Quotes from a man who teaches prolifers to argue with prochoicers using the language of human rights.
Josh Brahm: We’re asking pro-choice people if they agree that all human adults have an equal right to life.
A publicly claimed motivation for shutting down the US government for over a fortnight was to “stop Obamacare”. And a very public reason why many conservatives say they oppose the Affordable Care Act is that ACA / Obamacare requires that all health insurance policies must now cover all female contraception with no co-pay.
This is objectionable to religious conservatives who think it’s wrong women should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use contraception: because to a conservative Christian, sex exists in two boxes, Good Sex, which is heterosexual intercourse in marriage, couple open to having children. Anything else is Bad Sex. Although nothing prevents abortions better than women having free access to contraception, to the religious conservative abortion and contraception are linked because both mean that a woman – even a married woman – is having Bad Sex according to their definition: she is a slut.
One of these things is not like the others? After all, Thatcher’s sole political merit was that she was pro-choice. Let me explain.
Ding Dong the Wicked Old Witch is a jolly song. As Angry Women of Liverpool note in their feminist analysis of how to discuss Thatcher’s death “there are so few songs you can sing joyfully about the death of somebody thoroughly deserving”:
Tough one. The history of witch persecution is fraught with the very foundations of modern capitalist and patriarchal oppression, as anybody who’s read Silvia Federici knows. But there are so few songs you can sing joyfully about the death of somebody thoroughly deserving.
You want a proper argument in defence? Give me a minute. Continue reading
Yesterday in Ireland 25,000 people [or 15,000] gathered to support the important ethical principle that when a woman in Ireland needs an abortion, she should have to go overseas. (Rumours that Ryanair was one of the major donors to “Vigil4Life” unconfirmed.)
This well-funded “vigil” was in response to the Irish government’s announcement that they would legislate for legal abortion in Ireland where the woman would otherwise die. Savita Halappanavar’s parents have said they would welcome the law that would have saved their daughter’s life to be named after her.
The prolifers in Dublin were so confident of the ethical case for outsourcing all abortions overseas at the patient’s expense that they did not stoop to lying about it:
Seven thoughts about abortion:
- All prolifers I’ve ever discussed abortion with, live in countries where women have access to safe legal abortion.
- No prolifer who’s ever given me their views on abortion has had any informed views on what would happen if women in their country no longer had access to safe legal abortion.
- The best person to judge if an abortion is necessary is almost invariably the woman who is pregnant.
- In the rare exceptions to point three, the better judges of whether an abortion is necessary have medical training and are medically responsible for the health and wellbeing of the pregnant woman as their patient.
- No woman who knew she needed an abortion ever refused to have what she needed.
- No man who cared for a woman ever wanted her to be hurt or die doing without what she needed.
- Prolife arguments for making abortion illegal are never about preventing abortions: only about making abortions more difficult, expensive, and dangerous.
Abortion was decriminalised in England, Scotland, and Wales in 1967. No one much younger than sixty can have direct personal memories of what it was like to live in a country where the law said that unless a girl or a woman was going to die when she was forced to have the baby.
Things that will happen in 2013:
In June 2012, Cardinal Brady – who in 1975 had let a child abuser loose to prey on further victims – publicly if not very personally apologised:
Cardinal Sean Brady has said it is “a matter of deep shame” that the Catholic Church did not always respond properly to victims of child abuse.
The Catholic primate of all Ireland was delivering a homily at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
He said he wanted to ask for the forgiveness of abuse victims.
He said the church had “first betrayed their trust and then failed to respond adequately to their pain”.
A few years ago, when I was on holiday in Belgium, I spent hours in churches. (The friend I travelled with, who hadn’t voluntarily been in a church in decades, and who knew I am an atheist, was worried I would catch Christianity.) What I wanted to see was the paintings. The invention of oil paint meant Lowlands painters could create pictures so finely detailed it is possible to see the weave in the carpet and the stitches in the embroidered clothing: pictures from five or six hundred years ago that glow from the canvas.
And over and over again, pictures of Mary. Mary as a baby, with Anna her mother: Anna and Joachim, Mary’s father, together: Mary saying “Fiat” to the angel: Mary as a young woman, as a mother with a preposterously large infant on her knee, Mary being carried into heaven by a troop of angels on her death. Mary is supposed to have been conceived on 8th December, and on that date in 2009, The US Senate rejected by a narrow margin an amendment proposed by Senators Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that was intended to modify “Obamacare” so that any private insurance company that got federal funding for Obamacare insurance, couldn’t offer health insurance plans that included abortion.
Few things annoy me more than a person who has never been in a difficult situation claiming that they know what they would do if they were. Examples: a person who has never experienced real poverty claiming that they know they would manage their money better than those wastrels on the dole; a person who has never been tortured bragging that they would never betray their side no matter what; a person who has never been under fire/in a war zone declaring that they wouldn’t experience post-traumatic stress disorder; a person who has never needed an abortion claiming they’d never have an abortion no matter what their need.
We know that whether a woman identifies herself as prolife or anti-abortion, and whatever the rules of her faith or her claimed principles, when women need abortions women have abortions if they possibly can. Making abortion illegal or expensive, the goal of the prolife movement, does nothing to prevent abortions: the only thing that’s shown to be effective in preventing abortions is free access to contraception, with strong encouragement to use it. Universal access to contraception is never a goal of the prolife movement: indeed, prolifers tend to be found on the side of pharmacists who don’t want to provide women with contraception.
Yesterday was the International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which begins the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign worldwide.
At 4pm today outside the Irish consulate in Edinburgh, about fifty people came to stand vigil for Savita Halappanavar, to sign Diwali cards for Enda Kenny and James Reilly.
This week Savita should have been celebrating Diwali with her family and with the Indian community in Galway. She and her husband should have been together, mourning the loss of her first pregnancy.
If they had chosen almost anywhere but Ireland to settle and have children, she would have been alive.
As far as I can see, there are two prolife trends in response to Savita Halappanavar’s death in hospital, denied an abortion.
One reaction is to argue that she would have died anyway, so an abortion wasn’t necessary as it never is no matter what.
For example, SPUC dehumanises Savita as the foetus’s “protection” and argues that the hospital were right not to perform an abortion:
“It is not ethical to induce delivery of an unborn child if there is no prospect of the child surviving outside the womb. At 17 weeks’ pregnancy Mrs Halappanavar’s child was clearly not viable outside the womb, as there is no scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of surviving outside the womb at such a young age. Rather than removing the protection of the womb from unborn children, the ethical response to emergency situations in pregnancy is medical treatment of the mother for the conditions causing the emergency. In the case of infection, this is usually timely administration of antibiotics. It is also not ethical to end the life of an unborn child, via induction or any other means, where the child is terminally-ill.”
The other is to argue that there was medical incompetence because of course she could have received “all necessary medical treatment” to save her life: the familiar prolife distinction that makes some abortions, in their mind, not really abortions.
(Meantime, the prochoice majority is simply outraged. But that’s the human response.)
It is worth noting that had Savita Halappanavar got an abortion on 21st October and been home in time to celebrate Diwali with her husband, if similar publicity had been given to her getting an abortion in an Irish hospital as has been given to her death as a result of being denied an abortion, we would now be seeing from both sets of prolifers a universal outcry against her having been “allowed” to have an abortion: and any Catholics who performed or who assisted in her abortion would be excommunicated.