Posts Tagged ‘Pro-life’

Happy 40th Roe v Wade

January 23, 2013

Some interesting bits from around the web…

Kate Manning on the history of abortion and what happens when desperate women are forced to take matters into their own hands.

PPFA has launched a new effort to move away from labels  and emphasize that every woman’s circumstance differs: Not in her shoes.

Pro-life has moved away from working to reverse Roe v. Wade, because restrictions at the state-level have been much more effective.

135 provisions to restrict access to abortion were enacted since 2011.

Katie J. M. Baker at Jezebel covers the stories of abortion providers who risk their lives every day.

5 things you don’t know about abortion – Interesting piece by Irin Carmon at Salon.

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Pro-Lifer Supports Planned Parenthood – Finally Somebody Gets It!

February 10, 2012

John Saveland is pro-life and he supports Planned Parenthood. Here’s why. A must-read for those on any side of this issue. He describes the efforts of those who want to, for instance, defund after Planned Parenthood, as both short-sighted and emotionally driven. Instead, he advocates focusing on things that might actually reduce the number of abortions and  preserve women’s health.

An excerpt:

I want the abortion rate in this country – and every country – to plummet. That’s a given.

But it’s not going to happen by overturning Roe vs. Wade, or cutting funding for healthcare to low-income women and families. It’s going to happen by expanding healthcare access, contraceptive use and sex education.

This is speaking from overwhelming international and historical evidence. [Em. mine]

Eureka! Pro-life and pro-choice advocates have a similar goal – fewer abortions! Who knew? Well, no one who buys into the rhetoric that women have cavalier abortions due to rampant (tsk tsk!), irresponsible sex. Consider Louisiana Congressman John Flemming thought The Onion’s “Abortionplex” satire (of people just like him, turns out) was real news and indignantly tweeted about it? Sheesh.

Anyone who thinks that pro-choicers get pedicures and lattes when they pop into the mall for their umpteenth abortions is either not paying attention, or has a vested interest in not “knowing”.

The Politics of Cancer: Komen Pulls Grants to Planned Parenthood

January 31, 2012

An AP story today announced that Susan G. Komen will no longer provide what has historically been upwards of half a million dollars in annual grant money to Planned Parenthood for the use of breast cancer screenings and other breast-related health issues.  Komen says that the decision was based on Planned Parenthood’s recent investigation by Congress – which was spear-headed by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., in what is largely seen as a politically-motivated move. The investigation calls for twelve years of documents in exhaustive detail, ostensibly to dig up billing issues and cases where federal money was, in fact, used to fund abortions.

Sen. Henry Waxman, D-CA and Rep. Dianna DeGette, D-CO, of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations wrote a pointed letter to Stearns in which they state:

We question the basis for the investigation and question whether Planned Parenthood is being singled out as part of Republican vendetta against an organization that provides family planning and other medical care to low-income women and men.

[…]

We are aware of no predicate that would justify this sweeping and invasive request of Planned Parenthood. The HHS Inspector General and state Medicaid programs regularly audit Planned Parenthood and report publicly on their findings. These audits have not identified any pattern of misuse of federal funds, illegal activity, or other abuse that would justify a broad and invasive congressional investigation.

Planned Parenthood believes Komen’s decision was simply a cave to pressure from pro-life groups who reveal their belief – in yet another un-surprising instance – that life in the womb trumps all other life/death/health issues. Period.

Patrick Hurd, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia, whose wife is currently battling breast cancer, commented:

“It sounds almost trite, going through this with Betsi, but cancer doesn’t care if you’re pro-choice, anti-choice, progressive, conservative. Victims of cancer could care less about people’s politics.”

Over the past five years, Planned Parenthood has performed nearly 170,000 breast exams that were funded by Komen grants. How many low-income women will be turned away in the next five?

I haven’t yet found a site that organizes petitions, but I’ll post when I do. The Planned Parenthood Action Center might be a good place to start (at the time of this posting both PPFA and Komen sites have no information.)

