Prosecute the torture.

August 5, 2005

NO CHOICE

On Wednesday evening I attended the monthly meetup for Democracy for Pittsburgh. The meetups often feature political candidates and this night was no exception. The candidate was a Democrat who plans to run against a sitting Republican member of Congress. I'm not going to name the person on the off chance that someone reading this will decide to donate money to the guy after reading what I write.

More importantly, his name is not important because he represents something bigger than his candidacy.

He expressed many opinions with which I agree and seemed particularly interested in health care -- with one glaring exception. The exception was that, when asked, he stated that he was "pro life."

Democracy for Pittsburgh is a progressive organization. it is the Pittsburgh coalition for Democracy for America. Democracy for America favors candidates who are fiscally conservative and socially progressive.

Now he did say that he knew what he was walking into. He stated that no pro choice candidate could win in his district. He stated that he hoped to mostly avoid the topic of abortion during his run for office.

When asked outright if he would sign a bill outlawing abortion, he hedged. Later, when a member of the group said that she had been raped and it was her father who had raped her, he said he would support an exception for rape and incest. (Need it be said that if you support an "exception" for rape and incest, that you obviously must support some curtailment of abortion rights?) He also said that he supported the morning after pill and embryo stem cell research.

Perhaps some of you now are thinking, "Hmm, he's sounding a bit more reasonable. He's certainly no religious zealot on the subject."

But, I would posit that his stand is not "reasonable." His stand is the height of hypocrisy.

While I strongly disagree with those who would ban all abortions, the morning after pill and embryo stem cell research; at least their postion is based on a philosophical/religious argument that life begins at conception and life must not be destroyed. Your demands follow reasonably from your views. You do believe in something. Some of those same people would accept an exception for the life of the mother, and this still makes sense in the context of their beliefs as you would now have two "equal" lives at stake and they feel that they cannot ask someone to give up their own life for another.

But, I have to argue that a person who would ban abortions but have an exception for rape and incest is not "pro life" but solidly anti choice.

Is the fetus somehow less "fetus" and more "baby" because the conception occured by an act of rape/incest?

Of course not!

I will put forward that people who believe in this type of exception just find the idea of rape and incest even more "icky" than they find abortion to be "icky." Or perhaps they are able to empathize more with the idea of one of their own (wife, sister, daughter, friend) being forced to carry to term a child conceived of rape. Perhaps they themselves would not want such a child around.

But I do not care to know what psychology is behind their reasoning.

What they are in fact doing is judging how "moral" a woman is who wants/needs to have an abortion. Has she jumped through enough hoops? Has she satisfied my desire to feel comfortable that she is not just some careless, unthinking slut? Has she suffered enough already?

They are deciding that: yes, you have a choice if you have been raped, but you do not have a choice if, say, you already have six children and you do not have the finances or emotional and physical resources to have a seventh. They are judging that, well rape is one thing, but the fact that you are 16, or 14, or 10 just doesn't cut it with them -- it's not ugly enough for their comfort zone.

They truly do not believe that you have a choice in deciding what you will do with your own body, your own person, more than they believe that you are taking the life of a "baby." After all, it is not the fault of the "baby" in question that you were raped or incested, is it?

So then it must be about their comfort level in why you want/need an abortion more than their belief that you are killing a person.

Can anyone please explain to me how this is not hypocritical?

The current Democratic meme that we must welcome pro-lifers and make them feel more "comfortable" in our party says that we believe in nothing as a party. Either we are pro choice or we are not.

I do not mean to suggest that there is no room in the party for candidates who are personally opposed to abortion but who would not impose that belief on others. I fully support your right to believe in whatever you like. I support your right to say you think abortions are wrong. However, I do not support your "right" to prevent women from having the choice to terminate a pregnancy.

Another woman at the meetup was a veteran. She had served in both wars in Iraq. She spoke eloquently about the horrors of the current war -- about the unbelievably gruesome injuries she saw visited upon our troops.

She wanted the candidate to explain to her earlier in the evening (before she talked bout serving in Iraq) why she should have anyone deny her a medical procedure. Yes, that is what she called abortion. And, apparently that is what the candidate was more comfortable thinking about abortions that were from rapes than what he thought of abortions in general.

