Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pro-choice & Pro-life

I was watching an episode of Boston Legal the other day where a young girl seeks a judicial bypass so that she can get an abortion without parental approval since her mother refused to give her consent. I then looked up the terms pro-choice and pro-life on the web.

From the online merriam-webster dictionary, pro-choice (1975) just means "favoring the legalization of abortion" whereas pro-life (1971) means "opposed to abortion".

Then wikipedia on pro-choice and pro-life states that:
"Both "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are examples of political framing: they are terms which purposely try to define their philosophies in the best possible light, while by definition attempting to describe their opposition in the worst possible light ("Pro-choice" implies the alternative viewpoint is "anti-choice", while "pro-life" implies the alternative viewpoint is "pro-death" or "anti-life")".
The neutral terms to use are the terms “in favor of abortion rights” and “opposed to abortion rights”.

I also came across this informative webpage that summarises the abortion laws of most countries in the world. It has charts that show for what reasons and under what conditions abortion is legal in each country. The reasons it lists are:

Life: to save the life of the mother
Health: to preserve the physical health of the mother
Mental: to preserve the mental health of the mother
Rape: in cases of rape and incest
Defect: when the unborn child has medical problems or birth defects
Social: for social and/or economic reasons, (cannot afford to support a child)
Demand: available on demand, no reason need be given

From its tables, I am surprised to see that China and Singapore (1974 Termination of Pregnancy Act) have very liberal abortion law. For Malaysia, its penal code was amended in 1989 (Act A727 of 1989) to allow abortion in the first trimester if the woman's life or physical or mental health is endangered by the pregnancy.

For reference, I copied the following tables (please click on the charts for a larger image) from the webpage above as follows:

After my reading, I would not want to use the terms pro-choice and pro-life because while I am all for life, I am also very much in favour of women being given the choice to choose what they want to do with their lives and bodies. How about you?


  1. I think a lot of it depends on the circumstances- whilst nobody would want a society where abortions are liberalised, one also has to take into account the unwanted pregnancies (e.g. incest) and under those circumstances the woman should be given a choice.

  2. Miracle8, yes, it would be ideal if each case is to be considered on its own merit.

  3. Shocking that Msia does not ALLOW abortion for cases of rape & incest. Shows how backward the country is, and how it supports matriachy. But one can always argue it is legal to preserve the mental health of the mother. Loophole.

  4. wow. malaysia law doesn't allow the women to abort knowing the baby is defected?? i'm surprise. i'm surprise china is the most lenient amongst all!! so liberal. basically, it's like u don't need to give a reason to abort! chinese women are just given the license to abort anytime!

  5. RYC: thanks for the dropping. =) i had a mike with me but the problem is people can't hear the enthusiasm or the strength of my voice ... people can't feel the warm of my voice. it sounds dead or half dead. hmm... do u listen to jpop songs?

  6. I think partly why China is so lenient with abortion is because of its population control policy - One Child policy, so you have the rights to wait for the right one and right time to give birth to your only child. This is my opinion, after staying there for about 5 years.

  7. Tsu Lin, Renaye and Elizebeth, thanks for all your comments as not many people want to talk about abortion.