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I have only voted for a pro-life candidate once: Jimmy Carter against Ronald Reagan.  I doubt I ever will again.  When I say "pro-life," I refer to someone who wants abortion banned completely, rather than someone who would choose not to have one but who will allow others to make a different choice. The right to abortion is a dealbreaker fo rme.

I am 55. I came of age in the late 60s, attended Catholic University from 67-71, and saw first hand how lack of available birth control and access to safe and legal abortion can adversely affect women.  Abortion wasn't legal back then, and the only way to get reliable birth control on my Catholic campus was to go to a private doctor (which costs more money than a lot of students have) off campus and get a prescription, which you then had to pay to fill--the other choice was using condoms, which have a high failure rate even when used correctly.  There was  sex happening, but not much use of reliable birth control. Three of my friends got pregnant, which cost them their scholarships, so they were forced to drop out--even though they got married to the father of their child.  Back then, lots of scholarships at Catholic (and probably Protestant) institutions had morals clauses.  If you got pregnant, even if you married the father, you lost your scholarship--premarital sex is a sin. Another took a semester off and put her child up for adoption.  I held the hand of a fifth as she waited to get the crude precursor to Plan B from a private doctor (she and her boyfriend had scraped up the money together).

When Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, I did the happy dance. It meant fewer  women would lose scholarships and drop out of college. It meant no more deaths from back alley abortions.   In 73, I had my own pregnancy scare. I was using birth control religiously, but I missed a period. Turned out to be a false alarm,. but I now knew that ROe v. Wade applied to MY life, too.

My first job, at age 24, was as a research assistant in the state office of Midwestern legislature. My job was to gather information  pro-actively on topics that the legislators would have to deal with.  I intelligently concluded in 1973, that abortion would be one of those topics.  I collected info from both sides.  One of the interesting things I learned--and forced several pro-life Congressional and Senate staffers to admit--is that an amendment or law defining life as beginning at the moment of conception would effectively ban all hormonal forms of birth control--the Pill, the Patch, Plan B--because they prevent implantation in the uterus, which effectively kills that fertilized ovum--thereby making them a form of abortion.  This doesn't get mentioned very often, but it's true.

A surprisingly large number of people here have been cheerfully willing to  vote for a pro-life Democrat as a ploy to get back the house and Senate. Actually I am not that surprised--some Dems have been willing to sell out women since the day George McGovern chose to leave the abortion plank out of his platform ( I voted for Howdy Doody that year in protest). I am not among them.  Abortion isn't the right of a special interest group--it's a WOMAN'S right, and we are a majority of the country, and a majority of Democrats.

Personally, I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare.  Prevention is a far better solution. While I am firmly pro-choice, I do acknowledge that a potential human life is involved, and it's not something to be done lightly. But what those of you who are eager to jettison NARAL don't seem to get, is that many pro-lifers  aren't content with just banning abortion.  Nope. They want all hormonal birth control and the IUD banned. They want abstinence-only sex education.  They want a complete about face on women's reproductive health issues.  They want their views of sexual morality--sex before marriage is evil--to govern everyone else.  If they achieve their goals, the teen pregnancy rate will skyrocket and there will be many back alley abortions which will cause the deaths  of desperate women or cost them their fertility because of a botched abortion.  

As it stands now, 32 atates have laws requiring biased anti-abortion counseling  (some of which require providing inaccurate information like the disproven link between abortion and breast cancer) and or mandatory delays between counseling and the actual procedure in place. This means that , in many states where only a handful of clinics or doctors perform abortions,  women have to pay the cost of an overnight stay as well  s the cost of the abortion. Fifteen states still have abortion bans on the books. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, these laws could conceivably go back into effect.  In 2004 12 more states considered passing such bans.  While an article in the 10/2 NY Times says that even a complete ban wouldn't send women to back alley abortions, but rather to using misoprostol, an ulcer drug used widely abroad for abortions, I suspect that state laws would ban that as well.

Is this what we want to happen? As a liberal Democratic woman, I say it isn't.   And if you are willing to toss out the right to abortion because it caters to a "special interest group," what's next?  

Originally posted to irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 01:58 PM PDT.


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Comment Preferences

  •  What's next? (3.71)
    Our right to vote, perhaps?  Or maybe we won't be allowed to learn to read.  After all, we're just women.

    "Really," said the Scarecrow, "you ought to be ashamed of yourself for being such a humbug." -- L. Frank Baum

    by kismet on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 02:02:45 PM PDT

    •  What's next? (4.00)
      After your birth control pills, it will be your credit card, your car`keys, and your college degree.  And, oh yes, your shoes.
      •  No Way! (none)
        I just got these shoes...dammit! NOw where did I put those ass kickin' cowboy boots?

        "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

        by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 02:41:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, yes ... (none)
        like irishwitch, I remember it well.

        NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

        by moiv on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 04:40:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ditto (4.00)
          Class of '71 from college, Irishwitch -- and in the Midwest, so in which legislature did you work?

          I remember going for my first job interviews, in the media -- when almost all women on tv news were "weather girls," so I went to newspapers -- and it was a regular thing to be asked about my plans for marriage, my plans for starting a family.  After all, birth control still was banned for single women in my state, so women faced unplanned pregnancies no matter their best intentions to stay on the job . . . since, of course, there still wasn't day care to be found, so you would have to go home for good.

