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Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIn Life's Dominion, Ronald Dworkin posited that although most people believe that abortion is sometimes justifiable, they also believe it "a kind of cosmic shame when human life at any stage is deliberately extinguished."

Dworkin concluded that "because opinions about abortion rest on differing interpretations of a shared belief in the sanctity of human life, they are themselves essentially religious beliefs" -- which made the banning of abortion an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

But as self-styled political "moderates" decide that some forms of human life count more than others -- and that Christian conservative votes count most of all -- there's plenty of cosmic shame to go around.

Writing at The American Prospect, Scott Lemieux berated the opportunists of the privileged pundit class for claiming that "untethering abortion rights" from Roe v. Wade is a win-win strategy for Democrats. Along with dissecting the just plain wrongness of their reasoning, Lemieux cast disinfecting sunlight on the genesis of their argument.

The fact that commentators making the political case for abandoning Roe never apply the same logic to other issues reflects a general tendency to take women's rights less seriously. ... [P]undits searching for issues on which Democrats can appeal to social conservatives are more likely to cite abortion than, say, church-and-state issues, where the liberal position is far more unpopular and compromises would have far less direct impact on people's lives. Ultimately, to call these contrarian arguments "pro-choice" is a non sequitur. They're only compelling if the value of protecting a woman's right to choose is accorded almost no weight.

Indeed, what is finally most intolerable about the new anti-Roe consensus is just this willingness to throw the rights of others under the bus while patting oneself on the back for making noble compromises.

Such callous disregard for what happens to women -- especially women lacking in social or financial resources -- when abortion is not an option enables anti-choice activists such as South Dakota's Leslee "Nolo Contendere" Unruh, practitioner of an antiabortion strategy that paints stripping women of their constitutional rights as feminism. As reported by Reva Siegel and Sarah Blustain in American Prospect, the nature of woman is defined only by her capacity for reproduction. According to the Report of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion [pdf link], any female who finds childbearing in the service of the state to be untenable is suffering from "clouded judgment" resulting from "an emotional crisis."

Asserting that women are subject to coerced and dangerous abortions, the state prohibited the procedure ... not only to protect the unborn, but to protect women's choices, women's health, and women's welfare -- new justifications that borrow pro-choice language and infuse it with some very old notions about women's roles. Prohibiting abortion, the movement now emphasizes, protects women's health and choices as mothers.
[T]he task force made repeated claims about women's nature. It asserted that women would never freely choose an abortion -- even absent outside pressures -- because doing so would violate "the mother's fundamental natural intrinsic right to a relationship with her child." The task force took as a statement of biological and psychological fact that a mother's connection to her unborn baby was more authentic than her own statement of desire not to be pregnant.
[T]he woman-protective argument against abortion will spread, making ever more commonplace the 19th-century forms of reasoning about women that underwrote the law. Pro-choice pundits who say there's nothing to lose in Roe might think again.

In the wake of a Supreme Court ruling couched in the rhetoric of Operation Outcry, it is alarming to see tolerance of that position from what claims to be the opposition.

On the 33rd anniversary of the Roe decision, William Saletan -- one of those nominally pro-choice pundits assailed by Scott Lemieux -- launched what he called "A War We Can All Support" in the New York Times.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting It's time for the abortion-rights movement to declare war on abortion.
You can tell yourself that the pro-choice majority stayed home in the last election, or that they voted on other issues, or that Democrats botched the debate. But those excuses are getting tired. Sixteen years ago, as the behavior of voters and politicians showed, abortion was clearly a winning issue for you. Now it isn't. You have a problem.
For several decades, abortion-rights advocates have tried to change the subject. The real question, they argued, was who should make the abortion decision, not what that decision should be. With the question put that way, they won. But they never faced the question of abortion's morality. ... When the question is "what" instead of "who" -- morality instead of autonomy -- pro-lifers win.
Abortion is bad, and the ideal number of abortions is zero.
A year ago, Senator Hillary Clinton marked Roe's anniversary by reminding family planning advocates that abortion "represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women." Some people in the audience are reported to have gasped or shaken their heads during her speech. Perhaps they thought she had said too much.

