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"WHO ARE THEY?"
"Are they serious?"
"Is that a pink triangle on their banner?"
"They," the members of Gays Against Abortion (GAA), were the other participants in Sunday's 500-strong anti-abortion counter protest sponsored by the Feminists For Life (FFL). They were serious. And of course, it was a pink triangle. But on a purple banner, with a baby in fetal position superimposed on it.
IN THE coverage of Sunday's large proabortion (-rights) rally, we read a lot about the diversity of those who advocate legal abortion. The existence of groups such as GAA demonstrates, however, that the pro-life movement is just as diverse as the pro-choice movement.
Like a sister organization in the fight against abortion, Feminists for Life, GAA stands more for traditional liberal principles than for conservative ones. And like the feminist pro-life organization, GAA emphasizes the exploitation of women by men inherent in abortion.
The feminist adherence to pro-abortion ideology is relatively recent. FFL notes that all of the founders of the feminist movement, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and the first woman to run for president, Victoria Woodhull (who ran in 1872), vehemently opposed abortion.
Woodhull, for example, said that "Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth."
The implication of this and other statements by pro-life feminists is that the circumstances which cause women to have abortions are precipitated by women's oppression by men. Because men often wish to avoid the responsibility which fatherhood requires, they leave women in the lurch. Mothers are thus persuaded by their desperate situations to abort children they would much rather bring to term.
Pro-life feminists, and many members of GAA, deplore the perversity of a society which causes women to choose to abort their children. Pro-choice feminists, they say, take the easy way out. Instead of working to change a society which makes abortion seem a reasonable option, the members of the National Organization of Women allow the perpetuation of a society in which, far from being emancipated and given the integrity which belongs to their sex, women are more and more tools of the male establishment.
ASIDE FROM their agreement on some terms with pro-life feminists, gay pro-lifers link the predicaments of homosexuals in our society to the ideological reasons that make them pro-life. The gay pro-life position actually uses the fight against the marginalization of gays in American society to give viability to the fetus.
Tom Sena, president of GAA, notes the similarity between the denial of the individual worth of those who are homosexual and the denial of the personhood of the unborn child. Although the denial of individual worth usually comes from people on opposite ends of the political spectrum, gay pro-lifers maintain that there is a logical similarity between the two denials.
Gays, that is, are often ostracized and violently opposed by some of those who hold that their sexual activity is immoral. They are made second-class citizens when people hold that, because of their immoral actions, any violence against them can be excused.
ANALOGOUSLY, unborn children are violently denied their right to life by those who abort them. They are made second-class citizens when people argue that, because of their dependence upon their mothers, their death by abortion can be excused.
Some pro-life gays also oppose abortion because of the possibility that sexual-orientation-selection abortions may become as widespread as sex-selection abortions. If a gene which inclines or predilects people towards homosexuality is discovered, they note, parents could decide whether they want to abort children who might end up homosexual.
The heart of gay opposition to abortion, of course, is the realization that the unborn child is a unique individual.
Gay pro-lifers, however, are not unconcerned about women's lives. Like feminist pro-life groups, they realize that the legalization of abortion does little to decrease the number of women who die from abortions. Government regulations currently do not require abortion providers to report deaths from abortion.
Thus the official statistics, which the National Organization of Women quotes to support the argument that legal abortions decrease women's deaths, significantly under-report the number of deaths from legal abortions.
ANYONE conducting a thorough newspaper search will find that the number of women whose deaths from legal abortion have been reported in the press exceeds the Center for Disease Control statistics. And that is just reported deaths. How much murder, rape and violence against homosexuals each year fail to make the papers? Quite a lot. Why should death from abortion, which can open a doctor to charges of wrongful death, malpractice suits and the revoking of his license, be any different?
If abortion is made illegal, the feminist and gay pro-life groups reason, those doctors and irresponsible fathers who ultimately are responsible for the deaths of women and children would pay the penalties for their actions. And, as the cutoff of state funding of abortion in Texas a few years ago indicated, making abortions more difficult to obtain decreases the number of abortions. But it does not necessarily increase the number of women's deaths.
Deaths from abortion occur most often because of infection, which is usually avoidable if doctors prescribe penicillin. In the pre-Roe v. Wade era, the number of mothers' deaths from abortion decreased for 30 years because of the advent of penicillin's use. It did not decrease, as pro-choicers argue, because of the availability of legal abortion. There is nothing inherently safer about a legal abortion. If there were, pro-abortion women who wish abortions to continue if Roe is reversed would not now be learning how to perform abortions.
Because pro-life gays and feminists recognize the dangers of even legal abortion, they would rather make abortions illegal so that women cannot legally be forced into the ghastly option of having to kill their own children--and possibly themselves. The activists wish to make their society more open to revering women who become mothers.
In wishing this, these liberal pro-lifers follow all those who have challenged the demoted place which women, mothers, unborn children and gays have all too often occupied in our society. Gays Against Abortion recognizes that, of all second-class citizens, unborn children are the most ignored and most oppressed of all. To be free, human beings must first be allowed to live.
If the ideals of liberalism still include liberation, then GAA should have a hallowed place in the liberal pantheon. True liberals should wonder why they don't.
Liam T.A. Ford '91-'92 attended a 500-person Feminists-for-Life-sponsored anti-abortion counter-demonstration on the West Lawn of the Capitol Sunday.
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