Monday, May 27, 2013

One Million Views and a Change in Focus

Yesterday RealChoice hit a milestone: one million page views. And with that milestone comes a new focus.

My research on abortion deaths of all kinds -- especially those of the pre-Roe era -- has taught me four things:

1. Life advocates are very naive if they think criminalizing abortion will be enough.

2. The greatest danger to vulnerable women and their unborn children is not so much abortion's legal status as how much power and influence abortion-rights advocates have.

3. Abortion-rights advocates are smart, organized, well-connected, determined, and unrelenting.

4. Life advocates need to become as smart, organized, well-connected, determined, and unrelenting as the abortion establishment if we are to have any hope of achieving our goal of making abortion not just illegal but unthinkable.

Frankly, this is bad news. It means that all of our efforts to restore legal protection to the unborn and their vulnerable mothers can well end up being for naught. What have we gained if we re-criminalize abortion and end up not with an abortion-free America, but an America in which abortion-rights advocates still have the organization, connections, and power? What have we gained to replace the Kermit Gosnells with Lucy Hagenows?

And that's another piece of bad news. There will never be an end to this. Restoring abortion's legal status to recognize it for the crime it is won't be the end. We won't be able to pack up and move on. Why not? Because the abortion establishment will never pack up and move on. Criminalizing abortion will light a fire under them the way Roe lit a fire under us. They will never quit. Whether they see abortion as a women's rights matter or as a way to keep their sex lives merrily chugging along or as money in the bank or merely as a tool to achieve their social engineering goals, they will stay at it until Jesus returns and delivers all of us a smackdown. We need to come to grips with that.

Slavery didn't end when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation or when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. It changed, mutated, and found a new form in the human trafficking that we see around the world and even in America. The battle to ensure that each and every human being owns the fruits of his or her own labor is ongoing. And the battle to ensure that each and every human being is protected not only by law but by society will be ongoing.

The good news is this: We are far better prepared than we realize.

The structure for a post-Roe America is already in place in the prolfe pregnancy help centers that already by far outnumber dedicated abortion facilities. We have smart people -- best of all, smart young people -- who will take this battle to the next phase.

What is the next phase?

The next phase is developing a plan to make sure that the abortion establishment loses its power and never regains it.

I don't have the answers. But I have the questions. Over the next phase of this blog's life I'll be developing tools for you, the concerned citizen, to find your place in a post-Roe America. Your role may be small or large. It might be a matter of tiny things you say and do as you go about your life. It might be a matter of creating a new life for yourself as a full-time laborer in the ongoing battle to make abortion unthinkable.

What if you're prochoice? You need to prepare for a post-Roe America as well. You need to ask yourself if abortion is an end in itself or if it's a tool used for achieving something worthwhile.

If it's the latter, start by asking yourself if it's the right tool. Is the world you want to build for your children and grandchildren one built on children's blood and mothers' tears? Or can you envision better, a world in which nobody thinks that destruction of unborn human beings is the best or only way to improve the lives of individuals and society?

So. Let's get started.


Unknown said...

Christina, I like your optimism in looking ahead to a post-Roe America, because I really believe this can happen. I like your four astute observations because as you say the end legalized abortion on demand is not the end of abortion or of the culture of death.

Since the end of slavery in America, there have been a variety of eugenic attempts at racial and class genocide. Some of those, such as birth control, are ongoing, as are efforts to spike the food and water supplies of "urban" areas. And of course there are the "possibilities" of genetic engineering.

There is much reason for optimism as you note in the growing number of pro-life young people and of pregnancy resource centers.

I look forward to the next phase of your blog, as we develop a strategy for making abortion unthinkable and for transforming a culture of death into a culture of life.

Christina Dunigan said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Victor.

Keep looking for your place as Post-Roe America comes into focus! Each of us has a unique role to play!

Bill Samuel said...

I think you make a very good point, which should be elaborated upon, but I'm not convinced of some of your assumptions and assertions.

I see no realistic prospect of a post-Roe world in my lifetime. I'm not sure why you think such may be in the works.

What we call human trafficking is something with a long history both before and after the era of racial slavery of Africans. Of course, when you have clearly legal slavery, it is used for the same purposes. But I wouldn't call human trafficking the successor to racial slavery which the framers of the 13th Amendment intended to abolish. Things like the sharecropping system and the incarceration system are much more direct successors to that. They disproportionately affect the same group, while human trafficking is much broader in whom it victimizes.

The important point is that the legal status of abortion is just one factor to consider in trying to protect the unborn. We need a multifaceted approach. Of course, the pregnancy centers movement is a significant part of that and in fact uses far more pro-life resources than the political wing of the movement. But there are other aspects which need highlighting.

Within my lifetime, there has developed an unholy alliance between most of the political wing of the anti-abortion (I don't really consider it pro-life) movement (NRTL, AUL, ALL, SFLA, SBA List, etc.) and an ideology which is hostile to providing the kind of publicly supported social safety net which would greatly reduce the pressure on pregnant women to have abortions. [Prior to recent decades, being pro-life was more associated with the progressive side of the spectrum.]

Groups like DFLA and FFLA have tried to work in a positive direction (and have had some legislative successes), but they are much smaller and much more poorly funded than the groups aligned with an ideology opposing public support of people.

The effects of this unholy alliance are felt in a couple of major ways:

1. It has provided a very negative image of what it means to be pro-life, scaring away millions of people who should be natural allies. They assume that to be pro-life means being anti-gay, pro-war, etc. which turns them off.

2. It has prevented the pro-life movement from having the ability to create mass support for measures which could have immense positive impact on pregnant women, such as guaranteed maternity leave (which is the law in 97% of the world, and is usually 12-18 months).

There are some signs of change. The youth of America are more pro-life than older generations, and also more hostile to the right wing ideology of the large anti-abortion groups than older generations. We need to support this generation in operating outside of the context of most of the political wing of the anti-abortion movement, and not be afraid to call out the groups and prominent individuals in that wing for not being truly pro-life (Abby Johnson has done that in a small way).

Christina Dunigan said...

Thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough response, Bill!

I think that the trimester framework of Roe has run headlong into reality and it can't stand much longer. It's not likely that Roe will be overturned in the next decade, but it's coming. It's inevitable. Pendulums swing and the swing of utterly unfettered abortion has reached its peak and I think it's swinging back. I hope to live to see the day when abortion is looked on with the horror it deserves.

I agree that racial slavery and human trafficking have strong dissimilarities. And I think we did abolish racial slavery as well as the idea that slavery was simply one of the natural consequences of conquest. Progress of a sort is possible. But still the persistence of human trafficking is a way to illustrate that human evils can mutate. The abortion evil will mutate as well.

I think that you're falling into an error when you equate fiscal conservatism with opposition to providing support to vulnerable mothers, but that's a whole nother topic and I'm too worn out from too many other things to feel up to tackling it.

Also I think that you're right about the conflation of prolife with other social agendas. Again, I'm too tired this evening to get into it.