The truth is, she didn't say enough. ... If the pro-choice movement won't lead the way, politicians just might.

Saletan asks, "Isn't that better than anything you heard from John Kerry?"

John Kerry? You mean the man Democrats for Life of America called the "Hitler of the Unborn"?

What I hear is the braying of one more Trojan donkey.

After the publication of his NYT op-ed, Canadian writer Joyce Arthur's email exchange with Saletan ended with his assertion that "it's a grave moral, not just political, mistake to equate [abortion] with birth control, reproductive choice, or women's freedom." But Arthur -- who has forgotten more about both women and abortion since she woke up this morning than Saletan and his pundit buddies will ever know -- calls their capitulation to the notion of "cosmic shame" what it is: the same contempt for women that fuels the Christian right.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWhen it comes to abortion, the politics is separate from the personal. Almost all women who have abortions do so because, essentially, they recognize the necessity of being good mothers, and that having a child (or another child) right now will undermine the welfare of themselves and their existing or future families. That is the true morality behind the abortion decision - the biological imperative to be a good mother - as well as the fundamental need to control one's own body and life (which is not an abstract right, but a sociobiological instinct).

Abortion is inextricably intertwined with pregnancy and motherhood - that is, good mothers will have both babies and abortions. They do so the world over, they always have, and they always will. Half of all women in the world will have at least one abortion in their lifetimes. The abortion experience is part of who we are as women, a fundamental element of our life experience, the means we use to optimize the survival of our families and ourselves. Therefore, labelling abortion as bad is being judgmental against women's very essence. It denigrates our humanity. You are labelling women's behaviour as bad, when in fact it's just women being women. When you say abortion is bad, you're literally saying that women are bad.
Your premise that abortion is bad and should be reduced lacks vision and fails to address the core issue. Which is -- the American people do not trust or respect women as equal players in society, entitled and empowered to make their own decisions around their sexuality, ethics, and lives. ... The root problem behind that lack of trust and respect for women stems mostly from religion and patriarchy.

But as noted last fall by Bob Herbert of the New York Times, the devaluation of women and girls in our society is so all-pervasive that few give it a second thought. Why Aren't We Shocked?

In the recent shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania and a large public high school in Colorado, the killers went out of their way to separate the girls from the boys, and then deliberately attacked only the girls.
In the widespread coverage that followed these crimes, very little was made of the fact that only girls were targeted. Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.

None of that occurred because these were just girls, and we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. ... The disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous treatment of women is so pervasive and so mainstream that it has just about lost its ability to shock.
We're all implicated in this carnage because the relentless violence against women and girls is linked at its core to the wider society's casual willingness to dehumanize women and girls, to see them first and foremost as sexual vessels--objects--and never, ever as the equals of men.

"Once you dehumanize somebody, everything is possible," said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the women's advocacy group Equality Now.

In the Pro-Life Nation of El Salvador, that dehumanization sends women to prison, if they are lucky enough to escape the morgue.

In Argentina, that dehumanization ensures that the primary cause of maternal mortality continues to be complications of illegal abortion.

In Colombia, that dehumanization accounts for 450,000 illegal abortions every year, keeping unsafe abortion a leading cause of maternal mortality.

In Chile, that dehumanization leads to 160,000 illegal abortions each year, in 35% of all pregnancies, and complications of illegal abortion is also a primary cause of maternal mortality.

In Peru, that dehumanization results in 352,000 illegal abortions every year; 40 are carried out every hour, and 1,000 every day.

In Uganda [pdf link], that dehumanization overwhelms hospitals with women suffering complications of illegal abortion -- and annually kills 30,000 girls and women in Africa.

Around the world, that dehumanization of women and girls kills 70,000 of them every year, all dead as a result of illegal abortion.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketCriminalizing abortion has never stopped women in any place, or at any time in history, from having abortions. Now as ever, the politically expedient dehumanization of women kills. And when the Death Pimps of the Christian Right -- or well-manicured political commentators -- condemn safe, professional abortion care, what they are really saying is that that's all right with them.