Now, here's the part where I scold my so-called "progressive" brothers. It was the women at the meetup who asked question after question about abortion. I am not saying that there weren't any strong pro choice men there, but am saying that it is my experience (certainly on this blog and others) that, in general, "pro choice" progressive men are far more willing to "forgive" a candidate for being anti choice. They are far more willing to label pro choice women as being un-pragmatic and lament their insistence on focusing on a "single issue." They are uncomfortable with being accused of being the "Abortion Party." You know, hey, can't we just let this slide (for this candidate...for this election...)?

It is also my experience that the women who are most "strident" on this issue are the ones who were around pre Roe v. Wade. Even if you were in jr. high, like me, when that case was decided, you can remember a time when women did not have the right to fully control their bodies. You remember the laughter, derision and outright hostility towards "libbers." You remember when it wasn't even illegal to pay a woman less than a man for doing the exact same job. You remember a lot.

Those that are a bit older than me remember the consequences of back alley abortions. The hospital wings filled with women suffering from infections or botched operations. The deaths.

I see a lot of outrage in the progressive corner of the blogosphere. There is much to be outraged about. Many of you write outraged posts.

You are outraged by the deaths and injuries of our troops in Iraq...



You are outraged by the deaths of innocent civilians...



You are outraged by the torture at Abu Ghraib...



You are outraged by less life and death matters such as Republican fiscal policies...



But, I see precious few "pro choice progressive" men outraged by the efforts to make back alley abortions the only CHOICE that many women will have...even when those efforts are by candidates that we are encouraged to be "pragmatic about" and support...



Perhaps it's out of your comfort zone.

10 comments:

Mark Rauterkus said...

Nice recap of your thoughts. However, you don't do anyone any favors by NOT talking about the presenter and LEAVING the NAME off the posting.

Who was the presenter that should NOT get any donation -- IN YOUR Opinion?

Thanks for telling the whole truth -- with NAMES. Name names, please. You can show raw photos -- but not name names. That's sorta silly, IMNSHO.

Thanks for thinking again. When a politician talks -- we need to pin him or her to those words. When the name is left off -- there is NO accountability.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Nice recap of your thoughts. However, you don't do anyone any favors by NOT talking about the presenter and LEAVING the NAME off the posting.

Who was the presenter that should NOT get any donation -- IN YOUR Opinion?

Thanks for telling the whole truth -- with NAMES. Name names, please. You can show raw photos -- but not name names. That's sorta silly, IMNSHO.

Thanks for thinking again. When a politician talks -- we need to pin him or her to those words. When the name is left off -- there is NO accountability.

Karen said...

Maria, I was at the same Meetup. I don't think it was necessarily worth arguing with the candidate on his anti-choice views -- you're not going to change his mind right then and there. However, I also noticed the silence of most of the men present once abortion came up. And I too am getting fed up with the way many (male) Democrats are saying they don't want to be "single-issue voters."

I don't think they're being malevolent, but I do think if something doesn't concern you directly, you tend to forget about it. That's why women need to keep demanding pro-choice candidates. For women, choice isn't just an "issue," like the environment or the economy. It is about restricting our freedom, ruining our lives, and even killing us.

Just a couple of pro-choice candidates that have been under the mainstream Democrat radar: Chuck Pennacchio (http://www.chuck2006.com) is running against Rick Santorum, and Georgia Berner is contemplating a run against Melissa Hart (as well as against the candidate who was the subject of the original post -- can I out him? -- Jason Altmire).

Right now, the Democratic party seems to be ignoring about half of its members. It's up to us not to let them.

Maria said...

Mark,

I left the name out because I didn't want the focus to be so much on him but on what I see as a bigger problem, which as Karen puts it (and I agree):

However, I also noticed the silence of most of the men present once abortion came up. And I too am getting fed up with the way many (male) Democrats are saying they don't want to be "single-issue voters."...For women, choice isn't just an "issue," like the environment or the economy. It is about restricting our freedom, ruining our lives, and even killing us.

Karen:
I agree that there's no way you're going to change a candidate's position on this issue at one meeting. The only way you might change their minds is by not supporting them.

I don't mind that you name him either -- to me he just represents a growing trend.

I'm very familiar with Pennacchio and I do support him. I've only heard Georgia Berner's name mentioned once or twice before and need to study up on her.

Karen said...

I should restate my endorsement of Berner, actually. I had been under the impression that she was pro-choice but now I'm not so sure; there's very little about her on the Web, at least. Let's just hope she is because Altmire and Hart most definitely are not.

