Last night I was honored to take part in a live roundtable with HuffPost Live’s own Alyona Minkovski. Other invited guests included Benjamin Corey, author of FormerlyFundie.com; Frank Schaeffer, New York Times best-selling author of Crazy for God; and Sheila Bapat, writer for RH Reality Check, an online publication related to all things reproductive health.
The topic of discussion was Hypocrisy from Pro-Life Lawmakers, and many excellent points were raised by the participants, including:
- On the day Texas executed its 500th prisoner, Texas governor Rick Perry made the statement that, “In Texas, we value all life.” One supposes he means “life only until time of birth.”
- The House of Representatives recently passed a modified version of the Farm Bill, stripping it of $20 billion dollars in food stamp support (SNAP) while maintaining subsidies for commercial agri-business.
- Much like the “pro-family” movement which is, at its heart, anti-gay, the “pro-life” movement actually began as a reaction to the feminism movement and sexual promiscuity of the 1960s. This point was raised by Frank Schaeffer, a relgious commentator with almost unparalleled access to information about the founding of the Pro-Life movement.
- Frank Schaeffer goes on to explain much of the pro-life movement as deliberate political manipulation to divide-and-conquer blue-collar Democrats — many of whom are Catholic or fundamental Protestant — appealing to social sensibilities to get them to vote against their own economic interests.
Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, I was unable to respond to one of Alyona’s excellent questions:
We can talk about this as a political reaction against somebody else’s values, but it has very real life effects on women all across the country, especially a lot of this restrictive abortion legislation that we’ve seen in the last couple of years, in states across the country. […] What’s it like for you, because this is something that can be a very divisive — or is a very divisive [topic] — but can become very heated, especially when you talk to people online about it…?
Had my sound been cooperating, I would have responded:
Legislation restricting abortion access hits very close to home. I see every day how it impacts real people’s lives while I feel that everyone else is simply discussing a hypothetical situation. I couldn’t watch the live stream of what happened in Texas. It was too painful. I was infuriated listening to unqualified people make medical decisions for women they didn’t know but who I knew were very real with very real lives and families.
No one’s opinion or belief on the topic of abortion matters except that of the woman facing this unimaginably difficult decision. My opinion doesn’t matter, your opinion doesn’t matter, nor the opinion of legislators who don’t even know how a Pap smear is done. This is a fight about a woman’s autonomy and I fight every day to protect her from scorn, shame and guilt over what can only be one of the most difficult decisions she will ever face. I fight to protect her free will and her ability to ensure her own health and well-being. Only she can know what is best for her and her family. Pro-life? Yes, I am. I fight every day to protect her life from harmful legislation that is rejected by medical professionals and supported by political zealots.