          Btw, girls still in high school who got pregnant had to leave school, by state law.  Not just Catholic high schools like mine, although there was another one nearby, a "boarding school," for Catholic girls who got pregnant and whose families didn't send them out of town to that proverbial "aunt" somewhere.

          I remember several of my classmates disappearing to that other school nearby, the House of Good Shepherd for Fallen Girls.  And I remember so much more that resonates, Irishwitch. . . .

          We cannot let those days return.  We will not.  If the Dems won't do what is right, remember -- the National Woman's Party still exists in its Washington, D.C. hq!  (Great gift shop, btw.:-)

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:13:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was one of those girls who went to visit Auntie (4.00)
            after a date rape in 1968.  

            I wish I did not know the things I know about those kinds of situations. We absolutely can not allow those days to return, ever. But those days are exactly what the fundies want.

          •  job (none)
            Michigan had a both a state office for the governor and an office for the legislature. I worked on the legislature's side. Then I worked for National  Association of Broadcasters--quit there when my boss announced he was hiring a guy with less education, no writing skills (I was already doing press releases and articles) at twice my salary because the  Good Old Boys couldn't handle a woman as an asst representative for their anti-cable TV campaign. I decided to do something that mattered and ended up teaching in an inner city school system.

            "I'm looking for an original sin/I've done all the old ones/they've all been done in" " --Jim Steinman

            by irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 08:41:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  what's next? (4.00)
      criminalizing lesbians and single women who get pregnant:

      Indiana repubs are trying to make it a criminal act for lesbians and single women to get pregnant!

      From Ductape Fatwa at boo tribune:

      Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant "by means other than sexual intercourse."

      According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother throu gh assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, and egg donation, must first file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court.

      Only women who are married will be considered for the "gestational certificate" that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the "gestational certificate" will only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening
      process currently required by law of adoptive parents.

      read the scary rest here:
      Unauthorized Reproduction

      where the womenkossacks went, Our Word

      by artemisia on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:09:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your post says so much. (4.00)
    Enforced motherhood as a way to control female sexuality.

    That's what this is really about.

  •  nope, don't want it to happen (4.00)
    Sometimes, listening to various men go on and on about the sanctity of life and how abortion is so evil, etc, etc...

    I find myself wondering if they never see the irony in a bunch of men deciding what I should do with my body, or if they're really that big a bunch of control freaks?

    •  As a 55 year old woman (4.00)
      who fought this fight originally, I can tell you that it's not about irony.

      It's about the fear and hatred of women, and it's about control.

      •  If abortion were outlawed (4.00)
        I hope every woman in this country could get together on using sex as an instrument of control.

        i.e. Friends don't let friends fuck Republicans.

        "Really," said the Scarecrow, "you ought to be ashamed of yourself for being such a humbug." -- L. Frank Baum

        by kismet on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 02:26:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm bi-partisan (4.00)
          Friends don't let friends fuck Republicans.

          on this when it comes to anti-choice males. It's a stance which says so much about a man's character.

          "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

          by colleen on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:23:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  two husbands (none)
          I've been married twice. My first husband was a volunteer rape crisis counselor at the sme center I was.  He was also fiercely pro-chocie and a feminist. Mys econd, depsite beign raised in AL and GA, has siad that if he weren't amrrried he'd be a clinic escort.  He also had a vasectomy.

          I make it a rule not to sleep with anyone I can't have a civilized discussion with.  Which eliminates most Republicans.

          "I'm looking for an original sin/I've done all the old ones/they've all been done in" " --Jim Steinman

          by irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 10:44:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. But when I was on ... (4.00)
      ...the board of a not-for-profit abortion clinic years ago, what always creeped me out was the number of women among our weekly line of protestors. Initially, I tried to engage some of them in hopes of persuading them to change or moderate their views.

      My usual question: What would you do if your 12-year-old became pregnant? Over and over again, the answer was: That will never happen. She's not that kind of girl. But, if she did? Then she should take her punishment.

      I'm not saying every anti-choice person views it like that. My sample was rather small, and comprised the most committed foes of choice. But the percentage who did take that stance was large and frightening.

      •  And when I did oppo (4.00)
        working undercover,as it were, in a prolife clinic, roughly 80% of the women  walking through the doors to obtain counseling were pro-life Christian women who were opposed to abortion, except in their own case.
      •  Bingo! (none)
        You just hit on the dark underbelly of the right to life movement.

        That will never happen. She's not that kind of girl. But, if she did?  Then she should take her punishment.

        That quote is great because it admits what I believe the right is thinking but doesn't want to say.

        It always struck me that there were two parts to the right to life movement.  Yes, there really are people who belive that unborn babies are special and magic and deserve all kinds of protection.  That, however, is not enough.  The unspoken part of the right to life movement is the moralist retribution argument that they never talk about.  Those people see unborn babies not as magical, special, miracles, but rather as divine retribution for having sex, sort of like squishy pink lightning bolts.

        It seems to me that if we can ever define what Pat Robertson and his friends are really after the debate should be over because that's an argument they can't win.  If Pat Robertson has to defend the "squishy pink lightning bolts" argument instead of the "babies are wonderful" argument then the game is over.  The proof that the right is a "culture of retribution", not a "culture of life", is pretty clear:

        1.  For much of the right life seems to begin at conception but end at birth.  Once that kid is squeezed out of the womb he's on his own.  If someone was really concerned about "life" then he would be concerned about health care, preschool, lunches, and all kinds of stuff the right doesn't want to spend money on.

