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  1. mikeb302000
    mikeb302000 July 31, 2008 at 4:41 am |

    You’re definitely preaching to the choir, as far as I’m concerned. But why don’t you get their side of it? You asked, “but how anyone can be politically opposed to safe, legal abortion and reproductive health services?” It’s because those people believe life begins at conception and it’s sacred, period, end of discussion. I don’t agree with that, but I understand it. In fact their argument is simple. What I don’t get is how they can look at the misery and suffering which results from their premise and not rethink the premise. Maybe some of them have.

  2. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac July 31, 2008 at 5:52 am |

    It’s because those people believe life begins at conception and it’s sacred, period, end of discussion.

    Yes, well, discussion pretty much has to stop there, or else they’re left trying to explain why, if a fertilised egg is a “sacred life” the pregnant woman is somehow neither sacred, alive, nor discussable.

    What I don’t get is how they can look at the misery and suffering which results from their premise and not rethink the premise.

    Because they stop discussion with the fertilised egg. For them, “life is sacred” is a principle that applies exclusively and only to fetuses. The misery and suffering which results from forcing a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will is not discussed – not even referred to. It’s taken for granted. Period. End of discussion.

    That’s their side of it, Mike, and I get it – their side of it is that women are inhuman incubators whose misery and suffering need not be considered.

    Their argument is simple: women are breeding animals. Our argument is just as simple: women are human beings, and pro choice is the only moral option.

  3. Anna
    Anna July 31, 2008 at 7:02 am |

    I love that poem. I get kinda weepy whenever I watch.

    So, how are Barenaked Ladies Pro-Choice?

  4. Kacie
    Kacie July 31, 2008 at 7:31 am |

    HA! All of my favorite bands are on the banned list.

    In other news, all of the “okay bands” are obscure little Christian outfits who sucked too bad to be real bands so they had to take the Christian rock path. I HATE CHRISTIAN ROCK!

  5. RMJ
    RMJ July 31, 2008 at 8:45 am |

    I have a lot of respect for the Feminists for Life, actually. Their rhetoric is generally well-reasoned and unhysterical, and much more respectful of the rights and needs of women than the other organizations you list. Additionally (I could be wrong about this) they do not focus their resources on eliminating safe and legal abortion, but on offering other options for women who are dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. There’s nothing wrong with offering MORE options; women should have a diverse array of options to choose from and should not be forced into an abortion they don’t want.

    I don’t see how Susan B. Anthony’s views on abortion are relevant to either side of the debate, though. It’s not a value that’s translatable. She might have been against abortion – and so? It was really unsafe then, and medicine was not what it is now. Her views on abortion are not a reason to be for or against it, just as it’s not a good idea for modern fourth-wavers like myself to take to heart Gloria Steinem’s views on trans rights.

  6. Christina
    Christina July 31, 2008 at 9:22 am |

    Hey, I knew about Everclear being pro-choice! They wrote the song “Pennsylvania Is…” about the horrendous abortion restrictions passed in my state (including spousal notification before abortion for married pregnant women), most of which were upheld in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. (The spousal notification wasn’t, but practically everything else was.)

    Lyrics include:
    I got a card today from a girl I know
    She used to live alone in Philadelphia
    She had to leave the state for a choice she made
    She says she feels just like a hostage in her home …

    I just got a call from my uncle Mike
    He said he left his wife and he’s not going back
    Said she changed her mind about a desire child
    I asked him if he wants a placemat or a wife

  7. emfole
    emfole July 31, 2008 at 9:41 am |

    Wait- was Margaret Sanger a racist or not? I am confused…Didn’t she push abortions on black womyn or something? anyone have some clarification?

  8. emfole
    emfole July 31, 2008 at 10:11 am |

    thanks so much for the info, KaeLyn. Although, I know my friends who told me that MS was racist, will say that Planned Parenthood is a biased source….

  9. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil July 31, 2008 at 10:21 am |

    Have you read Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood by Kristin Luker? It really helped me to understand the anti-choice perspective. It was written in the 80s, but holds up well.

