The Sistah Vegan Project

Vegans: Are you ‘pro-life’, ‘pro-choice’, or have an alternative perspective on abortion?

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If you are a vegan, I am wondering: What are your personal beliefs around ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ in the context of humans, pregnancy, and abortion? 

This is probably the shortest blog post ever, but I’m curious about this question and would like to know, if you are vegan, what your stance is and how it ‘fits’ into your vegan philosophies.

The only reason I ask this is because I find it curious how ‘life’ is defined and how it is valued, in the human context and beyond. I remember running into a vegan man about 7 years ago who said he thought it was strange that certain human beings eat animals ‘without conscious’, but are hard-core ‘pro-life’ for pregnant humans. Alternatively, he found it ‘peculiar’ that many vegans who become vegan to abstain from killing/harming non-human animals are ‘pro-choice’ when it comes to their stance on human reproductive choice. He thought it was oxymoronic to be a pro-life meat-eater and a pro-choice vegan. However I’m not convinced at all that it is that simple and wanted to open up the dialogue about this amongst vegans.

And yea, I’ve met plenty of pro-choice meat eaters and pro-life vegans too.

So, let’s talk about this!

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74 thoughts on “Vegans: Are you ‘pro-life’, ‘pro-choice’, or have an alternative perspective on abortion?

  1. I think it would be really interesting to talk about this in terms of consent. It seems to be a key factor here.

    • Augustine Thomas on said:

      I think it would be more interesting to talk about how you all deny science, which states definitively that the baby can feel it when you stick a pike through its heart!

    • Matt on said:

      I agree. As a pro-life supporter and a vegan I see it as once consent has been given-that is consensual sex- both parties must assume the possibility of pregnancy. Therefore they have made an oath to care for-or at the very least allow for- the development of that life form.
      Additonaly, the rights of the man or woman to decide for an abortion should never come before the rights of a living thing. This is more of my vegan side coming out. I believe that life is independently meaningful, absent language, cognitive reasoning, a job, etc, the fact that something is alive is enough reason to respect it. Furthermore when that life form is able to suffer or has a great potential to develop those traits then there is no justification for placing someone’s rights over that individual life.
      And lastly, many people argue that the woman should have a right to her body, but scientifically isn’t the fetus genetically different from the mother? So at the paint, symbiotically, they share a parasitic relationship, but it isn’t part of the mothers actual body that she would be killing in an abortion.
      Just my two cents, I’m 100% open minded about this so if I’m wrong in anyway let’s discuss this civilly.
      Thanks :)

  2. No question. I’m vegan, and pro-life as it begins at conception.

    I agree with the vegan man.

  3. Robin on said:

    Peoples lives get ruined by unwanted pregnancy. Looking after a kid is a big commitment, I reckon its too big for someone not to have that choice over whether they make it. Im sure many people will say “they shouldve used protection, that was when they had their choice” or something like that, but condoms tear, the pill doesn’t always work, and you don’t have that choice in the case of sexual violence. And sometimes when people are vulnerable – young, drunk, emotionally unstable – they make decision which they regret and wouldnt have made if there heads were clearer. And there are probably more reasons I cant think that might mean people have to make the decision at a later point thant theyd probably want to.

    Ive met people who call themselves prolife because they wouldnt have an abortion themselves, even though they see its personal and think everyone should choose for themselves. Which I wouldnt call pro-life cause that is exactly what pro-choice would mean to me, choosing for yourself whether you can or cant/should or shouldnt have a child/abortion, not trying to say how other people should do things.

    I lived in Ireland most of my life and abortion is illegal there, and cause most people are very catholic theres not much hope of that changing, but because of that women have to travel to other countries if they want to get an abortion – even in cases of sexual violence – which is obviously very expensive, and in a country with such high unemployment not a lot of people can afford to do that so women are forced to have ‘back-alley’ abortions which are really dangerous, enough that people have died. I would hope that this shows to prolife people that theres a need to have access to legal, safe, free abortions, because women are going to have them anyway, and if they are it may as well be safe.

    Sorry if thats a bit all over the place, lots of thoughts and opinions coming into my head at once!

    • Kathleen on said:

      Exactly.

    • Everything you said can also be put on newborns. Should people have the right to choose to kill newborns because condoms tear and people’s lives get ruined by unwanted children and so on and so forth? We know scientifically it is a living human being just like any of us. If you look up what happens at conception, it will tell you the sperm and egg meeting forms a new human life, and the developmental process that all children are in the midst of starts at conception, and at that moment, the DNA of the man and woman mix, forming completely new and distinct DNA that determines everything it will ever be right then and there.

      The big problem with the “well I think it’s wrong but other people have to choose for themselves” thing is that we don’t do that with anything else. We don’t say that if you think murder in general is bad, you have to allow someone else to do it because it has to be their choice. We more than welcome forcing what we view to be right or wrong on people and making it illegal to kill. Same with rape, child molestation, even stealing. Of course those who don’t think there is anything wrong with it wouldn’t care if other people do it, but I hope one can understand why those who do fight so hard to be against it, and think it’s odd that others who do act like people should be allowed to choose it anyway, only in this one area. If newborns were killed by the millions each year, dehumanized and said to be not worthy of even the most basic right to life, wouldn’t you fight against it and say people shouldn’t be allowed to choose that, no matter how unwanted the child was, how desperate of a situation the mother is in, or if they did everything right and the condom just happened to break?

      Also, the “it has to be legal to be safe” thing is a myth. Dr. Bernard Nathanson was one of the founders of NARAL, and in the 70s after seeing an ultrasound guided abortion, he became pro-life and admitted all of the lies they told to try and sell abortion, one of them being a false figure they made up that 100,000 women had died from illegal abortions so it has to be safe to be legal, and of course this lie still gets spread around today. There weren’t even enough deaths that weren’t already known to be caused by something else in order to account for all of those, so if people actually thought about it, they’d realize how false it was. Another one is that being against abortion comes from the Catholic hierarchy, and anyone opposed to abortion must be under their influence, yet there have always been non-religious pro-lifers. A groundbreaking abortion study from Chile found that illegal abortion is not associated with maternal mortality.

  4. I am vegan and pro-choice. The cells in a uterus belong to the person in charge of that body and absolutely no one else. In a similar way, I have the right to absolutely no one else’s body (of any sentient species).

  5. Therese on said:

    For me being vegan means not harming or exploiting sentient non-human and human animals. Since, as far as I am informed, most abortions are carried out before the unborn is able to experience pleasure and pain, I don’t see a conflict with being pro-choice and ethical veganism. Furthermore I believe that (even if an abortion is carried out later) the first person to consider is the woman carrying the baby. She is already alive, breathing, feeling and thinking. If for whatever reason she decides that she doesn’t want to give birth to a child, I believe that (difficult) decision has to be respected. In my eyes, forcing her to give birth against her will and thus exercising an immense amount of power over her, is effectively creating harm.
    On a practical level, even if abortions are illegal, they will be carried out and cause much more harm than they would in a safe environment. Recently, a study looked at what happens to women who are denied abortions. You can find an interesting summary here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/magazine/study-women-denied-abortions.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • I am vegan and pro choice and agree with you all the way. Well said.

    • If the child in utero does not exist in a Pro-choice Vegan’s world then presumably it can be consumed as a by-product. If we aborted late term lamb your logic suggests there is no ethical issue for the pro-choice vegan consuming that protein. It never existed as a living thing. It follows that a pro-choice vegan would also have no ethical issue with aborted children and animals being harvested for medical experimentation, heart valves, stem cells, and so on. That being the case a pro-choice Vegan in my view follows an incredibly self serving blinkered lifestyle.

      • We’re talking about women who can freely think and make the choice for themselves, not animals that are artificially inseminated and having their young stolen without means to defend or decide themselves.

        I agree that some people take advantage of the system because they would like to party, are immature and don’t want to take responsibility for their actions but why should anyone else know whats best for their bodies? And would you honestly think someone who would resent their child would be a good mother? There are people out there who need this procedure whether it be because they’re victims of violence, are young and can’t support a child without destroying their lives not just physically but also emotionally or the child has early detected birth defects etc

        There are people in some countries dying. Not the possibility of a person, living, feeling, sentient beings dying because others think they know what’s best for someone else’s body and make them result to measures they usually wouldn’t do if they had the proper procedures.

        It’s not a blinkered opinion

        If you can freely make your own decision about your body, go for it, only you know what’s best.

        But if someone else starts making decisions based on someone else’s feeling, thinking body that’s when it becomes dirty for me.

        Sorry for the rant.

  6. I believe pro-choice is pro-life. Quality of life is directly related to the choices available to women and girls.

  7. Corvus on said:

    Vegan. Pro-choice. Anything that lives off of someone else’s body is that person’s choice to terminate or not. This includes everything from a fetus to a parasite. I do not harm or kill animals to the best of my ability. But if there is a tick on me, I do not feel as if I need to let that tick stay because I believe in not doing harm or killing animals. I do not believe in martyrdom for our causes. I believe in self empowerment, self love, and care.

    What a person who can get pregnant does with their body is none of my business or anyone else’s. Abortion is healthcare and is between the pregnant person and their health care providers and anyone else they choose to involve in the decision.

    Also, for me, veganism is about consent, suffering, respect, etc- not simply about life. Most fetuses when aborted haven’t even formed pain receptors yet. They are not viable outside the womb. They are using a person’s body to survive and that person is the one who benefits or suffers as a result. That is not comparable to a living breathing being being tortured and killed for people to eat, wear, or test on them. It cannot be compared to abortion because they are completely different issues. Animals, who survive outside the womb, who do not exist for humans, do not consent to their treatment and thus it is wrong. A fetus, while alive (like many living things), is not a consenting being and is also living off of another’s body. Thus, it is the person who owns that body’s choice whether or not to terminate that pregnancy. Even when the fetus is viable outside the womb, it is still that person’s choice. Plus, no women really want late term abortions. No one wants abortion like it’s a fun thing to do. But people who harm and kill animals do so because they want to- to make money, to taste their flesh, etc, this is different.

    If women were being farmed and forcefully impregnated so that people could eat their children, then there might be a way to fit choice in there. But there is not.

    Thanks for starting this discussion. I don’t believe in controlling womens bodies and also do not believe in controlling nonhuman animals’ bodies. That is why I am pro-choice and vegan.

  8. Well, I’m pro-choice. I know many people who question vegans tend to point out how it’s a “contradiction” how they “kill” babies; however, the “kill” part is subjective. I mean, what is a miscarriage?? A woman’s body “naturally” disposes of a child when it needs to–her body knows what’s best. The concept of “abortion” as murder is COMPLETELY cultural and steeped in religion. It’s negative connotation constantly fluctuates!

    Abortion as “murder” is completely cultural and so is veganism. I would never propose a UNIVERSAL vegan law because I would be ignoring particular cultural nuances where veganism is not possible. Therefore, the veganism I subscribe to is based in a culture (the US) that DOES NOT need to eat non-human animal or subscribe to institutionalized slavery for animals just to consume them.

    That however doesn’t mean that I think people in other nations *can’t* eat meat or that non-human animals should not eat meat! It becomes a type of illogical colonization to enforce a very particular nuanced argument (veganism in the US) on every living sentient being because not everyone can practice it or lives in a culture like we do. If women had more “power” in the US, this abortion issue wouldn’t be a debate.

    History shows that women have always tried to terminate their pregnancies. Actually, whenever abortions are “illegal” it’s proven that more women die of botched illegal abortions! So, instead of focusing on the “unborn” child in this debate, let’s focus on the women. Additionally, women of wealth have ALWAYS had access to safe abortions, even when they were illegal! So, this issue is actually about stigmatizing and disenfranchising minorities and poor women.

    This “abortion” vegan issue is merely another way for non-vegan uncritical consumers to “pretend” to care about animals so that they can further remove rights from women when it comes to their bodies. We are not post-culture so we can’t forget that this abortion vegan issue does not exist in a vacuum. Simiarly, we can’t speak about veganism without contextualizing it—that’s actually the project of this Sistah Vegan group—veganism isn’t JUST about diet, it’s about race, gender, class, etc. Similarly, abortion isn’t just about “killing” a child–it’s ALSO about those particular intersections (Race, gender, class, socioeconomic status) that frame a woman’s experience!

  9. Dara on said:

    “Pro-life” is a misleading term IMO, especially when it only extends to whether or not a woman has control over her own reproductive system. I know someone who strongly identifies as “pro-life” but sees no contradiction in being married to someone who engages in military battle. Similarly, “pro-life” and “pro-death penalty” don’t seem to be an uncommon pairing. Pro-choice and veganism make sense to me, especially when you think of the exploitation of female bodies for animal products. Both issues are about bodies and who controls them.

  10. I am vegan because I am pro-choice. I have been active in reproductive justice for a long time. It was making the connections between the reproductive exploitation of women and of female nonhuman animals, particularly for their milk and eggs, that led me to become vegan. No one should have their sexuality and reproduction controlled by forces outside of their control. There is no contradiction in being pro-choice and vegan. It is only patriarchal control of women that even leads us to think that the state entering women’s bodies and controlling them that way is remotely acceptable.

  11. Federico on said:

    Hi, Amie. I am pro-life because I think sentience is our way of relating to sentient beings only, not to plants or fetuses of less than two-weeks life. I think we should respect all life forms, but in the end I think the mother is the one who needs to decide wheter to terminate or not in some cases. I think it is a combined position between prolife and pro-choice.

  12. Iana on said:

    I’ve been pro-choice for years, much, much, longer than I have been vegan and I don’t see a need to change anything. Ultimately, it’s my body and the outcome of unwanted pregnancy in instances outside of abortion, are more challenged than rewarding. Much of the pro-life beliefs are rooted in the catholic church, an institution I don’t participate in. Being pro-choice in no way (to me ) conflicts with being vegan because for myself, veganism is about eliminating suffering in addition to critically thinking about how suffering exists. This spans from my physical body to the world it exists in. It is thru critical though that I am aligned with pro-choice ideals and being vegan just gave it more layers. When I ate an omnivore diet, suffering was a relative term and the intersection of food and issues such as being pro-choice or pro-life didn’t exist. Being an omnivore, in the USA, allows you to disassociate yourself from a slew of very violent and cruel practices. You get to be pro-choice/pro-life in a vacuum.

    But on a side note, it is interesting that you (Dr. Harper) felt inclined to post thinking about a conversation with a MALE vegan. I’ve had my share of interesting conversation on abortion with other men, vegan and non, and sometimes I can’t help myself from cringing. From what you wrote, it seems as though the issue was pretty simplified, which often the men I’ve conversed with on this subject do….

  13. Dominique on said:

    I’m pro-choice AND vegan for the same reason, every sentient being, human and non-human should be entitled to full bodily autonomy. Period. Forcing a human to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term denies her autonomy, forcing a non-human animal to give up his/her life/body for the use of food denies them their autonomy. Plain and simple as that.

  14. SYL K on said:

    Pro-choice. I THINK ANYTHING OTHERWISE IS SEXIST. That a fetus may or may not be capable of experiencing pain is completely irrelevant.

    The question is: is a woman OBLIGATED to donate her body for the purpose of sustaining another life simply because she is biologically capable of doing so? And anyone who views women as autonomous, rational agents (so, a person who isn’t sexist) would have to conclude that only SHE should decide whether or not she is obligated to make use of this biological capacity.

    I’m not sure how one could *consistently* be both pro-life AND vegan. It doesn’t make sense to urge that there is some justification for controlling the bodies of an entire group of beings by virtue of their sex while also claiming there is no justification for controlling the bodies of another group of beings by virtue of their species. . .

  15. Seeking Ma'at on said:

    I have been Vegan for seven years and as far as abortion goes I am Pro Mind Your Own Damn Business. I feel like abortion is not an option for me, but who am I to tell you what to do with your body and your child. I do however feel there should be policies and stipulations in place for abortion practices. For instance, if you are a female who uses abortion as a form of birth control and you have had multiple abortions you should be refused, put on real birth control and given counseling to find out why you refuse to protect yourself. For all other cases like rape, unwanted pregnancies, and teenage pregnancies, I feel like people should mind their own business.

  16. This is a very provocative discussion. Someone stated above that the prolife position and the idea of abortion being murder was steeped in religious perspective only. That has been the most vocal opinion shown for sure.

    But what about groups like Secular Pro Life(http://secularprolife.org/), Gays and Lesbians for Life(https://www.facebook.com/pages/PLAGAL-The-Prolife-Alliance-of-Gays-and-Lesbians/99136188374), and Feminists for Life? (http://www.feministsforlife.org/index.htm)

    I am a vegan who is prolife, but I also understand that making abortion illegal can cause harm as well when women seek them in dangerous situations. But, I also believe that if more guaranteed support and resources were available to women and young girls who end up in a crisis pregnancy, the choice to abort might not happen as often if they knew that they would not have to give up their education, etc, by choosing to carry a child to term.

    Even though I might be seen as one in the prolife ‘camp’, I am often frustrated by those who share some of my views yet would also attempt to block access to or funding for contraception or vote to lesson government help to those mothers that chose NOT to abort, but keep their baby. ???! THAT, is where I think much of the religious perspective comes in. Many feel the need to try and control the sexual behaviors of others based on their religious beliefs. Just doesn’t make sense in my mind in a pluralistic society like ours.

    That’s my two cents. :)

  17. As a vegan, I am against harming ALL innocent life, whether it belong to an animal or an unborn baby. Compassion for all.

    • compassion for all. … . except for women who get pregnant and don’t want to carry the baby to term. I guess they don’t deserve compassion because- according to your reasoning- they are not “innocent” (because they had sex?)? Or maybe you don’t see stripping a woman of her bodily autonomy as “harm”. . . .

    • Finally one no evil comment… Most of this comments here are disgusting and scary…! What is wrong with this people.

  18. kanita on said:

    i feel i am pro life in my choice and trust others in their right to choose what is
    appropriate to the situation in their life. the need to control feminine reproductivity
    is patriarchy’s attempt to harness the power of a woman.
    it is a woman’s right and power to choose if she will carry full term.
    i believe that the fetus is not independently alive until the 2nd trimester.
    so a woman choosing to abort prior to this is endangering her own health
    but not causing harm to another separate being.
    i further believe it may be more noble and compassionate to the unborn
    to terminate the pregnancy than to bring an innocent being into a painful circumstance.

  19. KristenVeganVixen on said:

    I’m pro choice. I don’t think it’s as clear cut an issue as eating animal products is, as pregnancy is a unique biological position where giving rights to one party means taking them away from the other. Where a pregnancy is unwanted, and not just unplanned, women will go to drastic measures as history has shown- making it illegal won’t prevent it happening, it will only drive it underground and make it unsafe.

  20. Kathleen on said:

    I am most definitely 100% pro-choice, not anti-choice. A woman ALWAYS has the right to determine what happens with and to her own body. A fetus may one day become a human person with interests of its own, but while its living within another human autonomous person’s body, it has no rights. A woman’s right to bodily autonomy MUST come before any supposed fetal rights. Anything else is terrorism.

  21. First off, thank you Dr. Harper for initiating this important conversation! I hope you chime in at some point with your reflections on the conversation, as I’m sure we could all learn from them.
    I’m appreciative of the posters above who have foregrounded the importance of context in discussions such as these. For example, what has brought each of us to identify as vegan likely informs our perspectives towards abortion. As an Indian who was raised vegetarian (mostly vegan), it never ceases to blow my mind how U.S.-centric & individualistic most framings of veganism are here in the U.S. On the Indian subcontinent there are literally ancient philosophical, religious, and spiritual systems advocating vegetarianism & (near) veganism that one wouldn’t know the existence of from many vegan discourses here.
    With that said, I’m afraid that many classically leftist/progressive/politically radical approaches to abortion in the U.S. are similarly steeped in a hearty dose of individualism & European enlightenment-based thought. I know that spirituality is an uncomfortable topic in many of these spaces, but what about the countless indigenous worldviews that perceive all life to be sacred, including that of fetuses? This isn’t to say that many native peoples don’t have traditions of using herbal and other abortifacients. I’m just concerned that many of the comments offered thus far and predictable responses to the inquiry given are politically reductionistic in failing to address questions of spirit, community, & genealogy. Many of us come from complex cosmologies & traditions where we cannot write off the karmic & spiritual implications of ending a life as if the decision is primarily based on the well-being of one individual (the mother in question).
    I also must say that I’m uncomfortable with some of the framing of ‘ownership’ of fetuses as justification for termination that have been shared above. As a radical feminist, I’m all for women & all living beings having bodily autonomy. However, on the blog of a project whose mission is framed within a context of de-normalizing slave relations between living beings and challenging neoliberal capitalist ways of relating to each other, I have faith that we can imagine less propertied justifications for any of our arguments. Even if Judeo-Christianity, patriarchies, & the capitalist obsession with controlling female bodies have played enormous roles our collective political histories, let’s not let them monopolize our imagination as we move forward in trying to understand the relationship between veganism & abortion.
    Personally, I’m pro-life. I don’t want to impose any normative judgement & know that criminalizing abortion in the U.S. has deeply classist & sexist implications. So my pro-life advocacy is tenuous & comes with visions of lots of harm reduction strategies for making reproductive decisions more informed, healthy, accessible, & consensual. Yet I do believe something deeper happens metaphysically when abortion takes place that often isn’t addressed in partisan rhetoric & secular forms of radical political storytelling. Finally, (while on the topic of reproductive justice) I’m also curious to know what other vegans think of forcible sterilization of human & non-human animals?

    • You’re distorting the pro-choice position and just saying random things.

      1) No one is claiming that a woman *owns* her fetus. We are claiming that a woman owns her *body*. If she is the owner of her body, that means she is the only person who should decide if she will donate her body or parts of her body to save another person’s life, whether that person is her child, her sibling, her spouse, a saint, an innocent stranger, etc. [In this situation, the “other life” is the fetus; the donated “body part” is the womb (and all the other stuff that goes into sustaining a fetus)].

      2) Believing that life is sacred does not entail endorsing a government that forces people to donate their organs and bodies to other people in need. My refusal to donate a kidney to a person who might die without it is not evidence that I don’t find life sacred.

      3) I’m not sure the collectivist/ individualistic binary applies here. I don’t think “lack of bodily autonomy” is a prerequisite to a collectivist society. (Also, truth-bomb: collectivist societies and deeply spiritual world views can be sexist too. . . )

      4) The whole “well-being of one individual [ the mother]” vs. “the well-being of [I don’t know what’s supposed to fill in this blank .. the community?]” is a pretty shady route to take, don’t you think? How is it good for the community to force women to carry their pregnancies to term when they do not desire it?

      5) I’m so tired of hearing the view that abortions can be avoided if we just make women “more informed” about their choices as if wanting an abortion indicates pathology or ignorance or lack of choice. (If anything, we need to make abortions more accessible and stop stigmatizing it). Sorry but many women just don’t want to have babies for whatever reason (which should be no one’s business) and you can “inform” the hell out of them and they still won’t want babies and if they get pregnant they’ll just want an abortion. Just because we have the biological capacity to grow babies doesn’t entail there is some deep metaphysical or spiritual necessity to make use of it .

      • cstrigiform on said:

        ^This.

      • Hi SYL K,
        Thanks for the response. I’m not distorting ‘the pro-choice’ position, in part b/c there isn’t just one. The comment section of this post clearly demonstrates that. Also, I’m not sure what you thought was random that I said, but I can certainly respond to your concerns in turn:
        1- Why do we have to assert ‘ownership’ over our bodies to defend bodily integrity & justice? This is a contradictory logic for a woman of color feminist position. You’re fighting for a bigger piece of the pie that’s poisoning us when we could be imagining non-state, rights-based, & capitalist ‘solutions.’ Who caused & supports many of these problems to begin with? Oh right, the state that you’re seeking redress from. Why look there when we could be talking about community autonomy? By the way, Silvia Federici has a great book (Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, & Primitive Accumulation) that shows how this idea of relating to our bodies as ‘possessions’ that we ‘own’ was key to early capitalist exploitation of worker’s bodies & was systemically distributed throughout the world via colonization. Sounds like a toxic view of the body that has nothing to do with how I’m interested in perceiving my flesh or anyone else’s.
        2- I didn’t advocate “endorsing a government that forces people to donate their organs and bodies.” This mentality is part of what I’m critiquing. Why should any of the ways that we relate to our bodies inherently involve a settler state? It’s one thing to talk about potential policy implications of arguments we may support. That’s fine. But Dr. Harper asked a much broader, philosophically deeper question than just what governmental political policy any of us advocate.
        3- I won’t ‘truth bomb’ you back b/c I’m not super into militaristic metaphors, but reality check: it’s pretty eurocentric to respond to a call to recognize the existence indigenous worldviews in a conversation that’s been markedly liberal/leftist by saying ‘those communities can be sexist, you know.’ Ah, all societies can be sexist, and communities of color sure don’t need to be discouraged from considering our intellectual traditions by invoking the specter of ‘sexist dark people.’ And concern of spiritual communities being sexist too? As opposed to what, the feminist utopia that is Science and Logic with a capital S and L? That logic is colonial & what’s largely considered Western European science and European enlightenment-based logic are just as theological as any other tradition. More dangerous in their pretense of objectivity, though.
        4- Who said that making decisions based upon any criteria other than privileging the individual unit in a vacuum necessitates compulsory pregnancy?
        5- I certainly never said anything about the need to avoid abortions through information. Careful reading, anyone? I’m also disturbed at the complicity with the medical industrial complex that seems to be taking place in this conversation. Can access to abortion be life-saving for many women? Of course. But does that mean that we need to romanticize it, devoid of any analysis of the medical industry that accompanies it?
        Finally, it’s a trip how many of the comments on this thread assume one universal reason for being vegan and impose that assumption upon all of us. What blog are we on, again?

      • SYL K on said:

        What do you mean there isn’t one pro-choice position?? The “pro-choice position” simply means the woman carrying the fetus decides whether or not she wants to terminate/ continue on with her pregnancy. That’s it. It’s pretty broad. What else does pro-choice imply??

        1. The only reason we have to “assert ‘ownership’ over our bodies to defend bodily integrity and justice” is because we continue to exist in a world where women’s bodies are STILL PERCEIVED TO BE PUBLICLY AVAILABLE TO MEN. When I say I “own” my body or that my body is “mine”, I just mean to say that I am the fundamental arbiter regarding decisions about my body because my body is the public “me”.

        Again, I’m struggling to understand why you place “community autonomy” contra bodily autonomy. This reads to me like a false opposition. I imagine that communities can self-govern and, hence, retain agency while also allowing for community members to retain agency over their bodies.

        2. The question Breeze asked was this (verbatim): “What are your personal beliefs around ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ in the context of humans, pregnancy, and abortion?” Pro-life and pro-choice are actual positions. I took it that the “philosophical depth” of the response to Breeze’s question should lie in how we- AS VEGANS- stand in relation to these positions (including the possibility that our veganism forces us to adopt some alternative position with regard to abortion). I’m not sure what other “philosophical” ruminations you’re expecting with regard to her question. . . hence my charge that you’re just being random.

        3. How it is eurocentric to point out that other societies might be sexist even though they are spiritual and/ or communal (as opposed to individualistic)?

        4. Well, THAT IS SOMETHING I ASKED YOU TO CLARIFY! We’re talking about abortion here and you asked whether or not it was a good idea to privilege the well-being of the individual (the mother). YOU raised that point, not me. . . I was simply confused as to why you raised it.

        5. Um, YOU were the one romanticizing the childbearing capacity by invoking “karmic and spiritual” implications of terminating pregnancy. I said (in so many words) that many women just don’t want babies and will want abortions if they become pregnant. No romanticization in that claim. It was just another truth-bomb.

        Finally, no one is assuming a universal motivation for veganism here (at least not from what I’ve read thus far). However, there might be similar motivations for embracing the pro-choice position, which is not an imposition. . .. We’re just sharing those motivations.

  22. Reblogged this on Vegans of Color and commented:

    Vegans: Are you ‘pro-life’, ‘pro-choice’, or have an alternative perspective on abortion?

