9 Ways to Beat the Patriarchal Christian Right on Abortion
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· They say: Liberals are to blame for abortion. Planned Parenthood is an abortion mill.
· We can say: Obstructing contraceptive knowledge and access causes abortion and unwanted babies. That’s what’s immoral. We have the technology to prevent almost all of the suffering and expense caused by unintended pregnancy, but many women don’t have access to that information or technology because of the twisted moral priorities of religious and cultural conservatives. Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood have done more to prevent abortions in America than all of the choice opponents combined. The no-choice position is anti-life. It kills women. It puts faith over life.
5. Acknowledge and address the powerful mixed feelings surrounding abortion. The most common emotional reaction to abortion is relief. That said, women react physically and emotionally in a variety of ways to terminating a pregnancy. Sometimes, even those who are clear that they have made the best decision feel a surprising intensity of loss. Women should be given the support they need to process whatever their experience may be. We also need to understand that some abortion opponents actively induce guilt and trauma in women who have had abortions.
· They Say: Abortion is psychologically scarring. Women end up haunted by guilt and permanently traumatized after having an abortion.
· We can say: No one should do something that violates her own values. Violating your values is wounding; that is why each woman should be supported in following her own moral, spiritual and life values when making decisions about pregnancy.
6. OWN religious freedom. Religious freedom is for individuals, not institutions. If the women and men who work for religious institutions all perceived the will of God in the same way, their employers wouldn’t be trying to control them by controlling their benefits package. Religious institutions have always tried to override the spiritual freedom of individuals, and they use the arm of the law as a lever whenever they can, and that is what they are doing now.
· They say: Employers shouldn’t be forced to provide contraceptive or abortion coverage.
· We Can Say: The freedom to choose how your employees spend their hard earned benefits and the freedom to choose whether to have a child are two very different things. No institution—and nobody’s boss--should have a say in one of the most personal and sacred decisions we can make: whether to have child. That is why all women, regardless of who they work for, should have access to the full range of contraceptives and reproductive care.
7. Talk about children and parenting, not just women.Responsible and loving parents do what they can to give their kids a good life. We take our kids to doctors, get them the best schooling we can afford, love them up, and pour years of our lives into helping them acquire the skills that will let them be happy, kind, generous, hard-working adults. But parenting starts before we even try to get pregnant. We consider our own education and finances and whether we have the kind of partnership or social support that would help a child to thrive. We may quit smoking or drinking to be as healthy as possible during pregnancy. More often than not, the decision to stop a given pregnancy is a part of this much bigger process of mindful, responsible parenting.
· They say: Abortion is selfish. Women just want to have sex without consequences.
· We can say: A loving mother makes hard decisions to bring her kids the best life possible. A responsible woman takes care of herself. A caring father wants the best life possible for his children. Wise parents know their limits.