  10. Rebecca
    Rebecca July 31, 2008 at 10:26 am |

    Even if MS was racist, it doesn’t change the fact that family planning is good for women.

  11. hypatia
    hypatia July 31, 2008 at 10:46 am |

    why Margaret Sanger was NOT a racist.

    Ok she definitely wasn’t trying to remove other races as many anti-Planned Parenthood groups try to claim but she was still racist by today’s standards. Of course she wasn’t pro-choice either. She, like many people, was a product of her environment.

  12. Jes
    Jes July 31, 2008 at 10:48 am |

    It can be helpful to liken anti-choice people to vegans, in terms of why they do what they do and how they go about doing it, and much of the same criticism can be made about both groups. They both do what they do because they believe that there mass murder going on on a gigantic, systematic scale. They both believe that they live in a crazy world where so many people are just completely blind to what is REALLY going on. They both feel desperate to stop what they view was immoral, torture, murder of innocent creatures.

  13. Jes
    Jes July 31, 2008 at 10:51 am |

    It can be helpful to liken anti-choice people to animal rights activists, in terms of why they do what they do and how they go about doing it, and much of the same criticism can be made about both groups. They both do what they do because they believe that there mass murder going on on a gigantic, systematic scale. They both believe that they live in a crazy world where so many people are just completely blind to what is REALLY going on. They both feel desperate to stop what they view was immoral, torture, murder of innocent creatures.

    As for the criticism, both anti-choice people and AR people have been criticized for engaging in criminal activities. Both have been criticized for focusing only on their particular issue and not broadening the scope to look at suffering on a wider scale. But they are both extremists and fundamentalists. Which I am not passing ANY value judgments on at all. I support almost everything the most radical AR people do. I know that 99.9% of them would bristle at even being mentioned in the same breath as anti-choice people, but I find it to be an enlightening exercise regardless in terms of helping me to understand WHY anti-choice people do what they do.

  14. emfole
    emfole July 31, 2008 at 10:53 am |

    thanks so much for the further info, Kaelyn- im at wk and so can only skim right now- i will def pass this info along.

  15. Jack
    Jack July 31, 2008 at 10:54 am |

    @Jes: except, of course, that vegans are not trying to pass laws that criminalize people’s choice to eat meat, or saying that people who eat meat are going to hell. For that and many other reasons, I think the comparison just doesn’t make sense.

  16. Clueless WW
    Clueless WW July 31, 2008 at 11:02 am |

    I vividly remember Catholic all-girls high school one day — in religion class when the topic was abortion, the teacher polled us to ask whether we were “pro-life or not.” At thirteen, I’d never given it much thought, but figured, well I wouldn’t want to kill a baby, so I’m pro-life. There was one girl who answered “pro-choice”. The teacher argued with her for fifteen minutes — why did she want to kill children, blah blah — and the student stood her ground, explaining calmly that just because she believed women had a right to choose didn’t mean that she personally was a baby murderer and so on. (and Sarah, if you’re reading this, your stance that day deeply impressed me and changed my life.) A few years after I graduated, the same school banned the student paper from publishing a poll which showed that about half the students were pro-choice. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t intend to give to the alumni fund :P

    In conversations I’ve had since then, I always got the impression that pro-life positions had been given as much thought as my teenage self gave them — not much. “What if Famous Person’s mother had gotten an abortion, that Famous Good Thing couldn’t have happened” — or, harder to dislike or argue, “I can’t have children myself and it tears me up that anyone could kill a baby.” I can understand being opposed to personally getting an abortion. The leap from there to forbidding anyone in any circumstance from access to abortion isn’t one that I can make.

    (This doesn’t explain strange over-the-top anti-choice rhetoric, of course, but may help explain why it’s found strong traction with otherwise reasonable people.)

  17. Jes
    Jes July 31, 2008 at 11:23 am |

    @ Jack
    There is absolutely an ethical component for AR activists, they believe that people who eat meat are committing a violation of our responsibilities to other living beings. I’ve heard AR activists say they believe meat eaters are going to face some kind of ultimate judgment. I’ve heard words like evil and immoral bandied about.

