My first split with the Republican Party, decades and decades ago, was this very issue: Pro-life without pro-child, pro-family legislation to accompany it. Pro-life without the expansion of Medicaid to support new babies and their mothers. Pro-life without paid leave for Moms during the crucial post-birth weeks. It didn’t make sense to me then and makes even less sense now.

I left the Republican Party for good in the 90s. I will not return ever, not only because of Trump and the bat-nuttery of the current Party and its culture wars but the very same issue that caused me to leave: It is not truly a pro-life party unless it meaningfully addresses reasons why women have abortions in the first place; until it really becomes the pro-family party it says it is.

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Please stop referring to yourself and others of your ilk with the sanctimonious, self-aggrandizing euphemism of "pro-life". Other than people who go around shooting up schools, churches, synagogues, movie theaters, etc., everyone is pro-life.

The correct and accurate term for your position is "anti-abortion", which is the actual issue here. "Pro-choice", on the other hand is quite accurate regarding the issue, as it signals their position on the issue, which is a woman's right to choose on whether or not she wants/needs an abortion.

Why etitled White males feel the need to tell (control) women what they can and cannot do with their bodies is beyond me. It's simply none of your (our) business.

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I literal cannot comprehend why it’s somehow a viable political or even personal position to oppose abortion vociferously, but not demand that it be coupled with pro-child programs like no-cost maternal care, income assistance, no-cost child care, public preschool, etc.

Being anti-abortion without addressing the reasons why people seek abortions in the first place- largely financial- is the height of hypocrisy to me.

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First, every time a Republican addresses abortion in an interview, they should be asked what the rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality are in their state. And of course asked if they voted against the child tax credit.

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Thank you, Charlie…. I am 86 and Pro Choice. For me that means “CHOICE”, not ‘pro-abortion’… and “anti-life”…. I live in NJ and watch the folks who stand (in all weather) “for hours”, several days a week in front of “the Women’s Clinic” in my town…. If one cares so much for life…. Spending some time volunteering for children, elderly, disabled would be at least an alternative for some of those hours…

Very much appreciate what you have written and lived…. Whatever decision is made should be by each individual and/or couple…. Not the Supreme Court or “The State”…. Again, Thank You! Gail

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Dec 12, 2022·edited Dec 12, 2022

An appropriate Morning Shots coming from France, a country with arguable the most robust maternal health programs and outcomes in the world.

Meanwhile 16% of children in the US live in poverty.

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Isn’t it curious that Thomas didn’t include the Loving decision in that list?

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I write as this aging Catholic male who is personally conflicted about abortion but who is also pro-choice for these reasons: 1) I’ll never be pregnant, 2) state intervention in the decision should be minimal, and 3) the predominance of men in the pro-life movement convinces me to believe that this is about more than abortion.

I’m also troubled by the statement that every abortion is a moral tragedy as if this were the sole moral tragedy. Every hungry child is a moral tragedy. So is every homeless person. As are war and oppression. Let’s face it: There’s a long list here and there’s no compelling reason to put abortion at the top. Especially since the pro-life movement has not successfully made the case to most that there’s anything wrong with a woman choosing, for her own reasons with the guidance of her doctor, to have a first-term abortion. Instead of persuading, the pro-life movement has forced their position on a majority that simply doesn’t agree with them.

The end game is inevitable. Roe may be overturned, but it will eventually be codified. The Supreme Court’s self-inflicted slide into illegitimacy, highlighted by overturning Roe, will result in reforms that are anathema to conservatives. And a bitter, angry right will become ever more bitter and angry.

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As an undergraduate English Lit major who was raised in a pro-life, devout Catholic family, I was totally unprepared for my own unplanned pregnancy. The father of that child, also a Catholic undergrad, told me that he didn’t care what I decided to do but that he would be long gone to law school by the time I gave birth. I wasn’t even offered the support of the father sitting down with me to tell my parents.

I chose to abort. The staff at Planned Pregnancy offered me more compassion and kindness than any other person during that difficult time. And they set me up with effective birth control (not available at my Catholic university).

I never regretted that choice. It did not feel like a tragic loss of a human life. It felt like the only viable path forward in my situation.

And my story is not an unusual one.

The push for punitive measures totally fails to account for the sheer number of unwanted pregnancies. The lack of pushback is mostly due to the prevalence of medical abortions and morning-after pills. Take those options away and things change fast and not in favor of the pro-life zealots.

