“Women Deliver” global maternal health conference

I was just reading about the “Women Deliver” conference. It sounds wonderful, and badly needed. Most of it.

Promoting the health of mothers and children is something that should naturally be a part of the pro-life cause. I mean, I shouldn’t even need to say that. We should be all over a conference like this. We should be holding it! And yet, it appears to be run by the type of advocates who consider expanding access to abortion — all abortions, not just those done out of medical necessity — as part and parcel of improving women’s health. It makes sense if you accept that women will always have abortions, and that the best that can be hoped for is to replace unsafe abortions with safe(r) ones.

Of course, people who consider abortion violence against a human child (not to mention violence directed toward the mother as well) can’t accept that, any more than death-penalty opponents can accept capital punishment as part of the agenda for reducing crime. But just as death-penalty opponents can work with proponents on crime-prevention measures such as improved policing, pro-lifers should be able to work with pro-choicers on improving womens’ access to medical care, safe delivery options, HIV prevention, family planning, and many other measures.

I say “should”, because I don’t believe it’ll actually happen. Too many pro-lifers seem to think that working with pro-choicers on anything is tantamount to being complicit in promoting abortion. And too many pro-choicers are unwilling to ever work on issues like women’s health and family planning without bringing abortion access in as part of a package deal.

There is a scheduled plenary session called “Working on Common Ground”:

Ensuring that women and newborns are healthy and are able to contribute their full potential is both a social and an economic investment. How can various disciplines and movements work together and advocate more effectively to realize this potential?

I think that would be a fine venue for promoting the idea that pro-lifers and pro-choicers ought to be able to work together on nonviolent means of improving women’s and children’s health, don’t you?

Of course, given the agenda of the “Addressing the Controversies in Reproductive Health and Rights” plenary:

1994 ICPD marked a paradigm shift in population policy to a woman-centered, reproductive health and rights approach. It also led to controversy. This plenary will examine four areas where action has not matched international commitments:

* Are religion and culture positive or negative forces in influencing reproductive health policy?
* Do young people have a right to access a full range of reproductive health services as well as information?
* How best can the public health goal of eliminating unsafe abortion be achieved?
* Are women’s rights human rights?

…well, my hopes aren’t high.

(And damn it, I hate that the term “reproductive health and rights” throws up red flags for me, because reproductive health and rights are vitally important! Access to medical care, choice in childbirth, contraception, the right to be educated about how one’s own body works, the right to be free from sexual violence and coercion — it’s a tragedy that so many women, hell, probably most women, don’t have these things. And yet, and yet, and yet… the violence of abortion always creeps in. As if we can’t even imagine our lives free of pain, free of violence, free of destruction.)

chơi game online ăn tiền thậtPieces of Flair

The “Happy Human” over there in the sidebar is a secular humanism logo, by the way; I don’t know if it’s something most people would readily recognize.

I thought about altering it to be a pro-life happy human, maybe with another tiny little happy human curled up inside of it. On the one hand, it would be nice to have a little more visibility for pro-lifers within the humanist community and humanists within the pro-life community. On the other hand, the way I see it, the logo shouldn’t have to be altered: humanism should include unborn human beings by definition. Also, my graphics-fu is weak.

The two badges below it are pretty self-explanatory. In addition to Blogs By Women, I also applied to ProLifeBlogs. TTCF would definitely be the answer to a game of “one of these things is not like the others” over there, but I can’t be the only one who keeps scouring their aggregator in a desperate attempt to find other pro-life bloggers who aren’t conservative Christians.

Other suspect people

To: Lisa Boyce, Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin

Dear Ms. Boyce:

An article in last week’s Shepherd-Express attributed the following to you:

Boyce also noted that while WRTL condemned Paul Hill Days, its press release provided enough information about the event and its organizers to allow supporters to seek out more information and attend it.

You seem to have been implying that Wisconsin Right to Life actually covertly supported Paul Hill Days, and that their statement of denunciation was just for show.

If in fact that is your position, I wish to bring to your attention some people who provided even more information about Paul Hill Days than WRTL did, usually in the form of linking to the event’s web site:

Better keep an eye on all of us.

The best way to deal with the violent fringe: confront or ignore?

