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Onoekeh found this announcement about Catholic anti-Kerry ralliers.  The announcement included an organizer's email address, so I sent a note. (Below the fold)

In college, one of my best friends was head of the campus pro-life group.  Alas, we've lost touch, and I have some pro-life political questions. Could you please help me?

I'm starting with the understanding that the pro-life view is that the result of conception is fully human, and deserving recipient of all state-controlled rights, recognitions, and protections. Therefore, the intentional destruction of a fertilized embryo is identical to murder.

If I've got this right, then:

  • Aren't In-Vitro Fertilization clinics that customarily store and destroy fertilized embryos committing mass-murder?
  • Why do planned parenthood clinics get the visible protests, but not IVF clinics?  Aren't all the embryos equally sacred?
  • Do pro-life groups demand accountability for the countless negligent homocides in the form of spontaneous abortion  resulting from exposure to industrial pollutants?
  • What about spontaneous abortions potentially attributable to  caffeine intake while pregnant?  Is the would-be-mother guilty?
  • What about spontaneous abortions resulting from absent pre-natal care among the 45 million Americans without health insurance?

These are hopefully tough to answer.  
But the larger question, is that from a pro-life (only) perspective it's not clear to me that Bush is the better candidate.

  • Kerry is pro-life (at the beginning of life and at the end), but is against legislating a ban on abortions.
  • Bush is not pro-life, but is anti-abortion. He is not pro-life, since he not only favors the death penalty, but has executed  more prisoners than any other governor or president.
  • Bush has presided over a one-party government (essentially), but has not reduced the number of abortions in the U.S. at all in 4 years (the partial-birth-abortion ban has to have a safety loophole to be Constitutional, and that's the only reason they're done).
  • Kerry is against the "partial-birth-abortion" procedure.
  • Bush, like Kerry, is not against IVF clinics.
  • Bush has favored polluting corporations and reduced government regulations on clean air, water, and food.  A poisonous environment most accutely endangers the unborn.
  • Kerry will protect our environment and the health of all Americans.
  • Under Bush's watch, 5 million more Americans lost their health insurance.  You can bet that included thousands of pregnant women, and a number of spontaneous abortions.
  • Kerry has a plan to increase the number of insured Americans that makes it easier and less costly for businesses to insure their employees by pooling catastrophic coverage nationally.
  • And can any truly pro-life perspective support Bush's disastrous, unwarranted, costly, and tragic choices in Iraq?

In the balance, a pro-life person may favor Bush, but it seems far from clear that such support derives purely from a pro-life perspective.

Just as there are many pro-choice folks in the Republican party, there are many pro-life folks in the Democratic party.  And there are degrees of "pro-life" stances.  At one extreme is the Alan Keyes view - all abortion is wrong, even if the health/life of the mother is at risk, even if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. At the other end, some think it's okay to use abortion as a method of birth-control. Most of us are in-between, and many people who consider themselves pro-life would not take the extreme position of Alan Keyes. And many pro-choice folks abhor the idea of abortion as birth-control.  The extremes are easy to label, but many pro-lifers take more moderate views, still consider themselves pro-life, and are quite happy in the Democratic party, and happily support John Kerry from a pro-life perspective.

I appreciate your thoughts.
Best wishes,

bribri

Originally posted to bribri on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 05:50 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  whaddaya think? (4.00)
    too non-confrontational?

    America began begins with freedom from King George's empire.

    by bribri on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 05:57:09 PM PDT

    •  It may be too long for a quick response (none)
      But I liked it just the same. I thought you addressed some questions that really do need to be asked of the Pro-life community.

      While I understand their opposition to abortion, their sympathy and efforts seem to begin and end with a doctor's actions, while dismissing the complexity of the issue. It certainly isn't good on a protest sign, but they need to be willing to address the broader issues.

  •  Bribri (none)
    (are you a Tica?)
    This is a very good diary. You make the points that drive so many of us nuts! Obviously Bush is exploiting it for the political effects -- he doesn't give a rat's ass about human life, human freedom, or women's health or rights. Thus, a logical approach like yours is worthwhile in defusing the fanaticism surrounding this issue among the theocons.

    A study of zoology and developmental biology is also very useful in making your case. Every animal creates many more possible offspring than actually survive -- it's the way of nature. To attempt to legislate nature away is idiocy.

    •  thanks! (not a Tica) (none)
      actually, ignorant of what a Tica is...