        2.  Many on the right would permit abortion in cases of rape or incest.  Whatever the unborn fetus is, it is the same one way or the other.  The only difference in those cases is that the expectant mother does not "deserve" to be punished.  In other words, many on the right would permit abortion in those cases where the mother does not "deserve" to be punished by being forced to give birth.

        Just my $.02 worth.

        The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

        by Tod on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:51:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Damn skippy (4.00)
    Women's rights aren't special rights. They're human rights.
  •  I fiercely hope Roe v. Wade is not ... (4.00)
    ...overturned. But there might be a bright side if a new Supreme Court reversed that decision. It might push those who think reproductive rights are a secondary issue - including lots of young women and men of generally liberal persuasion - to stop being so lackadaisical in this matter and swell the ranks of the pro-choice movement with a vigorous fight agsinst every state legislator who will be trying to ban abortion (among other things).

    OK. I admit that I always try to find a silver lining in the darkest clouds.

  •  Rock-solid diary, recommended. (none)
    So why don't you put up a tip jar?

    "Our attitude was- the revolution can't start until we find our hair gel." Joe Strummer

    by histopresto on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 02:30:10 PM PDT

    •  Not a deal breaker for me (none)
      My deal breaker is LGBT equality.

      I used to think that Roe v Wade was extremely important to me, even though I'm a gay male who most likely would never be personally touched by reproductive rights (or lack thereof).  

      I used to think this because I looked at it as part of an ideology, that a person who is pro-choice would be more progressive in other areas.  I hoped beyond hope that someday, somehow those who are pro-choice would be in my fight to end LGBT inequality.

      Then voters in 11 states last year voted that gay & lesbian citizens are to be marginalized, feared, and downright blamed for a morally corrupt nation.

      I wondered, how many pro-choice voters voted against me?  I mean, polls show the majority of Americans think abortion should be legal.  But a majority of Americans in those 11 states voted against equality for same-sex relationships.  That tells me there's some overlap there.

      Reproductive rights become important to me when LGBT rights become important to the party and are fought for side-by-side.

      I guess you'd say my opinion is, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

      I feel that since so few people place LGBT rights at the forefront, the few of us that do must be strident about it.

      •  I heard the same kind of logic (4.00) comments on a post I made about the ERA. Why you and others seem to consider equal rights somehow mutually exclusive, I have no idea.

        My feeling is that if someone cannot be trusted to protect the rights of any American in whatever demographic, then that person is a risk who might readily compromise the rights of other Americans.

        I wondered, how many pro-choice voters voted against me?

        Considering that these homophobes were brought out by a hate-driven effort in right-wing churches, probably not too many of those voters were "pro-choice."

        But you're right in that the Democratic Party abandoned you, too. And John Kerry was an utter failure for trying to have it both ways in his campaign.

        To politicians: Either you're for equal rights for all or you're not. And if you're not, frankly, I couldn't give a shit about what else you have to say.

      •  Should I ask for my vote back then? (4.00)
        But no, I think that would be hypocritical of me, given my support of your position. What a pity, since you've just happily shoved me out of the big party tent.

        An Ohio Pro-Choice Voter.

        "Our attitude was- the revolution can't start until we find our hair gel." Joe Strummer

        by histopresto on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:45:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  gay rights (none)
        I back both choice and gay rights.  I have gay friends and relatives (in fact, my favorite 9n-law is a gay man living in San Francisco). One of my best friends that I left behind when we moved to Atlanta form Maine is TS.

        I suspect that most people who would oppose abortion would also oppose gay, lesbian, bisexual and TH rights. I KNOW they oppose legalizing any sex more kinky than marital in the missionary position (that's a joke, folks).

        I've already got nice long nails to scratch your back.

         You have MY backing 110%. I used to post at the ACLU site on this subject alone because the anti-gay faction there were very loud and psoted so many lies. Wonder if the folks so willing to sell out pro-choice women are also willing to do the same for gay rights.  So far the Dems seem only willing to go for civil unions--I think gay marriage is what's needed, but it may take getting civil unions made common before they'll go that far. I would vote against any candidate who didn't at least call for civil unions--but prefer them to back full marriage, as well as full civil rights for gays.

        "I'm looking for an original sin/I've done all the old ones/they've all been done in" " --Jim Steinman

        by irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 08:36:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  tip jar (none)
      This was my first diary. I wouldn't know HOW to put up a tip jar.  Can you email me offlist and tell me how?

      I wrote this beca0sue I've been seeing a lot of murmuring , mostly from guys it appears, that we should sell out women to get a Dem majority. I wanted to remind them what is really at stake--and that they really are selling out women in a lot more ways than they realize. Because the prolifers  among the Dems often, for religious reasons, side with the Christian Consrvatives onother issues like sex education, hormonal birth control, etc.

      "I'm looking for an original sin/I've done all the old ones/they've all been done in" " --Jim Steinman

      by irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 08:28:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please don't misunderstand. (none)
    I understand what you are saying.  I'm just asking you to understand what some other people are saying as well.

    I think the point is that there is a very legitimate question to ask about what is the best way to keep abortion safe and legal.  I don't think people are trying to throw women under the bus in support of some other agenda and to make that accusation is really unfair.

    The problem is a simple one and it comes from the fact that so much in Washington is dominated by party politics rather than any one Congressman's personal opinions.  Although individuals in each party differ, in general terms the democratic party tends to protect choice while the republicans have been campaigning against choice for 20 years.  So, would a woman's right to choose be better protected by a democratic majority, with one senator who personally opposes abortion, or by a republican majority, with one senator who personally supports choice?

