From the Left: Conscience of a Pro-Life Democrat
I have a confession to make that may disappoint many of you. I am a lifelong Democrat, I have been active in the Dem-NPL party in my home state of North Dakota, I am the token “Liberal” here on the Say Anything Blog, and I am pro-life.
I have not always been so. I was raised in a family that taught me that abortion should not be used for birth control, but the government had no business telling a woman what she should do with her body. I remember arguing with the pro-lifers in my life that a fetus was not a life, and that it was unfair to burden a woman with an unwanted pregnancy.
However, I had a few major life changes that forced me to evolve on the issue. First off, I met the love of my life. Mrs. GameND came from a pretty tough world. She was born into circumstances that most of us cannot even begin to conceive. Without publically airing her dirty laundry, it is safe to say that her mother would have been justified by many for aborting her. She was not a wanted baby, and for most of her life, she was not even much of a wanted child. However, she grew up to become a dedicated mother, wife, and member of her community. None of that would have been possible had her parents “chose” abortion.
Second, I became a father. Going through that process ended any doubt I ever had about when life begins. My kids are a blessing to me, and I cannot imagine a world in which they were less than human prior to birth.
Finally, I have known many people with disabilities in my life. I have people with significant disabilities who are part of my family. I have also known many amazing people with disabilities on a professional basis. Many of these incredible people could have been aborted if their parents had been looking for the “perfect child”. Many of these people ended up with parents who really had a hard time accepting them for who they are. However, they have all overcame their medical diagnosis and their disappointed parents to become valued adults.
On this note, I know a family who has adopted several special needs children. They have specialized in a specific type of disability. The last few children they have adopted have been from outside of this country, because babies with this specific disability are often aborted in the United States. No part of me can justify the selective elimination of people with disabilities because parents want to choose a baby based on their image of a healthy child. That is an insult to all people with disabilities.
My home state of North Dakota has made the national news for passing some pretty aggressive anti-abortion laws. However, I have a hard time getting too excited about them. I question how much these laws will actually work to end abortions for North Dakota women. Even in a best case scenario, in which North Dakota’s only abortion clinic is forced to close, it will most likely move about a mile to the east and re-open in Moorhead, MN. Women who want an abortion in North Dakota will have to travel a few miles more round trip and will still be able to get any abortion they want.
I think that if we want to eliminate abortions, we have to address some of the root causes of abortion, which include the inequality of women in the work force and the belief that a woman must choose between economic security and their babies. On this issue, the Democrats are on the right side of women and babies.
1) Unwanted Pregnancy- We can hope and pray that people will not have sex unless they want to have a baby, however, a few million years of human history tells us this has never been the case. Unwanted pregnancies have always happened. We can control unwanted pregnancies by providing quality sex education to our youth and allowing access to affordable birth control and reproductive health services to both genders. The Republicans cling to some fantasy that by doing this we are somehow promoting unhealthy lifestyles. Here is a reality check, people who are sexually active don’t care what Republicans and Conservatives think about their sex lives. They are going to do what they want regardless of what you think. It is the Democrats who have supported access to reality based sex education. It is democrats who have supported access to contraception. It is Democrats who have supported access to reproductive health services.
2) Being pro-life is more than just being pro-fetus. If we have more babies, especially babies born to less than perfect situations, it may lead to increased government cost. It will mean that more poor people will have babies, more single and lower income women will have babies and there will be an impact on social programs as a result of this. That is a cause that Democrats support and conservatives oppose. Yet another reason I support Democrats.
3) Democrats are on the right side of the war on Women. I hate when both sides try to make the war on women to only be about abortion. The correct war on women is in the employment front and the health care front. Republicans support policies that punish women for having children and by paying them less for equivalent work for being the gender that gives birth. Republicans support policies that allow for women to be discriminated against in the work force for being women. Republicans and conservatives also support policies that allow women to be charged more for health care coverage than men. Here is a hint to all of my conservative friends, every person born in the history of time was born to a woman. To unfairly ask women to pay more for health coverage because of this fact is discrimination. Men can and should equally share the cost of reproductive health in insurance plans because we are 50% responsible for all pregnancies.
Let me make this very clear, an expectant mother should not have to choose between a career and her baby because the laws allow and encourage discrimination.
In addition, the Republican Party holds an overview of women that is inconsistent with the modern view of women as a capable employee. The “Grandmother” of modern conservative thought on “feminism” is rape apologist Phyllis Schlafly. Schlafly has long argued that women should be second class citizens and pretty much do what their husband’s tell them to do. She has argued against equality for women in the law by making silly arguments like saying that equal rights will mean an end to gender specific restrooms. Her actions and words have supported a belief that says that because women have gotten pregnant, or may get pregnant, it is okay to pay them less.
Democrats are on the right side of these issues, and I will stand by them.
4) Speaking of Schlafly, she first rose to “fame” by opposing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). One of the original authors of the ERA was one of my hero’s, Alice Paul. Paul was one of the activists that organized and helped successfully pass the 19th Amendment. After passing that, Paul went to work on the ERA. On the subject of Abortion, Paul said, “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women”. In short, she believed that abortions killed women, and she could not support it. I agree.
Studies have shown that how your parents vote is often one of the biggest indicators of how you vote. I believe that if democrats keep having and supporting abortions, the many great causes we support will be swept away.
In the end, I hope that more Democrats and liberals will join with me in creating a new anti-abortion movement. A small one does exist called Democrats for Life. The group states:
“We believe in the core values and principles of the Democratic Party. We are committed to freedom and justice, security and prosperity, equality and community, and hope and progress. We are proud to be members of the party that created the New Deal, Fair Deal, and New Frontier. We share the party’s commitment to the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from fear and want. We look to continue and perfect the party’s commitment to the most vulnerable members of our society.”
That is a great start. I could not have said it better.