Only 35 years ago, that same dehumanization killed women right here at home. Dr. William Harrison recently wrote of what he saw at first hand.

Over the next few years, I was exposed to real life as it is lived by millions of people who don't have the sanctification granted in America to those who are white, male, well educated, well gene-ed, well nurtured, well advantaged.
I learned it - really made it a part of my essential being - by seeing the repercussions of desperation walk, and crawl, and be carried through our emergency room door three, four, five times, every night for four years. Each night we would admit to the wards of University Hospital in Little Rock (a fairly small hospital, as metropolitan hospitals go) girls and women with raging fevers, extraordinary uterine and pelvic infections, enormous blood loss, and a multitude of serious injuries of the pelvic and intra-abdominal organs as a result of illegal and self-induced abortions.

Like Dr. Harrison and many of his colleagues, Dr. Harry Jonas remembers what all too many have forgotten -- that "for 25 years prior to Roe v. Wade in my state of Missouri, the most common cause of death in women of childbearing age was death due to infected, illegal, self-induced abortion. Since Roe v. Wade, it's not on the radar screen anymore."

Now an openly anti-abortion Supreme Court and the incremental gutting of Roe’s promise with state-level TRAP laws are bringing our past back into view, although still largely shrouded from public recognition by a fog of "moderate" obfuscation.

This is what needless death once looked like without her shroud. A perfectly nice, everyday woman -- a daughter, a sister, a mother -- dead on the floor of a motel room at 27.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Once more she awaits us, lying quietly beneath the certain moral comfort of cosmic shame.

Title graphic: "Eternal Shame" by Brett Ryabik, from the 2006 National Photo Competition
William Saletan:
Final image: Feminist Majority

Originally posted to moiv on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 05:07 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Moiv, (20+ / 0-)

    you are a really fine thinker and writer in my book.  Not nearly appreciated enough across the blogosphere.

    I read every diary of yours I see, and you put my thoughts into words better than I could do myself without spending countless hours on word-smithing (ah, the German perfectionist that can't put anything but comments our without perfectionism).


    And Thanks for addressing this eternally timely subject, reminding us all that nothing related to liberty and control of our own lives can be taken for granted anymore.  Sheesh, the work ahead of us is so immense and daunting.  Let's get at it!

    "It does not require many words to speak the truth." Chief Joseph - Nez Perce

    by Gabriele Droz on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 05:15:53 PM PDT

  •  Another brilliant arguement.... (13+ / 0-)

    for why I continue to support abortion rights. I rely on folks like you to give greater articulation to my beliefs. Thanks.

  •  "casual willingness to dehumanize women" (12+ / 0-)

    we see it domestically, as well as in foreign policy in terms of the nations we "support".

    Very good diary...recommended.

  •  Until all life IS valued equally (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, william f harrison

    until the lives of the woman and the man, the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, the old and the young, the atheist and the religious, the red and the yellow and the black and the white are all held equal in esteem, there will be abortions.

    And there will murder and rape and robbery.

    And there will be war.

    "We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims." R. Buckminster Fuller

    by scoff0165 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 05:43:58 PM PDT

    •  so abortion is the result of? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharoney, debedb, megaera

      And you are comparing abortion to murder, rape, robbery and war?

      I think you need to re-read Moiv's diary.

    •  Untill we stop this juggernaut (8+ / 0-)

      that is willing to sacrifice women on the altar of political expediency, getting elected, power, greed and misogyny; it will continue.  We can stop it!  Make no mistake, it won't be easy, just as the movement for national protection of abortion wasn't easy but we can do it.  First we must decide if we want to- then we begin to stop this carnage.
      Help us pass the Freedom of Choice Act- this is a major step toward reversing much of the damage already done by states and SCOTUS.
      Thanks again moiv!

    •  even after (12+ / 0-)

      And even after all these lives are held in equal esteem there will still be abortion...

