Monday, March 22, 2010

AntiPro

I've been mulling this over in my head for weeks now, trying to think of the right words, the most sensitive phrasing, the best possible way to approach this subject. But here again, this morning on NPR, I heard it: "We are proponents of health care reform, but there is one subject that trumps all others, and that is the sanctity of life."

Sanctity of life. When the man on the radio said it he was talking about being pro-life, or anti-abortion or however you choose to describe it, but at this point I feel like it has been reduced to a propoganda buzzphrase that just serves to make its opponents sound like a-holes.

And at the risk of giving away my politics, I don't think I am an a-hole. Because I get being anti-abortion, I do. Where life begins is a belief and far be it from me to knock on anyone's beliefs. But. What confuses and frustrates me is when I hear that that it is the single most important politic in a person's repertoire. Because, if sanctity of life is truly your number one concern, shouldn't your top politic be adoption and foster care reform, or help for the homeless, or bigger budgets for rehabs and crime prevention? What about budgets for rape counseling at schools, abolition of death row, child-care and CPS reform, welfare reform, harsher penalties for dead-beat parents, or proper sex education?

Are people only important when they are half-made?

Because that doesn't seem fair to all the people who have been born and are trying to make it in our harsh, overcrowded world. And I don't think committing murder (see: Scott Roeder) is the way to show people how compassionate you are about all the unborn babies that are just as likely to become abortion doctors or homeless addicts as christian evangelists.

It is important for women to know and understand what their other options are, if for no other reason than that abortion can be extremely taxing for a woman on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level, but as it stands there aren't many because the money and support simply are not there.

So when people say shutting down abortion clinics is their number one concern, I can't help but feel frustrated and helpless, and like we are only pulling an unsightly band aid off a broken leg with no intention of resetting the bone.

10 comments:

Ozkirbas said...

I think it's the main problem when you have people attempting the wield public opinion as a weapon. Buzzwords are an easy way to sway or reinvigorate audience based merely on whatever associations they trigger. It's unfortunate how impersonal that sounds, given how personal a person's political or moral stance can be. If you want to fight against it, you encourage people to think critically and outside the conventional circle that most people tend to dance around - which is what I think you've done here

Deborah Randall said...

Well said. We once read a play called, "Jane: Abortion and the Underground" at Venus Theatre. Actually, we read it on the GW campus. There was a real history there that goes unspoken. A whole entire underground movement of abortionists from the 1970's who would probably still be in prison if Roe v. Wade had not passed in the nick of time. They were housewives and college students in Chicago. They organized a "Jane" movement. Simply put, they printed "Jane" in the phone book with a phone number. Then if a woman was seeking an abortion word would get to her to "call Jane". There were two or three pick up points, it was a real operation that went on for a while-years. The trial transcripts are available still, I think. Most of these women are still alive. The point was, these women seeking abortions will get abortions if they choose to. If they have to drive through state lines or find a way to do it on the cheap. There may no longer be statistics to show if the laws are off the books, but there will be death. That's what the Jane movement teaches us. Lots of it, because the odds for survival aren't too good for women in back alleys. Infection due to unsanitary conditions will kill women slowly and painfully. Some of the women in the Jane Movement performed the abortions themselves because backalley Dr's were charging $500 and leaving behind infection and a really bad sometimes rape-ish experience. Jane was trying to SAVE lives. So much so they left behind their own politic regarding when life begins and jumped in, breaking the law. Why isn't this talked about, I wonder? In fact. The FOUNDER of the movement is a prominent woman in DC who did not even come to see the reading. Politics? Though she did take the playwright out to breakfast the next morning, and apologized for having a conflicting engagement.

magratpudifoot said...

I am particularly fond of that phrase when used by people who routinely express their frustration that collateral damage policies are too lenient on "the bad guys" and that our military isn't allowed to indiscriminately use its most effective weapons. And I'm even more fond of the fact that I am incredibly worried about what repercussions expressing this fondness in a public forum might have for me.

Artificially polarized two-party politics ftw!

Max Nova said...

There's a comment that Barney Franks said, which goes something like "For Republicans life starts at conception and ends at birth." That nails things pretty well.

zoe said...

Amen, sistah. Here are a few thoughts:

-- I think the reason pro-lifers cling so desperately to the lives of the unborn is because they are innocent. They are POTENTIAL -- they haven't screwed up yet, because CLEARLY the homeless/sick/those who need help must have done SOMETHING wrong to deserve their fates, right? I know not everyone thinks this way but a lot of people unfortunately... do. Not to overgeneralize or anything, but it's true. It's the whole "I work hard so I can pay for my healthcare and my bills and those on welfare are just lazy" mentality that sadly IS out there and is why some people only have compassion for the truly helpless -- because fetuses don't have autonomy/a voice. And these "half-made" people are only important in some cases, apparently: they matter in cases where a defendant is charged for double-murder of a woman and her unborn child, but are unborn children being counted in the census (that last question is actually legitimate, I'm looking for my form but I can't find it). Not only do they seem more important than full-made people, but only when it's convenient... Weird, huh?

