**How do you think through the moral and spiritual aspects of abortion?**
I have taken pains to develop a political as well as personal stance on abortion that can make sense to people of all faiths and none, and thus is admissible to the public sphere.
My stance on abortion--like my stance on women's equality, disability rights, racial justice, environmental protection, war, and a wide variety of other social justice concerns-- is deeply shaped by Buddhist and Christian values of reverence for all life, and for the web of interconnections among all lives.
I oppose abortion because I believe unborn lives are sacred--but already-born lives, including the lives of women, are equally sacred. Women should not be forced by social conditions into situations where they have to sacrifice the lives of their unborn children and parts of themselves in order to "resolve" grave problems.
And so there is an enormous and inescapable responsibility, at every level of society from the individual to the global, to ensure that (1) women have the knowledge, the means, and the power within intimate relationships to prevent unintended pregnancies and (2) women who conceive, along with their children, have the utmost social supports, before, during, and ever after birth, in avoiding abortion and finding real, substantive alternatives in parenting, guardianship, foster care, or adoption. Both prevention and surprise-pregnancy support of course must include substantial male responsibility.
My deliberations are deeply shaped by my own experiences of bearing and raising an unplanned daughter in immensely difficult circumstances including my own disabilities, and bearing witness to many, many women's stories of unplanned pregnancy.
**What would you genuinely like to understand about the perspective of people who feel differently?**
(for *some* prolifers) How is it possible to be prolife and not be for every single life threatened by violence of discrimination--including and especially the lives of beleagured pregnant women who feel abortion is their least bad or only choice?
(for *some* prochoicers) Why do you invest so much energy in defending a right to abortion, instead of channelling all that energy into making abortion unnecessary? Wouldn't that be far more constructive?
**What would you like them to understand about you? **
I would like *some* prolifers to understand that I am not somehow 'watering down" prolifer by my insistence that "prolife" applies to every life, including but not exclusively the life of the unborn child. Would not the abortion rate plummet in an overall climate of respect for life, especially women's lives?
I would like *some* prochoicers to understand that I am not motivated by right-wing patriarchal theology, obedience to authoritarian dogma, troglodytic hatred of women and already-born children, or fear and loathing of nonprocreative sex--let alone rabid judgmentality or a frenzy to commit violence against anyone who has had or provided abortions.
Those are the stereotypes, but I, and many likeminded people, thankfully do not measure down to them. We are genuinely moved by reverence for life, born and unborn.
**If the phrases "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are limiting and polarizing, can you imagine new frames of reference for new and better conversations?**
I have long described myself as a pro-every life feminist who advocates nonviolent (nonabortion, voluntary, fully-informed, abortion-reducing) sexual and reproductive choice. I see myself as a spiritual, ethical, and political descendant of the prolife feminists whose lives and works I helped to document in the book ProLife Feminism Yesterday and Today, Second Expanded Edition.
Although I disagree with many (not all) of its advocates about abortion itself, I also have a strong affinity for the approach of the reproductive justice movement, which arises from disabled people like myself, people of color, and working-class people.
Reproductive justice goes beyond looking at individual "choices" to their social contexts, and the overlapping and institutionalized ways that sexism, racism, ablism, poverty, ecological destruction, and other forms of discrimination and violence constrain people's ability to make life-affirming decisions.
I have the fortune of being involved now with the Nonviolent Choice Directory, http://nonviolentchoice.blogspot.com and http://www.nonviolentchoice.info This is a global directory of resources that help to alleviate the root causes of abortion and otherwise promote reproductive justice. It grew out of a promise made in the ProLife Feminism book. It can be helpful for everyone for a women wondering how to get through a crisis pregnancy to policy makers to anyone who wants to see specific, concrete ways they can help to reduce abortion.
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