      Abortion decisions are made based on what a woman feels a child deserves, what she feels she needs in order to be a good parent, what resources she has, and whether she has the nonmaterial resources she feels necessary to raise a child (stable relationship, maturity, health, and time and energy left over from the other children she is raising).

      Every woman, given her circumstances, has a number of children that they feel they can raise well.  Children deserve individual time and attention from parents and there is no way that a parent can provide that to 6, 8, 10 children (or whatever number they feel they can handle).

      As long as people care about being good parents, as long as resources are limited in the world, and as long as individuals have limits to how much strength, energy, attention they have-there will still be a need for some abortions.

      (We can lower the number by preventing unintended pregnancies and maximizing resources for families.)

      •  When we come to the point (0+ / 0-)

        where all life is valued equally, I think we will have passed the point where there will be any unplanned pregnancies or any need to terminate a life if there is one.

        "We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims." R. Buckminster Fuller

        by scoff0165 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 06:20:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps, but (7+ / 0-)

          it might be difficult to come to a consensus first on what constitutes "life." After that, maybe the world could move on.

          Unfortunately, science doesn't wait.

          The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

          by vox humana on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 06:28:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  disagree (15+ / 0-)

          There will still be...

          planned pregnancies with anomalies inconsistent with life or associated with extreme disability.

          Pregnancies that are found to medically endanger the life of the woman.

          And even if we created contraception that is almost 100% effective, there will still be some human error.

          And no matter how equal everyone is, there is no way that a person can give each child individual attention that they deserve if they have more than they can handle. For example: I give my two kids everything I have (and I wouldn't have that any other way) and my spouse and I are exceptional parents to them (excuse the immodesty on this). However, there is no way that I could be an excellent parent to six or eight children. At that point, there are too many competing needs of the children and not enough time in a day to do much more than keep them fed, clean, and safe. Every woman has a point in which she can take care of adequately the number of children she has. If faced with a pregnancy when she is at that point--and she feels that continuing a pregnacy will jeopardize her ability to take care of the children she has and loves, she will choose abortion.

          There are many things we can do to reduce the need for abortion and believe me--there is room for improvement in this country--and we should be doing all these things and more. We should be working to  prevent unintended pregancies, protect the health and safety of women and their families, and improve resources for families by: maximizing contraceptive use, accurate sex ed,  education, decent wages and flexible hours for work, contraceptive research, healthcare, prenatal care, abortion care, safe neighborhoods, etc).

          And we can make great progress in improving the health and safety of women and families, reducing unintended pregnancies, etc. However, even as close to a perfect society as I can imagine--I can't imagine how there could be a situation when abortion would never be needed as a best option to a difficult situation.

        •  I had agreed with much you had said (9+ / 0-)

          until now.  There will always be a need for some abortion, and the idea that in some future ideal time there will not be, is pure poppycock.  

          A private gyn office offering full gyn services including abortion care to 18 weeks.

          by william f harrison on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 06:57:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You, a doctor, ought to be able to appreciate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the potential for scientific advance in the next century alone.

            Now think much longer after that.

            If we can reach the point as a species that we can truly value all life equally, IMO, we will be able to find a better solution than destroying the human potential of a life in the womb.

            I am all for a woman's right to choose, and, until we can find an alternative, abortion is often the only just solution to the issue of an unwanted pregnancy. I'd like to think, though, that when (and I believe in when, not if) we have solved the problems of poverty, war and crime, we can find another way to deal with the problem.

            "We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims." R. Buckminster Fuller

            by scoff0165 on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 07:09:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Heaven will never exist on earth (10+ / 0-)

          Sorry to burst your bubble. The real world will always be messy and have many problems and injustices. ALWAYS. Because people live in it and they are human.

          And as long as women continue to have sex, they will need abortions. ALWAYS. Because human psychology and biology are both messy too.

          I'm sorry, but I find your idealism irrational, misguided, and rather pointless.

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -MLK

          by choice joyce on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 07:42:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well said, as usual, CJ (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            A private gyn office offering full gyn services including abortion care to 18 weeks.

            by william f harrison on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 02:27:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And I find your pessimism (0+ / 0-)

            rather disappointing.