    It's not crazy to think that classic pro choice goals would be better off with a democratic majority, even if you have to tolerate a few pro life democrats in order to reach that majority.  Suggesting that is the best way to achieve your goals is hardly throwing the issue of choice to the wolves.  The repubs. are willing to tolerate a few pro choice exceptions to keep their majority, and abortion rights are threatened as a result.  They don't keep Lincoln Chaffee around as a personal favor to you.  They keep Lincoln Chaffee around because that is the best way to get a red vote out of a blue state.  That means a republican majority in the judiciary committee and clear sailing for anti-choice judges.  Understanding that strategy is not the same as selling you out.

    The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    by Tod on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 02:33:58 PM PDT

    •  Yet... (4.00)
      the Dems run Casey as a pro-life Dem in a blue state that has a 'no kidding' pro-choice Rep in Specter.

      Why is that? Did they not find a pro-choice Dem who could've taken on and beat Santorum? PA is a really big state with some really smart and effective folks.

      Or did they not even bother to look further than their nose?

      Yeah...I'm chaffing a bit on that one.

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 02:51:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I know. (none)
        There's a lot of funky stuff that goes into what candidates run and what candidates don't.  I'm not going to even try to defend all of that.  Some of it has nothing to do with party bosses picking candidates in smoke filled rooms.  I have no idea at all why the polls in Rhode Island said the voters liked a pro choice republican but liked pro life democrats better than pro choice democrats.  That doesn't make any sense.

        My point is just that, given where the party caucus, as a whole, stands, an honest to goodness, dyed in the wool, 100% true blue, sincere, pro life republican may still harm the cause of choice a lot more than a pro life democrat, if electing the pro choice republican means that Bill Frist is still in charge of the senate, the republicans still have a majority in the judiciary committee, and all the other stuff that comes from being the majority party.

        At the very least, even if you don't agree with that conclusion, I'd hope you'd recognize that an honest disagreement about how best to keep choice safe and legal is not the same as throwing anybody who doesn't agree with your strategy to the wolves.

        The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

        by Tod on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:10:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well right now... (4.00)
          PA has a 100% pro life Rep as a Sen. Switching that one to a pro life Dem is not going to do our rights much good.

          How can you promise that he won't bolt if given the coverage or option? It's not like Dems are very disciplined in party line votes, which is a new strategy that they are learning slowly.

          I've worked in parliamentary politics. They have a long way to go to get to the same level of party discipline they need.

          "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

          by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:17:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No promises. (none)
            I know what you mean about party discipline.  On the other hand, the fact that the Repubs usually have good party discipline, enforced with an iron fist, means that a pro choice republican can't do much good either.

            I'm not suggesting that any of these choices is perfect.  We're just talking about which of several bad options is "less bad".  The point of a democratic majority is the housekeeping votes that don't have anything specific to do with choice, but control the rules of the game.  It's hard to imagine a pro life democrat bolting the party at that stage.  If a pro life democrat means the democrats get to have a 10-8 majority in the judiciary committee that's got to be better than the deal we have now.

            The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

            by Tod on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:28:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My grandfather was a pro choice Republican (none)
              as are my dad and my uncle.

              They celebrate the option of choice as well as limited government involvement in private decisions  like abortion and choice in death.

              Somewhere along the line, that was lost. They know this and generally vote Dem (or split tickets). But if you give them a choice between a pro choice Republican, along the lines of Connie Morella or Olympia Snowe, or a pro life Dem...sure as anything, they'll vote for the Rep.

              It's hard to imagine a pro life Dem bolting from the party? Really? One example, Zell Miller. One example of a pro choice Rep bolting from the GOP? Jim Jeffords.

              "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

              by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 10:30:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh... (none)
              and that iron fist? He's currently indicted on criminal counts. The other one? Well Frist is in trouble too...

              "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

              by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 10:32:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Replaced by...... (none)
                Unfortunately, when Delay had to give up the gavel it didn't go to Kermit the Frog or anybody else who would let people just vote the way they like.  It's a little early to announce that the era of party line, top down, democracy is over.

                The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

                by Tod on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 11:57:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not saying that the era is over... (none)
                  I am pointing out that there is probably a great deal of confusion and grumbling inside the ranks. Tack on really low numbers for a lame duck POTUS and a mid-term election season (post-Hackett) and the ranks of GOP Congress are beginning to realize they might have some wiggle room to work with.

                  "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

                  by kredwyn on Wed Oct 05, 2005 at 06:27:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Frankly... (4.00)
          "I'd hope you'd recognize that an honest disagreement about how best to keep choice safe and legal"

          I'm not totally convinced that some of the pro-life Dems are interested in "how best to keep choice safe and legal."

          "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

          by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:22:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Quite a few of them (none)
            are avowedly pro-criminalization, and proud of it.

            NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

            by moiv on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:01:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You underscore my point... (none)

              "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

              by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 10:34:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No illusions about that. (none)
                I never suggested that the pro life democrats were just teasing.  My point is that, even acknowledging that they are serious on this issue, the democratic caucus would still be strongly pro choice overall.  That would mean a 10-8 majority on the judiciary committee and the power to set the agenda.  A democratic majority overall could see to it that a particularly bad judge never even comes up for a vote in committee, so a guy like Zell Miller doesn't even get a chance to cross the aisle.  Remember that happened to Clinton all the time, without the kind of cost associated with a fillibuster.

