Friday, October 06, 2006

"Ignore Your Rights and They'll Go Away"
Today, one of the people on an email discussion list I'm a part of posed the following question:
I was listening to NPR interviewing rural voters this morning and they were all talking about how, despite the controversy that the Republicans have been getting into, they consider themselves pro-life, and thus they will continue to vote Republican. So my question for today is:

Should the Democrats give up the pro-choice battle to regain relevance in rural America (thus leading to more power, etc?) Is the pro-life/pro-choice issue worth alienating such huge swaths of the country as it seems to?
I certainly have very strong feelings about this issue, but I found it particularly interesting right now, coming as it does right after hearing several complaints from a German friend who recently moved to South Dakota and has been shocked at how permissive the university is there toward anti-abortion activists. The interesting thing is that I object to both the idea of anti-abortion legislation and my German friend's desire that such activists be restricted for the same reason.

For me, it has always been obvious that every woman should have the option to make a personal choice about whether or not to have an abortion. That's why it's called pro-choice. This is why I equate the issue of pro-choice laws with freedom of speech laws. There are lots of people who say things I don't agree with, and I may really wish I could change their minds, but I will certainly defend their right to say whatever they want, because freedom for them is freedom for me is freedom for everyone, and this kind of freedom is what our country is supposed to be based on.

Ruling against abortion takes away freedoms and rights from at least half the population, with no choice at all allowed, and that is wrong. Just because some people believe life starts at/before conception, or that women deserve to be barefoot and pregnant, or the Pope's direct line to God forbids it, or any other thing, that does not give them the right to force their own personal beliefs on the rest of the country just because they disagree. They have every right to try to convince women not to have abortions, but they do NOT have the right to forbid it.

As I said at the end of my email in response to the question, we can't give up on this issue, because it is a slippery slope, not just for reproductive rights and women's rights, but for all rights.

This is why I have such a hard time finding ways and reasons to argue about this issue, because the right, obvious, human, American answer seems so blatant that it seems almost rude to have to bring it to anyone's attention.

More on other thoughts on patriotism later.

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