            But maybe you're right. Maybe, because people cling to the idea that no such visions will be possible, they'll never happen.

            "We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims." R. Buckminster Fuller

            by scoff0165 on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 04:07:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  what you appear to be doing (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              moiv, irishwitch, choice joyce

              is pushing an anti-abortion view under the cover of wishing for some kind of perfect world that will never exist as long as people keep having sex.

              not convincing.

              •  You are mistaken. (0+ / 0-)

                I am all for a woman's right to choose, and, until we can find an alternative, abortion is often the only just solution to the issue of an unwanted pregnancy.

                Why are people so intent on misunderstanding what I said?

                There is NO ONE more supportive of a woman's right to choose than I am and have been for more than 30 years.

                "We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims." R. Buckminster Fuller

                by scoff0165 on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 05:19:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're not "all for" a woman's right to choose (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  arlene, megaera

                  I am all for a woman's right to choose, and, until we can find an alternative, abortion is often the only just solution to the issue of an unwanted pregnancy.

                  You cannot be "all for" a woman's right to choose, and at the same time, hope for an "alternative." There is no alternative! Once a woman is pregnant, she MUST either give birth or have an abortion. And not even the most ideal world will ever change the fact that a sizable percentage of women will choose abortion.

                  I think that underneath your protestations lurks a strong dislike, possibly even disapproval, of the choice to have an abortion, but wishing it away just ain't gonna work. It's better to understand the reasons why women have abortions, and realize it is generally a good and moral choice that saves their lives and health, frees and empowers them, and supports their families.

                  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -MLK

                  by choice joyce on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 06:23:00 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You understand nothing at all about me, (0+ / 0-)

                    and I really resent the comment you just made. You have taken my statements completely out of the context in which they were made.

                    I was positing a distant future wherein we have the capability to do more than just abort a fetus for whatever reason. A future wherein medicine gives us the capability to repair birth defects in vitro, a future wherein poverty, racism, spousal abuse and the failure of contraception don't drive women to abortions because there will be viable alternatives.

                    If you can't understand that, or if you choose not to see it, I can't help you at all.

                    All of you who have responded to the comments I've made seem to have missed that one important detail about what I was saying. I wasn't talking about tomorrow or the next day. I was trying to look into a future in which the advances of science and the development of humanity have allowed people to value all lives equally. With the attitudes you and others have shown in this diary, I can see I'm speaking to people who don't, and maybe never will, understand the possibilities the future may hold.

                    Now I'm done with this conversation and this diary.

                    "We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims." R. Buckminster Fuller

                    by scoff0165 on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 07:02:52 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I see your point (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      moiv, choice joyce

                      But can't you see that your statement is equivalent to someone who says, "I'm all for people using seatbelts until we have a world where people have personal levitation devices.  There won't be a need for seatbelts then."  

                      While that may very well be true, that ain't gonna happen any time until possibly the far, far distant future.  Why even bring up personal levitation devices in the context of seatbelt discussions?  It's such a futuristic concept that it has no bearing on whether cars today should be equipped with seatbelts and it is a distraction to the discussion.

                      Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                      by sarahnity on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 10:01:45 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  can't you understand the simple concept (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      moiv, choice joyce

                      that a woman might not want to have a baby?

            •  It's called REALISM. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              There will never be a method of birth control that is perfect. I know a woman who got pregnant on the Pill.  Her husband had a vas.  Chances of it reattaching after months had passed were astronomical--but she got pregnant again.  She had her tubes tied, and he had the vas redone.

              There will never be a foolproof method of birth control because the female body is different withe very women--and so many factors are involved that if ONE goes wrong, the method can fail.

              We don't live in a perfect world.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 09:29:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You're unrealistic. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The BEST birth control methods can fail.  It happened to me.  I was on the pill and took it religiously.  I STILL got pregnant.  Fortunately, I miscarried the day before I was scheduled for a pregnancy test--this was in the late 70s when EPT was just a dream.

