Friday, December 24, 2004

A progressive position on Choice

The Conservative Movement started out by believing in specific things, like ending Communism, shrinking the size of government, etc. They gained strength by standing up for those positions. In the 70's and 80's, that changed to being against whatever the Liberals were for. They have been able to maintain their strength, but they're not making any more gains.

The Progressive Movement can't start out by simply being for whatever the Conservatives are against. We need to find a way to connect with the people who are anti-abortion, and get them to agree to help us move forward beyond the illusion that this issue is black and white. The Democratic Party has room for people on both sides of the argument, we just need to frame our position to get their support instead of their ire. Like Howard Dean says below, while we should not change our principles, we can change our vocabulary.

I don't like abortion. I wish it didn't have to happen. But that's not the same as outlawing it altogether. I see the position of Choice as the middle ground between two extremes, not an extreme by itself. The extremes I see are 1) no one may and 2) everyone must. The Christian right wing wants to create a world where no one may have an abortion and end a life before it has a chance to begin. China has created a world where abortions are mandated after the first child. I don't want to live in either one of these worlds, and I don't want to legislate it either way. I want us to create a environment where abortions are unnecessary, rather than illegal or mandated. So if the Christian right wing wants to reduce the number of abortions by promoting abstience as well as contraception, I can support and help with that. But if they want to push the abortions that do occur out of a sanitized medical facility and into the street, I will fight against it. That is what occured before Roe v. Wade, and I'm not interested in going backward.

I believe that this position is shared by Planned Parenthood, although we should contact their Public Relations office for the language that they use if we want to continue talking about them. I have heard that 2004 was one of the best years that Planned Parenthood Western Washington has had, both financially and by a few other measures. One of those measures was the number of abortion procedures performed. In 2004, that number went down for the first time in several years. Let's keep the number going down, safely.

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