                The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

                by Tod on Wed Oct 05, 2005 at 12:07:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You forget something... (none)
                  The Rs in the judiciary committee didn't need to threaten the filibuster, which they did threaten. They had the blue slip and the Hold.

                  Those were plenty effective in holding up judicial nominations from ever making it to the floor. Hatch knew that, which is why he got rid of the blue slip when he took over as the Chair of the committee...

                  "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

                  by kredwyn on Wed Oct 05, 2005 at 06:23:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  No illusions? (none)
                  Further up, you try to point out that the DFLers are interested in discussing " best to keep choice safe and legal."

                  Contrary to the general meaning that I took from your post, I get the impression that they are not remotely interested in keeping choice both safe  and legal.

                  Then you turn around and say that they aren't teasing about their avowed goals.

                  IIRC it didn't take too many right wing GOP folks to actually change the makeup of the Republican party.

                  "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

                  by kredwyn on Wed Oct 05, 2005 at 07:26:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Misunderstood me. (none)
                    I never meant to say that the DFLers were interested in keeping abortion safe and legal.  I accept that democrats for life, just like republicans for life, want to make abortion illegal.  The difference is that the DFLers are a small minority of the party and by definition they can't be so extreme as to be one issue voters.  If they were they would be republicans.

                    My point was that the rest of the democrats, the pro choice democrats, would be much better able to protect choice if they had the power of the majority, even if that majority was the result of a few DFLs being elected.

                    I'm not suggesting that the democratic caucus at large should adopt a pro life platform or campaign that they will insist on judges who would reverse Roe.  I'm just thinking that a democratic majority would really help.  Even if a few members of that majority are pro life the vast majority would be pro choice.

                    The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

                    by Tod on Wed Oct 05, 2005 at 07:42:27 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  By the way. (none)
                    I noticed that, even though I look like the one kid in the marching band going east when everybody else is going west in this thread, it doesn't feel like I'm getting flamed.  This seems like a civil conversation, which is rare when people don't agree on this issue.  That feels like an accomplishment and I appreciate it.

                    The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

                    by Tod on Wed Oct 05, 2005 at 07:46:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  That would be a valid point (4.00)
      ...except that "pro-life" Democrats are already selling us out, with TRAP laws and over-eager endorsement of Supreme Court and Appellate Court nominees.
      •  I know, but. (none)
        We're all frustrated with the democratic minority caving in and going along on a hundred issues.  Whether the issue most important to you is choice or starting unnecessary wars with countries that aren't a threat, we've all been let down.

        That said, I still hope that a democratic majority in either house would have more of a spine.  Actually having the votes to win can do that.  Certainly one or two pro choice republican senators haven't kept any pro life judges off the court.

        The Bush White House: Where being right gets you fired and being wrong gets you the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

        by Tod on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:19:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's no reason (4.00)
 believe that anti-choice Democrats are going to go against their beliefs that women should be pushed out of the Constitution.

          Why should we expect "pro-life" senators to vote against "pro-life" court nominees? We can't. And they don't. Surprise!

          I submit the reason the Dems don't seem be able to stick together is because of this very thing -- they aren't all really Democrats. And the solution is anything but more of the same, more of the box-kite politicians (showing different faces to different sides, but always blowing with the wind).

        •  Pro-life Dems (none)
          I hate to break it to you, but pro-life Dems usually sell out on other women's issues as well. And cave to the Republicans easily.

          "I'm looking for an original sin/I've done all the old ones/they've all been done in" " --Jim Steinman

          by irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 08:24:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The answer is (none)
      that abortion keeps pregnancy safe, keeps abortion legal, and keeps unwanted children rare.


      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:20:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, I meant that the answer is (none)
        that abortion keeps pregnancy safe, keeps women legal, and keep unwanted children rare.

        <type too fast when angry that we even have to go through all this debate again, dammit. . . .>

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:21:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Read moiv's diary over (none)
      at Booman. It underscores my point. There are DFLers who would love to criminalize abortion.

      Sorry...that doesn't sound like they are generally interested in protecting it...more like they are intent on destroying it from within.

      "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

      by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 10:37:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen (4.00)
    women's rights are human rights, and human rights ARE NOT a "special interest".

    If they sell women out, they will lose more votes than they'll gain, and maybe that needs to happen before they'll learn.

  •  CUA (MA) Class of '97 (4.00)
    I remember walking up from the Brookland Metro Station in amongst some of the Right to Life rally participants. Since the then sitting president of the university had come out in favor of birth control (and abortion, I think), CUA had been told that it'd be a hub for these marches for a while.

    Those march days were some of the weirdest moments of my graduate program. I had some sort of pro-choice button on my backpack as I wove my way through the groups. Freaky...

    Great diary. It says a lot...solidly.

    "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

    by kredwyn on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 02:40:42 PM PDT

  •  Taking it personally (4.00)
    "Pro-life" is a deal breaker for me too because I can't help taking it very personally that pro-life people think it's OK if I die for the sake of their pro-fetus idiology.

    In order to be pregnant I literally had to risk my own life.  I've had two babies and both times I had dangerous high blood pressure. I did it twice, but now that I expect the problem to reoccur I refuse to risk my life that way again.

    Optional abortion is framed as an alternative to prevention (i.e. the pregnant woman was irresponsible and therefore deserves to be punished) and it is not.  It is an essential part of reproductive health care for women.  No matter how much blather you hear about exemptions for the "life and health of the mother", there isn't any way to "ban abortion" without being willing to kill some women as a result.

