Friday, May 27, 2005


I really, really dislike all of the discussion in this country surrounding the issue of abortion. This polarization is especially frustrating to me because nowhere can I see my views represented. I consider myself both pro-choice and pro-life. I am sure this is a common position. Everyone, I believe, agrees that we would like to see a reduction in the number of abortions. I want to live in a world where a woman doesn't feel an abortion is necessary yet is able to choose to have one. I hope for a world where every child is wanted and loved. I am very much pro-life, and not in the limited sense in which many right wingers are.

Many people who oppose abortion at the same time oppose policies that would significantly lower the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortion rates. These are, of course, access to contraceptives and education about safe sex. Yet, curiously, many pro life activists vigorously campaign against this. Also, these same people who say that they value the sanctity of life are the ones who want to cut fetal nutrition programs and stop prenatal care for pregnant women.
In addition, they're opposed to publicly subsidized childcare and certain welfare reforms that would give single parents more money.

"Far from discouraging abortion, government subsidies to single mothers have not only rewarded illegitimacy; they have encouraged promiscuity. The point of removing the subsidies is to restore the natural penalties of risking pregnancy outside of marriage."

Exactly. This message, expressed in an article on the website of The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty shows exactly why people do not want to provide money for these children that mothers chose to give birth to instead of aborting: they want to teach them a lesson. After all if they starve, they darn well won't be having any more sex again! (No, what will happen is they will have an abortion next time.).

They want to penalize the choice not to abort a child.

If they claim to value the sanctity of all life, they have to value it, whether it is born into a traditional family or to a single mother. You know, this makes me so sad, because I hear people in one breath touting the evils of abortion, saying that they oppose it because they believe firmly in the sanctity of life. Yet, with the next breath, they oppose policies that will protect the health and well-being of unborn children, and children that mothers have decided not to abort. This seems so tragic. And, to many, it seems a contradiction.

But, to Mark Graber, it makes sense. He argues that when these contradictions appear, what we really see is not a discussion about the sanctity of life, but a discussion about sex. Especially of the premarital, extramarital and non-procreative variety. That these people who endorse the pro life position yet at the same time oppose policies and things that would significantly decrease the number of abortions performed, are actually trying to limit sex to how they view it should be practiced. Because, if you can't have contraceptives and you can't get abortions, well, then, if you're not married, you're probably not gonna have sex and risk it, if you're female.

Before going onto that, though, he says that "Most critics of Roe never note that socially conservative officials who proclaim that fetal life trumps procreative choice apparently regard lower taxes or a balanced budget as an even higher social value."

Indeed, one survey found that pro life representatives are reluctant to vote for higher federal spending for programs designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies or to assist pregnant women.

Graber: "This ignorance can be bliss. Thus, evidence that American reproductive policies taken as a whole are destructive of potential life rarely disturbs conventional critics of Roe."

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