    And while AR activists are not working to make eating meat a crime, they are working their butts off to encourage legislation that would make the way most of our modern day meat and dairy is produced criminal (an endeavor I fully support) and do engage in guerrilla like tactics to protect animals (see Sea Shepard).

    I would never claim that the two groups are more alike than different. All I said was that there ARE similarities between the intensity of their passion, the reasons they do what they do, and this can be instructive when trying to understand WHY anti-choice people do and say what they do and say.

  18. Faith
    Faith July 31, 2008 at 11:23 am |

    I’m pro-choice but I suppose I understand “pro-life” rhetoric considering 1) that I use to be “pro-life” 2) have family members who still are and 3) am married to a husband who is wavering between “pro-life” and pro-choice. When I was pro-life, I have to be honest and say that I put the “baby’s” life before the woman’s. At that time, I wasn’t really that familiar with feminism and how the anti-choice movement is ultimately about controlling women’s bodies. I would always think “if they don’t want their babies then just give them up for adoption!” What arrogance and naivety. I just didn’t think about women in this issue honestly. Of course, there was also the issue of when life begins. The irony of it is that I’m a Muslim and a commonly accepted belief among Muslims is that life doesn’t actually begin until the 40th day of pregnancy. This belief is often cited in support for stem cell research by Muslim scholars yet abortion, unless for a medical reason, is often condemned the same scholars, no matter what time it occurs.

    I think a lot of “pro-lifers” don’t think about women in their equation, at least when it comes to abortion. Not in an evil, “I hate women” way but more in a neglectful way. When I talk to my husband about abortion, the conversation always comes back to the “baby” or the “life” that will be harmed. He doesn’t hate women and much like Feminist for Life, he is liberal on family policy, domestic violence, etc. He even agrees with me about the hypocrisy of a lot of conservative anti-choice groups. But when it comes to the abortion, he just doesn’t see it as a woman’s issue, it’s a “life” issue. He’s teetering on the fence honestly. I asked if he wants to outlaw abortion and he said he doesn’t know. He really believes that adoption is the best option for all involved. Sorry for the rant.

  19. Cecilieaux
    Cecilieaux July 31, 2008 at 11:28 am |

    Your post is a classic combination of the “straw man” and ad hominem arguments. Instead of reasoning you set up a ridiculous position to oppose, then you spew unreasoning venom at certain groups (with which I do not happen to agree).

    Your might want to examine your own rhetoric:

    “I completely understand why a person could be morally opposed to abortion and why someone might choose to call themselves “pro-life,” but how anyone can be politically opposed to safe, legal abortion and reproductive health services?”

    Answer: They are opposed to legal abortion because they think it is immoral. Now that wasn’t hard, was it?

    Indeed, I seriously question whether you “completely understand” why a person would morally oppose abortion if you can’t draw the simple line between moral opposition and political advocacy.

    It’s rants like this that make the “pro-life” movement look sane.

  20. Farhat
    Farhat July 31, 2008 at 11:51 am |

    It isn’t that difficult to understand. The anti-choice movement is not really anti-abortion nor do they particularly care about reducing the number of abortions. If they were really about reducing the number of abortions than there are a number of European countries with a far lesser abortion rate than the US. They get there by having comprehensive sex education and ready access to contraceptives both of which are opposed by these groups. What they really want to do is to punish women (and to some extent men too) for having sex, regardless of whether it is in or out of marriage. They may make noises about how within marriage it is beautiful and all that, but even there it is largely about the necessity of producing little kiddies not about joy or intimacy.

  21. Suki T
    Suki T July 31, 2008 at 12:51 pm |

    Feminists for Life is a dangerous group. I went to their website. So much of it looks like a good idea. Making things easier and better for women with babies, better child care, education for all women, and more choices. The problem is their choices DO NOT include the choice. They take that one off the table.