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Your argument makes sense from the perspective of an upper-middle-class white guy who has the opportunity to attend university. a two-parent family structure, food on the table, a pregnant girlfriend who agreed to the marriage, and the luxury of being able to carefully ponder your decisions. I agree with your decision but cannot fathom the ideology that one tribe gets to dictate over all the other tribes. Under-educated, often minority individuals with far fewer opportunities (and perhaps without a husband or wife) than an English major may see the situation differently. Can't I be pro-life without casting my personal choices on others?

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This was a particularly moving piece from this year and I'm glad Charlie opened up about his personal experiences and how he came to be behind a cause, which is not often easy for folks to talk about.

As many have suggested here, the fervency of the GOP's stance against abortion while lifting no fingers to make childbearing easier for families--and especially women, is a clear indicator that this has always been about punishing women under patriarchal hierarchy structures. I don't know what has to change within conservative social and political circles for them to *at least* put those kinds of economic changes in place if they're going to be this hardline about forcing women to bring pregnancies to term through the power of the state. There's really not a lot for me to say on this topic, it's just a really fucked up situation for any woman living in a red state now. It's just another dividing line between red and blue states now, in addition to gun laws, drug laws, climate change regulations, and all the other stuff that we're 180 degrees apart from each other on. What a country we live in.

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Dec 12, 2022·edited Dec 12, 2022

I appreciate you sharing your story of your beautiful family Charlie. I too have been pro-life in my own personal choices, although my situation was less difficult since it was our third child who was the surprise. I also believe every life is precious, but I could never go along with the Republican pro-life movement or policy positions. Criminalizing women is a bridge too far, and for me, the complete lack of pro-child or pro-family policies or funding from the right has solidified in my mind that the people who did all the dirty work of appointing the current Supreme Court majority to overturn Roe never had even a passing thought of good intentions for the lives of women in this country. It's telling that all their focus has been on blaming and punishing women, while men escape all responsibility for unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Hershel Walker's support among Republican evangelicals is a perfect example of that. I see that Mona Charon is now talking about supporting a push to provide contraceptives, and to that I say, great - where were all your pro-lifers 5,10, 20 years ago when Democrats were trying to focus on prevention of unwanted pregnancies? We all witnessed the aggressive, well funded push by pro-life organizations to stop contraceptives from being easily accessible and provided through the ACA. If anything, the pro-life community shares a good chunk of blame for the number of abortions just based on their embrace of religious zealots who try to stop women from having easy and affordable access to contraceptives. Trying to take funding away from Planned Parenthood - an organization that mainly provides free pap smears, treatment for bladder infections and access to contraceptives has been immeasurably harmful to women and girls - and I'm thankful everyday for Democrats holding the line and working to help and protect women. As you mentioned Charlie, you can look at the map to see all the places where Republican policies towards women and families have been harmful in their cynical denial of Medicaid and Medicare expansion in those red states. There are so many reasons I dislike the Republican party as a whole, but nothing irks me more than the blatant disregard for the well being of women and children and deliberately harmful and unnecessarily punitive policies for a party that claims to be based around the values of Jesus and a supposedly pro-life culture. I used to live in Australia - in my teen years - and you can look at the outcomes in other countries like Australia that have socialized healthcare a broad support for providing contraceptives and sex education - the number of abortions is lower and women and children are better supported there. When I moved back to America as an adult I immediately recognized the backwards thinking and puritanical nature of American conservative policies that I am positive make unwanted pregnancies' more likely to occur, and likely contribute to the high maternal mortality rate in this country. It is shameful if you look at the numbers - we have THE HIGHEST maternal mortality rate of any developed nation in the world. And just to add - my other festering anger at the US healthcare system - a point of which I hold the Republican party resoundingly responsible for - the cost JUST to give birth in this country is astronomical. I don't know if any of you have had babies recently - my last was 4 years ago - but even if you have decent employer based healthcare that has prenatal coverage - you will still pay out of pocket anywhere from $4,000 - $12,000 to give birth in a hospital. And if you don't have coverage - $60,000 or more! Look it up - it's crazy. My husband had to wheel me into the "financial office" of our Kaiser hospital to sign a form and pay a $2500 "deposit" when I was in labor with our 3rd child, BEFORE they would allow me to go up to the labor and delivery room. It would be vast understatement to say that I was upset at the time - I was in labor, in a wheel chair, and they were making us sign forms and pay thousand of dollars for a "deposit", which of course we never got back because, guess what - we had to pay more later. Health insurance companies are unethical trash organizations. The healthcare system in America is a shockingly disgusting example of why for-profit healthcare is morally reprehensible and the outcomes aren't good either. Women are getting the short end of the stick in the Republican party, and I can not for the life of me, work out why a majority of white women still vote for them. My only guess is that they don't know what they're missing - they haven't seen how compassionate and family forward policies in other democracies around the world have benefited the quality of life for people in those countries. Democrats are the only party that truly supports women and children - and nothing - and I mean NOTHING the Republican party has been doing over the last 10 years would have me believe they would ever change or that they have ever been truly pro-life.