-- "Because, if sanctity of life is truly your number one concern, shouldn't your top politic be adoption and foster care reform, or help for the homeless, or bigger budgets for rehabs and crime prevention? What about budgets for rape counseling at schools, abolition of death row, child-care and CPS reform, welfare reform, harsher penalties for dead-beat parents, or proper sex education?"

YES. A million times yes. I am SOOO for helping people and that is what makes me sad about people wanting to shrink government because we can't help them if we're all looking out for ourselves. Again, "I work hard, so I deserve to be happy. You clearly don't work hard, so you can rot in poverty. Kthxbye."

-- Kenton also posted this really interesting link on his fb page a few months ago; it was a compilation of quotes/stories from doctors who work at abortion clinics and what happens when pro-lifers come in for abortions -- their perceptions of pro-choice people, etc. SUPER interesting if you want a peek into the mentality behind the sanctity of life and what exactly that means. I'll post it as soon as I find it...

-- Finally, I don't know where Michael Moore gets his stats, or if he is spinning them at all (I am always skeptical of an extremist), but:
“Why do we have an abortion rate 20% higher than France’s (and more than twice as high as Germany’s), especially considering most doctors here won’t perform them? The answer is any country that has universal health care, where contraception is free, where child care is free or inexpensive, where there is less poverty because people don’t become bankrupt over medical bills — those societies are simply going to have fewer unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. And there the mask gets pulled off the Bart Stupaks and the “Christians.” If the statistics show that countries with government-provided universal health care and nearly-free abortions are, in fact, the countries with the fewest abortions, then why on earth wouldn’t the Right be the first in line to support universal health care?” -- Michael Moore

zoe said...

Here's that link I promised: http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

ali d said...

I know that you and I have had this conversation in person, and after thinking about it, the only explanation I can come up with for my fellow Conservative Pro-Lifers' behaviors is that they believe that once the child is born, there are enough people who support its presence that they no longer have to be as responsible for its successful growth. But abortion! No one feels as strongly about it as they do! If they don't stop it, no one will, and the child will be lost! Once the child has been born, though, then more people start to care (because the heartless bastards only consider it a child once it's born), and they can rest knowing they've done their part by making sure the child has made it this far.

I'm not saying it's a good explanation. It's just what I can come up with.

I personally wish that a fraction of the millions spent on abortions (or, for that matter, pro-life and pro-choice rallies/protests/propaganda) would be put toward overhauling the adoption process. There are so many couples out there who would love to adopt and love an unwanted child who can't afford to do so in America because it's such an expensive hassle.

Max Nova said...

What was the phrase Hilary used "safe, legal and rare," or something to that effect? I agree with that sentiment.

Because if we've learned anything from American history is that making things illegal rarely gets rid of them, it generally just makes them more dangerous for those still doing them (ask Damo, he will agree).

Outlaw abortion and we go back to the back alleys. And more living alive humans will die that way.

Dennis said...

"When the man on the radio said it he was talking about being pro-life, or anti-abortion or however you choose to describe it, but at this point I feel like it has been reduced to a propoganda buzzphrase that just serves to make its opponents sound like a-holes.'

Yeah, I've always felt this way about both terms. Pro-life? Pro-Choice? Really? As if their opponents are anti-life or anti-choice.

From an anti-abortion person's standpoint I can certainly understand how it would be the number one priority. In their minds, abortion has accounted for the murder of 40-50 million Americans since Roe vs. Wade. That puts this issue on par with World War 2 as far as deaths caused. I don't think any of your suggestions come anywhere near that kind of impact.


I'm pro-choice in that I think people should be able to do what they want with their own bodies. The same way I think that you should be able to legally commit suicide, become a prostitute or sell your organs. However, I refuse to pick a camp in this argument because I don't agree with the way that either conducts itself. So, I just avoid it at all costs.

And so far that method has worked out pretty well.

David Pratt said...

Hey, I just found this buried in the Health Care bill:

(Sec. 10909) Increases from $10,000 to $13,170 the dollar limitation on: (1) the tax credit for adoption expenses; and (2) the tax exclusion for employer-provided adoption assistance. Allows an inflation adjustment to such limitation after 2010. Makes such credit refundable. Extends through 2011 the general terminating date of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 with respect to such credit and exclusion.