    Some of their more questionable rhetoric is their “We Remember” page. This part of the website is all about those women who died while getting legal abortions. I read the stories. I was supposedto understand that abortion doctor’s are hateful bastards who don’t care at all about their patients. That abortions are dangerous and can steal not only the baby away from us, but also the mother. Unfortunatly, they forgot that their targeted audeince is intelligent women, who probably won’t fall for their tactics because:
    1. All the stories are from 1996 or before.
    2. If this is a list of a fraction of the women who died from abortion, then it is pretty good in terms of how many people die from surgical procedures all the time. How many women died from cesaerean sections in that time period?
    3. Most of those doctor’s had a history of mispractice. And if we comitted to making sure every woman had access to SAFE and LEGAL abortions, these kinds of things wouldn’t happen.

    Also i wanted to note that in one of their stories they target California as giving substandard care:

    “Angela is only one of the many women who have received and continue to receive substandard care in California abortion facilities. Twenty-seven-year-old Sharon Hampton died at a Moreno Valley abortion clinic in 1996. A 23-year-old Mexican woman died in 1995 from a late-term abortion in a San Ysidro clinic.”

    They assume that because they are hearing more stories out of California, that means that California has worse care. That just means California journalists care enough to write about it. What about in the bible belt? Substandard abortions don’t occur there? Yeah right.

    Also they have an “extensive” archive of stories from mother’s who regretted getting abortions. Unfortunatly I can’t seem to be able to get the PDF files to work. Where are the stories from woman who are glad or had good or ok experiences? Oh yeah, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and nothing is squeakier than people who have had bad experiences. I’m sorry that they did, and I don’t minimize their suffering, but women get abortions everyday, and we don’t hear every story.

    Anyways that is my two cents.

  22. RumTumTugger
    RumTumTugger July 31, 2008 at 1:13 pm |

    I bloody love the way ‘feminists for life’ has the tagline ‘refuse to choose’. That just says it all.

  23. Sailorman
    Sailorman July 31, 2008 at 1:16 pm |

    I used to have a extraordinarily religious close friend (we have drifted apart since) and he was unflinchingly opposed to abortion.

    We fought about it a lot but although I think he is 100% wrong I don’t see what is so hard to understand about his position:

    He bases his position on religion.

    That’s all you need to know; it’s really that simple: God says so. And God does not need to make any fucking sense at all because she works in mysterious ways, or for some other reason.

    You cannot convince him that god (or he) is wrong about abortion any more than you can convince him that there is no god–and yes, I have tried–or that any of the other tenets of his religion are wrong.

    So if you say you can’t understand his views, you merely need to understand that your entire method of thinking and coming to conclusion is not like them, because you are not crazy.

  24. Kristen from MA
    Kristen from MA July 31, 2008 at 1:50 pm |

    misery and suffering which results from forcing a woman through pregnancy and childbirth against her will is not discussed.

    They do discuss it: that’s what their talking about when they say ‘just because some women don’t want to be inconvenienced, for 9 months, they want to be able to ZOMG! kill their baybees. It makes me crazy!

    As for FFL (I always like to type [sic] after that particular word grouping), I get the vibe that they thing motherhood is ‘natural’ for all women, and anyone who findes herself pregnant and wants an abortion has been essentially brainwashed. Nothing makes me crazier that the idea that woman = mother. (BTW, when I was 9, I declared that I didn’t want to have kids. The response: ‘Oh honey, you’ll change your mind when you’re older.’ Well, at 42 and counting, I still don’t want ’em.)

  25. Cara
    Cara July 31, 2008 at 1:51 pm |

    Sanger supported negative eugenics, which is aimed at lowering fertility among the disadvantaged and includes abortion, sterilization, and family planning. Positive eugenics, which she opposed, was focused on encouraging reproduction among the advantaged and includes gov’t incentives to reproduce, in vitro fertilization, cloning, etc. Clearly, I do not agree with her view on sterilizing the mentally disabled, which on some level is indicative of the treatment of the physically and mentally disabled in the early 1900’s, and her theories on eugenics were radical, as was her view about birth control and medically safe abortion. But she wasn’t a racist and spoke out against positive eugenics. In fact, she worked with leaders in the African-American community to help women access family planning information, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Maybe this will be a more credible source in your friends’ eyes…maybe not. :)

    The problem is that women of color, as I have read from numerous very pro-choice sources, were a lot more likely to be labeled as “mentally disabled” as a means for forced sterilization. And I can’t feel like the forced sterilization that was targeted against women of color is wholly divorced from the encouragement of sterilization of women who were “mentally disabled” since after all many racist people saw WOC as mentally inferior. And once you start sterilizing one group . . .