    Also, as a doting parent I just cannot get past the evil immorality of the "pro-life" position that frames a child as a "punishment".


  •  About so much more than just abortion. (4.00)
    I remember that era as well.  I also see that many men and others here do not see the full picture. This fight against abortion rights is mostly being led by the religious groups. These groups are being catered to now by our party in order to win on moral issues.

    However the party leaders don't see the danger inherent here.  

    First abortion rights are regulated.

    But the worst is to come.  Remember the religious premise here is that the moment of conception should dictate all of it.  

    1. Abortion rights

    2. Birth control use, especially pill form. Many believe that they will keep a life from being formed, and thus they want to regulate their use.

    3. Stem cell research.  Same reason, when life begins.  We should do nothing to keep life from beginning.

    4. Women should stay at home and take care of their families.  That is what the religious right believes, that we are to subject to our husbands.  I know that because I was Southern Baptist.  

    Abortion is only one tiny part of this battle.  I am amazed daily at progressive blogs how few really get it.  It is becoming touchy now.  I know someone who was banned at a blog for posting an article critical of an anti-choice candidate.  It is coming down to that now.  

    It worries me, and it scares me to see us as women called one issue people.  It is amazing how easily people have tried to keep us from talking out on this.

    "I'm willing to say things that are not popular but ordinary people know are right." Howard Dean

    by floridagal on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:08:56 PM PDT

  •  "Pro-choice" IS the "big tent" (4.00)
    It's the anti-choice folks who are against the big tent. It is the anti-choice folks who say that everyone must obey their views. It's the anti-choice folks who push to criminalize women's reproductive rights. It's the anti-choice folks who are the intolerant ones.

    Pro-choice means tolerance for all views. Pro-choice means it's not the government's place to decide. The pro-choice tent is big, already including people who are anti-abortion. It's the anti-choice people who want to kick out the pro-choice folks -- not just out of the Party, but out of the very fabric of our society. The anti-choice people want the government to seize control of wombs and institute reproduction controls that violate the woman's body, and thus her very fundamental constitutional rights of equal protection under the law.

    (Reposted from a longer rant)

  •  My body (4.00)
    This is what I don't get at all. Where is the point that MY BODY is MY BODY and what is going on inside of ME is no one else's business??

    Also, a vet of the fertility wars, and an older woman, I know that the clinics and IVF and genetic testing will be next. I know a lot of women who had to reduce from 4 to two embryos or all the babies would have died.

    I know people who borrowed from family and took out second mortgages on homes because IVF is so expensive and if they were severly limited in the number of eggs they could fertilize or implant and not allowed to freeze embryos (high failure rate duing the thaw) they could never afford to have a family.


  •  I agree 100% (4.00)
    I WILL NOT vote for a pro-life candidate. I don't care if that's my only option. I just won't do it.
  •  excellent diary (4.00)
    Thank you for this. We need to keep talking about this, despite the number of times we are told to shut up. It is a human rights issue and that more people here can't see that makes me very sad for the democratic party.  

    First they came for MY choice...

    by sassy texan on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 03:36:56 PM PDT

  •  It's a deal breaker for me too. (4.00)
    As a mother, I simply cannot fathom why anyone thinks that forcing motherhood upon anyone who is not willing or ready to do it (for whatever reason - physical or emotional)is a "good idea."
    Becoming a mother is such a profound change in an individual's life that it should be entered into only by those women who wish to do so.
    Until there is a contraceptive method that is BOTH 100% safe (free of side effects) and
    100% effective, there will always be some women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and since it is their life that will be radically changed and most severely impacted by that unplanned pregnancy - it should be their decision of what to do. Period. The end. Uncompromisable.
    I have also never understood these people who think that a teenage girl (or a pre-teen) should be a mother as some sort of punhisment. I would never want my daughtere to go through with a pregnancy she didn't want - to try to "teach her a lesson."  How disgusting. But, whenever I have gotten into heated discussions with people who are adamently  "anti-abortion" they usually regurgitate that kind of "punishment" theme. They usually never think of abortion in the context of say - a married 35 year old woman who may not want anymore children, or of a cancer survivor who would be facing a high-risk pregnancy, or a case of severe fetal abonormality.  No, they only seem to think of abortion in the context of teenage girls and basically the core of their beliefs is that teenage girls shouldn't be having sex at all, therefore abortion should be outlawed.
    As I said, I don't get it - but it does seem to be a common theme. Women can't exactly be "free" if you don't have the basic right to decide whether or not you will reproduce and raise a child for the rest of your life (or not). So, although I too get tired of the relentless focus on the issue of abortion, and although I do want to focus on other important issues as well, I cannot support (in good conscience) candidates, etc. who do not support my right to choose.
  •  Amen Sisters (4.00)
    This is the deal breaker for me too. No exceptions.

    I WILL NOT bring up children in a country that enslaves girls or women.

    Forced pregnancy = SLAVERY.

  •  So here's the question (none)
    You have two choices for candidates:

    Candidate A:  Opposes abortion in some form, is willing to add abortion restrictions but at worst would allow in case of rape/incest/saving woman's life.  Also is pro-union, pro-environment, pro-education, wants to preserve social security and medicare, pro-living wage, etc.

    Candidate B:  Is pro-choice.  Would not vote for any abortion restrictions.  However would vote to confirm appellate and supreme court justices who would oppose abortion.  Is pro-corporation, anti-environment, in favor of vouchers, etc.  

