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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tell the National Organization for Women (US) What A Feminist Agenda Needs to Be

The National Organization for Women is running an online survey asking what issues a feminist agenda should prioritize under the new Obama administration.

I gave the Reproductive Rights and Sexual Health item the very highest priority. Then, in the space provided for those want to add another issue to the agenda, I explained that I strongly advocated all other sexual and reproductive choice and health matters. However, I wished for NOW to turn its energies from defending a general right to abortion to reducing abortion.

Not too likely, but those of us who believe in nonviolent choice need to make our voices heard, and here is an opportunity.

5 comments:

sunflower082 said...

Great! Couldn't you also post this at LJ community Feminists4life so that more people can help? (or if you want to I can do this!)

Hanna/Sunflower082 at LJ

Marysia said...

Sure, go ahead and post this. Thank you!

H4736 said...

Hi this is Harry 834, from RH Reality Check. I was thinking of this statement:

"However, I wished for NOW to turn its energies from defending a general right to abortion to reducing abortion."

Are you saying this because you think the legal right to abortion is secure enough, not to need defense, or are you saying this because you want the legal right to abortion overturned?

This question is not just for you, Marysia. It's for the other individuals here, including sunflower.

Marysia said...

Hi Harry,

In addressing your question myself, please understand that I am not being evasive and manipulative, no matter what Amanda Marcotte or anyone else says!

It's just that I have a complicated view on the law that does not fit quite into either the "prolife" or the "prochoice" box as those shapes are so commonly dictated, so it requires quite more explanation than some folks apparently have the patience or desire to listen for!

In the US the question of the law, is, I think, oversimiplified to the point of crudeness, in such a way that it distracts greatly from the deeper and more decisive questions of why do women have abortions in the first place and what collective responsibilities could be exerted to relieve their situations.

I was recently interviewed in a liberal/leftist Catholic newspaper by a reporter and articulated my thoughts on the law in the comments:

http://ncronline3.org/drupal/?q=node/3155

I also agree very much with Andrea Smith, a Native American scholar and prochoice feminist, in her thought-provoking essay "Beyond Pro-Choice and Pro-Life: Women of Color and the Reproductive Justice Movement," National Women’s Studies Association Journal 17(1): 119-140 (2005).

Smith says that "Criminalization [of women who seek abortion] individualizes solutions to problems that are the result of larger economic, social, and political conditions. Consequently, it is inherently incapable of solving social problems or addressing crime. Alternative social formations and institutions that can speak to these large scale political and economic conditions are the appropriate place to address...reproductive justice."

She also asks other abortion rights supporters to forego "simplistic analyses of who our political friends and enemies are in the area of reproductive rights. That is, all those who call themselves prochoice are our political allies while all those who call themselves prolife are our political enemies."

And if all the above still does not answer your questions, then please ask more questions if you like.

H4736 said...

I read through your comment. It will probably take some days of free time (grad applications) to process it, but what you say sounds pretty straight forward. You want to take away the poverty and social pressure incentive of women to have abortions, who would rather not have them.

I think this work sounds good for those women who would not have abortions except for the pressure by parents and partners (or even doctors) and economic insufficiency. It's wrong that so many conservatives are against welfare.

Though I guess where the other side might find room to get upset is that: what about the women who genuinely wanted an abortion. Who face pressure to carry to term? Who face their own economic hardship as abortions are far less likely to get public funding than child care (as insufficient as child care funding is).

Of course, you may not be to blame for these wrongs. You're not advocating for those women to be denied their right to choose abortion.

On the other hand, the fact that you call the choice to not abort, "nonviolent", means the choice to abort "violent". I don't think there's an escaping this usage of the definition in your title.

On the third hand, maybe that can be overlooked. Live and let live as far as worldviews go, as long as we don't take away choices from each other (abortion or non-abortion), and we fight for contraception choice.

It's one place to start. Though we still need to do something for those women who chose abortion, without regret, but face stigma in their communities as "baby killers". I believe you would speak against any nasty person who said such a thing to a woman like this. I saw you do some of that on the RH blog. I once read a story about how a woman had an abortion and then later had trouble getting pregnant. There was no medical reason to believe the former had anything to do with the latter, but her religious mother would tell her, "God works in mysterious ways". How horrible that a mother would be so unsupportive of her daughter. I hope that those who carry similar feelings about abortion and religion act better towards the women in their life.