In the meantime, you can always donate.

Feminist or “Fetalist”? Feminism in Light of the ’08 Campaign

September 18, 2008

Feminism has become the new buzzword this presidential election cycle. First Hillary fought hard to shatter that ultimate glass ceiling, then Sarah Palin emerged as a “new face of feminism“, despite holding views that are antithetical to those of most self-described feminists.

Hillary was criticized by Palin herself for pointing out gender-bias during the primaries, yet feminists are being regarded as hypocritical for not supporting the potentially first female Vice President of the United States.

Which got me wondering – what is a feminist?

Palin’s beliefs on sex education, birth control, abortion, and GLBT issues make her decidedly un-woman friendly to the majority of feminists. Yet Palin considers herself extremely woman-friendly and thinks the other side has everything all wrong.

What’s going on? Can there be a Christian conservative feminist?

I struggled with this one. Does believing abortion is murder and that the government isn’t responsible for enforcing gender equality mean that you are against the empowerment and equality of women?

Palin is a member of Feminists for Life. It’s a group that believes “women deserve better than abortion” and strives to “systematically eliminate the circumstances that drive women to abortion.” The latter sounds pretty good. Except they don’t.

The group lobbies for a program of federal grants for pregnant or new parents (or those preparing to adopt) who are students so they don’t have to sacrifice their education in order to support a child. They also oppose family caps for women on welfare. However it seems that, in FFL’s world, financial burden is the only circumstance that provokes women to choose abortion. The site speaks nothing of sex ed or contraception, except when it condemns them. In an article on rape and incest, it mentions birth control:

“birth control counseling and abortion often indirectly contribute to the victim’s sense of shame, guilt, and blame for what is happening, since she is told to “take control” and “be responsible” for her “sexual activity,” implying that this situation is indeed within her power to control.”

Who tells a victim of incest or rape that they should have used birth control? Or implies that she “take control” next time by carrying rubbers around just in case? That’s so offensive, it’s sickening.

A 2005 piece by Kathy Politt in The Nation investigates FFL and interviews its president, Serrin Foster. Foster advocates a ban on abortion in all circumstances, including rape, incest, deformity, or when the life or health of the mother is at stake. She makes the thoroughly debunked assertion that an abortion ban would stop abortion altogether and make women safer overall, she ensures her members are “medically informed” by erroneously telling them that abortion causes breast cancer, feels the contraceptive pill is an ” abortifacient” and birth control in general “doesn’t work” for teenagers or swing-shift nurses who lose track of their body clock.

Feminsts for Life isn’t actually about improving the lives of women, nor even addressing the circumstances that lead to abortion. It sounds great to say women need more help juggling babies and education and careers, but in what practical way does FFL represent feminism?

Politt concludes her piece with the answer:

Exposing the constraints on women’s choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For FFL there’s only one right decision: Have that baby. And since women’s moral judgment cannot be trusted, abortion must be outlawed, whatever the consequences for women’s lives and health–for rape victims and 12-year-olds and 50-year-olds, women carrying Tay-Sachs fetuses and women at risk of heart attack or stroke, women who have all the children they can handle and women who don’t want children at all. FFL argues that abortion harms women–that’s why it clings to the outdated cancer claims. But it would oppose abortion just as strongly if it prevented breast cancer, filled every woman’s heart with joy, lowered the national deficit and found Jimmy Hoffa. That’s because they aren’t really feminists–a feminist could not force another woman to bear a child, any more than she could turn a pregnant teenager out into a snowstorm. They are fetalists.

Feminist historian Estelle Freedman told NPR that conservative women (have been known to) appropriate the term for political gain. If you say you’re a feminist, but the nice, family-oriented kind, people hear what they want to hear. Without examining too closely, women believe you’re one their side.

Yet even this can backfire. To the right even of Palin the tag “feminist” is raising some disapproving eyebrows. Olivia St. John of World Net Daily writes that Palin’s decision to work outside the home is a direct contributor to her teenage daughter’s pregnancy. She is accused of gauchely “(stealing) the spotlight” as her husband and children look on from the shadows and further reprobated as “legitimizing the societal phenomenon of the career-centric absentee mother.” I guess you can’t please everyone.

