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Choices can be a real bitch

Andrew Sullivan links to a weepy video about female Scientologists who say they were pressured by the church to have abortions.  One of them tearfully recounts how she “didn’t have a choice” about whether to have an abortion, because “I would have been separated from my husband, I would have been on manual labor, I would have had serious punishments levied…”

Which is to say, she did have a choice.  She just didn’t like the consequences.

I’m no fan of Scientology; I think they’re a creepy, cultish group.  But let’s not confuse a difficult choice with not having a choice.  This woman had a choice.  She could have left the Sea Org.  She could have left Scientology.  If that had meant that her husband would have chosen to leave her rather than leave Scientology, that would have been his choice.  She could have, as she puts it, chosen to “be on manual labor” which seems to have meant doing dishes or digging ditches.  Awww.  Poor baby.  Choices are sometimes a real bitch.

We tend to fetishize “choice” so much that we’ve forgotten what it is.  This woman is confusing choice with getting everything she wants.  The two are not the same.

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