Ava said...

I am a woman, a progressive thinking woman for that matter, and I am saddened to see that we are falling into the trap of 'single issue' voting. There is a reason Democratic strongholds like Beaver County are voting Melissa Hart into office. In fact, I think our preoccupation with the abortion issue hurts women more than it may benefit us.

The previous postings reflect upon the dark ages when women were paid less than men and "libbers" were ostracized. Hmmm... Last time I heard the rhetoric on FOXNews, liberals are still ruining the country and in 2005, I know I am still being paid less than my male counterparts.

Personnally, I think my FREEDOM TO CHOOSE a good life for myself and my family depends more on the availability of good jobs and good healthcare than on whether a candidate calls himself pro-life or pro-choice. If you're living off of the minimum wage (and worse yet, trying to raise a family on it), at the end of the day, you aren't left with a lot of choices.

If we want to truly make a difference in the lives of women, young, old and in-between, we should pick Democratic candidates who can go head-to-head with Santorum and Hart and who can win in November 2006. And it won't be Berner or Pennachio.

Maria said...

Ava,

Please see my answere here.

Anonymous said...

This picture is despicable. Only a person with your view of life could post such an atrocity. Mercy triumphs over judgment. I pray that you learn the mercy that sets one free from the selfishness manifested in this blog. I do not judge you. You are only acting out of the world that you see. I forgive you. May your life be blessed with love that you do not yet know.

Meghan said...

All I have to say is focused more on the abortion issue. So if your easily offended then quit reading now, because I won't be sorry for anything that I write after this.

A heart beats two thousand million time in an average lifetime. TWO THOUSAND MILLION TIMES. Which leaves me with the horrifying question- how many tiny hearts have we stopped from beating??

And as far as the "choice" factor goes.. a woman has a choice when she decides to spread her legs.. knowing she will have to deal with the consequences that her actions render. Nomatter if it be a disease, or unplanned pregnancy, or even a broken heart. Her choice ended when she took that risk- PERIOD.

I'm so sick of hearing about choices.. mom's choice this, womens's rights that- what about that baby's choice?! HUH? You know the little human being living insie you that's heart has been beating from 6 weeks after conception on!! Yeah, what about that little persons choice? Oh, I forgot, he/she doesn't have one! He or she get's half way delivered and then has it's brains sucked out, THREE MONTHS pryor to it's birth!! Because, "you're not ready". What is wrong with you people?

If anyone no matter rather it be a doctor, nurse, mom, dad, or stranger off the street were to do that very thing, after the child had reached full term and been born, they WOULD recieve the death penalty or life in prison!! So I guess what it comes down to is WHY should three months make such a life impacting difference?!!!


Abortion is allowed until 24 weeks or six months after conception. At this point the baby's chances of living outside the womb are about a little over 50/50. And I know from experience that the mother has at least felt her baby kick. Baby's at this stage get hick-ups, and kick, and can hear everything around them!! So who are we to say they don't feel pain.

Also, if it is not considered a "human being", then why is it that a person who commits murder on a female who is pregnant can be charged with 2 counts of murder - one for the woman plus one for the child?


And "Women's Rights" - give me a break! America is taking away all the rights from millions of unborn women!!! What about their rights??? Millions of female doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, politicians, authors...........slaughtered. How would these alleged "women" feel if their mothers had the same attitude about them?! Hmm.. that's right- THEY WOULDN'T BE HERE!

So what about the girls that were rapped or are underage- how about you adopt it out?! There are tons of loving couples out there who can't have kids on their own & are more then willing to love a little baby.

And what about the people that abort their babies simply because they have a cleft lip, or down syndrome. I personally think that is radiculous. God made that baby for a reason, and if anything you should love it more! What if that was you? Mercilessly slaughtered for something you couldn't even help. Don't you think they would apologize for it if they could talk?? Even if it is something beyond their control. That's sad.

COME ON AMERICA- we have got to start caring about someone besides ourselves! ABORTION IS MURDER.


I think for anyone who disagrees- type in "abortion" on google images, look at the pictures & still tell me it isn't a human being. And for those who do agree, look anyway.. it will make it more clear why we fight against it. For everyone, thank you for your time.

AV said...

Here some abortion photos to go along with the other injustices you posted:


http://www.blackgenocide.org/photos.html