FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I am a … law student, and I consider myself a liberal but have found myself struggling in recent years with liberal feminists seeming "celebration" of abortion. I consider myself "pro-choice with limitations". I wondered what your organization's stance is on bodily autonomy and safe access to abortions should a woman deem it necessary.
Is this organization "absolutely" pro-life? Or is the goal to merely regulate abortion legislation and stop the perpetuation that an abortion is something to celebrate within feminism?
Thank you for your questions and interest. We definitely agree with you that the celebration of abortion is deeply troubling. Here is a brief outline of our position. We also encourage you to look at our social media posts where we regularly cover the nuances of the abortion debate (particularly under our FAQ hashtags like #fclnyfaq).
We consider ourselves to be absolutely pro-life, in that we object to elective abortion procedures. We do not object to medically necessary interventions like treatment for ectopic pregnancy or emergency delivery later into pregnancy to save a woman's life and would agree that women need safe access to these procedures. In such medically necessary cases, (ectopic pregnancies or emergency delivery) the child may die as an indirect consequence of the procedure, but the death of the child is not the intended outcome of the intervention. Whereas with elective abortion, the child's death is the entire purpose of the procedure. "Choice" means alternatives to killing exist and because the child is an irreplaceable human being, we advocate that society recognize the humanity of the child and offer abundant, loving, non-violent alternatives for both mother and child.
There are two paths that our movement is working through to reduce elective abortion. The first path is education. FCLNY educates on the nuances and impacts of publicly sanctioned lethal violence, including abortion, war, lethal military activity (drone and nuclear strikes), euthanasia and capital punishment. We believe that ‘knowledge is power’ and that the coherent principles contained within the consistent life ethic are transformative and persuasive. Our aim, first and foremost, is to change cultural and community attitudes regarding life and death through education. In the context of abortion, we look to alter social constructs so that women will choose life for their unborn children.
The second path is raising awareness about laws. Proposed pro-life laws always offer an exception for medically necessary abortion, but most contain an exception for rape as well. An example of proposed pro-life legislation that our organization would promote is Charles Camosy's Mother and Infant Child Protection Act (MICPA) outlined in his book Beyond the Abortion Wars. (Camosy is a pro-life democrat, and we highly recommend his books.) In the MICPA, Camosy recognizes that rape very often constitutes an equal threat of force to a woman/child's life and so abortion following rape will likely always remain legal. In these cases, even the most pro-life laws would likely offer very limited and highly regulated access to early abortion (keep in mind that according to the Guttmacher Institute, (a pro-choice research think tank) 99.5% of all abortions follow consensual sex.)
With regard to bodily autonomy, because the vast number of all abortions follow consensual sex we would argue that women do in fact have bodily autonomy without abortion. Women and men can choose with whom and when to have sex and whether or not to take precautions. However after conception, the scientific reality is that a new human being is present and the first premise of universal human rights is that all members of the human family have human rights. Sex is known to potentially create new and completely dependent human children (meaning the parents freely caused the dependency of the child). In the law, parental obligations do not arise from continual and ongoing consent, but from an affirmative duty to care for their children. The first duty parents have to their children is to not harm them and every human has the most basic right to live free from violent destruction. Assuming responsibility for the needs of others we have created--is true empowerment. "My body" rhetoric isolates and places the responsibility for pregnancy solely on women. Whereas true equality exists only when both men and women assume equal responsibility for the children they create, not equal abandonment of responsibility. We highly recommend reading the work of Erika Bachiochi JD, especially Embodied Equality, to understand how abortion choice actually undermines true equality and works against the stated goals of the feminist movement. Please also see our page, Essential Feminist Resources, for more information.
We hope this summary has been helpful, but please feel free to reach out to us with any further questions or concerns!