    My point is that I do think Margaret Sanger was a racist. I think that a lot of what she believes has been blown out of proportion. But “blown out of proportion” is not the same as “not a racist.” While by the standards of her day it may be fair to classify her as not racist, it’s not fair to say that she wasn’t racist by today’s standards (as someone on this thread already said). Also, I don’t think that this erases the good work that she did or invalidates the pro-choice point of view in any way. Personally, I think that PP just ought to say “yup, Margaret Sanger held a lot of offensive views with which the organization no longer agrees.” And I said as much during a discussion on the issue at the PP Organizing and Policy Summit.

    Feminists for Life probably piss me off the most. I honestly don’t think that they make strong arguments. I just think that they make highly manipulative ones that sway the uninformed. In other words, they are definitely smart, but their arguments are smart only from a tactical point of view rather than a logical or actually feminist one.

  26. Lauren
    Lauren July 31, 2008 at 1:53 pm |

    Gotdamn! Thanks so much for posting the Sonya Renee poem.

  27. Cara
    Cara July 31, 2008 at 1:59 pm |

    (BTW, remind me never to use the words “I don’t understand” as a phrase to express exasperation again. I didn’t realize those where the three deadly words. Forgive a newb for opening the floodgates of exasperating critique and explanation.)

    Seriously, while in retrospect it might not have been the wisest language, I probably would have used the same. I don’t think it’s the word choice so much as people being very, very fond of, as you put it, exasperating critique. Welcome to blogging! ;)

  28. Roving Thundercloud
    Roving Thundercloud July 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm |

    All y’all are missing the point. Those unborn babies are blank slates, still capable of perfection, whereas pregnant women are already lost to us by virtue of being not only women (naturally fallen) but also being sexually active, to boot! The woman’s life isn’t up for discussion as having any worth because the baby wins hands-down in these areas:

    a) Woman: no worth beyond incubator. Baby: might be a boy, ya know.

    b) Woman: already been ruined and in fact deserves punishment (she’s obviously had sex, and probably enjoyed it too, the slut). Baby: even if female, could become a perfect Christian someday and deserves that chance!

    c) Babies: defenseless. Women: enjoy perfect agency and make flippant choices in a consequence-free environment.

  29. scamps
    scamps July 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm |

    The “pro-abortion band list” is HIIIIII-larious reading! Half of them are there just because they’re associated with (including my beloved Dropkick Murphys). And apparently “Rock The Vote” is pro-choice? So, basically, they’re threatened by anything that convinces young people to vote.

  30. Rebecca
    Rebecca July 31, 2008 at 2:42 pm |

    Sailorman, was this friend politically pro-life as well? Because IMO, while I disagree with the pro-life position, I can’t really have any objections to people holding it as long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on others – and the minute he tried to debate he’d get shot down.

  31. Cara
    Cara July 31, 2008 at 2:45 pm |

    Try Killing the Black Body and Pregnancy and Power as two books. Both very, very good ones. And honestly, the reaction at the Summit was a really positive one! Surprised me too. Maybe people just weren’t in the mood to debate me or something, but I do know that several people in the room expressed their agreement and no one in the room argued.

  32. ShelbyWoo
    ShelbyWoo July 31, 2008 at 3:11 pm |

    Personally, I think that PP just ought to say “yup, Margaret Sanger held a lot of offensive views with which the organization no longer agrees.”

