How About the Full Range of Reproductive Rights?

This is an exchange between myself and a local woman who is a well known reproductive rights advocate.  I will label myself as ME, and her as RRA.

ME:  Should the Democratic party and liberal thought continue to support the right to abortion? I have pretty liberal friends, one is in my friend list here, whom I know contribute considerable resources to alternatives to abortion. Should those type of efforts be advertised by “our movement” to the same degree reproductive choice is? Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts.

RRA: Liberals have always supported sex education, contraception, and other such actions to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. I’m not sure what type of efforts you’re referring to, but you’re referring to those crisis pregnancy clinics, I would never support those places. The people who work there lie to women and they really don’t provide all that much help. If the Democratic Party continues to turn its back on abortions rights, I will have to leave the party.

ME: Yes I am aware that those “crisis” places are a sham. I know of people who will financially help a woman carry a pregnancy to term if that is her choice and assist with adoption afterward.

I am concerned about the black and white position of all abortions that could happen, must happen. I have wondered is there a Clintonesque (Bill, that is) third way possible?

I favor that the abortion rights continue to exist. Some people want and need that – it should be their right. But is the Democratic party advanced when we refuse to consider other options that are positive in my view? That is at the heart of my question….

I was hoping you would weigh in. Thank you.

RRA: What would that “third way” be? Policies regarding women and children in this country don’t favor motivating women to have children if they have to consider keeping their jobs and finding childcare. When my kids were young, I had a terrible time finding adequate child care for them, and I was a married, middle-class woman. Here’s what I see–we … Read Morewant women to give birth, but we do nothing to help them in the job of mothering.

I would like to know what specific options the Democratic Party should consider. We already have the Bliue Dogs, who want to get rid of abortion rights. A woman is never half-pregnant, so half measures won’t do.

ME: I have two friends who are serious democratic activists. They both teach on the university level – you may even know one or both. They tell me that they would like to not own the abortion position. They say “we lose people with that position and we get clobbered on the head all the time by the other side because of abortion.”

My counter to that is that the party needs to be the advocate for reproductive choice – the full spectrum of reproductive choice which would include carrying a child to term to then adopt out. Or, having a kid and keeping it – regardless of one’s marital status.

You are correct women are definitely “dis-incentifized” in our culture to reproduce. That should change and we could look to Europe as models to consider. We need more people. Our largest demographic is growing older and we will likely have to depend upon immigrants to take care of our aging population. [I have nothing against immigrants, btw, and I think it is too bad, that I have to stipulate that].

This position of mine is more of a general one at this point and I don’t have figures to consider what kinds of costs we are talking about. Again, Europe may provide some clues on that.

Though you can’t make everyone happy, it does seem like taxpayers are less adverse to social programs if they help children/families.

Thank you for this interesting discussion.

RRA: Your friends don’t have to “own” the abortion position, particularly if they’re men who will never have to have an abortion. I don’t know what their status as university professors has to do with their attitudes on abortion. If they look at people who win elections, they will see that a pro-choice candidates win in most places around the country. … Read MoreNot in Kansas, that’s for sure, but around the country. Obama is pro-choice. He won easily. The majority of Americans are still in favor of abortion rights, even those who consider themsevles “pro-life.”

More people is not what this suffering, polluted earth needs. I used to belong to a group that advocated for zero population growth. I still think that’s a good idea. Eventually, Mother Nature is going to turn on us and wipe us out anyway. We won’t be able to breathe the air or drink the water, what’s left of it.

What most people don’t seem to understand is that the abortion rate remains consistent over time no matter what the laws on abortion are. The only thing that changes is the risk women have to endure if abortion is made illegal. If the Democrats want to turn their backs on abortion rights, then I will turn my backs on the Democrats. I won’t be alone. Pro-choice women, and men, who have consistently supported the Democratic Party will leave it behind. Even now, I don’t send money to national party because I don’t want my money going to anti-choice candidates. So….

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Evidence there is not a unified Liberal position on this complicated subject.  Let’s hear from you bloggers.  What do you think?  If “Read More” messages make it into the final post – ignore them – you are reading the complete post and responses.


Filed under abortion

18 responses to “How About the Full Range of Reproductive Rights?

  1. I thought that both Germany and France gave women pretty significant stipends to carry a child to term. Am I incorrect in that thinking?

  2. While humans are capable of some pretty awful things, I have a hard time buying into the notion of “humans-as-a-planet-earth-disease” model. Anyone else on that subject?

