Today is Blog for Choice Day 2013. The topic for this year is “Why are you pro–choice?”
I am pro–choice because reproductive freedom is an essential prerequisite for women’s rights. Societies where abortion is illegal are among the worst places to be a woman. Societies where opponents of abortion and reproductive freedom get their laws kill women. Reproductive freedom saves lives. Reproductive freedom is one of the most powerful ways to lift women out of poverty.
And with today being the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the need for reproductive freedom is more essential than ever. Recent times have seen record numbers of attempts in the US at chipping away at reproductive rights.
Blog for Choice mini-roundup:
Anti–choice policies claim another victim:
Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.
This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
Anti–woman policies killed a woman. Thank a pro–lifer today.
Via RH Reality Check, DAMMIT JANET!, and a lot of other places.
I first saw this video from the Guttmacher Institute at ThinkProgress. It shows how each year, around 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions.
If all those anti–choicers truly cared about reducing the abortion rate and saving lives, they’d be pushing birth control endlessly. But since they don’t, it’s obvious that the abortion debate isn’t really about abortion. Rather, it’s about controlling women and punishing them for having sex.
A report (via some blog whose link I’ve lost) indicates that the pregnancy rate among American women in their 20s has dropped by almost a fifth compared to eighteen years ago. The reason? Better birth control and contraception access. This is of course yet more confirmation of a blatantly obvious truth.
Of course, anti–choicers will continue their opposition to contraception because the abortion debate isn’t really about abortion.
John Cole has written a brilliant post about the negative influence of fundamentalism and conservative Christianity on US society (via). An excerpt (links removed):
But from where I stand these days, the only thing I see religion doing in the public sector is gay bashing and telling women, mostly poor and desperate and in deplorable financial and personal situations, what to do with their bodies. I see busybodies deciding what drugs they can dispense to which customers, or deciding that they don’t have to issue a marriage license because of some petty deity that I don’t believe in told them to hate their fellow citizens and ignore the law. In a country in dire financial straits but still spending billions and billions of dollars on education, I see religious folks actively and openly working to make our schoolkids dumber. I see them shooting people who provided a medical procedure, and I see others rummaging through people’s personal lives to find out who hasn’t lived up the word of God. I see glassy-eyed fools running for President claiming that vaccines that save lives actually cause cancer, or that if you get raped and are pregnant, you should just lie back and think of Jeebus and make the best of a bad situation. In fact, everywhere you look these days, if Christianity or religion is getting a mention, it means something ugly is happening and someone somewhere is being victimized, marginalized, or otherwise abused. Go read some of the arguments against integration and you’ll see the same bible verses used today against homosexuals. Fifty years from now, they’ll be recycling them again to trash someone else they don’t like or who isn’t good enough for them.
Read the rest of it.
Today is NARAL Pro–Choice America’s annual Blog for Choice Day. This year’s question is “What will I do to help elect pro–choice candidates in 2012”?
Well, strictly speaking, since I’m Canadian I can’t vote in any US election. If there happens to be a by–election here, I’d easily vote for the pro–choice candidate, even though it likely wouldn’t make much of a difference (I live in a safe Conservative seat). The only influence I really have on the US election is indirect, via convincing others to vote in favour of reproductive freedom.
My best option would be to continue doing what I am already doing. Arguing in favour of reproductive rights, such as by showing why it is moral, why the faux–life movement is not really anti–abortion, and so on. It is hard to convince someone as closed–minded as an anti–choicer. After all, they generally really are fighting a war on women. The best way would be to convince those who have been misled into supporting
abstinence ignorance–only sex education, pharmacy refusal clauses, and so on. I hope those are simply not as vocal as the misogynists, and are instead a quiet sheep–like majority. But the real misogynists are by far the most vocal. Update: To clarify and provide more info, the point is to show that the politicians who make the biggest issue about abortion are the ones most likely to be causing abortions due to those people’s opposition to reproductive freedom. Convincing those who aren’t against sex education, birth control, and so on is the point, although it is still far better to convince those people to become pro–choice and I will of course attempt that.
My biggest fear is somehow not doing enough. Allowing reproductive rights to be eroded around the edges (this covers more than just abortion) to be rendered so that it still nominally exists while being made impossible to utilize is, in practical terms, no different from not having that right in the first place.
The Arbourist’s latest post covers the issue of sex–selective abortions. Now, unlike over there, I’ve never had any sort of anti–choice misogynist come over and blather on with empty words and talking points. However, I am fully aware of how this is used as an argument against abortion. Such an argument goes something like this:
“You support abortion. Therefore, you support sex–selective abortion.” Put into good form (all premises and sub–arguments explicitly stated) it goes as follows:
- P1: You support abortion rights
- p2: If you support the right to do something, you support people exercising that regardless of their reasons for doing so.
- P3: Some people use the right to an abortion for reasons of sex selection.
- C: Therefore, you support sex–selective abortions.
Now, this argument is valid, which is a technical term meaning that (1) it is impossible for all of the premises to be simultaneously true; and (2) that it is impossible for the conclusion to also be false. Clearly, however, this argument is unsound, as I would like to think most people clearly see that premise 2 is false. It is obvious that supporting the right to do something does not require you to support all possible rationales for exercising that. To rational people, that is obvious.
However, because of the way they use the argument this post is about, anti–choicers are required to believe that premise 2 is true (this is the charitable interpretation; the uncharitable [and likely true, IMO] is that they are being dishonest. [If they believed the premise to be false, well then they’d clearly see how their argument is unsound and therefore would never use it if they were honest.
I will now grant for the sake of argument that premise 2 is true, and will show how accepting its truth leads to an absurd conclusion.