What if we applied reproductive rights rhetoric to the refugees?

Like most of my friends on the left and the right I am concerned about the recent Executive Orders changing our nation’s refugee and immigration policies.  I’m especially appalled at President Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees who are the neediest population on the planet.  As I soaked in the media all weekend and viewed my social media feeds I observed a parallel, which was made more obvious by the recent March for Life and March for Women, still fresh in our memories: my friends who are pro-choice are also vehemently pro-refugee.  Seeing these two views as contrary to one another, I wondered what would happen if we applied pro-choice rhetoric to the refugee crises. 


Here’s What I Most Often Hear from the Reproductive Rights Corner

Less is being said about whether or not an embryo is a baby.  Most pro-choicers have acknowledged that it is.  They now champion the value of the mother’s life over the baby’s life.  They say her life takes precedence and she must be able to choose whether or not her baby lives, based on what’s best for her.  Opinion pieces, billboards, and marchers argue:

  • It’s a woman’s right to choose—it’s her body, her choice. 
  • Women deserve to be autonomous. 
  • Women must be self-determining. 
  • If she’s not ready for a baby, she shouldn’t be forced to have one. 
  • The baby may be dangerous for her. 
  • The baby will derail her plans and future success. 
  • This baby was forced on her by a violent or uncaring man—she shouldn’t have to pay for his act by carrying it to term.  

So what if we applied this rhetoric to refugees? 

My friends on the left who fight for reproductive rights have rightly aligned themselves with refugees.  They are burdened for refugees because they are a vulnerable population, in a crises not caused by themselves, they are without power and without a voice.  These are good reasons and I share them.  But what if we took the above statements and applied them to the refugee population and the United States? 

  • It’s a country’s right to choose—our country, our choice. 
  • Our country deserves to be autonomous. 
  • The USA must be self-determining. 
  • If we aren’t ready for refugees we should’t be forced to take them in. 
  • The refugees may be dangerous for us. 
  • The refugees will derail our plans and future success. 
  • These refugees are being forced on us by violent and uncaring rulers—we shouldn’t have to pay for their actions by taking them in. 

When we apply reproductive rights rhetoric to refugees, we see how twisted it really is.  We see how selfish the arguments are.  We see how they hoard power and preserve self, even at the expense of other people.  We see the ugliness that is autonomy.  Those who want to welcome refugees argue that refugee lives have worth, that they deserve a chance, that they’ll contribute value to our nation.  The same is true for the unborn.  If you want to welcome and protect the refugee you must also welcome and protect the unborn.




Photo credits: 

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton