The following was written by a young friend of mine, Christopher Plumberg. He is a family man and a Postdoctoral Scholar at a major university. I cannot say this better than he has. Enjoy.
Privilege is real.
I hear a lot about male privilege. I hear a lot about heterosexual privilege. I hear a lot about white privilege. And I readily confess that I, sometimes unconsciously, enjoy many of the rights, benefits, and privileges concomitant with being a white, heterosexual male in our society, while many others – women, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community, to name a few examples- have been wrongly deprived of those very same rights, benefits, and privileges. I get it: I enjoy real privilege, and it’s not okay.
Can I say that again? I really have it: honest-to-goodness privilege that I don’t deserve, that a truly just society would not afford to me without affording it to everyone else too. It’s not right that I have privilege which others do not. It’s awful, and it’s wrong. I get it.
But here’s an even greater privilege that I enjoy: I am alive.
I call it “life privilege.”
And, tragically, it’s not a privilege that our whole community has access to. See, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, you enjoy one privilege that many other people have not had: being born. Whether or not you believe a woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy at her own discretion, you can necessarily only see the issue from one perspective: the perspective of a person who is already alive. There is, by definition, no other perspective that you can see it from.
And just like white privilege or heterosexual privilege or male privilege, the person who enjoys “life privilege” is often blind to the privilege itself. In fact, “life privilege” is much greater than other forms of privilege, because it is a necessary precondition for enjoying any other kind of privilege. It is the difference between having only some rights and having no rights at all. You cannot enjoy the right to vote or the right to worship or the right to marry if you have not first been given the right to breathe.
Abortion does not merely take away a person’s right to express themselves or to be paid a fair wage; it takes away his or her right to live. And those who advocate for a mother’s right to choose are necessarily advocating for it from an intrinsically privileged position, by having mothers who have already chosen in their favor. Every pro-choice advocate already enjoys the privilege of life.
See, the real privilege of life is the privilege of having at least one person who thought you would be more than a mere inconvenience. Someone who thought you were worth having around. Someone who loved you enough to keep you, despite the potential threat you posed to her career. To be pro-choice, when you have enjoyed so much privilege as to be breathing at this very moment, is like being a white, heterosexual male who uses his privilege to oppress those less privileged than himself. Whether or not it is with the best of intentions, the oppression is no less devastating in one case than the other.
Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Today, we remember the nearly 59,000,000 human beings who never enjoyed the privilege of life outside the womb. You and I enjoy the incredible privilege of being alive. Who are we to deny that same privilege to anyone else?