So, “Paul Hill Days” has* come and gone. I’m pleased, though not a bit surprised, to learn that turnout was poor: the murder cheerleaders were able to scrape up sixty people for their parade only by dragging along their children. The re-enactment of Hill’s crime was even more sparsely attended. I’ve seen video online, and there appeared to be about twenty-five people there. Maybe a few more if you count the gawkers in the background.

I’ve discussed this subject with many very reasonable, absolutely anti-violence people who argue that Hill’s admirers should be given as little attention or acknowledgment as possible. The people behind this event are a tiny fringe, they say. They have a martyr complex that we probably feed by speaking out against them. They have a desire for publicity that we definitely feed by speaking out against them.

All that is true, and if these were just people spouting off ugly opinions on the Internet, I might agree that the best thing to do is ignore them. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here. The organizers of “Paul Hill Days” celebrate and associate with people who have proven their willingness to kill. It would only take one of them being inspired to action by this rally for more murders to take place.

chơi game online ăn tiền thậtWisconsin Right to Life (the Wisconsin affiliate of National Right to Life) issued a press release denouncing “Paul Hill Days”. (You can thank them here.) Pro-Life Wisconsin (an associate of American Life League) did not:

When asked why Pro-Life Wisconsin did not denounce the event, Hamill said her organization did not want to get involved.

“We only speak on what our organization is doing,” Hamill said. “We’re not about to comment on what other organizations are doing.”

That’s just wrong. As I mentioned above, there are perfectly good reasons why not every pro-life organization issues a statement every time some marginal figure says something crazy enough to make the news. But this was a celebration of the murder of two people that was taking place in PLW’s own backyard, in the name of their cause. To refuse to speak against it even when asked point-blank goes beyond merely “not commenting on other groups” and comes dangerously close to tacit approval.

To Pro-Life Wisconsin: your representatives could have refused to comment on any specific activities while emphasizing your own group’s stand against violence. They could have gone further and stated that since using violence against abortion providers is contrary to the goals of your organization, people who support it should neither join nor donate money to Pro-Life Wisconsin. All this, without once mentioning any other group.

[Planned Parenthood spokesperson Lisa] Boyce also noted that while WRTL condemned Paul Hill Days, its press release provided enough information about the event and its organizers to allow supporters to seek out more information and attend it.

That’s also just wrong. Wisconsin Right to Life’s statement may not have been as strong as I might have liked. (Personally, I think an in-person protest would have been appropriate.) But, well, National Right to Life has a pretty stodgy institutional personality, and WRTL’s statement is actually more strongly worded than I’d expect from one of their affiliates. They’re just not fire-breathers, you know? There’s absolutely no reason to believe that the statement was anything but sincere. For Boyce to hint otherwise is just a cheap attempt to score political points by implying that the pro-violence forces actually have a lot of secret support among regular pro-lifers — a falsehood which some of the pro-violence forces believe as well, and which gives them aid and comfort.

The danger of condemning something loudly and publicly is that by doing so, we bring more attention to it. I’ve long been opposed to the disproportionate press coverage given to certain figures who are famous for promoting the “justifiable homicide” theory. I feel that interviewing these people and treating them as though they’re a major force in the pro-life movement just gives them more of a platform for spreading their views.

So, for WRTL to provide specific information about “Paul Hill Days” in their press release (and really, they didn’t provide very much), or for me to link to their web site, may have been a tactical error. Maybe it would be better to follow the example of many anti-racists, who refuse to link to sites such as Stormfront when discussing them. I’m not convinced, though. I believe it’s vital for pro-lifers to denounce violence, and to do it not just in general terms but to confront promoters of violence with our opposition, so that they know they don’t have our unspoken support. That might be worth giving them a little more attention in the process.

* Grammarians, please advise: “have” or “has”? “Days” is, of course, plural, but the overall event is singular**.

** And thank goodness it is.

Pro-life: it’s not just for Catholics anymore!

Is anybody besides me tired of seeing all the news about the Catholic Church vs. Amnesty International? As soon as the Vatican weighed in, the fact that anybody besides the Catholic Church opposes abortion was completely forgotten in all press coverage.

I don’t want to say that the Vatican shouldn’t have weighed in, because they have both the right and responsibility to do so. It’s just unfortunate that their involvement in the controversy has made it all too easy for the usual suspects to dismiss any opposition to abortion as solely a religious issue.