February 7, 2012

Ugh, abortion wars

I have said here many times that I am one of the most uncomfortable pro-choice people out there. But I will say that the Republican and evangelical attacks on women are making me more pro-choice, not less.

Let's start with the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood fiasco, where a right wing Tea Party Republican led the effort to cut funding to PP. Not only was this blatantly an attempt to make everything political and charged, but it was, from my perspective, throwing women's health under the bus for a political attack on Planned Parenthood. All I heard out of that was "I don't really care if women get access to healthcare, contraceptives, screenings, etc--I just want to stop abortions."

Which would be one thing, but at the same time, Republicans are cutting programs that help poor kids and infants, and are attacking the very safety net that has helped parents with young children. Pro-life? Not sure about that.

Then I read this morning that Oklahoma Christian Republicans are pushing for a "personhood" amendment, and Kansas is pushing for extreme legislation that would require that women be told (falsely) that abortion can cause breast cancer; allow doctors to lie to patients, and other draconian measures.

Again, while cutting funding for poor people. And making it harder to get contraceptives. At a certain point, this isn't anti-abortion, or pro-life, it is against women having sex outside planned procreation.

Add that to attempts by conservative evangelicals to allow students to bully gay kids as long as it comes from their religious belief, and the very continued reality that every Republican will be voting for a torture defender this coming fall--and I am having a harder and harder time respecting anything conservative.


steves said...

I guess I would describe myself as reluctantly pro-choice, too. That being said, I view cutting healthcare and the SGK/PP thing as two very different situations.

The gov't, IMO, has a duty to provide healthcare to people that cannot afford it. Both SGK and PP are private entities and should be able to do whatever they want with their funding (as long as it is legal). If SGK wants to attach conditions to their funding, then they should be able to. Obviously, there can be a price to those conditions.

Just because PP also provides many other useful services, I think there are some that are not comfortable with their money going to them. That is fine, as there seem to be plenty of other groups and people that are willing to help out PP. This is true of many other groups, including religious groups. I know plenty of people that boycott otherwise good charitable groups because of political reasons (such as an anti-pay stance, etc.)

Streak said...

They are connected now in that while I would agree with you that it is the government's job to privide healthcare to people who cannot afford it, that is not the reality right now. I have numerous friends who used PP as their primary care because it was cheap and accessible. That meant college students and waitresses got access to valuable care.

I would be more convinced of your argument if I though PP's opponents were actually concerned with providing that care, but wanted to do so in a non-abortion setting. I don't believe that.

Cold In Laramie said...


Check out this story. This clown Senator from Louisiana inserted an anti-abortion rider in an Indian Health Service bill. I do not have much commentary because, well, swearing at this asshat will get me nowhere.

steves said...

How do you know what PP's critics have as their goals. As far as I can tell, they are mostly anti-abortion, not anti-health care for the poor. While many on that side don't want gov't health care, they seem ok with private charities providing health care.

Streak said...

CIL, I just love that the senator in question is David Vitter--he of hiring prostitutes. Never stops him from playing the moral card.

Steve, you are correct, I don't know. What I know right now is that for many women PP is the only option for healthcare. Defunding that is not good for those women. And I have yet to hear their critics say anything except, "oh, I am sure they can find that care elsewhere."

leighton said...

I'm not reluctant at all about being pro-choice; we don't compel even something as minor as blood platelet donation when it could save the life of a conscious adult or child, so it seems terribly inconsistent to require something even more invasive to secure the life of an entity that is not yet conscious.

That said, I am still registered in the U.S. bone marrow registry and would encourage anyone who isn't to take a few minutes to look at the site and consider signing up. Registration is free and could save lives.

Back on topic, my reasoning for being pro-choice is partly about the basic right to bodily autonomy (which I believe is the driving motivation for most unapologetic pro-choice advocates), but also about wanting the system to take responsibility for its actions. If the government compels someone to bear a child, it needs to make sure they will be able to support it. Whereas I don't know any anti-abortion advocates who support the expansion of social safety nets. Fiscal responsibility is an absolutely necessary characteristic of a government, but somehow moral responsibility is evil.

I wonder if the conservative stance on abortion is partly (mis)informed by its inability to comprehend the effect of collective systemic actions through its lens of everything reducing to personal, individual responsibility. I don't just mean the typical disingenuous platform of Republican politicians where "pro-life" means anti-life in the form of cutting social safety nets for everyone out of the womb, and "small government" means a ridiculously huge government for policing morality. I mean everyday conservatives who somehow think that lowering taxes and giving individuals more freedom for Christians to contribute voluntarily to charity would actually increase the quality of life for poor and sick people. (It wouldn't, as I pointed out in a comment a year or two ago, where I calculated that churches alone couldn't possibly replace Social Security income, not counting welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, vouchers for school supplies, or any other social program.)

leighton said...

This Salon article is another example of how pro-life in practice often means anti-life.