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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to Change Minds and Save Women

This morning, I read this remarkable blog post by a woman who used to be "pro-life" and has denounced the movement. It's very long, but so worth the read.

Libby Anne describes how she grew up in the pro-life movement, and in so many words, how her education was circumscribed by it. Out in the larger world during her sophmore year at college, she came across an article in the New York Times that explained how banning abortion and contraception does not end abortions, but in fact increases unwanted pregnancies and abortion and brings harm to women. She went to the studies cited by the NYT and read them. She realized she had been sold a bill of goods. Not only that, she realized the inconsistencies in the movement and how their stance against contraception is really about controlling and punishing women, not saving babies. The blog post is far reaching and a scathing indictment of the pro-life movement. Libby Anne is still no fan of abortion, but now looks at the issue from a pro-choice perspective and espouses pro-choice goals.

It is no big leap to realize that those chanting anti-contraception, anti-abortion and anti-women ideas also attack liberal arts education, the kind of education that demands we do the deep thinking and investigating that Libby Anne does in this blog post. This morning, Margaret Wente, the Globe and Mail columnist recently embroiled in a plagiarism scandal, made another slash at what she labels "faddish academics." Writing again about the ills of liberal arts, she attacks Queen's (one of my alma maters) as a place that is "obsessed with the politics of gender, race and speech." She writes, "Its liberal arts courses offer the usual faddish attention to race, class, gender, oppressed groups, colonialism and the sins of dead white males." Yes, it does, and with good reason. The sins of dead white males and inattention to gender, race, class, oppressed groups and colonialism result in poor thinking, thinking that fails to challenge and change so called knowledge that is really just prejudice and opinion masquerading as fact.

I've been busy with other things lately, and not attending much to this little blog, this abortion-specific forum. Libby Anne's post makes me realize that although I am bored with repeating the same old arguments, arguments that I have known and understood for decades, again and again, the effort is not wasted. It is an educational service.

Speaking of educational services, I want to thank the Blue Mountain Clinic, NARAL, and the Concord Feminist Health Center for productions they are doing of The Abortion Monologues this month. There have been a few productions leading into the US Presidential election, all attempts to get people thinking about supporting choice and supporting women. Thanks for your faith in the play as a vehicle for getting there. Yes, it's all about education. And thanks to Libby Anne for reminding me of that.

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