For whatever reason, whenever I walk by Planned Parenthood there always seems to be a pro-lifer and a random passerby having an impassioned discussion about being pro-life and vegetarian. The pro-lifer will firmly state that it’s not at all relevant, while the passerby will be yelling at the pro-lifer for not caring about animal welfare. While I’m not one for confrontation, and productive dialogue never happens when the two parties are shouting at each other, as a pro-lifer and (gasp!) vegetarian, I’ve always thought that if one could have a calm, well-reasoned discussion then both sides may learn something.
I was pro-life before I was a vegetarian, but I feel as if the more involved I get in both pro-life and vegetarian work, the more I see that the two movements hold similar values. Vegetarians believe that we should not consume animals for food for a variety of ethical, environment, and health reasons, but the primary reason for many vegetarians is the intense suffering and cruelty farm animals experience in the meat production process. One of-quoted statement in the animal rights movement is “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” We know that the unborn are deserving of rights purely because they are human, but how many times is the question asked of us, why should something that cannot think, has no consciousness, and has no voice be deserving of life? If we would afford such protection to animals, why would we not afford it to members of our own species?
I’m not here to convince anyone to be a vegetarian who isn’t, I just hope that both pro-life and pro-choice can consider the links between the animal rights movement and the pro-life movement, so that next time one of these discussions occurs, each side is a little more enlightened!
— Susan of BU Students for Life