    • Humans are not a “disease” but our way of life is killing the planet. It is true that we need to adjust the way we live, but it is also true that the higher the population, the harder it is for the earth to sustain our way of life (even with adjustments, assuming that all would be willing to make those adjustments) without being destroyed.

      We don’t need a baby boom. I don’t agree with the zero population growth folks either. Life must continue; some babies must be born. A decrease in population growth would be a very good thing.

      • My point is: Yes, we pollute, Yes, we commit genocides and other awful things, but we can stop and maybe in some senses reverse our environmental damage. We are an intelligent life form that CAN make improvements to the planet. We don’t have to continue to damage the planet like some sort of disease.

        I believe this is an empirically supportable position.

  3. I must be pretty radical in my thinking on the abortion issue because more and more I run into people that consider themselves liberal and are uncomfortable supporting a woman’s right to choose. I tend to believe that people have allowed the bullying armies of the right to influence their thinking on this issue.

    A woman’s healthcare is not the same as a man’s. Our reproductive systems give us problems that men’s systems never will. Part of that difference is that our bodies can produce life and it is not always planned or wanted.

    When we get pregnant, it is not some cold, clinical issue. It will have a HUGE affect on the rest of our lives. It will affect us financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically for the rest of our lives. It is not easy to have an abortion, to give a baby up for adoption, to decide to raise a baby alone or even to bring a baby into what you consider to be a healthy relationship. So it is essential that WE have the choice. It is not the choice of anyone else but the pregnant woman to make. Only she can weigh HER options, based upon knowledge that only she has about her financial, emotional, psychological, physical and relationship status (among so many other things).

    The way things are now, the weight of bringing a child into the world falls almost strictly on the shoulders of the woman who decides to do it. Men can walk away, but most women can’t. Even those who want to, who have no business raising children, have a societal pressure to keep their children with them. The financial pressure falls on us, too, even if a man pays his child support. How often is that child support enough for a woman to give her children the things she believes they need? And how often do we watch men hide their income so they can pay as little as possible while we watch our children suffer, go without and miss out on possibilities and opportunities in their lives? Society doesn’t want to help pay, but they want to force you to have and raise children that you can’t afford.

    I can never aptly describe what it feels like to be a mother who doesn’t have the food to feed her children; a mother who has brought children into the world with a man who doesn’t want them; a mother who is losing her home and has no idea where she and her children will go; a mother who is forced to work so many hours in a day and is basically raising her children via telephone; a mother who sees the bright promise in her children’s intellects and can’t afford to send them to schools that will properly educate them; a mother who has to gauge her decision of whether to seek medical treatment for her children on whether it is life-threatening or will cause permanent injury not to seek treatment…the list can go on.

    I have either been in or been close to someone who was in, every single one of these scenarios. There are no words to describe the pain and suffering; you have to have lived it yourself or watched someone you love live it.

    And adoption is not failsafe. What about women who have given their children up so that they could have a better life, only to find out later that they were sexually abused or physically abused or killed by the parents that she trusted? You think she feels no responsiblity in that situation? Why do people think that so many mothers opt to keep children that they really can’t afford to raise? These scenarios DO happen. It’s a part of what every woman has to take into consideration when she is facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

    Women should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to bring children into this world. The responsibility falls unevenly on our shoulders, why should we be limited in our options?

  4. lilacluvr

    I was watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC last night talking to that Catholic Bishop that has told Patrick Kennedy to stop taking communion because of his stance on abortion.

    Chris Matthews asked this Bishop a direct question as to if the Church sees abortion as murder so then should abortion be criminalized. and alot of anti abortion supporters use that word – murder and they also call the doctor a murderer – then what punishment/penalty should there be if the Church wants abortion outlawed.

    This Bishop would never say anything as to what the punishment/penalty should be for the woman or the doctor. This man just kept saying that abortion is morally wrong and needs to stop.

    Then Matthews had Pat Buchanan on and he is a big time Catholic. Matthews asked him the same question – Buchanan sees the doctor as a criminal but not the woman. Buchanan would have the doctor imprisoned for life and let the woman go free.

    So, as Chris Matthews said, has abortion really stopped? If a woman really wants to have an abortion, there are countless ways to do it and there will always be some medical professional willing to do it – so unless the anti abortion side is willing to criminalize having an abortion as the woman’s fault also – then nothing will ever be done about it.

