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:: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 ::

The Truly Twisted World of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood's "Teenwire" sex-site for kids is sponsoring a poster contest for young folks to "celebrate" 30 years since Roe v. Wade. Here's their introduction to the contest:

It was 30 years ago, on January 22, 1973, that the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, guaranteed a woman's right to choose abortion.... In honor of the Roe anniversary, Planned Parenthood is sponsoring a contest: to celebrate 230 [sic] years of choice in an original piece of artwork or a poster. We hope you'll join our efforts to keep abortion legal and to celebrate the stories of women who have benefited from the Supreme Court decision.
Entrants are instructed to:
Submit an original piece of artwork or poster that celebrates 30 years of choice and illustrates the concept that "Behind Every Choice is a Story."

If you haven't yet read my post called The True Face of "Choice" (and/or the other posts named therein), read it now and ask yourself exactly what Planned Parenthood thinks kids are supposed to be "celebrating." Should kids "celebrate" the fact that women's jobs and schools refuse to cooperate with the needs of pregnant women and mothers? Should kids "celebrate" the fact that many women do not know anyone who will share or give them practical resources, like food, housing, medical and legal services, clothing, baby supplies, etc.? Or should kids "celebrate" that many women's parents, husbands, boyfriends, and/or friends do not provide them any emotional or material support, and in many cases actually ask or expect them to abort? Would Planned Parenthood ever honestly tell the stories of such "choices"? (Would they ever honestly tell the stories of women who have died or suffered serious injuries while procuring legal abortions?) Or perhaps Planned Parenthood is, in the words of my friend Suzanne, coaxing kids to "celebrate" the fact that millions of their classmates, friends, and siblings have been killed by none other than the contest organizer?

But what Suzanne and I find truly ironic are the "terms and conditions" of the contest, which require:

Children under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian's permission to submit their designs and for us to publish it along with their name.
A parental consent form is actually provided. Hello?! Planned Parenthood has been fighting tooth and nail against parental consent laws for years! You have to have mom or dad's permission to submit a poster design to PPFA if you're under 18; but if you kiddies want to undergo an invasive surgical procedure to kill your own children without mentioning it to the padres, no problem?! It's a sick, twisted world, my friends.

Feminists for Life: Changing the Abortion Discussion

Letters to the editor of the University of California at San Diego's Guardian, following Feminists for Life's President Serrin Foster's speech "The Feminist Case Against Abortion", show that the speech is fueling an ever more fruitful discussion of the abortion & pregnancy resources issue:

Editor: I was one of the few men in attendance at a self-proclaimed pro-life feminist presentation Wednesday night, one of even fewer who was without the company of a female. I listened as a well-spoken woman proposed numerous, substantive ideas that would make life better for women, especially those who are pregnant. She explained in great detail how the practice of abortion was abominable to early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The entire presentation was trying to point out that there are many reasons not to have abortions. Not once was criminalizing abortion mentioned either in her speech or in the literature provided. This points to the single biggest misconception of the pro-life movement and the most glaring inconsistency of the feminist movement (which apparently is now inextricably linked to the pro-choice/pro-life debate) as it is manifested today. Not all people who are anti-abortion want abortion criminalized; the reduction in the occurrence of abortions is the goal, or rather it should be. This woman spent an hour detailing programs that would give women more choices than abortion and try to stop the occurrence of abortion by attacking its roots. As soon as the floor opened up for questions, she was lambasted by a campus feminist group for trying to "take away a woman's right to choose." News flash: The only thing not mentioned in her entire presentation was taking away a woman's right to choose. The speaker was criticized for "demonizing the National Organization for Women." Yes, N.O.W. has done a lot for the women's movement, but not every feminist supports all of their litigation-inspiring positions. I would urge any feminist to look into the Independent Women's Forum and see that you don't have to support N.O.W. to be a feminist, and you don't have to have a vagina to be a feminist either -- something I am sure would come as a shock to many so-called open-minded individuals. Why can't the new feminist movement approach this issue without hiding behind fear tactics talking about threatening women's rights? Why not embrace this speaker for trying to promote programs that give women a variety of alternatives to abortion, without infringing on her right to have one? Why can't a movement that preaches against discrimination stop alienating males from an issue that is 50 percent related to them? This approach to abortion of the unified pro-choice/feminist movement alienates many who are supportive of the true feminist ideology: that a woman should have every right that a man has. Has no one stopped to consider that a woman's right to choose to have an abortion is not in danger? It is a constitutional right, meaning no legislation can be passed that infringes on that right. If it were to happen it would be overturned by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional under precedent. What about if President George W. Bush "stacks" the Supreme Court with "conservative" justices, you ask? Would that be anything like the "liberal" court that made the Roe v. Wade decision? Mark my words, the only way abortion becomes illegal is if a constitutional amendment is passed. Can you imagine three-quarters of the states passing that? It's about time people woke up to the reality that the right to choose is not going away, and that people who say it is are simply trying to glean votes from the women's voter bloc. How about pro-choicers and pro-lifers try to stop the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies, thereby keeping as many women as possible from having to make the agonizing decision of whether to exercise their constitutional right to have an abortion? I wonder if abortion were perfectly legal and accessible yet never occurred, whether either side would then be happy. Unfortunately, I doubt it.

