I’m a night owl by nature. Left to my own devices, I’d go to bed at 4am and wake up at noon. Sadly, employment and parenthood mean that’s not an option. (Not that employment and parenthood are sad. You know what I mean.) So to get my nocturnal brain kicked into gear in the morning, I check Twitter. I usually find something that’ll wake me right up.

“Pro-lifers should support sex ed… but pro-lifers aren’t welcome in our sex ed club!” http://t.co/ULFEvDTOPN #prolife #prochoice #catch22

— secularprolife (@secularprolife) March 11, 2014

Like this.

Better than coffee! (Full disclosure: I hate coffee.)

From a philosophical point of view, I get why this happens. I understand why pro-choicers see both birth control and abortion as questions of being able to control one’s own body, even though I think they’re wrong to dismiss the obvious difference between the two. And I understand why people who oppose birth control think that acceptance of contraception inevitably leads to acceptance of abortion, even though I think they’re wildly mistaken. In both cases, though, I just want to ask why they’re so sure that theirs is the only viewpoint that reasonable [birth control|pro-life] advocates could hold.

I also understand it from a practical point of view. Birth control is far more widely accepted than abortion. So if you want people to reject birth control or accept abortion, it’s in your interest to link the two. You might even get really protective of the idea that they have to be linked. But most people don’t see them as the same. So groups like All Our Lives and Secular Pro-Life will just keep on reaching out to those people, and advocating for family planning freedom as one component of our work against abortion.

One of our board members just gave a talk on “Family Planning: Myth, Reality, and the Lifesaving Power of Choice” at the Call to Action Conference, a large gathering of progressive US Catholics. The detailed, amply referenced handout from the presentation is useful for family planning advocates of all faiths and none. Like the presentation itself, it covers the following points.

–Family Planning Freedom Is A Universal Human Right.
–Family Planning Freedom Saves Lives.
–Pregnancy Prevention Choice Is Not Violence Against the Already-Born.
–Pregnancy Prevention Choice Is Not Violence Against the Unborn.
–Natural Family Planning Is A Good Answer for Some, But Not All.
–What You Can Do to Advocate for Family Planning Freedom!

You can download it as a free .pdf here.

It wasn’t just the notorious antifeminist pundit Rush Limbaugh who said truly ugly things about the sexual character of Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke for her brave defense of women’s access to contraception.

While she did not take as nasty and perverted a turn as Limbaugh–not very hard to do, really–the actor Patricia Heaton tweeted a number of highly disrespectful, appalling things about Fluke. Heaton has since apologized. She apparently took down her Twitter feed for a while.

But All Our Lives still has some grave concerns about Heaton’s slutshaming of Sandra Fluke. After all, Heaton has long served as a celebrity spokesperson and honorary chair for Feminists for Life of America.

We hope Heaton is sincere in her apology.

We simultaneously wonder why such a public face of an organization that has feminism in its very name would go so quickly to insulting the sexual character of a woman who speaks up for affordable contraceptive coverage.

Especially an organization that names itself as feminist in its reasons for opposing abortion and creating postconception alternatives to it.

And it’s not just Heaton we are questioning. *Anyone* who identifies as pro both pregnant women’s and unborn children’s lives needs to speak up strongly, publicly, and unequivocally against slutshaming.

Many prochoicers have spoken up against slutshaming. Some abortion opponents, such as Abby Johnson, have spoken up–but where are the rest of the voices?

Slutshaming is a profound form of disrespect for women’s lives, in and of itself.

And it is a major cause of abortion in the US and worldwide, in history and in the present. Slutshaming heightens certain risk factors that female human beings and the children they conceive have for unintended pregnancies and abortions. It:

–Prevents girls and women from learning everything they need to know about their bodies and accepting and loving themselves as human beings with sexual and reproductive rights.
–Inhibits access to the full range of family planning methods and sabotages women’s ability to use their chosen contraception.
–Makes girls and women more vulnerable to all forms of gender-based violence.
–Puts intense pressure on those who have conceived in nonmarital relationships especially to have abortions rather than run the gauntlet of judgmentality, ostracism, and assault they will face if evidence of their sex lives becomes public.

If respect for life means anything: it doesn’t mean slutshaming. It means the very opposite!

All Our Lives, a pro *every* life nonprofit, does *not* stand with the anti-contraception Stand Up for Religious Freedom.

We support religious freedom, but that does not include employers' restriction of workers' family planning freedom. Instead we support and applaud the Coalition to Protect Women's Health Care in its defense of contraceptive access.

Family planning freedom is a human right in its own right, and indispensable to reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions.

All people, whether prolife or prochoice on abortion, should join together in the defense of family planning freedom, so that it becomes a reality for all women, especially women whose exercise of it is hindered by discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, socioeconomic class, race/ethnicity, disability, national origin, and/or sexual orientation.