Roe Is Safe, So Let’s Work on Common Ground Prevention Initiatives

Jill Stanek, source of the infanticide smears against Barack Obama, may not be taking his election graciously, as Seth Colter Walls notes on Huffington Post, but even she realizes that, in her own words, "the holy grail for pro-lifers is now gone." Why? With Obama making Supreme Court appointments for the next four years, Roe is likely safe. "Just get used to thinking of pro-life strategy without it," Stanek advises.

Well, if anti-choicers really do let Roe out of their sights in favor of other projects that actually will reduce instances of unintended pregnancy, there’s an enormous amount of progress people who oppose abortion rights can make alongside those of us who are pro-choice. Medically accurate comprehensive sexuality education, which gives teens the tools to prevent pregnancies? Access to contraception, including emergency contraception, proven to reduce the rate of abortion? A host of prominent pro-life voices have supported Obama’s position on these policy issues, staking out a more productive ground for people who oppose legal abortion than slinging accusations like "barbarian" and "murder" (which also feature in Stanek’s post). No one needs to give up his or her beliefs — but now there’s room for a distinction between private beliefs and public policy.

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  • invalid-0

    We must get the Bush years behind us and meet in the middle to provide access to sex education, contraception and family planning.It seems so obvious that this is the only way to reduce the number of abortions, STDs etc. Surely all reasoning people could agree on this???

  • invalid-0

    How important is it really for pro-choicers, or anyone on this blog to reduce abortions? I want a time table or pledge . . . can we cut the abortion rate in half by 2018 or 2025? Anyone with an educated opinion is welcome, as are alternative strategies to reduce abortions. There are the classics like contraception and comprehensive sex education, but are there any other novel approaches we can use with these approaches (surely these can’t be the ONLY approaches to reduce abortions)? Public assistance programs to help women carry pregnancies to term? Making college campuses more “pregnant woman” friendly? How about a massive education campaign that shows people the grisly reality of abortion and the beautiful nature of the unborn. If that causes people to voluntarily choose to not have abortions then can the pro-choice community support this, or are you all secretly pro-abortion despite vehement tirades to the contrary?

  • invalid-0

    The Guttmacher Institue just releaswed a 2008 study that shows that the number of abortions without family planning would have been 50% higher.
    “The Institute recently released a new report that found that the services provided by publicly funded family planning clinics enable women to prevent 1.4 million unintended pregnancies each year, an estimated 600,000 of which would end in abortion. Without these services, the annual number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in the United States would be nearly 50% higher.”

    And that is just in the US.I would call that progress- and certainly evidence that these “classics” ion fact work.

    And , since we do not obviously agree on abortion- (I am firmly in the corner that abortion must remain legal, and I have never represented myself as otherwise, nor have most other posters on this site) ,then I would have hoped that there should be some middle ground that we could agree on to diminish the need for abortion.

    It is clear that providing family planning and contraceptives for the most vulnerable of our population is a method that works.And it really is beyond my comprehension that we can’t agree to disagree on abortion yet work together on programs that will clearly work to reduce the number.

    Are you willing to put your money into programs like family planning clinics, getting rid of the abstinence only program and teaching sex education, removing the international gag rule,making contraceptives readily available to all, requiring that contraceptives be covered by health plans, publicly subsidizing contraceptives for the poor and students on college campus’, providing contraceptives through our international aid programs?

    So- let’s get cracking on these- we’ve already delayed too long.

  • invalid-0

    Public assistance programs to help women carry pregnancies to term?

    That’s all well and good, but what happens after the baby’s born? We also need programs that can help families maintain a decent standard of living as their children grow up.

  • invalid-0

    I find when most people who are pro-choice say “let’s agree to disagree” and “work together” it becomes “do what we say without question.” Can anyone give me a compromise the pro-choice side is willing to make (a compromise means you agree to something you wouldn’t normally agree to in order to further the common good or goal). For example pro-lifers would be sacrificing a lot of principles to push contraception, if they made this huge leap would pro-choicers be wiling to make a similar “leap.” Would the pro-choice community follow William Saletan of Slate magazine’s lead and admit abortion is bad because it kills human fetuses, and agree to educate people about its reality and promote abortion only as a “last resort.” Will the pro-choice movement genuinely compromise on anything to reduce abortions, or are you all just as uncompromising and ideologically driven as the pro-lifers you people seem to hate so much? I’m tired of working with pro-choicers who’s attitude is “my way or the highway” (of course I know pro-lifers do the same thing, but that isn’t an excuse).

  • marysia

    DerekP, support for contraception is *not* an unacceptable compromise for at least 80 per cent of US prolifers–in fact, it’s what we already advocate! 

    As for the minority of abortion opponents who oppose "artificial" methods of family planning–well, then, they believe in prevention, too, if only through abstinence and NFP/FAM.  And they can redouble their efforts within their own religious communities to promote the prevention methods they do accept.

  • marysia

    Prolife before birth must include both woman and child, and continue ever after birth.