    If you would choose Candidate B then I would argue you are being unhelpful.  

    Candidate A: Someone like Casey from Pennsylvania, or Harry Reid from Nevada.  Candidate B: Someone like Lincoln Chafee from Rhode Island.

    A pro-life democrat like Reid voted against Roberts.  A pro-choice Republican like Chafee voted in favor of Roberts.  Reid wouldn't allow anti-abortion legislation to come to the floor as majority leader even though he's pro-life.

    NARAL types need to realize that women's issues are human rights issues but so are lots of other issues, and we shouldn't sell out our soul and put "Pro-Choice" republicans in office - because when push comes to shove they will vote with the very anti-choice leadership.


    Democrats *do* have a plan for Social Security - it's called Social Security. -- Ed Schultz

    by FredFred on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 04:06:53 PM PDT

    •  It's all nice and neat (4.00)
      ...when it's an abstraction. But when it's your rights that are being sold down the river, it takes on an entirely new dimension. We "NARAL types" don't see life as simplistically as you'd have us. And pollyanna visions of "pro-life" Democrats valiantly holding the line against "pro-life" legislation aren't going to fool anyone except those already eager to believe them. (Maybe you've not yet heard of TRAP laws, or the Democrats who are supporting them and enacting them?)

      Where do you draw the line? Do you endorse a KKK grand wizard if he wants to be a Democrat? You know, all in the name of the "big tent"? How about a leader of the Aryan Nation? I'm sure the Dems could find some anti-Semites to run, too.

      How about this: Anti-NARAL types needs to realize that when human rights are sold out in the name of winning, there is no winning. If you become your enemy in order to vanquish him, what have you achieved in the end?

      •  Lincoln Chafee (none)
        If NARAL renounces its endorsement of Lincoln Chafee then maybe I'll give them a listen again.  However with the Chafee endorsement - against Pro-Choice Democrats - given Chafee's voting record - NARAL has shown to be a tool for destroying women's rights, not fighting for them.


        Democrats *do* have a plan for Social Security - it's called Social Security. -- Ed Schultz

        by FredFred on Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 08:05:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And what we also face (none)
      in my state is TWO Dem Senators who claim to be 100% pro-choice, for whom we worked and voted, but then they voted FOUR TIMES for Roberts -- both on the Judiciary Committee and then on the floor.

      At least Reid voted as he said he would.

      What do we about Dems who didn't?

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:35:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dealbreaker, Fred (none)
      This is where I draw my line.

      I dont' have children by choice--but many of my friends and families have daughters. I don't want them to have to go trhough what we went through back then.  My oldest friend, who has three daughters and who would never choose to abort herself, has siad she wants it legal for her daughters.

      I have concluded that people who have actually had to face the possiblity of an unwanted pregancy feel very differently than those who haven't. It wasn't theoretical for them.

      How many times have YOU had to consider whether or not you would bear a child you didn't want--or have an abortion.  Tell us, FredFred. Inquiring minds want to know. Yeah, that was snarky, I admit it. But it's valid question.

      And I ask you THIS question:  would you be willing to vote for a Democrat who oppose the Voting Rights Act and civil rights for African Americans?   Would you tell an African American to vote for a Dem who was good on other issues even though it was against his interests as an African American? And if not, why is it somehow different when it comes to WOMEN?

      Are you saying we CAN'T find viable Dem candidates who will fight for a women's right to choose? I say, if we can't, then we haven't looked hard enough.

      "I'm looking for an original sin/I've done all the old ones/they've all been done in" " --Jim Steinman

      by irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 08:22:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bravo (one correction) (none)
    I agree entirely. It infuriates me that the Democrats try to "compromise" with Republicans on the issue of reproductive rights; "compromise" to a Republican means you give, they take.

    Just one thing:

    the other choice was using condoms, which have a high failure rate even when used correctly.

    I don't think that's accurate. Perhaps you meant "had a high failure rate".

    •  Condom failure rates (none)
      run from 10-15% with what is described by researchers as "average" use -- i.e., in real life circumstances, as opposed to "perfect" use every time. That's pretty high.

      But as the saying goes, your own mileage may vary. ;-)


      NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

      by moiv on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:16:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ditto (4.00)
    Abortion rights is a deal breaker for me too.  It's the reason I became politically active in the eighties.  There is NO compromise on my control of my reproductive organs, none.  And I speak from experience like some many woman who are passionate about this issue.  I had an unintended pregnancy at seventeen heading into my senior year of high school with a full scholarship awaiting my graduation. I somehow was wise enough to decide to have an abortion and it was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made.  But I also know that I would have had the abortion legal or not, safe or not.  And that is what most pro-lifers fail to understand.  Making abortions illegal will not stop abortions.  It only means women will die.  But we have always known they are not pro-women nor pro-child.  It's about control of women and punishing women who dare have sex for any reason other than procreation.  
  •  What's next ? (4.00)
    Just what the fuck is next with these control freaks that want to eliminate sex except for procreation?

    Female genital mutilation?

    Chastity belts?

    Just say NO to ANY candidate who will not put it in writing that they will do nothing to limit the choice of women to control their own bodies.

    Make them say in public, at a public meeting, that they are pro-choice on abortion.

    Get it on the record.

    And keep their feet to the fire.