Palin is an accomplished, intelligent, successful woman. She manages a career and a family in a way that appears enviable. She could even become the very first female Vice President of the United States. But Sarah Palin will not make the country better for women. No matter what she says, or what FFL wants you to believe, Sarah Palin is not a feminist.

“Let Me Live Free While You Live Like I Tell You” – The Misplaced Morals of the Christian “Libertarian”

November 9, 2007

Statue_of_liberty_800_2Thanks to Suricou Raven at Moronality, I came across Vox Day’s blog, Vox Popoli, by way of his pro-Coulter post “Ann Is Crystal Clear”, which contends that

 

…women’s suffrage is completely incompatible with human liberty…

Vox backs this with the vague reasoning that “emotion” always leads to fear, which always leads to heightened preoccupation with homeland security. At least I think that’s what he means from the single sentence he devotes to the point:

“One cannot defend freedom on the basis of emotion, as fear always runs to promises of security, however nebulous.”

He slams-home his point of women-wreck-democracy-with-their-emotional-voting with the astute realization that

“…no bald politician has been elected in either the United States or the UK with the exception of Eisenhower and Churchill.”

I guess he means elected since women’s suffrage. I’m also guessing that baldness is preferable because less hair means more brains (which would actually give most women an advantage) – or it could be because the youngish Vox is, in fact, ah-hem...balding? – (and oh the irony that Vox’s email is “Vday“)
But this is so ridiculous, it hardly merits mention. What I want to speak about is this emerging trend, apparently known as Christian Libertarianism. Vox’s site has the brash sub-head of “Live Free or Die!” Denying half the population the right to vote is certainly on the right track.

True Libertarianism holds the noble principals of individual freedom and self responsibility. It advocates individuals making and accepting responsibility for their own social and economic decisions.In other words, you’re free to life your life the way you want as long as doing so doesn’t impinge on the rights of others to do the same…even when they do things you personally find depraved, dishonorable, or just plain dumb. And here’s the problem. I’m not saying you can’t be a Christian and a Libertarian, of course you can. But the moment you attempt to force others to live by the principals outlined by your religion, you are a Libertarian no longer.

In Steven Yate’s lengthy essay “How I Became A Christian Libertarian” he chronicles his intellectual journey and attempts to rationally synthesize the two disciplines.

Although Yate’s admits that “Libertarianism is rooted in a philosophy of natural rights that inhere in individuals, not groups,” and goes on to say the tenets of Christianity are not the opinions of a group but rather… well, simple truth. So it’s okay.

As far as I can tell, most Christian Libertarians explain their stance by first quoting scripture illustrating that god approves of a hands-off government and then point to a handful of bible stories that may be viewed as representing individual freedom and culpability. Right about now doubts will be cast as to whether non-Christian individuals can possibly handle this type of freedom without an overriding moral compass to keep our “appetites” in check. Instead of the government, which in the least usually forms laws based on consensus and is morphable over time, we instead have the vastly superior authority of Christ dictating allowable and prohibited behaviors. Great.

So while Christian Libertarians believe in liberty and that we all should be free to make our own choices, women should be denied reproductive rights, sex education is for the (preferably married) 21+ crowd only, and the deviancy of homosexuality should not be recognized, condoned or rewarded by the state. The fact that homeowners and straight married couples are rewarded by the government, while not exactly libertarian, is not so much of an issue.

To be fair, I did find one somewhat moderate stance. Michael Bindner, author of the site “The Christian Libertarian Party Manifesto” makes the astonishing realization that

“As Libertarians, criminalizing abortion is forever off the table.”Weigheddown

Hey, does this guy actually understand and embrace the principals of liberty? Well, no but he at least sees the hypocrisy so many others of his kind piously discount. Bindner basically says that abortion is morally wrong and we must work to stop it, but instead of outlawing the practice he wants to incentivize child-bearing and give special sliding-scale tax breaks based on the number of children in one’s family. Unfortunately, this too goes against the foundation of Libertarianism by putting the government in the role of encouraging a large-family lifestyle and once again we have the government enacting procedures that effect all of its citizens based on the views of a particular group.

