‘Pro-life’ should mean regulating guns, not women’s bodies

On Tuesday, at 11.30am local time, an 18-year-old opened fire and shot dead 19 primary school children and two adults, both teachers. The shooter was killed, apparently shot by the police after fleeing the scene. Perhaps, we’re all so numb to the devastation of gun violence in the US that this heartbreaking account could be referring to any of the 27 school shootings in 2022 – a mere five months into the year. However, the latest mass shooting was at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the teenage killer, Salvador Ramos, is another person to add to the long list of shooters – or, in my opinion, domestic terrorists – who has destroyed a community and countless families in America, the land of the free. 

What kind of country enables a teenager to go on a killing spree with assault weapons and rifles? How many slaughtered children and families will it take to before effective gun control legislation is introduced in the US? 

It’s utterly incomprehensible – yet unfortunately, true – that the same people who are “pro-life” and promote policies to control women’s reproductive rights are often the same people who are anti-gun control. Isn’t protecting innocent lives and prohibiting people from causing murderous devastation “pro-life”? How are all the “pro-life” policy makers – who are forcing women back into back-alley abortions, risking their lives and mental health – unable to see the hypocrisy in allowing children to be gunned down? It makes no sense to me.

Perhaps that’s the point: it doesn’t make sense because it’s about power, control and dominance. Can you imagine the same legislation around reproductive rights being applied to cisgender men? Of course not, we’re in The Handmaid’s Tale territory.

The same archaic adages about how “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” are sure to make an appearance. And yet, in countries where there are stricter gun control laws, there are far less school shootings. Similarly, in countries where abortion is fully legalised and available, women are less likely to die from unsafe, unregulated abortion procedures.

Instead of protecting innocent children and people against this level of violence with stricter gun control laws, young children are taught drills, how to hide, how to jump out of windows and not make a sound. Rather than taking responsibility, politicians who vote against gun control are contributing to a culture where children are responsible for saving their own lives. The parallels with restrive abortion legislation is clear: if abortions are criminalised, the harsh realities and necessities of having an illegal abortion will fall firmly on women’s shoulders. 

The language used around describing these shooters is also dripping hypocrisy and micro aggressions. Ramos is already being described as a bullied loner who loved violent computer games. He should be described as a teenage domestic terrorist who was failed by a system which allows teens to buy assault weapons on their 18th birthday.

I’m sick of people being shocked. It’s not shocking that the system is broken and we need concrete policy change and action.  Can we have a frank discussion about the realities and limitations of the pro-life movement? Can we finally admit guns are incompatible with being pro-life? 

It’s nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with power and control, in the same way supposedly pro-life, anti-abortion activism is a creeping extension of power onto women’s bodies. 

According to the BBC, President Biden has said: “Why do we keep letting this happen…Why are we willing to live with this carnage…..As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”

I honestly don’t know what it will take. I’m sick of this slaughter, it’s disgusting. Those parents on the school run seeing this happen to their babies. Enough is enough.