Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Time - The Case for Compromise on Abortion

Andrew Sullivan makes the point, in relation to the Democrats seemingly reactionary turn around on the abortion issue, that pro-lifers are the ones dragging their heels on making abortion rare.
Apparently "the pro-life side is leery. A key part of their coalition is made up of conservative Catholics who oppose any kind of birth-control devices; others are hostile to any adoption rights for gay couples. Still others may fear that if the number of abortions drops significantly, their argument for making it completely illegal may become less salient.
But none of those arguments makes sense on its own terms. If abortion really is the evil that pro-lifers believe it is, they should stop at nothing to reduce its prevalence--now. Is it really better that someone should have an abortion rather than be on the pill? Is it really preferable for an unborn life to be snuffed out than to allow him to have loving gay parents? Those are the questions that pro-choicers should be posing to pro-lifers. Saving human life is the priority. Why are you so reluctant to do it? Call this position the pro-choice, pro-life compromise. If Democrats want to regain credibility on moral issues, it's a great way to start. And if Republicans want to prevent abortions rather than use the issue as a political tool, they can get on board. We have nothing to lose but trauma and pain and politics and death. And we have something far more precious to gain: life itself."

While I thoroughly agree with the sentiment of this article - if we believe we should provide better solutions than abortion, then there is an onus on society to do something about it. It is fantastic that the Democratic party are beginning to accept that if they want to sell themselves as the inclusive, big tent they will have to make room for pro-lifers.
2 points – I don’t think gay adoption is going to affect the abortion rate – women find it incredibly difficult to put their children up for adoption – this could well be something that could be looked at in reducing the abortion rate – open adoption with “letterbox” contact may make this difficult and heart wrenching decision easier to make.
His statement that this is some new pro-choice idea, with the Dems thwarted by Bible-bashing, gay-hating Republicans at every turn is just disingenuous. The pro-life side have been the ones agitating for a reduction in the abortion rate for years - check out the American Feminists for Life or the Caring Foundation for 2 examples of pro-life groups actually doing something about this – with results. Those on the pro-choice side have always stopped at contraception in the strategy for abortion reduction without looking societal attitudes and reactions that lead to the sense of desperation that many women with unplanned pregnancy face. And that’s just not been enough.
Here in the Ireland groups like the Pro Life Campaign have for years and years lobbied for 3rd way in the abortion debate – a focus on reducing the abortion rate. Prof Patricia Casey and Breda O’Brien organised the “5000 too many” conference in UCD and in 2002 the Crisis Pregnancy Agency was set up. Up to now they have been focusing on contraception provision (despite the fact that their own research says only 4% of 18-25 year olds don’t use contraception) hopefully they will soon turn their government funding to the more urgent aspects of achieving a reduction in abortions….
Pro-life feminists have been the lone voices for many years in calling for reductions in the abortion rate – check out these quotes -
"If women must submit to abortion to preserve their lifestyle or career, their economic social status, they are pandering to a system devised and run by men for male convenience. Of all things which are done to women to fit them into a society dominated by men, abortion is the most violent invasion of their physical and psychic integrity. It is a deeper and more destructive assault than rape.... Accepting short-term solutions like abortion only delays the implementation of real reforms like decent maternity and paternity leaves, job protection, high-quality child care, community responsibility for dependent people of all ages, and recognition of the economic contribution of child-minders." - Daphne de Jong
“Abortion is the destruction of human life and energy that does nothing to eradicate the very real underlying problems of women. The pregnant welfare mother begs for decent housing, a decent job and child-care or respect for her child-nurturing work. Instead, she gets directions to the local abortion clinic and is told to take care of 'her problem.' How convenient. Much less time and trouble than teaching her about authentic reproductive freedom and reproductive responsibility. Much cheaper than attending to her real problems: her poverty, her lack of skills, her illiteracy, her loneliness, her bitterness about her entrapment, her self-contempt, her vulnerability. After the abortion these problems will all be there and another one added besides: her guilt." - Cecilia Voss Koch



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