-- Evan Rowley
Earl Warren College junior

Editor: Last Wednesday I discovered something remarkable: UCSD students are not as apathetic as they seem. I spent last Wednesday night with a group of students who were deeply passionate about their beliefs and willing to fight for them. The remarkable event I attended was a presentation by Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life. I found Foster's speech to be interesting. However, even more exciting was the fiery question-and-answer session that followed. Let me assure you that everyone in that room was deeply engaged in the dialogue, which ranged in emotion from supportive to enraged. Although the abortion issue deeply and irreparably divided the audience, everyone seemed to agree on one thing: Many of the circumstances that cause women to seek abortions are injustices. Although some women may choose abortion freely, many do not. Some are pressured by a mate or difficult financial circumstances. Others lack the support from their workplace or educational institution that would make going through with the pregnancy a viable option. The lack of autonomy and freedom that such coercion reflects is unfortunate. Many who would disagree with my stance on abortion would agree with me on this: It is simply wrong if women are forced by circumstances to end their pregnancies because their peers did not make help and support available to them. At the end of her speech, Foster proposed that UCSD students bring administrators and community resources together to help such women in a Pregnancy Resource Forum. The forum would organize on-campus resources for women who wish to go through with their pregnancies and also educate them about off-campus resources. No UCSD student should be unjustly forced to choose between having a child and finishing college. We as a community must make more options available to pregnant students and students with children. I hope that for once, members of the anti-abortion and abortion-rights communities can put their differences aside, not because those differences are unimportant, but because together real change on this campus could be enacted. A Pregnancy Resource Forum would not be about abortion-rights or anti-abortion politics; it would be about doing what we could to help those women who want to go through with their pregnancies but cannot without our help and support.

-- Emily Min
UCSD student


Catholics and other people of goodwill should also check out Mike Epstein's great quotes from Archbishop Chaput.
:: John 11/26/2002 10:52:00 PM [+] ::

:: Sunday, November 24, 2002 ::

The True Face of "Choice"

Many of you will remember my posts called "Abortion: Liberation or Capitulation?", "Have an Abortion or Give Up Your Job!", and "Another Woman Pressured Into Abortion". A friend of mine recently emailed me an anonymous article from the 7 July 2002 issue of the New York Times about parents who exerted terrible pressure on their 15 year old daughter to procure an abortion. I have provided excerpts here:

Family Planning
The New York Times July 7, 2002

I learned that my daughter was pregnant. She was 15.... According to the laws of my Bible-belt state, a minor needs her parents' permission to have an abortion, but her parents can't tell her not to have a baby. She thought she wanted to keep it and swore she'd be a good mother. My wife and I --and my oldest daughter-- freaked, and not just because of our dashed aspirations for this girl. We were too old to want to raise another baby -- and we felt sure the raising would fall to us. Of course there was a boy involved, and he hadn't fled. He lives with his grandparents, and they asked us all to come talk. The grandfather lectured the young couple on responsibility. The boy admitted he wasn't ready to be a father. The only person in the room who wanted the baby was my daughter, but in the face of family advice, she decided she couldn't go through with the pregnancy. My wife scheduled her for an abortion.... [During a meeting with a truancy officer] when she [my wife] mentioned the abortion, my daughter started crying.... [After visiting a crisis pregnancy counseler] My daughter was right back on the teenage-mommy track. While the counselor went home thinking she had saved a life, we [my wife and I] felt we had been sentenced to 18 years of hard labor.... As word spread about the pregnancy, other women called offering to tell about their own abortions. My daughter's friends, her sister, her sister's friends all counseled against having the baby, but she wouldn't listen. We decided to stage an intervention. When my daughter came into the living room, there were 15 women waiting for her, including four mothers. They asked me to leave; I listened from the kitchen, and though I couldn't hear anything other than sobs and laughter, I could feel the gravity. But when it was over, she still hadn't decided.... The next week, I took her to a counseling appointment at Planned Parenthood. As I sat in the waiting room, I thought about my own sister, who had a botched abortion before it was legal. She got kicked out of college for nearly bleeding to death in a dorm room. That night when we got home and my wife asked our daughter what she was going to do, she blurted out, ''I don't have a choice.'' ....Ultimately, she [my daughter] did [have the abortion], but she struggled with her decision, and I hope she made the right one.... The author's name has been withheld.

As I've said before, women are not having abortions because they think it will be a fun, fulfilling, or emotionally satisfying experience. Women are having abortions because their jobs and schools refuse to cooperate with the needs of pregnant women and mothers. As you see above, a few threaten to oust pregnant women. Many pregnant women are made to feel quite unwelcome even without the overt threat. Women are having abortions because they do not know anyone who will share or give them practical resources, like food, housing, medical and legal services, clothing, baby supplies, etc. Women are having abortions because their parents, husbands, boyfriends, and/or friends do not provide them any emotional or material support, and in many cases actually ask or expect them to abort. Frederica Mathewes-Green listened to women who had procured abortions to find out their reasons for making that choice. Her conclusion? "No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg."

This is why Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, says "It is time for us to systematically eliminate the coercive factors that drive women to abortion --primarily the lack of practical resources and emotional support. We invite all organizations -- including women's organizations that differ with us on abortion -- to join us. Every woman deserves better. We don't have to settle for less." Since its founding, Feminists for Life of America has been working to do just that: to eliminate the coercive factors which lead pregnant women to believe they have no choice but to abort. Other terrific organizations have compatible goals, like the Nurturing Network, an "extensive employment, medical, educational, counseling and residential network [of volunteers] which enables a mother to continue the life of her unborn child without sacrificing her own hopes and dreams."

As I've said before, if you have not read Frederica Mathewes-Green's Real Choices, you really must if you want to understand why real women have abortions. Then PLEASE start supporting Feminists for Life and the Nurturing Network!
:: John 11/24/2002 04:39:00 PM [+] ::

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