    A quote from PP’s Sanger article:

    “Planned Parenthood Federation of America finds these views objectionable and outmoded. Nevertheless, anti-family planning activists continue to attack Sanger, who has been dead for over 30 years, because she is an easier target than the unassailable reputation of PPFA and the contemporary family planning movement. However, attempts to discredit the family planning movement because its early 20th-century founder was not a perfect model of early 21st-century values is like disavowing the Declaration of Independence because its author, Thomas Jefferson, bought and sold slaves.”

    Of course, the anti-choicers would have to actually read and willfully comprehend PP’s website to see that, but it is there.

    And apparently “Rock The Vote” is pro-choice?

    I read it as “Rock the Vote” the first time, too – it actually says “Rock for Choice.” I’ve never heard of Rock for Choice – I’m gonna have to check that out.

  33. Ambiguous
    Ambiguous July 31, 2008 at 3:27 pm |

    ” I completely understand why a person could be morally opposed to abortion and why someone might choose to call themselves “pro-life,” but how anyone can be politically opposed to safe, legal abortion and reproductive health services?”

    Why is this hard to see? What you said is analogous to saying “I understand how somebody can be morally opposed to intentional killing. But How can you politically be against the death penalty?” Some people, right or wrong, value the life of an unborn fetus over the autonomy of the mother to choose to end that life and liberate herself from pregnancy. There’s no “logic” here – it’s all sentiment, just like most of morality.

    Also – can we PLEASE stop with the strawman / red herring arguments so prevalent in pro-choice rehotoric? It doesn’t serve the pro-choice cause to say “pro-life = anti birth control!!!” If you’re addressing abortion, stick with abortion. I would venture to say that most Americans who are opposed to abortion have no problem with birth control.

  34. Thomas
    Thomas July 31, 2008 at 3:32 pm |

    (BTW, when I was 9, I declared that I didn’t want to have kids. The response: ‘Oh honey, you’ll change your mind when you’re older.’ Well, at 42 and counting, I still don’t want ‘em.)

    Kristen, ageism never seems to go out of style. When I was that age, my extended family told me I’d move to the right as an adult, especially on civil rights and distributional issues. As a young lawyer, lots of my colleagues told me I’d move to the right as an adult, especially on parenting issues. I’m in my mid thirties with a mortgage, kids and a corner office, and if I have not moved all that far left, the big change is that I’m now a lot more free to be louder about what I think. Heh.

  35. Daomadan
    Daomadan July 31, 2008 at 3:58 pm |

    What Cara said in 32. Brownfemipower has also blogged on this issue before as well: and is well worth clicking to read.

  36. “Women Deserve Better” « Our Descent Into Madness

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  37. CM
    CM July 31, 2008 at 4:54 pm |

    I think the ONLY band I recongized on the “anti-life” (see what I did there?) list was freakin’ Switchfoot. Otherwise, I recognized not one of them. The pro-choice list, however, is chock full of some of my favorites!!

  38. the queen of cabbage
    the queen of cabbage July 31, 2008 at 8:58 pm |

    Feminists for Life annoy the piss out of me. They are the “nice, sane, *feminist*” folks the rest of the movement can point to when they claim not be be misogynists.

    My anger settled a bit, though, when I realized FfL folks are fluffy bunny pro-lifers. I first encountered the term “fluffy bunny” when dealing with various pagans. The fluffy ones may or may not be weighed down with five pounds of pentacles and crystals, but they are the sort of people who will, among other things, swear there is no such thing as a truly dark goddess. Kali and the Morrigan are just misunderstood and smeared by the patriarchy, see.

    To me pagan fluffy-bunnyism sounds like it has a lot in common with the “no woman *really* wants an abortion–they deserve *better*… but it’s more fun to whine about other people’s fetuses than try to bring about universal health-care, etc.” bunch. The belief that all women are aching for motherhood even if they don’t know it seems to be deeply held by both groups.

    Then again, fluffy pagans aren’t trying to illegalize the, er, spiky pagans (though you really don’t want to invite them to the same parties).

    In short, I now consider the FfL twits who really need to rip off those rose-colored glasses of privilege and ignorance.