      America began begins with freedom from King George's empire.

      by bribri on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 06:08:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A Tica... (none)
        ... is a Costa Rican gal.  The Bribri are a Costa Rican tribe in the Southeast of Costa Rica.  There probably are also Bribri in Panama.  I assumed you were a lady from the voice in my head as I read your thoughtful diary. Sorry to be presumptuous!
        •  i love learning from kossacks! (none)
          no - bribri is just a nickname given me by my sister - but now I want to visit Costa Rica. I'll let the gender ambiguity remain for a while, since "on the internet, no one knows you're a dog."

          America began begins with freedom from King George's empire.

          by bribri on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 06:29:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do visit Costa Rica (none)
            The sooner the better. Before it gets too Disneyfied. It's so gorgeous, especially out in the areas less traveled. The hiking, diving and kayaking is astounding. And the people are wonderful.  Very enlightened, and more biologists and naturalists per capita than just about anywhere else. Costa Rica got rid of their military in 1947 and have enjoyed peace and increasing prosperity ever since. They have free education and socialized medical care. They have the highest proportion of land in national parks and reserves of any country in the world -- around 30%. Ecotourism is their main moneymaker. Very smart people!
  •  Pro-life? (4.00)
    Tell them that Bush was called "The Texecutioner" as governor of Texas for signing so many execution orders.
  •  What is pro-life? (none)
    I think here agin we have a case of language being stolen from us.  I think your letter is excellent, and I hope you will see it gets a wide readership.  Let us know if you get a response from this person.
  •  The anti-abortion crowd are a bunch of (none)
    bleeding-heart conservative idealists.
  •  Ask them why they're not seamless garment? (4.00)
    speaking here as ex-conservative, but still pro-life, I would point out (depending on how you're engaging them - at what level of detail etc) that under Clinton's administration, abortions went down for the first time. Ask them if they're committed to an empty words-only idealism, or to actually dealing with the roots of the problem? And if so, then they need to figure out why, logically, under a Democratic ("anti-life") president, there were less abortions.

    Ask them how denying people sex education and access to contraception while keeping them in poverty, helps reduce abortion.

    Point out that abortions are not going to magically "go away" if the law is changed, because abortion has been around since as long as written history if not longer, but what will happen is that rich people, like movie star Gary Cooper in the 1940s, will still be able to get them for inconveniently-pregnant girlfriends or daughters.

    But mostly I'd ask them how they reconcile the idea that Bush is "pro-life" with his pro-death-penalty, pro-war, pro-poverty stances.

    If they try to argue "justice" as an excuse for not being "seamless garment" - that is, anti-death penalty, anti-war, anti-poverty - then ask them either a) how it's just to punish the poor and downtrodden more than anyone else, since they're the ones who are harmed most by this "justice," which is unequally applied, and b) how they reconcile it in any case with the Beatitudes? Or the parable of Lazarus and Dives? Or the one about the two servants who owed the king money?

    I made this sheet which can be printed out and handed around, or left in churches, called "Biblical Liberalism," (playing off the idea of "biblical literalism") to help in just such cases. (PDF format.)

    "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

    by bellatrys on Thu Oct 07, 2004 at 07:15:47 PM PDT

  •  Debate question (none)
    I think there will almost certainly be a question on abortion in either the 2nd or 3rd debate, and Kerry will be ready for it.

    But it's going to be tough for him to come up with a good answer.  I agree with Kerry's position - namely, that a woman's right to choose must be protected, but that abortion should be made as rare as possible.  

    Your point about the number of abortions going up in the last four years is excellent - and it will help in reframing the debate.  It's like gun control: Repubs have hammered home the idea that gun violence will occur whether or not gun ownership is restricted by law.

    Dems should likewise emphasize the facts that abortions will happen whether or not the government approves of it.  The best approach is to make it legal and safe, while working to create conditions under which abortions will be as rare as possible.  That means better education, day care and family leave, etc.

  •  Invoke Mary (none)
    Perhaps the cause to take up is that of the Holy Mother.  Should good Catholics take Mary off of AFDC?  Should good Catholics terminate Mary's HUD Section 8 housing voucher?  ...food stamps?  ...Medicaid card?   ...SSI?  Because THAT is what George Bush plans to do.

    It is an American value to care for each other.
    Vote Kerry/Edwards on November 2nd, to bring our soldiers home safely.

    by Daemmern on Mon Oct 11, 2004 at 12:24:13 AM PDT

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