Tag Archives: reproductive rights

Keep asking hard questions

As I wrote about earlier, Tuesday night was a huge night for the Democratic party and liberals.  Not only did Obama get reelected, but there was a huge repudiation against many GOPers who had spoken out about their pro-life positions in ways that were shocking (but consistent) with their extreme ideology.

Rachel had an epic takedown of some these politicians in her show on Wednesday night:

Here’s where the Republicans ran into trouble — they had to justify what their supposedly “pro-life” views looked like when applied to actual people. It didn’t go over so well. From Rachel:

Where they were in power between the 2010 elections and the 2012 elections, Republicans governed very, very, very aggressively on this issue [of restricting access to reproductive choices]. They governed so aggressively on this issue, it was unprecedented.

What happened then, though, which maybe the Republican were not counting on was that Democrats decided they were going to make the Republicans explain themselves. Democrats decided they were going to hold Republicans to account for what they had been doing in terms of their governance and their philosophy on this issue, and what they planned to
keep doing if Americans elected them again.

And when Republicans started having to answer specific appointed questions about their issue on abortion, some creepy stuff happened this year. We learned a great deal, very specific, very creepy detail of what Republicans really do believe about this issue they’ve been so energized about.

Yes, who would have guessed that the “gotcha” moments for these Republicans would simply be to have them explain themselves on this issue?

In all honesty, though, I’m not surprised. Asking hard questions is now my preferred way of talking to people about reproductive choice, as I’m no longer that concerned about persuading people to my side of the issue. What I want to hear is how pro-lifers justify their ideology being applied to someone else. It’s all fine and good to say that “life begins at conception!” — but what does that LOOK like in our society? What are the implications of that statement in terms of the law?

The other line of approach I’m taking when it comes to discussing abortion is to say this: There is no such thing as no abortions. There is only such a thing as no safe abortions. Think about that. Does the “life” portion of being pro-life apply to the lives of women who die from unsafe procedures? If the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement is to reduce the amount of abortions that are taking place every day, why isn’t there more support for women to have access to contraceptives?

The best article/essay I’ve read on that question is this one: How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement. So much of this essay has resonated with me, because I, too, once counted myself in the “pro-life” ranks.  PLEASE take the time to read this article, no matter where you fall on the issue — it’s going to be one that I read over and over again.

From her conclusion:

The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.

But I am very sure that there are other dupes out there. If you’re sitting there reading this thinking “but I really am in it to save unborn babies,” I am sure you’re not alone. After all, I was one of you.

If you are one who has been a part of the pro-life movement because you really do believe in “saving unborn babies,” it’s time to cut your ties with the movement. You may be an honest and kind-hearted person, but you’ve been had. You’ve been taken in. It’s time to let go.

This is an important enough issue that these difficult conversations need to keep happening — on my part, I’ll keep asking the hard questions.

practically pro-life

One of the most effective ways to describe why I support a woman’s reproductive choice is to show what being “pro-life” looks like, when its principles are practically applied.

It’s one thing to cite the emotionally-evocative platitude of “life begins at conception” — it’s another to see what life looks like when such a talking point is put into law.

Case in point: Georgia Representative wants to investigate all miscarriages

Georgia state Rep. Bobby Franklin want abortion classified as murder, according to his latest bill, the police will have to investigate all miscarriages to ensure that they were “spontaneous.” Here’s the complete bill.

Via Daily Kos: Franklin wants to create a Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages, and requires that any time a miscarriage occurs, whether in a hospital or without medical assistance, it must be reported and a fetal death certificate issued. If the cause of death is unknown, it must be investigated. If the woman can’t tell how it happened, than those Uterus Police can ask family members and friends how it happened. Hospitals are required to keep records of anyone who has a spontaneous abortion and report it.

One step closer to becoming a Pro-Life Nation — who’s on board?

Home-grown religiously-inspired terrorists (and their enablers)

Oh how easy it is for those of us in North America to think that terrorism is only bred in countries overseas.  Tonight I watched The Assassination of Dr. Tiller, and I’m just sick about what happened to this heroic and compassionate doctor.

No matter which side of the debate you fall under, you should watch and bear witness to Dr. Tiller’s story (not to mention the stories of the women he sacrificed so much for).

Here’s a bit from the conclusion of the documentary:

For those who worked for Dr. Tiller, a raw anger remains — though not for the man who pulled the trigger.  For them, much of their rage is focused on the anti-abortion forces in Wichita who targeted Dr. Tiller for so many years.

“The ones who don’t carry guns definitely incite the ones who do have guns.” [Shelly Sella, MD]

“They gather all these people up, they fill them with hate, and then they stand back when the least imbalanced among them does something.  They stand back and say they didn’t have anything to do with it.” [Joan Armentrout, Clinic Administrator]

“[They say:] ‘We never advocated violence.’  No?  You didn’t? You advocated everything else.  You put [Dr. Tiller] up to hatred, contempt, and ridicule.  And he gets killed, and you step back from it now and say, “Well, that really wasn’t our intent.”  Well, what the hell was your intent?!  [Nola Foulston, District Attorney of Sedgwick County, Kansas]

When it comes to discussing the abortion issue with people who disagree with me, I try to get them to see what their position looks like when it’s practically applied.

Now I’ll also get them to see what their stance looks like when their ideology is drawn out to its extremes — this documentary provides a very good picture of how anti-life that view really is.

Pro-life

I can’t say I’m looking forward to watching this documentary next week, but I think Dr. Tiller’s story is one that is worth bearing witness.

You should watch, too.

What she said:

A charming elderly gentleman, whom my parents had long known, proceeded to the lectern to lead us in prayer. I wish I’d paid more attention, for I cannot now remember how he led up to the fateful words asking God to help us in the fight against “the rise of secularism and the aggressive atheists”.

[...]I took my chance to ask him what he meant. And he meant it as a fight all right. But the really scary thing was what he thought we wicked secularists were up to – we apparently want to prevent him worshipping, destroy his faith and banish Christianity from the face of the earth. I explained that I don’t want to stop him worshipping or destroy his faith.

As a secularist, I am quite happy if people carry on with their religious practices as long as these do not give them special privileges in the affairs of state. As a humanist, I think we should rely on ourselves, not on an invented god. As an atheist, I would be delighted if people stopped believing in their various gods, and stopped believing their religion was right and everyone else’s wrong. But I do not want to fight them over it unless they try to impose it upon the rest of us.

Fighting talk in church
Sue Blackmore

The girl effect, revisited

How a 12-year-old girl could be the solution the world needs right now:

Girls Count.

What she said:

Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the extremist anti-abortion position of never allowing any abortions, even in the case of rape and incest:

Let‘s be completely clear about the facts here.  There is no place in the world and no time in history where restricting women‘s reproductive rights makes a people or a nation more free or more equal.  These extreme positions on abortion are without any question a war on American girls and women.

[...]I‘m from a people who really did experience the need to hold on to a God who would see them through difficult times, including generations of black women who in slavery were forced to bear the children of their rapists.  And I do believe, because I‘m a person of faith, in a interceding God that can help people through difficult circumstances.  But I‘m also an American who believes that the point of government isn‘t to make life so hard for half of our citizens that the only force there to help them is God.  We, as a government and as a people, deserve and should do better.