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Friday, March 6, 2009

Prolife Progressives Affirm All Our Lives

Jen Roth of Turn the Clock Forward has just published A Primer on Prolife Progressivism in the progressive online journal Shared Sacrifice.

Great work, Jen!

At the end of Jen's article is an invitation to join a new initiative for prolife progressives, All Our Lives, that is influenced by both the consistent life ethic (secular & interfaith version) and the reproductive justice movement. If this is what you're looking for, as many readers of Nonviolent Choice are--please join in!


Brandon said...

Thanks for the link, Marysia. I enjoyed reading Jen's article, but one suggestion I have is that we shouldn't create a false dichotomy between making abortion illegal, and finding ways of reducing the number of abortions well-before we begin to offer protection for the pre-born. We shouldn't approach a pro-protection position as "the right-wing one." There are certainly some among us who wish to accomplish both.

Marysia said...


I don't think Jen was creating such a dichotomy, but presenting the range of positions on abortion and the law that exist among progressive prolifers.

The emphasis on policies that alleviate the root cause of abortion is important because abortions are going to happen if those problems are not taken care of--however legal or illegal abortion is or isn't.

(In Latin American countries, for example, abortion is broadly illegal, but poverty, lack of health care, and constrained freedom for women regarding sex and family planning create very high abortion rates. In many Western European nations, early abortions are available across a range of situations, but abortion rates are quite low because careful attention is paid to making it unncessary.)

Also abortion-reducing policy offers a more constructive focus for action because people are most likely to agree on these policies even if they disagree passionately on the legal status of abortion itself.

Personally, I do recognize that leftists and progressives can take what you term a pro-protection stance.

But especially in the present, there are such enormous practical challenges in disentangling the issue of the law from rightwing ideologies of crime and punishment and limitless maternal sacrifice and suffering...I hope you can see where I'm coming from on this.

sunflower082 said...

I love this article! Thank you for posting this.

My favourite part is this:
"Still others are skeptical
whether a political effort dominated by the right wing can be trusted to legislate in a way that is just for both women and

This is my viewpoint EXACTLY, but I couldn't articulate it :) I want abortion to be illegal eventually, but no, I don't trust the right wingers to do that!

Jen R said...

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for the comment. No, I don't see a position that advocates for legal protection for the unborn as necessarily right-wing. I did mention in the article that some pro-life progressives favor legal protection, want Roe v. Wade overturned, etc. It's just that right now, the effort to make laws is mostly led by the right. That could change, and I think that it might be changing because of the younger generation of pro-life (or at least pro-life inclined) people I talked about.

Also, there's a category I later realized that I didn't include, but which seems to be sizable. That is the group of people who want to change minds first, and then when there's more of a social consensus, change the law. I don't have a link, but I know that Jayelle has likened banning abortion under the current circumstances to Prohibition -- any such ban would be flagrantly violated and probably soon overturned.

Jen R said...

Also, what Marysia said, particularly in the last paragraph. :)

matt said...

I'm the editor lucky enough to work with Jen on this article. First of all, she was incredibly easy to work with and a good enough self-editor that my job was extremely easy. Second, she did an incredible service not only for pro-life progressives, but for all progressives: most of us, as you undoubtedly already suppose, are at best ambivalent about abortion and long to see a world where it's not necessary. From what I have heard, Jen's call to dialogue was well-received, although we'd love if some of that feedback came in the form of response articles or debates--something we'd love to have on the site. Third and finally, Shared Sacrifice is in its very early development, as you can probably tell from the site. We're a bunch of full-time workers, many of us full-time parents too, who are trying to start a truly "ecumenical" and pluralist left media. To that end, if you're an aspiring writer, artist, pundit, or just a passionate activist, please feel welcome to use our site as a sounding board for your ideas. Thanks again Jen, and thanks to everyone in the progressive/consistent life community for keeping an absolutely vital orientation politically alive.

matt j. stannard
editor, shared sacrifice media

stannard [at] sharedsacrifice [dot] us