  39. NancyP
    NancyP July 31, 2008 at 9:05 pm |

    Sanger started out as a radical, and later grew more conservative in part to establish relationships with Planned Parenthood major funders. She started out by offering services face to face with the poor, and ended up as a speaker and fundraiser without much contact with the poor and powerless. When she was trying to establish PP as an institution, and dealing with fundraising, eugenics went from obscure boring “science” to the latest social fashion. In short, she went from a client-based perspective to a “society” perspective biased by the usual white non-immigrant privilege. So yes, she became racist, classist, and anti-immigrant (specifically, those who followed the major wave of Ashkenazy Jewish immigration).

  40. Sonya Renee « Jem’s Lair
    Sonya Renee « Jem’s Lair August 1, 2008 at 3:34 am |

    […] Via Feministe […]

  41. Cecca
    Cecca August 1, 2008 at 4:03 am |

    I was raised Catholic, so I understand a lot of pro-life rhetoric and how people could follow it. I even understand their desire to outlaw it – to be a true Christian you must strive to make this world a better place (by your particular subset of Christian values) and right injustices; for Catholic Pro-Life groups, this includes outlawing abortion. Which I personally think is bullsh*t; but that’s one of the big reasons why I’m lapsed.

    My problem with Christian pro-life groups, *especially* Catholic ones, is the restrictions on birth control and comprehensive sex ed. Jesus hung with tax collectors and whores; you think he didn’t wave his hand and cure an STI from time to time? For me, it all comes back around to the “judge not, lest ye be judged” thing, as well as the ideals of service. Catholics love service; we’re supposed to give to the communities in which we find ourselves, sharing love and all that jazz. Giving of what the Church perceives to be the holy message is all well and good, but wouldn’t it be great to allow people the information they need to live their lives safely should they choose not to accept said message?

    Yeah, I know, I’m hopelessly optimistic and naive.

  42. Lillabet
    Lillabet August 1, 2008 at 8:21 am |

    As I have heard Ann Stone of Republicans for Choice say when addressing antis as well as pro choice Republicans…this issue boils down to a fight between those who trust women and those who do not…….either you trust women to make their own decisions in their life or you do not…and if you don’t trust them…why do you let them raise children without direct and constant supervision?

    Republicans advocate government get out of the Boardroom…why then would they invite government into the Bedroom…it does not make sense!! And Republicans for Choice have surveys showing that even a majority of Republicans feel this should be a personal decision….no wonder this issue gives them fits!!

  43. Farhat
    Farhat August 1, 2008 at 12:21 pm |

    Catholics love service…

    As long as you define service as protecting kiddiefuckers. :-/

  44. vgnvxn
    vgnvxn August 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |

    Ugh Jes PLEASE do not compare vegans or animal rights activists with anti-choice people. I’m sorry you met some jerky AR people, but that is not representative of the movement. At all. If anything, that’s just the only voice the media chooses to highlight (a problem in feminism too- the OMG outraged feminist). There are people in EVERY movement that are judgmental and commit criminal acts that are outside the mainstream of the movement.

    What does AR activists fighting for regulating food production have to do with anything? There are many reasons why we support food regulation, including the health of workers, public health, consumer health (we care about them too), and animal wellness.

    In fact, pro-choice people want to increase regulations and make things illegal as well! We want to make parental consent and other paternalistic laws illegal. Pro-choice people think forcing pregnant teens to talk to their parents about getting an abortion is unethical. We think that requiring women to come back 24 hours later is unethical because among other things punishes lower-income women. There is intense passion in the pro-choice movement! It really irks me when people assume all vegans, animal rights activists, and feminists are hysterical, outrageous, weirdos trying to totally ruin society. We are normal people trying to improve society like other progressive groups.

  45. Amanda
    Amanda August 1, 2008 at 6:11 pm |

    @41: I had that same conversation with my (then future) MIL. “When you get older and have more things you’ll change your mind.” I just turned around and walked away, because she’s got a history of freaking out when someone directly opposes her, and I was 1000 miles away from home with nowhere else to stay. I avoid contact with her whenever possible.

