The consistent life ethic on ActBlue

Elections may not be the most effective way to make progress, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get the best candidates we can. To that end, I’ve created a new ActBlue donations page for consistent life ethic proponents in the Democratic Party.

If I try to run this alone, it will languish, so please feel free to comment here with your suggestions, candidates, etc. Also, please pass the word along to all your consistent-ethic friends!

If we can find any CLE Republicans, the GOP has something similar called RightRoots.

Of course, this doesn’t help with third party and independent candidacies, but it’s a start.

Followup on Dayton PAC

I spoke with a representative of Dayton Right to Life yesterday about their PAC, and was disappointed to learn that they are not using the term “consistent life ethic” the way we use it. They are using it to refer to opposition to abortion, embryo-destructive stem cell research, and euthanasia.

There should be a consistent life ethic PAC, though. (Well, we should have publicly financed elections, but that’s another story.) There used to be one called JustLife PAC, but that hasn’t existed for at least ten years. These days, though, there are ways to raise money for your favorite candidates without forming a full-fledged PAC. More in the next post.

Update to yesterday’s post

Apparently Nellie Gray fell over an amplifier on stage during the pre-march rally yesterday. She didn’t get up at first, and there was uncertainty over whether she was conscious, but she only sustained some cuts and bruises and will be fine.

Marching for life

JivinJehoshaphat and Nicole Russell question whether the annual March for Life is a worthwhile expenditure of money and effort. I’m not a fan of the March as it is currently constituted, but I think that it still has the potential to be a useful pro-life tool.

It seems to me that there are several functions that marches can serve:

  • Getting the attention of policy-makers; demonstrating that you can mobilize a lot of people for your cause, so they’d best pay attention. (The cynic in me whispers that these days, if the marchers brought $100 each, they might be taken a bit more seriously.)
  • Energizing and refreshing activists.
  • Introducing an issue or a movement to those who don’t know much about it.
  • Showing members of the general public who share your belief that they aren’t alone, that there is a movement they can join and people they can work with.

I don’t think the March for Life succeeds at the first function — if it did, it wouldn’t be in its 35th year — but then again, I don’t believe that’s a realistic expectation for marches anymore. Marches have become commonplace, even passé; they no longer make people sit up and take notice the way they did in the 60s. Recall that over a million Americans marched against the Iraq War in February 2003, and were dismissed by Our Only President (tm Molly Ivins) as akin to a “focus group” that he need not bother listening to.

On the second point, there is no doubt that the March and the various meetings and conferences that surround it allow activists to connect with each other and renew their enthusiasm for the work that needs to be done in the year ahead. However, it could serve this function even better if all members of pro-life community were welcomed and allowed to contribute their ideas. As it stands, the March is largely for conservative Christians (though others may attend if they don’t call attention to the fact that they’re different).

Far from showcasing the diversity of the pro-life movement, Nellie Gray actively rejects any responsibility to do so. That’s why the March fails at the last two functions. It shows the public only one aspect of the pro-life movement — the very conservative, Christian, pro-Republican, mostly white side — and doesn’t invite anyone who doesn’t fit that description to join, even if they are in agreement that abortion is the taking of a human life.

We need public events like marches, but we need them to be open and inviting. At its best, the pro-life movement is about inclusivity, about embracing all human beings as part of Us. Our public face should reflect that.

(ETA: I read shortly after posting this that Nellie Gray had been taken to the hospital. All differences aside, I certainly wish her the best.)

More “non-persons”, this time at Guantanamo

In ruling that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesn’t apply to them, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declared that four British men being held at Guantanamo Bay are not “persons” under the Constitution. (PDF)

Because the plaintiffs are aliens and were located outside sovereign United States territory at the time their alleged RFRA claim arose, they do not fall with the definition of “person.”

Although this case was about the RFRA, I can’t see how this holding permits an objection to any action against the detainees, up to and including murder, on Constitutional grounds. Statute, treaty obligations, and the UCMJ may all prohibit murdering non-citizens outside of the United States, but is it really the case that the Constitution itself doesn’t deny that power to the government?

This is just one more reason we need an inclusive legal definition of the word “person”.

It won’t happen, but I can’t help imagining the following scenario: the lawyers for the detainees appeal their case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court overturns the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling, declaring that the term “person” as used in the Constitution means any living human being (defined biologically as a member of the species Homo sapiens). Rasul v. Rumsfeld would be the case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Vasu Murti on pro-life liberalism

Apparently Celebrate Life magazine was planning to do an issue on pro-life liberals. Yes, that Celebrate Life magazine — published by the American Life League, stalwart opponent not only of abortion but also of contraception, gay rights, liberalism, and secularism. I admit that this exchange between Judie Brown and Marysia doesn’t leave me optimistic about how ALL would portray pro-life liberals. However, no matter how friendly or hostile the issue might have been toward us, it still would have featured articles like Vasu Murti’s excellent introduction to pro-life liberalism, and that could only have been a good thing. Vasu has placed a copy of the interview on his web page. I highly recommend it.

Paid parental leave

I don’t think I’m the only working mom who would gladly have accepted a one-year delay (or more!) in receiving Social Security retirement benefits in exchange for one year of benefits now so that I could spend more time staying home with my daughter. Social Security isn’t an issue I’ve spent much time on, so I don’t know as much about it as I’d like — would this kind of thing be at all feasible as a way of starting to bring the U.S. up to the level the rest of the developed world re: parental leave?

[edit: for some reason, this particular post has become a spam magnet, so I’m turning off comments. Please leave a comment in the most recent post if you have something to add that’s not, well, an ad.]