  23. I reject use of the term ‘pro-life’ as the opposite of pro-choice. I believe one can only be either anti-choice or pro-choice. I am the latter, and I am pro-life! Being pro-choice is not ‘pro or con’ thinking, it is an expansive position leaving plenty of room for a woman to decide for herself whether she wants to remain pregnant and give birth, or decide for herself that she does not wish to carry a fetus to term for whatever reasons are important to her.

  24. I don’t see anything about pro-choice ethics that is at odds with veganism. In a word, veganism is not about ‘life;’ it is primarily about *sentience.* I avoid using animals because they feel, think, and have the capacity to suffer; not simply because they are alive. There is no evidence that human fetuses are sentient before the 7th month of gestation, and the vast majority of abortions are performed within the first 3 months of a pregnancy. The few that are performed later are almost always done either because the woman was unable to access an abortion at an earlier point or because there is a fatal complication with the pregnancy.

    All of that being said, I don’t believe that anything or anyone has an inherent right to use a person’s body without their consent. An embryo growing inside a woman who does not want to be pregnant is doing just that. In this case, the woman’s rights to bodily autonomy and self-determination trump the rights of the embryo. If one acknowledges that women are full human beings and not simply incubators, this should go without saying.

  25. Carolyn on said:

    As I assume we would all agree, abortion is not something a woman does for ‘fun’ or without thought. In some places we allow women to choose abortion. But I wonder why our society doesn’t extend the idea of choice. If having a baby means meeting financial commitments that aren’t available then why do we not assist these families. Or if having a baby means emotional stress that can’t be dealt with why don’t we assist at that point. And so on. Why stop at abortion as the only choice. Give a whole range of choices.Do women choose to have an abortion or do they feel they have no ‘choice’? As a vegan I am pro-choice and pro-life which for me means allowing women to choose for themselves but my biggest concern is we limit the choices a woman (and her partner/s if he/she is involved as sometimes this can be the case) has. Severely.

  26. Pro-Choice & Pescatarian. Do I feel guilty about the seafood? Sometimes.

    But, it would be impossible to perceive saving every life form, and ridiculous as well as unrealistic to avoid even stepping on bugs as the Jain religion (predecessors to Buddhism) did. It is a natural part of the food chain and evolutionary process to consume (to a certain degree animal matter). Remember that one of the largest manufacturers of animal suffering is the gasoline/coal industry; which causes massive animal habitat problems. And, most of us drive the last time that I checked. The point is: Many choose not to eat meat for various reasons; including to be more humane towards animals, and avoiding GMO’s wherever possible. The point is to reduce suffering as much as possible. Even the Dalai Lama is not even a vegan believe it or not. Its true. Check his youtube video, where he was speaking to a University about it. He said he tried it..but (you know his humor), it was too hard. Everyone just does the best that they can.

    Also; it is one’s choice, where the division line lies within how much or ‘any’ animal products that they choose to consume. This world is about realism within hyperrealism. All is real and nothing is real. It’s your choice, and if a woman is faced with an unwanted pregnancy; it should be her choice as well. In a perfect world…no woman would ever have to choose. However; in this upside down and backwards one….we sometimes do. That’s all.

    • cstrigiform on said:

      Fish are going extinct due to fishing. Driving is part of animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is the top cause of climate change, more than all transportation combined. The question was pro/anti choice and vegan. Not how-do-you-defend-harming-animals. Pescetarian is better than all out carnivore, but you can make the statement that we all do our best and sometimes that’s flawed without trying to also defend harming and killing animals and destroying the environment by making off “food chain” and “you drive” comments.

  27. My body, my choice, my yoni, my vagina, my womb, my health, my body, my choice, my yoni, my vagina, my experience, my voice, my body, my baby, my life, my choice, my pussy, , my decision, my choice, my choice, my choice. PRO CHOICE. I AM PRO-CHOICE.

  28. I see it in these terms: you are either for people being able to make choices about their reproductive systems or you’re not.
    Many people are vegan because they don’t support animals having to give up their products without consent. It seems perfect that you would be vegan and support a person’s right to make decisions about their body.

    I’ve been pro-choice before I knew I was pro-choice. As a child, my parents always told me that my body is mine, and it seemed perfect that I would support being able to make decisions about my body. The state has no business forcing people to give birth.

  29. Serenity on said:

    I am pro-keepingmynoseoutofothergrownfolksbuisiness unless they ask for assistence

  30. Choice, choice, choice! I know not everyone here considers him/herself an “animal rights” person as it extends beyond veganism. But for those who do I feel it is imperative not to bear children to remain ethically consistent. However, because fertility legislation in the US has historically been racist and sexist this should not be legislated either. All fertility matters should be a matter of CHOICE. (More on my argument here if you are interested: http://vegina.net/2013/06/26/liberation-not-procreation/)

  31. I also reject the term pro-life and I prefer the term forced-birth because that’s all they care about: forcing people to give birth, to use their bodies against their will. I am a pro-choice (or pro-reproductive rights/justice) vegan. I don’t think it is oxymoron at all. We respect the right to bodily autonomy of sentient beings – and that’s why vegans don’t consume milk or eggs, because they belong to the female that produced them. My body belong to me. Nobody gets to dictate what happens to my body. Nobody can use my body without my CONSENT. I don’t think anti-choice vegans are any better than anti-choice meat-eaters. Maybe they are less hypocritical but the difference stops there. Both are misogynists that want to control women’s bodies and don’t care about women dying from unsafe abortions.