    A vote for a Republican is a vote for Bush.

    by Maine Atticus on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:36:48 PM PDT

  •  Lies about abortion. (4.00)
    "I personally don't know anyone who's had an abortion, but in my opinion ... "

    Everyone in this country knows at least one woman who's had an abortion, and probably several. If they don't feel safe telling you about it, maybe you should ask yourself why.

    "Abortion is always a terrible thing and an agonizing decision, but ... "

    It isn't always either of those things. Every day I talk with female human beings from 12 to 52 for whom abortion feels like a lifesaving decision, and the only thing they feel guilty about is not feeling as guilty as some people insist that they should.

    "Well, I don't believe in it, but in my situation ... "

    If you didn't "believe in it," you'd be talking to the crisis pregnancy center next door instead of to me.

    "It's a child, and abortion is murder."

    If women were leading toddlers into facilities all across this country thousands of times a day, and then coming back out of the buildings alone, people would do something more about it than just wave ugly signs at them. And every one of us would help them.

    It's time, and past time, that we stopped letting them own the language.

    NNAF: Funding equal access for the women of Katrina

    by moiv on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 05:50:18 PM PDT

  •  The Crime of "Unauthorized Reproduction" (none)
    A draft of the legislation is available on the Health Finance Commission website:

    Legislation which, among other things, bars unmarried people from having children by articifial means is here

    The next meeting of the Health Finance Commission will be held a t
    the Statehouse on October 20, 2005 at 10 am in Senate Chambers and
    is open to the public.

    To express your support or opposition of legislation making "unauthorized reproduction" a criminal act, contact members of the Health Finance Commission by telephone or email:

    Sen. Patricia Miller (R) 232-9489 s32@...
    Sen. Gregory Server (R) 232-9490 s50@...
    Sen. Gary Dillon (R) 232-9808 s17@...
    Sen. Beverly Gard (R) 232-9493 s28@...
    Sen. Ryan Mishler (R) 233-0930 s9@...
    Sen. Connie Lawson (R) 232-9984 s24@...
    Sen. Marvin Riegsecker (R) 232-9488 s12@...
    Sen. Billie Breaux (D) 232-9849 s34@...
    Sen. Vi Simpson (D) 232-9849 s40@...
    Sen. Connie Sipes (D) 232-9526 s46@...
    Sen. Timothy Skinner (D) 232-9523 s38@...
    Rep. Vaneta Becker (R) 232-9769 h78@...
    Rep. Robert Behning (R) 232-9981 h91@...
    Rep. Timothy Brown (R) 234-3825 h41@...
    Rep.Mary Kay Budak(R) 232-9641 h20@...
    Rep. Da vid Frizzell (R) 232-9981 h93@...
    Rep. Donald Lehe (R) 232-9648 h15@...
    Rep. Richard Dodge (R) 232-9729 h51@...
    Rep. Charlie Brown (D) 232-9676 h3@...
    Rep. David Orentlicher (D) 232-9991 h86@...
    Rep. Craig Fry (D) 232-9994 h5@...
    Rep. Carolene Mays (D) 232-0243 h94@...
    Rep. Scott Reske (D) 232-9695 h37@...

  •  good Ggrls (none)
    Good GIrls don't HAVE icky, messy, nasty sex.

    I got over being a Catholic and a Good Girl long ago.  

    "I'm looking for an original sin/I've done all the old ones/they've all been done in" " --Jim Steinman

    by irishwitch on Tue Oct 04, 2005 at 10:45:12 PM PDT

  •  You cannot be a liberal and pro-life... (none)
    Without being a hypocrite. Period. The end. Everything else is dissembling, obfuscation and hypocracy.

    Why? Because one of the foundational principles of liberal philosophy, natural law, natural rights, etc. is the right to bodily autonomy. It is even foundational to property law (i.e. bodily autonomy as absolute ownership of oneself).

    For women, abortion and birth control are simply the right to bodily autonomy. Without birth control and abortion women do not have bodily autonomy because the state is able to legally force women to bear the risk of accidental pregnancy and to legally compel the continuation of that pregnancy.

    In light of the ample empirical evidence of the health and saftey risks of pregnancy for women and furthermore the severe constrainment of oportunities that an unplanned pregnancy can result in, this also constitutes a prima-facie denial of the right of self-determination, the right to autonomy over ones own life.

    Thus, even for a liberal who believes whole heartedly that life begins at conception (a belief plainly rooted in mysoginy, but I'll address that momentarily) the defense of the right of women to abortion is paramount because the liberal conception of rights demands virtually absolute bodily autonomy and thus, until viability, a feutus is necessarily subject to the retraction of the use of the mothers body at her own discretion.

    I'll note that I'm not even a liberal and that this is plain to me. I don't see how you can possibly reconcile the liberal foundational right of bodily autonomy with any restriction on abortion or birth control up to the point of viability. I simply don't see how such a position is defensible from the POV of liberal philosophy and politics.

    As for the view that life begins at conception being inherently mysoginistic, the proof is quite simply. Science clearly has long since demonstrated empirically that pregnancy, and thus the potential for life, begins at implantation, not conception. This is well established empirical fact. The view that pregnancy, and therefore life, begins at conception is a belief that predates modern science and is founded on the old mysoginistic view that pregnancy is something a man does to a woman and that only at the moment of his active participation in planting the active seed in the passive soil of the woman is life created. Thus the "bun in oven" analogy and countless others "getting knocked up" "got her pregnant" etc. etc. all come from that same ancient view of woman as passive and inert and man as active and vital.

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