#316 Trapped!, Referendums, Reproductive Justice - June 24, 2016
Education Opportunity: Trapped! With pro-lifers primarily portrayed as white men with the motivation of imposing religion, and abortion staff presented sympathetically, the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) recently aired a “documentary” that amounts to a propaganda piece for one side of the debate over abortion clinic regulations. Many online comments are reinforcing the stereotype. We encourage people to offer more reasoned and balanced comments, and to ask PBS for the sake of fairness to show a documentary that portrays pro-life sentiment more fairly, such as the documentary called "40" (which we’ve mentioned before and recommended as a balance before).
News on November U.S. State Referenda on Any One of Our Issues Three states so far will be voting on the death penalty. In California, repealing the death penalty just qualified for the ballot. Another death penalty vote will be to retain the legislature’s abolition of the death penalty in Nebraska (for abolition, vote “retain” instead of “repeal”). Yet another is to actually affirm the already-existing death penalty in Oklahoma (those opposed to the death penalty vote “no”). A California petition drive for parental notification for minors seeking abortions did not make the ballot this year. Apparently, a legislature-mandated ballot measure to legalize euthanasia / assisted suicide in Colorado isn’t passing either, but that’s not yet entirely settled.
Signaling the importance she gives abortion availability Hillary Clinton recently gave a speech to Planned Parenthood touting “reproductive justice.” Expanding beyond abortion access, this concept includes the rights of women to control of their own sex lives without pressure, and for economic supports for new mothers. She especially highlighted paid Family and Medical Leave. An earlier unpaid version of such leave was lobbied for by Feminists for Life and other groups in our network; Henry Hyde gave a speech in favor of it using pro-life reasoning. While the consistent life ethic focuses its issue connections on killing, connecting issues by using a common theme of women’s rights and needs can also be a good way of making connections— but only without abortion in the mix. Killing babies isn’t justice to anyone, certainly not to the baby’s mother. Setting things up so that abortion wouldn’t even be a temptation – that would be true reproductive justice. Furthermore, abortion interferes with all the rest of reproductive justice. Abortion defender Katie Roiphel, fearing the idea that requiring fathers to start providing support during pregnancy would define them as fathers and therefore fetuses as children, commented in Slate (July 10, 2012), “The interests of protecting expectant mothers does not necessarily coincide with the interest of protecting abortion rights.” Only if doing abortions is taken out of the set of issues can “reproductive justice” be a coherent concept. The right to avoid abortions is what most clearly belongs there.
Quotation of the Week Senator Edmund Muskie, unsuccessfully running for the Democratic nomination for president “Nixon and Muskie on Abortion,” by James Reston, New York Times, April 7, 1971. I’m concerned about diluting in any way the sanctity of human life. If it becomes all right to take a life in that stage, then how easy will it be to slip into the next step? Should people in old age who are senile – does it then become legitimate to take their lives?
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