Monday, February 6, 2012

If You Must, Hate Abortion, Not Abortion Rights

It's now obvious that Komen's self-inflicted wound was caused by a politician-turned-staffer who devised a change in grant criteria as a way to cut off funds for Planned Parenthood. Her colleagues reportedly hope she'll resign. But what about the board? One member, at least, understands where the responsibility lies. Laura Bassett reports:
[T]he criteria did gain the support of Komen's top executives and board. And in an interview with HuffPost, board member John D. Rafaelli, a Democratic lobbyist and a supporter of Planned Parenthood's mission, took responsibility for the changes. As the only lobbyist on the board, he told HuffPost, he should have anticipated the political fallout.

"Honestly, I didn't think it through well enough," Rafaelli said. "We don't want to be pro-choice or pro-life; we want to be pro-cure. We screwed up, I'm saying it. We failed to keep abortion out of this, and we owe the people in the middle who only care about breast cancer and who have raised money for us an apology."

Most opponents of abortion don't deserve to be portrayed as the right-wing villains who have loomed in much of the coverage of the Komen-PP set-to. Many cringe over the lost potentialities, every lost brother and sister. I do, too, when I think about it, which I probably don't as often as I should.

But better to hate abortion, if one must, than reproductive rights. In a society that practiced gender apartheid until 1920 and a world in which women's rights still teeter on a knife's edge, legal abortion is an indispensable bulwark against misogyny, paternalism, and oppression.

Instead of guerrilla moves against Planned Parenthood, abortion foes ought to devote themselves to reducing the number of abortions by reclaiming the sacramental character of reproductive activity, promoting birth control education and availability (a PP specialty, it's vital to note), and encouraging women to carry unplanned babies to term and give them up for adoption. PR crisis notwithstanding, I hope both Komen and PP continue to thrive. But I'll be sending a check to Holy Family Services, which provides adoption and foster care services in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

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