One of the great tragedies of debate is when an argument is attacked for what others’ think it is, rather than for what it actually represents. But that’s exactly what one celebrity is doing – against the pro-life movement.
Actress Alyssa Milano is no stranger to supporting abortion. But, in a new video gone unnoticed by the media, the 'Charmed' actress reveals more of her thoughts about those who oppose abortion: that “everyone is f**king pro-life” and that restricting abortion “stems back to racism.” Her comments came during a January interview with SHE Media CEO Samantha Skey at BlogHer Health 2019 – but the footage wasn’t published online until February 28.
From the beginning of the video, Milano urged, “We can talk about anything.” And that she did. When Skey asked her to name a “health issue among women,” Milano pointed to “reproductive freedom,” or, rather, abortion.
“I refuse to call people that are anti-abortion ‘pro-life,’ because everyone is f**king pro-life, okay?” she declared. “What they come down to is they’re anti-choice. They’re taking away our choice.”
In other words, abortion supporters’ labels are accurate, while pro-lifers’ are incorrect. But Milano’s take is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the pro-life movement. Pro-lifers strive to protect and enable each person’s choices. The difference is that they include the unborn in their definition of people.
According to the actress, the abortion debate on the federal and state level was between “two very separate belief systems”: religion and science.
“You can’t separate the fact that they’re trying to take away access to birth control and trying to take away access to safe abortions,” she said of those who are religious, “does that mean they want us to not have sex, are women not worthy of sexual pleasure? Like, what does that mean?”
Milano didn’t seem aware of groups like Secular Pro-Life and Pro-Life Humanists that recognize abortion’s violence even though they aren't religious. More generally, the pro-life movement sees science and religion as supporting one another, rather than as in conflict. The 2019 March for Life theme stressed science’s role in combating abortion, from unveiling the unborn baby’s unique DNA at fertilization to its heartbeat at six weeks.
And, when it comes to birth control, pro-lifers aren’t all in agreement. The recent debate by Christians has tried to distinguish between allowing others’ contraceptive use and having to pay for others’ contraceptive use. Christian-owned companies like Hobby Lobby made headlines in 2014 because they didn’t want to provide employees with certain kinds because they saw them acting as abortifacients.
Regardless, the point of the pro-life movement isn’t to ban sex – something sacred – with a resounding “no.” It’s to say “yes” to the inherent dignity and life of an unborn baby.
Milano overlooked that as she brought up what she called the “race issue” in abortion.
“Rich, white people will always be able to afford and get safe abortion,” she said. “So the rights that they’re – they’re trying to strip away from us are going to hurt the marginalized and the women that are most at risk, that have very low income, that are not going to be able to, you know, travel to a different state to get a state – safe abortion.”
“They’re going to be hurt. They’re going to try to get an abortion no matter how,” she added. “Unfortunately in this country, a lot of it stems back to racism.”
Milano failed to mention that the pro-life movement supports pregnancy centers that provide free resources, from housing to education, to help pregnant women in need. That includes Blacks or African-Americans, who accounted for 36 percent of abortions in 2015, according to the CDC’s most recent abortion surveillance report.
But again, Milano’s claim touches on another misunderstanding. Legislation restricting abortion isn’t an evil plot to target low-income women who aren’t white. It stems from acknowledging the intrinsic dignity and respect due to every human person, including minorities, from conception to natural death.
Milano has a chance at comprehending the pro-life movement though – if she takes her own advice.
“Often we get so caught up in this sort of tribal mentality that we all have to believe the same thing and say the same thing and it’s okay to be, to want the same thing, but to go about it in a different way,” she told Skey about advancing different movements.
And, she added of feminism, “As white women, if we’re not fighting for every woman, we’re not going to get this done. We’re not going to achieve what we need to achieve.”
The pro-life movement strives to support, protect, and empower women. But to accomplish that, it cherishes women at every stage in life, including in the womb.