  46. Luke Bruner
    Luke Bruner August 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm |


    Perhaps this link will help you better understand the pro-life position on this issue:

    It talks about how she became pro-life (and was part of her religious conversion). The article illustrates the differences I’ll talk about below. As someone who has studied the issue extensively in an academic way, I believe there are a number of fundamental issues, and these are:

    1) When does life begin?
    2) What value, exactly, does life in certain stages have?
    3) Once one establishes their views on 1 and 2, what is the moral weight of the action of abortion?

    Not only is there fundamental disagreement on questions 1 and 2… BUT 3 has big disagreements. For example, a pro-choicer looks at my views on questions 1 and 2… understands them… BUT then disagrees about my moral value judgment. The reverse is true, I look at a pro-choicers view on 1 and 2, understand their views, but then disagree about the moral value judgment they are making.

    KaeLyn, I hope you (and your readers) find this post helpful. Your lack of understand (and the lack of understanding found on the pro-life side) comes on issue 3. We (usually) understand what others think, but we almost never understand how those views are being applied as moral value judgments.

    I appreciate any constructive feedback.

    Yours in Christ,
    -Luke Bruner

  47. Dan
    Dan August 2, 2008 at 1:48 pm |


    “I…believe that moral and religious ideologies are not reason enough to make laws.”

    “So, while I do get that some people connect their moral idealogies [sic] to political ideologies, I think it is a flawed way of thinking. That is what I am criticizing.”

    (Sorry, don’t know how to use the quote function here.)

    Just wanted to point out that at its core, the purpose of legislation is to define morals. This is why theft, murder, etc. are illegal. Even if Congress passes a law against drilling in ANWR, they are making a moral judgement stating that it is “better” to not drill there than to do so.

    What it comes down to is one’s philosophy. In this case, yours allows you to make a moral judgement that abortion is not murder and should be publicly-funded, and thus you act on this, trying to gain support for this position and supporting legislators (and legislation) who share your moral values.

    My apologies in advance for not answering anyone’s responses in these ‘comboxes’.

  48. Farhat
    Farhat August 2, 2008 at 3:11 pm |


    TO me the difference in those ‘fundamental questions’ is completely immaterial. The only question that needs to be answered is does a person have an individual right to choose what happens with her body? If someone doesn’t want to have an abortion, great more power to them. If someone does, then again it is up to them?

    Hindus consider cows sacred and as worthy of protection as humans, how would you feel if they lobbied to outlaw any beef and divert taxes to keeping old cows comfortable?

  49. Farhat
    Farhat August 2, 2008 at 3:16 pm |

    Screwed punctuation up there

  50. (a different) Sarah
    (a different) Sarah August 2, 2008 at 9:16 pm |

    I don’t think anyone’s pointed this out yet specifically, but the vegan=anti-choice comparison also ignores the fact that vegans are opposing a behavior shared by lots of different people and groups, while anti-choicers are targeting the actions of *women only.*

    The comparison is, I think, too generous towards the anti-choicers. While both groups are (or at least claim to be, it varies from person to person) operating from a moral stance and trying to effect change based on their moral views, the targets of their morals are very different. If vegans went around calling women who eat burgers evil filthy sluts, then the parallel would be more apt, I think. :p

  51. (a different) Sarah
    (a different) Sarah August 2, 2008 at 9:19 pm |

    …the phrase “evil filthy sluts” did not get my post sent to moderation. Did I mention I love this blog? ^^

  52. Women Deserve Better « The Dawn Chorus

    […] Women Deserve Better Posted on August 3, 2008 by Clem Bastow I couldn’t not reblog this incredible spoken word performance by Sonia Renee that both Feministing and Feministe have posted: […]

  53. Rebecca (liberal!Rebecca)
    Rebecca (liberal!Rebecca) August 3, 2008 at 11:15 pm |

    No, Dan, the purpose of law is not to define morals. Laws that define morals, such as the old Texas law criminalizing sodomy, tend to eventually get struck down. Laws are to protect rights.

  54. sj
    sj August 13, 2008 at 11:11 am |

    Rights are a subset of morals, Rebecca.

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