          Unless you intend to FORCE women to carry to term, there will always be birth control failure and women who do not want to give birth.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 09:26:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As I read with tears (19+ / 0-)

    of returning to the bad old days, I'm back in time to the mid-60's when my friend (wife, mother of 4 and most decent person I've known), decided to end her 5th pregnancy with a screwdriver (aka self-induced) abortion.
    She bled to death, leaving her husband who loved her dearly, a widower; and her children (all under school age), orphans- and she was all alone.  And many of us, her friends, were devastated and still are these many years later.  Its terrifying to see this return and know so many young women will lose their lives because of hypocrisy, politics and outright lying!  How can we bear to return to this?
    "Those who don't learn from history, are doomed to repeat it"- but we learned and now our daughters and granddaughters are at risk!
    We thought with Roe we were safe- but whoever dreamed of the power and imagination of the Religious Right and their supreme hatred of women?  
    We must get the Freedom of Choice Act passed and enforced- please help us!
    Thank you moiv for a powerful and life saving diary- please keep writing.

  •  Thank you, moiv (10+ / 0-)

    An absolutely wonderful -- heartbreaking -- diary.

    1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

    by noweasels on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 06:00:51 PM PDT

  •  thank you (8+ / 0-)


    Thank you for writing yet another outstanding diary!

  •  Another great diary, moiv (8+ / 0-)

    One of my co-workers, a woman with 5 kids, is moving to S Dakota. The kids are all teens and my co-worker is still of reproductive age. The very first thing I did was google Leslie Unruh and the restrictive, paternal, mysogynist laws in South Dakota. My co-worker was shocked; she is from NY and thought she had seen nearly everything. She is angry and ready to tear Leslie Unruh a new one.

    "And tell me how does god choose whose prayers does he refuse?" Tom Waits

    by madaprn on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 06:28:07 PM PDT

  •  If a woman who had an abortion... (8+ / 0-)

    were President.

    Things would be very different.  And better too.

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 06:52:33 PM PDT

  •  Another great diary, moiv. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, moiv, irishwitch, joyful, Readrock

    I almost used the awful picture of Gerry in my small film for medical students.  I am sorry I didn't.  

    A private gyn office offering full gyn services including abortion care to 18 weeks.

    by william f harrison on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 07:03:13 PM PDT

    •  It is hard to know (10+ / 0-)

      how it will be received by a given audience, but medical students could probably handle a little reality.

      Until a year or so ago, I didn't use that image -- not from fear of any reader's reaction, but because I didn't know how Gerri Santoro's family would feel about it.

      But now we know.

      Ms. editors at the time said they were unsure how they had gotten the photo and did not identify Santoro. [Gerri's sister, Leona] Gordon was appalled, traumatized, then glad, she said. "People needed to be shocked into believing that something like this really happens." She said she has marched holding aloft a poster-size version of the photo.

      When Joannie Santoro-Griffin, Santoro's younger daughter, was 17, Gordon told her the truth about her mother. "I really wanted her to be wrong," Santoro-Griffin said. For years, she and her sister kept silent "out of a combination of shame and fear," she said.

      Then, only a couple of weeks ago, she said, she saw the antiabortion posters of dead fetuses.

      "I walked away thinking, 'How do you fight something that nasty?' " she recalled. "Then my mother's image came to mind, and I thought, that's why they did this. I decided I'm not going to be silent anymore."

      Santoro-Griffin arrived in Washington yesterday with her daughter, Tara Bueche, 18. Tomorrow, for the first time, Gerri Santoro's sister, daughter and granddaughter will march together.

      "My sister would be proud," Gordon said.

      The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

      by moiv on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 07:26:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Moiv as I have wondered about this (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharoney, moiv, irishwitch, choice joyce

        I always am concerned about showing respect.  But clearly a way to show respect for the senseless death of one's mother, daughter and sister is to use the death to make a difference for our mothers, daughters and sisters today.

        Thanks for sharing this!

        •  Gerri's daughter (9+ / 0-)

          sometimes writes at Democratic Underground as dancingAlone.

