In this comment, Frances Kissling responds to Steven Waldman’s Religious Left to Obama: Don’t Repeal the Global Gag Rule Just Yet.
Probably the biggest problem with "pro-life" Obama supporters who
are religious is their lack of commitment to women – and this goes for
both the men and the few women who are part of this group. To refuse to
allow health organizations in Africa access to US family planning money
if they use their own funds to advocate for legal abortion, refer women
for legal abortions or where abortions are legal to perform them is to
condemn women to botched abortions that end their fertility, to die or
become damaged in child birth or to die from illegal abortions – or to
go to jail.
Three days ago, I sat in La Paz Bolivia with two dozen doctors who
anguished over the USAID restrictions on any mention of abortion to
women who see them at the IPPF affiliated clinics in that country.
Every day women come to them and ask for help in finding a safe
abortion and they have no choice but to say " I can’t help you." Some of
those women find their way back to the clinic after self inducing when
they are now bleeding and miscarrying. Only then can the clinic help
them and fix the mess. About 400 women a year in Bolivia die in botched
To ask these women to wait another day for Obama to reverse this
policy in order to satisfy the fake "common ground" prolife religious
progressives suggest – prevention without contraception – is
disrespectful of women’s lives, let alone their moral autonomy. The
pro-life progressive religious left is dangerous to the much needed
reform of the patriarchal aspects of religion. The only women they care
about are women they can see as victims. And women who want to be
recognized as moral adults are as suspect for them as they are for the
James Dobson and Focus on the Family.
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This post originally appeared on Beliefnet.