An American conservative commentator, Tomi Lahren, has been fired from her job on a conservative news network TheBlaze, after making pro-choice comments during an interview on The View. Lahren, known for her constitutional conservative views, explained that it would be hypocritical of her to say that she’s in favour of limited government interference, but at the same time argue that the government should decide what women do with their bodies.
Lahren stated “I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body as well”. The comments Lahren made about abortion rights prompted her boss, Glenn Beck, to permanently ban Lahren from TheBlaze, with many viewers outraged at Lahren’s pro-choice stance.
While Lahren cannot, and should not, be celebrated as a women’s rights hero, her comments have raised an interesting contradiction in US politics. Pro-choice views clearly exist across the political spectrum, not just on the liberal left. As uncomfortable as it is to find allies with people you fundamentally disagree with, Lahren is exposing the deep-rooted hypocrisy in terms of what it means to be a libertarian. Lahren is right that libertarians cannot on the one hand say the government should have limited involvement in things like gun control, yet at the same time dictate what women can do with their bodies.
In the UK, control over a women’s body is a political issue, but not one that is easily divided down party lines. There are many who recognise the role women have in the workplace, to capitalism and who realise that women need to control their fertility in order to maintain a productive position in the economy. Abortion Rights works with all parties and organisations to ensure that a woman’s right to choose is protected by law; in the health services that provide abortions; in schools where sex and relationship education is taught and in our wider culture to campaign to reduce the stigma and lack of access that allow proper choices to be made.
Lahren is not always a friend of women’s rights, and she may have different reasons to you or I for being pro-choice, but one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime – this figure is the same in England and Wales and the USA. Abortion is a common medical procedure and most people agree with a women’s right to choose. We should stop treating this as a philosophical debate about ethics and recognise the central role it plays in women’s ability to control their bodies and therefore their lives. Maybe then we won’t be so surprised that conservative women have pro-choice views.
We will be watching with interest to see where this conversation takes us.
Kerry Abel, Abortion Rights Chair