I’m not a candidate, but I’m pro-choice, and here are my answers.
1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
Nope. You can find my position nicely summarized here.
2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
This is a problem of misogynist culture, not of abortion. This phenomenon poses a problem insofar as it is a symptom of how sex-selective cultures that purposefully reduce the number of daughters (generally for religious and/or socio-economic reasons) are misogynist.
3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
No. No teenage girl should be forced to undergo pregnancy, labor, birth, or childrearing because of her parents’ beliefs or their coercion. This is rather a false equivalency, don’t you think? The consequences of not being allowed access to aspirin and not being allowed access to abortion are extremely different.
4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
No. See the link in answer #1. I believe human life begins at birth. No fetus has human rights, and certainly no rights that trump those of its gestator.
5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
I see this as similar to the question about sex-selective abortion in misogynist cultures.We might similarly look to the roots of these statistics in our own society, and ask of ourselves, why do people not want to parent children with Down’s Syndrome (or, indeed, any other special needs)? I suspect it is because there is very little social support in place (in the form of affordable medical care, appropriate educational resources, accessible and trained caregivers, flexible parental working hours, etc.) and because, sadly, there is still a practically superstitious stigma about disabilities of all types, which can only be eradicated by putting the aforementioned social structures in place, as well as a sea change of hearts and minds.
6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
This is a gross over-simplification, and you’re begging the question.
But I said I’ll answer, so I will.
In America, unfortunately, health care access is determined mostly by one’s employment. Many Americans don’t even have access to health care because of unemployment, underemployment, or employers who do not or cannot provide health insurance plans.
Your premise is false insofar as it ignores this wider context. In fact, a short examination of the unstated assumptions inherent in all of your questions is quite sufficient to reveal them as nonsensical.
You presume that only employers are mandated to provide funding for things that “violate their religious conscience.”
Like everyone else, I pay federal income tax. I am legally obligated to do so, ultimately, by the threat of violent coercion by the federal government. My tax dollars pay for all kinds of things to which I personally have a deep moral objection. To name a few: bombs, nuclear bombs, nuclear power plants, corporate welfare, the sale of publicly owned trees to giant timber corporations by the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, and the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Projects. If conservatives have their way, my money may soon be funding tuition vouchers for sectarian religious schools, too. That’s right; my taxes are going to support activities – including religious activities – of which I do not approve.
I’ll be more than willing to grant your exemption to paying for contraceptives that are against your beliefs when you start actively fighting for my right not to fund things that violate my conscience.
If you’re still confused, here’s an easy questionnaire for determining if your religious liberty is being threatened.
7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
Do you think I’m stupid? First, I know who Alveda King is, and I know she’s a homophobic, anti-choice, evangelical Christian. Being Martin Luther King’s niece is irrelevant to the truth of her claims or the humaneness of her political or ethical positions (particularly when her positions are diametrically opposed to those espoused by the late Dr. King). She has no more moral or ethical credibility than anyone else.
To address your question: oh, dear. Even if the statistics you site are correct, you are resorting to a rather transparent false cause fallacy to try to prove that abortion is somehow… racist. Do you think some group (the government? white people? rich people? eugenicists? the KKK?) is opening abortion clinics in poor and minority neighborhoods in an effort to lure poor and minority women into having abortions that they presumably would not otherwise have? Do you ascribe so little intelligence and self awareness to poor and minority women that you believe that they walk down the street, notice an abortion clinic, and say to themselves, “Oh, how convenient! I think I’ll go get one of those!”
I’m afraid you need to employ a much more radical critique. If there are, in fact, more abortion providers in inner cities (citation, please?), might that not be due to a variety of factors, such as lack of access to contraception (due to lack of health insurance, unaffordability, religious or family pressures, lack of clinics, lack of childcare, lack of time off work, appointment waiting times, and/or infrastructure and transportation issues)? Here and here are some actual, scientifically collected, evidence-based, cited statistics for you.
Our nation does indeed have a shameful history of eugenics, rape, forced abortion, sexual slavery, and forced sterilization, especially in respect to minority populations. But it doesn’t seem like the government is trying to reduce the number of poor people today. If anything, the policies of our government create and exacerbate issues of poverty and social immobility by doing far too little to ensure the aforementioned access to sex education, health care, contraceptives, education, childcare, and transportation infrastructure, etc.. It’s in the interest of the corporations who determine our policy government to keep the birth rate climbing, especially among the poor. Having a large underclass of poorly educated, impoverished, unhealthy, desperate people is very convenient indeed. It provides a constant supply of wage slaves willing to work for ever-lower wages in ever-more-insecure jobs with decreasing benefits. It provides a steady flow of young men and women economically coerced into joining the military. And it provides a convenient population of desperate people to feed into the for-profit prison system. Follow the money.
So, in answer to your question about how I would respond to Alveda King, I’d say that she’s wrong.
8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
Actually, I don’t describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” Goodness gracious, do I have to give you the link again?Some women find having an abortion tragic. Many women choose abortion due to terrible fetal abnormalities; many women choose abortion due to threats to their own health or life; many women choose abortion for financial reasons; many women choose abortion due to contraceptive failure; many women choose abortion because they were raped and do not want to carry a rapist’s child or be a parent; many women choose abortion because they don’t want to have children at all. Some of these situations are tragic for some women; their experience is authentic, and I acknowledge their pain.
But the experience of other women is joyful, a relief.
Maybe, for some women, abortion is different than other standard medical procedures (not all abortions are surgical). But you cannot abstract one woman’s experience to another, because, like all human beings, all women are different. Many women experience having an abortion as a happy event, or even one of the best things they ever did. Not all abortions are traumatic, sad, painful, difficult. Not all abortions are tinged with regret.
To continue to spread this unfounded meme – that Abortion is Tragic – is thus to lie.
9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
I think that birth is a very clear line, and we should stick with it as a collective boundary. Even though a newborn baby is not self sufficient, it is still inarguably a person, and thus has the full rights accorded to all human beings. Toddlers and children aren’t self sufficient, either. Many elderly people aren’t self sufficient. Some disabled people aren’t self sufficient. Most of us will go through a period of being dependent on others at some time in our lives, even if we are otherwise self sufficient. But as long as a fetus is inside the body of another, pre-existing person, its rights cannot trump that person’s.
10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?
No, I do not.
The original article is here.