          In 1973 a crime scene photo of my mother’s bloody naked body was made public. Without volunteering my mom became the poster child for the pro-choice movement. The image has circulated throughout the country over the years and is still in use today.

          I have spent the better part of the last 42 years trying to forget something too horrible for my mind to really grasp and in the process I've forgotten to remember - if that makes any sense.

          I have never memorialized my mother. Until a few years ago I could not have told you the date of her death. I don't know that my mother even has a proper headstone. I’ve been to visit her grave only once back when I was around 11 years old. I don't know if this has been a form of denial or if it has more to do with the young age I was when she died but I know I’ve never wanted to face the emotional flood I imagine would take place if I did acknowledge her death in any of these ways.

          The date no longer escapes me even if the courage to speak out about it still usually does. So today, this June 8th, 2006, I want to remember.

          My mother never fought for women's rights. She was not a great feminist leader. The things she did in life did not make headlines. She was just my mom. She put her life on the line for my sister and me, and for herself – and she lost.

          It was in death that she made headlines. It was in death that she became an icon. But it is her life I want to remember - before she was an icon to strangers. She was a hero to me. I miss her more today than yesterday and I am so sorry to have forgotten.

          I love you Mom.

          I will be making a donation to one of the women's organizations in my mother's honor today. I encourage everyone to honor the women they love. Please help keep them safe.

          If you want, you can see the photo here:

          (*warning - graphic* )

          The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

          by moiv on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 07:49:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Please use it Doc to demonstrate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharoney, irishwitch

      the humaness of us all and in memory of all the Gerri's who died from illegal and unsafe abortions.

  •  Another great, powerful diary, moiv... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moiv, joyful, Readrock

    Thank you for your dedication to this issue.  

    Liberty and Justice for All

    by Got a Grip on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 07:05:40 PM PDT

  •  Another truly incredible diary (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you moiv. (And I'm not saying that just because I'm in it!) I admire your writing and research skills so much. But most of all, I admire the way you think and the way you cut through all the bullshit, and lay down truth and reality so eloquently and powerfully. On top of all that, your diaries are often entertaining in a cynically sarcastic way - I love your clever turns of phrase and pointed jabs.

    Thanks for continuning to bring awareness to so many people on this issue, I'm sure it's making an important difference in shifting peoples' perspectives.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -MLK

    by choice joyce on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 07:51:59 PM PDT

    •  Gee, I never thought of it that way before (4+ / 0-)

      On top of all that, your diaries are often entertaining in a cynically sarcastic way - I love your clever turns of phrase and pointed jabs.

      It's just the only way I can avoid the liberal use of profanity. ;-)

      The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

      by moiv on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 08:12:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you suppose that's why us liberals use so much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moiv, irishwitch

        profanity?  Maybe.  I thoght I did because I was once a sailor, and therefor, required to "cuss like a sailor!"  :-)

        A private gyn office offering full gyn services including abortion care to 18 weeks.

        by william f harrison on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 02:33:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  conservatives use it just as much as we do (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moiv, irishwitch

          recall Cheney telling the other senator to go fuck himself.  but conservatives tend to keep it under wraps.

        •  It's because so many things our oppoinents (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moiv, LisaLL

          are truly obscene--the only rational reaction to it is obscenity or profanity  in return.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 09:21:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  took away hyperbole for me (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moiv, irishwitch

            Absolutely, Irishwitch!

            The outrageous things that have been done by this administration have completely taken away my ability to use hyperbole.

            THat's as crazy as putting an anti-choice, anti-contraceptive, anti-evidence doctor in charge of national family planning services!

            That's as bizarre as putting someone found to have no qualifications for work with Arabian horses in charge of FEMA!

            Can you believe they put someone who believes in parental rights of "biblical punishment" even to the point of leaving welts and bruises in charge of CHILD WELFARE!

            Replacing credible scientific experts with unqualified political operatives on EXPERT PANELs!

            I cannot even think of examples that are exaggerations of that and it's left me speechless. Except when I am driven to profanity.

