Blog Posts

Equal choices, as long as the choice is abortion

Illinois governor Bruce Rauner has signed a bill into law that, among other provisions, will require Medicaid in the state to cover elective abortions. Governor Rauner issued a statement saying “I understand abortion is a very emotional issue with passionate opinions on both sides. I sincerely respect those who believe abortion is morally wrong. They are good people motivated by principle. But, as I have always said, I believe a woman should have the right to make that choice herself and I do not believe that choice should be determined by income. I do not think it’s fair to deny poor women the choice that wealthy women have.”

To be clear, this bill does not remotely give poor women the choice that wealthy women have. Wealthy women can choose to bear children without having to worry whether they’ll be able to feed them, house them, raise them in safe neighborhoods, and educate them in quality schools. This bill is about giving poor women parity as regards one particular choice, and one only.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 75% of women who sought abortions in 2014 were poor or low-income. Twenty-six percent had incomes of 100–199% of the federal poverty level, and 49% had incomes of less than 100% of the federal poverty level ($15,730 for a family of two). Exactly how free are those choices? How much is that choice “determined by income”?

Rauner’s administration has devastated virtually every other social service for the poor, and now we’re supposed to believe he’s acting out of respect for poor women? Sure–and Hugh Hefner promoted abortion in Playboy because he was all about the feminism.

Blog Posts

All Our Lives statement regarding the Women’s March on Washington

All Our Lives is in full agreement with the vision of the Women’s March on Washington, as expressed on their website:

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

This vision statement, along with the March’s mission and core principles, are beautiful, nonviolent, and inclusive. Last week, however, the organizers released a set of “Unity Principles” that include abortion as a right which must be unrestricted and free for everyone. We cannot unite behind that principle. We believe that abortion is a life-destroying practice we should be working to move past, not embracing.

But we also know that abortion is the fruit of the oppression of women, of rape, of poverty, of racism, of ableism. And we know that the incoming administration, led by a self-confessed assaulter of women, threatens to worsen conditions along all of these axes. So we stand with our sisters to oppose bigotry and discrimination in all of their forms, to reject rape culture, to ensure that all women have affordable and effective family planning, and to work for a decent standard of living for all people.

Can women who oppose abortion march in good conscience? Some will decide that the answer is “no,” because they can’t be seen as endorsing the entirety of the “Unity Principles.” Others (such as All Our Lives members, New Wave Feminists, and Life Matters Journal) will go to stand with our fellow marchers for women’s rights, although we dissent on abortion, because we’re women too. All of us should agree to redouble our efforts to serve women and their children in the days to come.