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Should I be surprised that Charlie and David French only write about support for women in unwanted pregnancies, and make no mention of ensuring access to effective birth control, or accurate, science-based sex education, as part of their post-Roe fantasyland? The Sykes/French wing of the pro-life GOP are good with pretending that teens won’t have sex, and not letting them have information about how to prevent a pregnancy if they do have sex, but then gush about how much help they need when they get pregnant? That’s some cold comfort.

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The thing that strikes me most about the anti abortion movement is how very Christian it all is, how religious the language and condemnation is. I cannot understand why people do not see this as the very simple thing it is-People trying to force their religious views on the rest of us. If your religion says that the moment the sperm penetrates that egg it has a soul, all the rhetoric concerning the "unborn" follows. You would think the concern for life goes beyond the "unborn" to the actually "born" but it doesn't.

This again is one group trying to force their religious beliefs on the rest of us. Just like their religious views on gays and abstinence and a host of other things, it's be afraid of Muslims and Jews while I force this cross down your throat

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I started off as a libertarian and then later registered as a Republican, the only party I have ever actually been a dues paying member of was the libertarian party (this was back in the late 70s early 80s).

I am also an atheist and as a rhetorician, I have studied human behavior and cognition. I have also taught high school for over 25 years, which teaches you things about human behavior.

My perspective on ethics is likely very different from that of most believers... as is the foundation of my ethics (given that there is no deity to lay down rules or tell me what is good or bad).

Good and evil seem fairly self-evident on the basis of the evidence. A wide variety of belief systems (including non-deistic and morally indifferent deistic) have come up with VERY similar rules. Most of these are centered around culture/society building (and thus, built around trust). The reasons for this seem obvious to me.

Some of the more inane rules source from religious belief (like dietary restrictions, for example, or clothing). There are reasons for this beyond religious diktat, but religion provides the justification.

Our capacity/capability to exercise choice is what gives rise to morality/ethics. Without choice there is no room for morality nor need. This is why (most) animals are NOT moral actors. There is no meaningful capacity for choice there.

Most morality and ethics is privately enforced (via various forms of social opprobrium). Government enforces particular aspects that are germane to building trust (and society)--like statutes against theft and murder. Whenever they step beyond those bounds in a non-monolithic culture is when you get problems (legislating morality rather than legislating to build trust)..

Social opprobrium is (in a sense) the glue that holds society together and is the ultimate non-legalistic recourse for controlling behavior. It is ingrained and necessary (which is why all the arguments about cancelling people are basically BS). A sense of shame is also necessary to the functioning of society.

There are a variety of beliefs about when a human becomes human. Different people subscribe to different beliefs. Privileging one belief over others is problematic at best. Thus the best answer (from a societal perspective) is to let the people most concerned make the decision (which in this case is the woman).

The state has a slight interest in that killing potential humans can have downstream implications (both ethical and economic), but this interest is outweighed by the interest of the woman... but this interest is such that it is reasonable that some limitation be placed. How much is open to argument--but many people see and agree that these limits should exist (which is an indicator that, culturally, you are on the right track.

I am always concerned when groups use government to enforce THEIR particular belief systems, especially when these beliefs are primarily moralistic rather than functional. You do not need a moralistic argument to have a law against murder (or interpersonal violence in general)... or theft. The benefits of such laws are readily apparent and the general adherence to these laws is a supporting sign.

Government is NOT a moral actor and it should not be engaged in enforcing moral behavior. Doing so is usually of limited effectiveness at best.

One of the things that I have learned over my life is that you should not be in the habit of making rules (laws) that you KNOW will not be obeyed by a substantive number of people. Again, there are good and sound reasons for that.

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What nearly every pro-life person happily ignore is that young women having an abortions often have children that never would have been born later in life when the woman and her partner are more mature and in a much better state to look after a child. Not only that, but the children are then wanted children. I would say whether you are pro-choice or prol-life, we should all work on the goal that every child is a wanted child.

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