells that has the potential to become a human being (and will, if the pregnancy is typical).

I’ve presented him with the argument that no one would force an adult to give up a kidney for hir child (which is the best I can come up with [thanks, Jill Filipovic!*], akin to anti-choicers insisting that women be forced to donate their body to someone for almost ten months); he agrees, but makes the point that the fetus is not a leech (I say that it is if it is unwanted, but hear me him out).  He recognizes that carrying a fetus is an unfair burden that men do not have to endure.  However,  I have to concede to his point that a uterus‘ purpose– please, not a woman’s– is to gestate.  It is not the job of a kidney to be donated.

We’ve had so many conversations about it, and every book/blog/article on reproductive choice doesn’t answer my question: how do you talk to someone who is truly (I wouldn’t be dating him if he wasn’t) intelligent, tolerant, anti-patriarchy, and faithless about abortion (when most pro-choice arguments are built around the assumption that anti-choice people are not these things)?

*Explained by footnote 15 of “Offensive Feminism: The Conservative Gender Norms That Perpetuate Rape Culture, and How Feminists Can Fight Back” in Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World Without Rape

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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