    The ironic part is in all this, Chris Matthews is a big time Catholic also – so why can he see the anti abortion hypocrisy when those on that side of the fence cannot see it themselves?”

    And we all know why they will never make it a criminal act for the woman’s part in the abortion – because too many of their own on their side of the fence will not like it when the men in the anti abortion issue will say ‘lets throw the women in jail for murder alongside the doctor’.

    • lilacluvr

      BTW – I am for the goverment keeping their nose out of our personal business – and pregnancy is a very personal thing.

      But I also believe our government should help its people to live our lives to their fullest. And to give us the means with which to do that – plenty of good-paying jobs, fair tax code and an atmosphere of what is fair – not just wealthy and corporations get all the breaks -and to stop invading countries to start a war just to make a few buddies wealthier.

      But I suspect no Republican would ever sign on to such a litmus test.

      So long as they keep saying ‘abortion is morally wrong’ but are not really wanting to do anything about it (and the Republicans had their chance to overturn Roe v Wade and never did anything about it) – then I think the abortion issue will rage on and on until the end of time.

      And, at the end of the day, has abortion really been stopped just because a law has been passed outlawing it? Just look at history for that answer.

      As for the anti abortion supporters – I don’t think they care about the result of their actions. They only want to feel sanctimonius and self-righteous. Maybe they are truly believe they will receive that gold crown when they get to help God hand out that judgment on Judgment Day?

  5. tosmarttobegop

    One of my fault is that I try as often as I can to separate the emotional from the logical.
    (see me form a “V” with my fingers huh? )

    The day I saw a bill board with the picture of a happy, healthy baby and the statement about abortion ends this! It did cause me to think about it more, until then I was unthinking pro-choice.

    I am still pro-choice but it is for the logical reasoning of population and economics.
    It is a valid point, to bring a child into the world and have three strikes against them from the beginning is a danger. If a mother has to work three jobs to support the child, when can she be a mother and parent?

    If a child is forced to grow up and live in a home that is nothing more than a hut on the back streets of the inner city. And believe me with a best friend who grew up in a family of a single parent who could not work and seven kids. I have seen those huts and back streets. Most people have better houses for the dog in the yard!

    I could go on as to the logical reasoning’s why abortion is a logical conclusion.
    But I also do not dismiss it as it is simply expelling of cells and blobs.
    If left alone it is still a human life, the same as anything that has the ingredients that is need to grow and develop will end in it’s intended result.

    A simple formula: you take the rate of abortion last year, you subtract the rate of natural abortion including from conception through the last month. The remainder is then the number of children that will need a home and parenting. subtract from that the number of mothers who will want to keep the child once born. The remainder is then the number of children that will need to be adopted. Now take into account how many child-less and willing adoptive parents there will be. This is for one year, now the following year the cycle starts all over again. But as the number of willing adopters drops the number of children who are not wanted will grow.

    We have a illogical view of sex and its results, either through religion and sociality morals. When a parent looks at that twelve/thirteen years old, they do not see a sexual being they see that four years old that climbs into their bed during a thunder storm.
    Be that child a boy or a girl, the viewing causes a shortcoming in the teaching about what can be a dangerous and life altering action. I worked at a Middle school believe me the kids do not see themselves as a four y.o. They do not understand even why they want to get naked with the opposite sex or even their own in some cases. But they still do and think themselves as not normal or “cool” if they do not.

    But if this is not being addressed and accepted then the end result is a mistake and long held feeling of they did a horror-able wrong. I in a sense lucked out, my daughter was 19 when she became pregnant. At the same time my neighbor got the same news of their 15 y.o.

    • ” I saw a bill board with the picture of a happy, healthy baby and the statement about abortion ends this! ”

      I can understand why this would have an emotional impact on you. Yet, try picturing instead of a happy, healthy baby, one of those crying, starving babies with the big eyes and distended bellies–abortion ends this, too.

      That blob of cells argument does not consider the fact that not every collection of cells becomes a viable fetus.

      Despite what it may sound like, I am not a big fan of abortion. I have my own moral dilemna about it, but I figure that is between me and God and nobody else’s business, anyway. However, I am tired of the false arguments, the twisted logic and the self-righteous religious crap that passes for an argument against allowing a woman the choice. Despite what they would have you believe, it is no easy choice.

      Yes, I believe that children should be taught about their bodies, comprehensive sex education that includes all options.