            I cannot even think of examples that are an exaggeration and it's left me speechless:

            •  When your worst nightmares (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              become reality, it's hard to imagine something worse.  We're not QUITE at the Handmaid's Tale YET--but there are people who would like us to be.

              SOMETIMES righteous anger is the only sane response to insanity.  And sometimes rudeness is the only to express your feelings. My MiL is a fuanemntalist who has occasionally beenmoved to reefer to "thsoe dmaend judgmental SOuthern Baptists." As any steel Magnolia worth her hair spray, she can cuss a blue streak when it's warranted (there was an epic exchange iwth soem poor slob form American Express that was almsot as poetically fluent as a DI chewing out a partiularly dumb recruit).

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 08:15:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  VIctorian mentality (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, moiv, LisaLL, choice joyce

    is what the protectionism is all about. Women are too emotionally fragile (and just not smart enough) to make important decisions about our future, like whether or not to have a child. Simply possessing a uterus makes us unfit, because,w ell, our hormones just are icky and make us do horrid female things like cry when we really want to pummel some condescending prick into unconsciousness (yes, guys, we do feel that way, but we've been socialized to cry rather than give in to violent impulses; hmm, maybe you oughtta try it sometimes). We're just unfit for the hard stuff, like tenure as a scence professor or making decisions abotu abortion and birth control.

    the only things I can imagine more demeaning to women than that attitude is stripping women of basic human rights (which the Relgious Right of ALL faiths seeems determined to do, in order to make us silent and submissive and obedient) or doing violence to her because she won't go gently into that good night.

    I don't like Hillary's rhetoric sometimes--but NARAL gives her a 100% pro-choice score, and that says more than her words. If she wins the nomination, she'll be a safe person to have in offense--never cast an anti-abortion vote in her 7 years in office, and msot of her rhetoric is in line witht hat position.

    I get tired of "safe, legal and rare" myself, though I know what she is trying to say--and doing badly at saying.  I think lowering the number of abortions is an admirable goal--but not because it saves a fetus. I would like to see fewer women HAVE to make the choice between carrying to term and abortion--because it's a medical procedure, which always carries a risk (though far less than pregnancy and childbirth).  I'd like to see a wider array of contraceptives (of those currently available, because of my anatomical issues and allergies and a tendency to UITs, I could only use the Pill and condoms--and if I couldn't afford the pil, I'd have ended up with notoriously unreliable condoms,and likely ended up developing a latex allergy) and better methods.I'd like health plans to be forced to cover the cost of birth control.  I'd like to see women have free contraception through universal healthcare--or just free contraception if they don't have health insurance, whatever their income.

    But the facts are clear: the best methods fail, and we're always discovering new reasons why (even a small weight gain can affect the dosage, something that wasn't known when I was taking them) and we need abortion as a backup. The other choice--turning women into incubators on feet through forced pregnancies--is NOT acceptable. Dems need to stand up and say that they will work to reduce the number of abortions while keeping safe, legal, available and affordable.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 09:20:17 AM PDT

  •  Evangelical response to this blog (0+ / 0-)

    In Evangelical Perspective, CollinB wrote a blog in response to this blog. It includes a justification for why anti-choicers take no responsibility for the consequences of their actions. He says:

    First, the "Christian right" is blamed for the deaths of those who kill women with unsafe abortion procedures.  Why?  Because we won't allow "safe" procedures.  The Christian is now morally responsible for the morally reprehensible acts of another person."

    Actually, CollinB, we should all be morally responsible for the very predictable consequences of the policies we support.

    We know the consequences of reproductive health policies.

    1. Maximizing contraceptive use and keeping abortion legal and safe leads to fewer unintended pregnancies, fewer abortions and fewer women dying.
    1. Opposing contraception and making abortion illegal is known to lead to more unintended pregnancies, more abortions and more women dying.

    Ironically, approach number 2 is considered "pro-life".

    Since we know the consequences of these policies, when we support one, we are responsible for the outcomes. If anti-choicers claim not to know the consequences of the policies they support, that is not an acceptable excuse—it is their responsibility to educate themselves. Apparently, they don’t share this sense of accountability.

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