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We feature commentary but most of all action alerts on the same positive, abortion-reducing measures we cover in the Directory.

These measures include post abortion healing; male responsibility; comprehensive sexual/reproductive health education; all voluntary pregnancy prevention methods, plus rape and incest prevention & treatment; and life-affirming ways to get through crisis pregnancy and beyond.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

From the Annals of "Fools Step in Where..."

Earlier this year, I tried to start a regular diary called "Reduce Abortion: Take Positive Steps" on the US-liberal, predominantly but not exclusively prochoice blogging community Daily Kos. So many prochoicers and prolifers alike are talking now about the need for cooperation to reduce abortion...why not seize the day and help people on both "sides" work together to actually get something done?

So I thought that regularly posting action alerts on potentially common-ground matters like family planning funding, health care access, and the like would be something that might work in this context. I did not trumpet forth my vantage point on abortion all over the place, nor did I cover it up. My concern in this diary was not to expound on my views of abortion, to burden and derail the whole enterprise with them...but to present practical actions one could easily take, whatever one's persuasion, to help bring about the often-shared goal of reducing abortion.

So what happened next?

Though I risk exposing what a spineless, idiotic, (your favorite ephitet here) I am....You can read for yourself if you like. Maybe I'm a bit touchy, but to me it felt like getting knocked into the piranha pit! With apologies to the actual fish--at least they don't construct righteous rationales to justify their objectionable behaviors! I was assiduously "exposed" as someone I am decidedly not--some sort of rightwing, misogynist, contraceptive-denying, twistedly passive-aggressive operative or "shill."

So what did I learn from this experience?

Dunno...but...I went over to the blog of Judie Brown, longtime president of the conservative antiabortion group American Life League, and initiated a discussion with her about how people who question abortion actually have more diverse views on matters like contraception, LGBT rights, and nonmarital sexuality than one might gather from the organizations like hers that monopolize the rubric of prolife.

Again, if you like, you can read for yourself what ensued. She actually replied, twice, and at some length. I'm not sure we understood each other, or to what extent, but I suspect we were both fumbling towards some kind of respect. Although...to take one example, she called me "a sister in Christ."

Was she assuming that because I take a particular stance on abortion, I must be a Christian? Not that I have anything against Jesus. He was quite the Qur'anic prophet, incarnation of Vishnu, heterodox rabbi, bodhisattva, and speaking-truth-to-power teacher of revolutionary secular/interfaith/nonsectarian ethical values...Meant as a compliment, I'm sure. If it means a sister in trying to protect and practice the values of respect for life and justice that Jesus embodied, fine, that's a really nice thing to say. But.I have the feeling it is packed in assumptions/presumptions that don't pertain...

Sigh. No matter how one tries to dialogue on these matters, the stereotypes and misunderstandings seem to arise....

These two different encounters and outcomes, however, should not be taken as some kind of blanket statement on the lines of "Look at those liberals, they preach tolerance but they sure don't practice it; it's really the conservatives who are tolerant." As an aspirant to the Buddhist dharma, I believe that all sentient beings have at least the seeds of lovingkindness and wisdom in them, and none of us has a monopoly on the truth. That's precisely why we need to apire to talking and working together--not to mention that this is the only way, practically speaking, to get enormous human problems resolved...Just ask the United Nations about it...

There are wise and skillful ways of pursuing that aspiration; there are foolish and unskillful ways. Maybe one of these lifetimes, I'll learn, and master, the difference....


Jen R said...

Sadly, I think Judie Brown still ended up considering you an "alleged" pro-lifer.

You did a really good job, though. I wish I were patient enough to approach people like that in a spirit of charity rather than confrontation. Sometimes I can manage, but not always. I've been commenting at Jill Stanek's blog recently and I've been letting my pugilistic side out to play. Probably shouldn't. :(

Marysia said...

Jen, I suspect your pugilistic side is equivalent to someone else's rare moment of lovingkindness. (:

I think Judie Brown didn't know quite what to think. Her response is full of contradictions that suggest it. I can only --yes, all the Judie Browns & Jill Staneks of the world, pray, I pray, the likes of unabashedly contraceptive- & LGBT-advocatin' moi has a prayer life, om mani padme hum, Jezu ufem tobie--that those contradictions will work on her a bit.

And Jen, you are most welcome to send your goodly secular/nontheist mojo in that particular direction if you are so inclined--you are already doing so, it looks like.

Yes, this is not easy work, it is hard to know what to do, but if matters are ever going to improve, in the sense of preventing abortion at its root causes, we have to keep slogging along...