He also has the idea that businesses should be forced to advance and reward women who take a year off to have a baby in the same way they would for someone who worked that year. How this could ever be measured or implemented is unclear, and if it’s good or not is not the point. This move makes him more Democrat or Socialist than anything else. The point is – it’s not Libertarian!

Like I said, this is the”moderate” CL view on non-Christian-friendly social issues.

The more common stance? Vox himself wrote an article for the Christian Conservative World Daily News in 2003, in which he explains

“The basic principle of Libertarianism is not anarchic. There are real limits. My free will ends where yours begins. Neither the community nor I have any claim whatsoever on your property or your life, and a libertarian legal system would be structured around that principle.”

So far so good. And then…

“Do not be misled by the false “pro-choice” rhetoric of the infanticidal abortionettes; when one individual decides the fate of another, it is nothing more than the ancient law of tooth and claw. Still, their very terminology is the homage vice pays to virtue.”

All the more disturbing because I basically agree with the first two-thirds of his article, which talks accurately about Libertarianism. And then he wallops you with this craziness at the end.

For some real self-contradiction and clumsy scramble of logic, check out Bindner’s section on gay rights, where he tries to find cohesion with “everyone should have personal liberty” and “but gays are abhorrent and really shouldn’t do those things.”

Why did they even come into the Libertarian camp at all?

This is my point. “Yes, freedom. Freedom, except…” We all have our personal exceptions, and they are all different. If you allow any one person’s, or group of people’s exception to form a law restricting others, you are not for true freedom and liberty.

Okay, assault, theft, murder, fraud, personal violation, all these are punishable because they intrude upon the liberty of another. However, whether I wear a seatbelt in my car, or someone says fuck on the radio, or two women marry and raise children, or whether my doctor and I (or my clergy and I, or my boyfriend and I, or just me alone) decide that I don’t want to continue my pregnancy… The Libertarian stance firmly holds that none of it should be in the hands of a government that can take your money and/or lock you up not living the way it decrees.

Allowing Jesus to dictate the “exceptions” to liberty does not make the exceptions inherently okay. Your god is not my god so keep him out of my life!

So, Christian Libertarians, find a new term, you’re corrupting what was once a perfectly legitimate political stance and sullying it with god. Damn it.

One more guy – I can’t resist…

Okay, this guy is a nut-job, although reasonable enough to admit he doesn’t speak for every Christian or every Christian Libertarian.

The self-delusion goes so far that The Fountain of Truth founder Doug Newman will talk all about liberty and individual freedom, and then detail all the ways that Bush has been too lenient on abortion and homosexuals. In fact, he seems to think Libertarianism means not wanting to pay your taxes and the “the government screws everything up.” Inexplicably, though wanting to outlaw abortion and gay marriage, he seems to think the Branch Davidians should have been left alone

In the midst of a nauseating number of pages of essays, quotes, and personal rants, I found this lovely poem called “The Old Paths” (anon), with stanzas such as:

I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.

Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married BEFORE having
children!

Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children
would behave..

Women wore the jewelry;
and Men
wore the pants.

Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;

and children looked decent.

Cursing was wicked;
Drinking was evil;
and
divorce was unthinkable

The flag was honored;
America was
beautiful;
and God was welcome!

We read the Bible in public;

Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house
To be
called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth
living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!

Sex was a
personal word.
Homosexual was an unheard of word,
and abortion was
an illegal word.

Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the
Bible;
and churches taught the Bible.

If you believe no one should tell you how to live but others should be made to live the way you do – you’re NOT Libertarian! YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST WHO DOESN’T WANT TO PAY TAXES!

Stop using liberty as your premise, and make up a new damn term for your political leanings.