  • invalid-0

    So there you have it- the agenda of this “pro-lifer” is not to reduce the number of abortions, nor even a concern for life. If it were, then the facts very clearly show that the provision of family planning and contraceptives does in fact SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the number of abortions.

    This should be what the “pro lifers” want- that was what was requested and that was what was provided- a timeline and proof that these methods worked.

    There are no compromises here- the so called pro lifers have absolutely no right whatsoever-constitutionally or otherwise- to impose their religious regime against contraception etc. on the rest of the population. And frankly, the resounding defeat of the Republicans this year proved that many more people are catching on to the real agenda of these extremists.

    The number of abortions can and in fact IS reduced by the availability of family planning and contraceptives. The facts have been presented- and it is the “pro lifers” that reject that solution- as evidenced by the tirade above.

    So they certainly don’t deserve to be called pro lifers do they?

    • invalid-0

      …many pro-lifers, though as some of the posts indicate, clearly not all. I have someone at work who is about as close to being as extreme for the conservative movement as one could get without actually resorting to extremism. On the issue of gay-bashing, he says “no crime here,” feels he pays too much in taxes and refers to women as “dirty filthy stinking whores!” He also feels we have to exterminate Islam and all people in America should be Christians.

      It is in this mindset that he opposes abortion, while seemingly ignoring the financial consequences of turning on the spigot of live unplanned births. Even with the birth control technology available, including abortion rights we have, the reality of “cradle-to-prison” futures for many of the impoverished remains pre-ordained. This one fact, incarceration, absent of the costs involved in police investigation and prosecution, takes one huge chunk out of the tax bill of every American. My co-worker won’t support arts funding for Mapplethorpe, but he has no problem keeping the black male (who still has inordinately high numbers in prison), in stir for more money all the social programs combined…

      …Which brings me to a belief system which can’t be ignored, founded upon an extreme mass-inferiority complex, which can only be soothed with the knowledge most people around them are made to suffer more than their own bruised egos. Much has recently been made of black women getting more abortions-per-capita than others, but what really pisses off many in the pro-life movement is they are “cheated” out of the production of more misery among the black community and an eventual death at the hands of the pusher, the cop or the jailor.

      The Religuous Right is fully aware of this inferiority complex and feeds the beast to strengthen its numbers and bank account. The love of Jesus, who would “eat with sinners,” and the “brother’s keeper” exhortations of scripture have been replaced by the militaristic demonizing of all not strictly conforming to a set life-style organized Christianity has decreed – with the collection plate being the center of their Universe.

      But that’s what you get when your rag-tag religion gets co-opted by Caesar. It is Constantine’s revenge: by removing Christians as lion-bait, he did two things. One was include them into an already corrupt imperial culture AND the other was never telling them “you can stop feverishly procreating, because none of you are providing entertainment at the Hippodrome anymore.” Instead, they filled the Legions, which is what our GOP “big-tent” would like to see. But that’s another story.

  • invalid-0

    pro-lifers would be sacrificing a lot of principles to push contraception

    What??? What principles do pro-lifers have that make them against contraception?

    It’s clearly the best way to prevent abortions, and I don’t understand why a pro-lifer would be against it?

  • invalid-0


    I have seen your posts elsewhere, and completely appreciate your position. I do hope you are the majority of the pro-life movement, as even though we will not agree on abortion, it appears that we do agree- strenuously- on prevention.

    It is nice to see that.

  • emily-douglas

    DerekP, I’m not hiding that I think abortion should always be safe, legal, funded, and accessible.  Or that I think it can be a moral choice. I believe in reproductive justice, which means giving women the agency to make their own reproductive decisions and to give them the support they need to live with those choices with dignity.  We disagree there. But I think it’s less an issue of "both sides must compromise" and more of "let’s work together on what we can agree on." We all agree that we want to do what’s best for women; let’s look at the science and do what that suggests.

    Women choose abortion after a lot of contemplation. There’s no need to further stigmatize the choice as a "last resort."

  • invalid-0

    Given that easily available contraception and comprehensive sex education are the most effective ways to reduce the abortion rate, why would you have a problem with either of those? If you take issue with measures that actually will reduce abortions, one can only deduce that you are not, in fact, interested in reducing abortions.

    Showing people pictures of foetuses and saying ‘look! Aren’t the unborn beautiful?!’ is just going to make people think you’re ridiculous, but I admit it would be an excellent way of illustrating the creepiness of foetus fetishism.

  • amanda-marcotte

    You got some abortion restrictions and you have people in public bellyaching about how abortion is a tragedy, and you have more money than you could imagine going towards adoption.  Now you have to give up a little and realize sex is going to happen.  What you’re asking for is like asking freedom of speech advocates to allow censorship.  At a point, it’s not going to make sense.  We can’t work with you on your real anti-sex agenda. But we can reduce abortions.  Unless, of course, you aren’t so much anti-abortion as anti-sex, and then yes, there is no compromise position.  Sex will happen.