    • Jasmine on said:

      But it’s okay for a person to kill life in their body? murder isn’t any more justified because it takes place in a mother’s womb – in fact it’s all the more barbaric and inhumane

  32. Maisie on said:

    Abortion lies directly at the bisection of animal and female rights. For humans, the issue is predominantly white, middle-class males trying to force restrictive anti-abortion laws on women, removing their agency and control over their own bodies.
    Similarly, animal reproduction is controlled by humans. We genetically engineered chickens to produce more eggs than they ever would naturally, we control their surroundings to bring about breeding early, artificial insemination etc. All these methods are just representative of the need for males to control females both human or animal.

  33. Not my body, not my business. Clear and simple.

    • Jasmine on said:

      Do you think like this about all the animals that are killed? that’s also not happening to your body – not your business simple as you say.

      • Jasmine, you are advocating a false equivalence between the animals that humans exploit and fetuses. Fetuses aren’t sentient, the animals humans eat are. Intestinal parasites are alive, too, and possibly even sentient, yet nobody is arguing that men or women don’t have the right to rid their bodies of them. Saying that people have the right to stop anything else from living inside their bodies but on the other hand that women have the right not to be forced to carry a fetus to term is sexist, pure and simple.

  34. emily on said:

    I could never see myself getting an abortion, because I don’t know if I could sleep at night! As a vegan I do believe all life is sacred. And I do think life begins at conception.

    But that said, I do think that sometimes there are times when abortion may be a kinder choice. Sometimes there might be medical reasons for an abortion. Maybe the unborn child gets diagnosed with a really severe disability which will mean a very unhappy and/or short life for the child. If a heroine addict falls pregnant I definitely think an abortion is best if the addict cannot make some big changes very fast. Finally if someone is pregnant as a result of rape, I don’t think forcing those pregnancies is a good idea. Really, I don’t think there should be any laws about it. It should be an option – so I guess I am pro-choice, BUT I would not think very much of someone who got an abortion just because they did not take responsibility to use contraception and just found the pregnancy inconvenient. But it sucks that when it comes to sex it’s everyone’s responsibility, but when it comes to abortion, it’s all on the woman, that’s a huge burden.
    I definitely don’t think I am qualified to speak for others on this, no one is though, so that’s what I’m trying to say.

    It makes me mad that people can go so upset over this issue, go all ape shit pro-life but go home and eat a steak with a clear conscience! bit hypocritical in my opinion. But maybe I am also a hypocrite being vegan pro-choice too? good topic!!

  35. Pingback: Abortion as the “Kinder Choice”: Able-Bodied Rhetoric, Veganism, and Reproductive Ethics | The Sistah Vegan Project

  36. Pingback: Vegan takes, rants and two recommendations | A plant-based resonance

  37. Britt on said:

    Being pro-life and supporting the torture of animals is hypocritical. So is being a vegan, vegetarian and being pro-choice UNLESS you are doing it strictly for health reasons. I am a pro-life, ALL LIFE vegan I don’t understand how you can hate the fact animals are being hurt and killing a “fetus” that may or may not feel pain. I just don’t understand :/

    • “All life” except the life of the conscious adult pregnant person with a fetus inside her… Take away that choice and you open the door to forced sterilization, dangerous abortions, more reproductive and sexual control of women, and full orphanages. If you put the life of a zygote ahead of the life of an adult human than that is not “pro-life”. That is misogyny.

    • Jasmine on said:

      I agree 100 % – perverted morality is what it is.

  38. Jasmine on said:

    I can’t believe some of the ridiculous comments on here by people who are vegans and yet pro abortion! If you are so ethical on what you eat it is just shocking and hypocritical that you do not follow the same ethics when it comes to the life of a human baby. I read someone saying that there is nothing wrong with abortion – as miscarriages happen? what planet are you on? That’s like saying there is nothing wrong with murder because people die naturally too. There is nothing more annoying than people who are priggish about morality when it comes to food and yet so hypocritical when it comes to human life. And for those saying it’s the mother’s choice, and talking about this process as if it’s virtually natural – no it’s not, you are INTERVENING in the most UNNATURAL way possible.

    Such morality is based on some sort of selfish convenience, we’ll be vegans because it’s healthy and morally uprighteous but when it comes to having to deal with the consequences of sex – oh well we’d like to reassure ourselves that it would still be okay to abort, just so we don’t have to confront a serious conflict or morality within ourselves. The problem really is that people have lost all regard for the sacredness of sex – people are too ready to go and screw anyone. If you’re having sex – be prepared to get pregnant. If you don’t want to share a baby with this person – then really the question why are you having sex with them. Having sex purely for pleasure with no real commitment to the other and consequences of sex is where the problem lies, this pursuit for self centred fun is immoral – and yes that’s why unwanted kids are sadly born, but that does not mean that they do not have the right to life. To really understand your views on abortion you need to understand views on sex. If you can give so much consideration to what you eat – well you just need to give a little more consideration to sex.

    And then there are women who have had abortions and repented them their entire lives – unsurprisingly as it goes against a mother’s natural instinct. And then imagine if a woman aborts a perfectly healthy foetus, thinking one day she’ll have a child with the right partner – and the opportunity never arises. What a tragedy! We should be supporting women to have children – this is their natural right, and whilst I do believe a child needs both parents, a mother’s love for her child and his for her is plenty.

    And about most abortions being carried out when the foetus can’t feel pain – well we don’t know that, and abortions up to 24 weeks in the UK is legal. And at 23 weeks more and more babies who are born prematurely are surviving, so many of these aborted babies could live. Just because it’s in a woman’s belly does not mean it’s not life. If abortion wasn’t so easy then people would probably be forced to taking contraception and sex more seriously. All scriptures agree that it’s morally wrong. I can’t believe human beings can justify murder for their convenience. See a ten week scan and then consider if you can abort. Even younger foetuses have been shown to wriggle and move away from the tools barbarically used to remove them. A foetus IS LIFE – human intersection that is required to kill this life AFFIRMS THAT THIS IS LIFE – otherwise you would not need to intervene to kill it. It’s murder full stop. And of the most barbaric sort – as it is of an innocent baby simply pursuing it’s desire to live.