      I believe that women should be supported in whatever choice they make everytime they are pregnant. I have been to those crisis pregnancy centers and seen the judgment. I have been to planned parenthood and seen the judgment. Women need support, not judgment. They need options, not to be told what is best for them or the child they are carrying. That’s all I am saying.

  6. lilacluvr

    When sex education started in the schools, I thought that was great – except there was nothing really being discussed about the consequences of having sex.

    When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, parents took the responsibility of teaching their kids the facts of life. Some of those kids learned it from their friends, but we were all exposed to the facts.

    But back in my childhood, I remember a different society. I am talking about the divorce rate was low. Most families had the father working and the mother at home. The most radical thing was when one of the mothers went to work.

    And each man had the opportunity at a good paying job that paid him enough to keep his family eating, a roof over their heads and even health care.

    So what happened? Social Conservative Republicans like to put the entire blame onto the birth control pill, women’s lib and those damn hippies yelling for peace.

    But was that really the blame? Or could it be partly due to the corporations getting greedier for their profits at all costs or the tax code being unfair towards middle class or the fact that these mega churches were starting to pop up in our cities and towns?

    I remember going to a small Baptist church (before I attended the Evangelical Baptist church/college) and this small church had loving, caring people that treated each and every person with dignity. And what Hillary Clinton tried to say in her book about it taking a village….well, that was what this small church believed in and followed through in their actions.

    I don’t remember any family going hungry. If a man lost his job, then people helped him until he got back on his feet.

    And I have to wonder – with all these mega churches around the place with their fancy buildings, fancy golden crosses, fancy cars for their preachers – exactly what do they do for the community when people are truly hurting?

    From where I sit, these Evangelicals like to preach to others but they sure don’t live what they preach. After all, when the C Street Family tells their members that God wants them to be wealthy and in positions of power – then perhaps these churches have changed the message from God?

    • From what I have seen, I can see a causal relationship for the reason why the churches are embracing this prosperity gospel more and more. Churches are set up as tax free, non-profit institutions but are increasingly being run as for-profit businesses. They do have to be careful not to step over the line, so they have special rules to follow regarding who can inject capital into these businesses. More and more, churches are turning to their members to invest in private equity-type investment companies (non-profit, of course, which just means they don’t have to pay a profit and a small percentage needs to go toward some specific service or fund), IRA-type accounts, etc. They really have to be careful about soliciting capital for these investment instruments from outside sources because of the rules restricting commerce by a non-profit.

      So, why not preach a gospel where God wants you to be wealthy, and then hit your congregants up for the funds to make you all wealthy? That’s what these churches are all about now–making money.

      • lilacluvr

        And that is what bothers me is that it’s all about money.

        Too many of these mega churches want to rant and protest against that evil government but yet when it comes to the benefits that evil government gives them – then that evil monster is not so evil, is it?

        Hypocrisy is rampant in these mega churches.

        And being wealthy to me means more than just money.

        I guess I see and value things different than most of these Evangelicals today. If me and family have enough to eat, a nice house to live in, money in the bank and our health, then I consider myself a successful and rich person.

        Maybe that is my trouble? Wealthy and rich are two different states of mind?

  7. lilacluvr

    BTW – when I say ‘money in the bank’ – I am not talking alot of money. Enough money to pay my bills and help my family and friends if they need it.

    The number of dollars in your bank account does not determine a person’s value or worth.

    I’ve known wealthy people who could help alot of people and they are so busy counting every penny and wanting more – that they lose the very reason for living.

    I’ve known poor people who would give their last piece of bread if someone worse off than they needed it.

    Where is that message in all those golden crosses and fake sermons coming from the majority of those

    • lilacluvr

      lost last part of thought – where is that message from the majority of those mega churches?

      When these Evangelical Social Conservative Republicans rant about the decline in our society’s morals – I just want to hold up a mirror and say – look for yourself.

      • “When these Evangelical Social Conservative Republicans rant about the decline in our society’s morals – I just want to hold up a mirror and say – look for yourself.”


        Have you ever had a conversation with someone who goes to one of the churches that preaches the “prosperity gospel”? It’s like talking to a brick wall! Quote a new testament bible verse, in reply you will get a bible verse that barely pertains to the topic. They have twisted things so surreally (is THAT a word??) that they have become the poster children for the following phrase: “People choose to believe what they want to believe.”

        Maybe they should call it the “convenience gospel” or the “rationalizing gospel”?