Abortion

A past pro-lifer reflects on the pro-life movement.

I realize that there are likely some readers who are pro-life, and this post is in no way meant to be an attack, by me, on your perspective. Yes, it's about someone who left the pro-life movement, and yes, she dismantles many of the arguments made by those who are pro-life. But for those who are pro-life, her post is still worth a read, as it will help you better understand what can be done if the end goal is to reduce abortions rates.

By Libby Anne, of Love, Joy, Feminism:

How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement

The spring of my sophomore year of college I was president of my university’s Students for Life chapter. The fall of my junior year of college I cut my ties with the pro-life movement. Five years later I have lost the last shred of faith I had in that movement. This is my story.

I was raised in the sort of evangelical family where abortion is the number one political issue. I grew up believing that abortion was murder, and when I stopped identifying as pro-life I initially still believed that. Why, then, did I stop identifying as pro-life? Quite simply, I learned that increasing contraceptive use, not banning abortion, was the key to decreasing the number of abortions. Given that the pro-life movement focuses on banning abortion and is generally opposed advocating greater contraceptive use, I knew that I no longer fit. I also knew that my biggest allies in decreasing the number of abortions were those who supported increased birth control use – in other words, pro-choice progressives. And so I stopped calling myself pro-life.

My views on fetal personhood and women’s bodily autonomy have shifted since that day, but when I first started blogging a year and a half ago I was nevertheless very insistent that the pro-life movement should be taken at its word when it came to rhetoric about saving “unborn babies” from being “murdered.” I insisted that the pro-life movement wasn’t anti-woman or anti-sex, and that those who opposed abortion genuinely believed that a zygote/embryo/fetus was a person with rights in need of protection just like any other person. I believed that the pro-life movement’s actions were counterproductive, but that they were merely misinformed. I wrote a post with practical suggestions for opponents of abortion. I believed that the pro-life movement was genuine in its goals, but simply ignorant about how its goals might best be obtained.

I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong.

As a child, teen, and college student, I sincerely believed that personhood, life, rights, and the soul all began at fertilization. I was honestly opposed to abortion because I believed it was murder. It had nothing to do with being anti-woman or anti-sex. I thought that the pro-life movement writ large – the major pro-life organizations, leaders, and politicians – were similarly genuine. I thought that they, like myself, simply wanted to “save the lives of unborn babies.”

I have come to the conclusion that I was a dupe.

What I want to share here is how I came to this realization. And if you, reader, are one of those who opposes abortion because you believe it is murder and you want to save the lives of unborn babies, well, I hope to persuade you that the pro-life movement is not actually your ally in this, that you have been misled, and that you would be more effective in decreasing the number of abortions that occur if you were to side with pro-choice progressives. If this is you, please hear me out before shaking your head.

Read the rest here.

And the follow-up to the criticisms and questions here.

Dubious sex education program suspended in Surrey.

From CTV, via Options for Sexual Health:

Volunteers at a Surrey Christian charity are warning women about risks of abortion that may be common in back-alley operations but are rare in modern Canadian clinics, a CTV News hidden camera investigation has revealed.

Warnings of catastrophically scarred uteruses that would leave a woman infertile are not realistic in a legal abortion, doctors say, but that was one of the risks discussed with a volunteer counsellor at the South Fraser Pregnancy Options Centre.

"Thankfully that's a rare condition in Canada in modern times," medical ethicist Dr. Dan Reilly told CTV News in an interview where the footage was discussed. "It's something you would see more in a place where abortions are being done not in a medical setting."

The Crisis Pregnancy Centre in Vancouver and the Surrey Pregnancy Options Centre in Surrey are both affiliated with the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services, which operates about 80 such centres in Canada, serving an estimated 6,800 people a year.

But some providers of sexual health services have expressed concerns that these centres aren't giving women the full story.

To learn more about the advice offered by the charity, CTV News sent staff member Sheila with a hidden camera to the Christian group's centres in B.C.'s two biggest cities to pose as a pregnant woman in her first trimester with some questions.

During her two visits, Sheila heard that abortion is associated with risks ranging from breast cancer to depression to fetal body parts forgotten inside the womb.

Read the rest of the article here.

You can watch the CTV hidden camera investigation here: part 1 - part 2.

The program has since been suspended. Read about it here.

4 Months, 3 Weeks 2 Days.

Passed along by Setareh (thanks!):

Director Cristian Mungiu's drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days unfolds in Romania in the late '80s, during the last waning days of Communist rule. Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu play, respectively, Otilia and Gabita, two female friends and students who share a Bucharest flat. They soon find themselves saddled with an overwhelming problem: Gabita is expecting. With abortion illegal in Romania at that time, the women seek an illicit termination at the hands of one Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) in a seedy Romanian hotel -- but Bebe refuses to accept money in return for his services and demands a certain "alternate" commodity instead.

The movie won countless awards and overwhelming critical acclaim. The issue of abortion, and its legal status, is an important part of the movie, but as the director has noted, the movie tries to avoid taking taking a side in the debate.

You can find reviews of it here.

The trailer: 

Abortion protection laws on the chopping block.

Sent to me last week by Maggie to post on the blog (thanks!):

Mississippi might be the first US state to rule abortions ILLEGAL! The Personhood Amendment would make it a crime to abort any child as soon as the embryo begins to divide (or something to that degree) and even though the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of abortion, it is still so scary that there could be a precedent so close to Canada. Certain forms of birth control might also become illegal! Like certain pills or Morning After. This is also in complete disregard to rape and incest.

This an extremely scary prospect, and represents a trend that's sweeping conservative parts of the states. As noted in a previous post, Mitt Romney, who'll probably be the Republican nomination for next year's American election, supports this sort of legislation. The man pictured above is Les Riley, the sponsor of the bill.

The vote on the amendment will happen tomorrow. Keep posted for the results.

To read more about the amendment, and the sort of unintended nasty consequences it would have, read the following links: here, here and here.