    See what abortion looks like – seeing tiny limbs and hands that have taken full shape – and then say it’s not bloody murder. The hypocrisy just makes me sick. It’s sad that our values are so low – we think something like this is right, and that taking a woman’s child from her is seen as giving her choice. The fact that abortion is so easily available means men can have sex as easily as they want, I don’t think it’s just about giving a woman choice, and murder is not an ethical choice.

    http://www.dnatube.com/video/9141/Surgical-Abortion-done-to-remove-an-embryo-from-uterus

  39. I’m not a vegan. As I was watching a nature show about animals tonight I had this thought, how many vegetarians were pro abortion, then I thought how about vegans? What do they think about it? How can they be so against killing animals but not humans?

  40. I was a vegetarian and then a vegan for 15 years, but gave it up because I became tired of being associated with the vast majority of vegans I kept meeting who were pro-legalized abortion AND who saw nothing wrong in taking pharmaceutical drugs, even though they often contain animal body parts (vaccines) and are tested on animals in a cruel manner. When vegans come out just as strongly against using meds tested on animals, then I will have respect for their views. Until then, they are hypocrites.

  41. I am a veggie and I am ethically/morally/spiritualy against most abortions but maybe the work for decreasing abortions that is most important right now is more of ethical nature than legislative nature. To prevent abortions there are 3 important fronts to work on that are : a) prevent pregnancies b) help to open alternatives to abortion when pregnancy is already a fact and c) affect attitudes and values ammong both men and woman. Sometimes it is the man who more or less pushes the woman to abortion (not so seldom I think). No matter the legislation it is possible to decrease the numer of abortions much I think. I have a zero-vision , but of course in medical emergency situations I do not oppose abortion if there is a choice between 2 lifes. To me life is sacred and I am a believer in Christ, but there are today also atheist and agnostics against abortions.

  42. have heard a lot of justification – have not heard a lot of the word compassion. sad

    • If you take an ethical position on killing animals and use that as a basis for not eating flesh, but at the same time are pro abortion believing the fetus is not a conscious being and therefore abortion is not killing/murder, it sort of follows that it is acceptable to eat an aborted animal. You can get your protein without a conscience. Perhaps this is a future vegan industry, conscience free meat?

      • Dominique on said:

        But where would you propose obtaining the aborted animals from? The reason abortion for humans is ethical is because we are able to choose to have this procedure. If a human was forced by another party to have an abortion it would no longer be an ethical abortion. Can you imagine a method of obtaining aborted fetuses from non-human mammals that wouldn’t be exploitative and just as harmful to them as other forms of exploitation, like dairy and egg production?
        I think we’ve got all the protein we need from plant sources, no need to search for more from non-humans. Other than in vitro meat, if that can be made affordable would be great to direct to all the stubborn humans who just *can’t* give up meat.

  43. I had an unplanned pregnancy when I was vegan. It was a difficult time; my parents were upset and my boyfriend was insisting on a termination for so many reasons, including my schooling, financial circumstances, and that the child would be miserable, and it was a kindness to abort. But, if I couldn’t eat a calf or a chicken or even an egg, how could I kill the perfectly-formed little human I saw on the 12-week ultrasound, for my own convenience? I could have found many, many, many great reasons why I couldn’t have a child, but I could see that they all ultimately came down to my own convenience. In the end I decided to have the baby and give it up for adoption, because there are so many people who can’t have kids and want them. But, as the baby grew, things started to fall into place. I’m rather anti-religious, but oddly, my Catholic acquaintainces were super-helpful and offered to take me in, gave me tons of emotional support too. Offering me a place to stay, food, etc, was the most important: it gave me a ‘worst case scenario fall-back plan’ that made me more confident in dealing with worry and anxiety from others. In the end I kept the baby girl, everyone else just sorta fell into line once I knew what I was doing, and 17-month old Ivy Rose now has her dad and grandparents wrapped around her finger. I thank my vegan diet (and Catholic friends) for that :-)

  44. I am vegan and pro-life because I believe that life begins at implantation. The universe puts babies in the wombs of their mothers because it is the safest place in the world for them. I am also anti-war and anti-death-penalty.

  45. vegan4christ on said:

    I’m Christian, vegan and I do not support unnecessary harm, exploitation or killing of any human or animal–whether born or preborn.

  46. Choice is to choose to have unprotected sex or not.
    Consequence is to support life or not.

    • Hmmm, what about the tens of thousands of girls and women who can’t chose who they can have sex with, when, and how? Just something to think about.

      • An unwanted baby is an unwanted baby irrespective of it’s genesis. If a foetus has rights then the foetus result of rape has as much right to life as the one accidentally conceived on a one night stand, or indeed conceived by any woman at any time.

        The question is an ethical one about foetus rights.

        There is a saying, ‘Don’t let perfect get in the way of better’. We may not like abortion but making it illegal will never work. Protected sex is not a choice for many women.

        We can argue to no end or we can improve contraceptive methods and education making both universally available and free like vaccines.

        It is in all our interests* to limit population growth as ethically and responsibility as we can.

        Killing a foetus is terrible but cannot be stopped. We can only do what we can and that is to stop the pregnancy in the first place.

        *Accept this is another bigger discussion for another time.

  47. Someone on said:

    Vegan, atheist, pro-life.

  48. I am 100% pro-choice and anti “pro-life”. I am a pro-feminist. An embryo is not sentient. Late abortions are slightly more problematic as the foetus becomes sentient but I am still pro-choice because the interests of the mother/family and of the unwanted child to not be born far outweigh the interests of the embryo.

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