Signal boost: Send a Safe Birthing Kit for $8

via Nonviolent Choice:

If you have access to the Internet, chances are that even with the global economic downturn, you are still, wherever you may live, prosperous compared to the average person and family in the Two-Thirds World.

Are you still able to spare $8? UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, will send on your behalf a birthing kit to help protect and save the lives of one mother and one baby in a materially poor country.

(Note: UMCOR’s relief work is something that I suspect people of all faiths and none could support–not all Christians use relief work as a pretense for prostelytizing by a long shot–but please check this out for yourself.)

Maternal and child mortality are interconnected global scourges. They are directly caused by the inhumane failure to make widely available even low-tech, inexpensive solutions like birthing kits or oral rehydration therapy to those who most desperately need them.

As UNFPA insists, “No Woman Should Die Giving Birth.” Please visit this UNFPA site if you want to learn more about this unnecessary, preventable global injustice–and please be the solution for one mother and one baby through UMCOR.

Large institutional changes in health care are necessary to solve the problem on a massive scale, but individuals and families in the present cry out for direct and immediate help, too.

Surely this is an area where prolife and prochoice can and should cooperate.

Schultheis to Infants: Drop Dead

Shorter Dave Schultheis: Sure, we could prevent newborns from getting AIDS, but that would mean their mothers wouldn’t feel guilt about having sex I disapprove of.

From Schultheis’ web page: “All life is precious, from conception to natural death.” What, unless you can use that person’s death to punish a slut? Yes, death. I know he just says he wants babies to get very badly ill and then grow up, but wishing doesn’t make it so.

I really don’t want to hear anymore about “voting pro-life” when a guy like this would qualify. Seriously, I am DONE. I may actually make that a house rule on this blog. (And how do I not have a “misogyny” tag yet? Must remedy that.)

this has particular resonance tonight

Whenever I get called “anti-woman” for opposing abortion, I feel the same way I feel when I’m called “anti-American” for opposing the Iraq War (or torture, or any of the other unjust acts our government has engaged in).

You needn’t bother telling me it’s not the same thing; I know it’s not. But consider the possibility that opposition to destructive acts can have other causes besides opposition to the interests of those in whose name the destruction is wrought.

Stephen Zunes on Blog Talk Radio

Professor Stephen Zunes, co-editor with Rachel MacNair of Consistently Opposing Killing: From Abortion to Assisted Suicide, the Death Penalty, and War is on the
Shared Sacrifice show on Blog Talk Radio right now. I’ve submitted a question about the consistent life ethic, and one of the hosts said he’d ask. I believe the show will be archived for later listening.

The Obama administration-to-be has put up a web site at They’re soliciting feedback from citizens in various ways:

Share Your Story

Start right now. Tell us your story in your own words about what this campaign and this election means to you. Share your hopes for an Obama Administration and a government for the people.

Share Your Vision

Start right now. Share your vision for what America can be, where President-Elect Obama should lead this country. Where should we start together?

Of the People, By the People

Tell us your ideas and help us solve the biggest challenges facing our country

You can even submit photos or video.

I’d like to use this space to let people share their responses, and take inspiration from each other. What’s your vision? Tell the new administration about your longing for justice for both women and their children, about your work toward a consistent life ethic, about the steps you expect them to take toward their stated goal of abortion reduction — and tell us too.

Post-election link roundup

Some thoughts upon the election of Barack Obama, and what happens next:

How the World Goes: “Voting is hard for me. My ethical orientation is best described as a version of the consistent life ethic, or “seamless garment” ethic, articulated most forcefully and cogently by certain Catholic thinkers. But (a) there has never been nor is there ever likely to be a political candidate at a level above dogcatcher who embodies that stance, and (b) I have some serious libertarianish reservations about whether the government — especially in a pluralistic society — is the institution best suited to implementing such an ethic.”

Abortion Reduction Key to Common Ground: “You have said you want to unite us as a nation. An excellent place to work for such unity would be for you to put your full support behind the Democrats for Life initiative known as the Pregnant Women Support Act.”

Obama and the Beautiful Day: Obama is a good man, and he will make a good president, even if he isn’t nearly as sensitive as he ought to be to tragedy of abortion in our midst. As much as I suspect my religious beliefs ought to incline me in such a direction, I just can’t find it in myself to make such sensitives the primary measure of a candidate, at least not this candidate, on this wonderful day.

Outlawing the Symptom: Our Broken Abortion Strategy: If we as followers of Christ truly believed in the agenda of life, why have we not taken seriously the proven correlation between poverty and increased abortion rates? Why have we not spoken out on supportive health care for women and children? Why have we not cried out about preventative education to minimize unplanned pregnancies that frequently lead to termination? And why, oh why, do we not see war, torture, creation care, or the death penalty also as fundamental issues of life? The question is, will evangelicals expand their understanding of social influences and actually work towards healing the causes, or just wait around to outlaw the symptom?”

Jim Wallis on Holding Obama Accountable: “There are a lot of evangelicals who are willing to engage with an Obama presidency on global poverty, the environment, Darfur, on trafficking, on war and peace in Iraq. The life issue has been defined very narrowly. […] Barack Obama will be held accountable on a serious commitment to abortion reduction. He called for that, his campaign platform said that, and he should be held accountable to that.”

Eliminating Abortion From The Ground Up: “To have an immediate impact to reduce abortions, it seems that a more effective way is to fight the battle from the bottom up. It all starts with the hearts and minds of the people involved in the abortion decision. The woman who is considering having the baby aborted and the father of that child need to be reached at their core. When their hearts and minds are convinced that what is being killed is a human, then the rest of the pro-life fight will be easier.”

Hope and Politics: “Perhaps trying to stop evils committed by our nation through voting is misguided. After all politicians only enable us to do the injustices to our fellow man that we have already decided as a society that we wish to allow.”

Medical professionals’ consciences

Update on the Troy Anthony Davis case: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce tomorrow whether it will hear Davis’ appeal.

In his blogging on the Davis case, Dave wrote that the state of Georgia pays a private company called Rainbow Medical thousands of dollars to provide doctors and nurses for executions.

With all the debate lately about whether medical professionals have a right to refuse to participate in procedures they consider immoral, I note that the state of Georgia has to contract its executions out because the doctors and nurses in its employ refused to participate in executions. Good for them.

Troy Davis to be executed tomorrow

Tomorrow, the state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Troy Anthony Davis, despite significant reason to doubt his guilt. Several witnesses against him have recanted their testimony. Dave at the Mindful Mission has more on the case and what we can do.

The office of the Board of Pardons and Paroles is open from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm Eastern time. The office of the Attorney General is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Please call as early as you can.

ETA: If calling makes you nervous, you can fax the Georgia Attorney General’s office at (404) 657-8733.

Action alerts

  • Two from Consistent Life:
    • “The September issue of The Progressive magazine has on page 42 an advertisement from Consistent Life on our book, Consistently Opposing Killing: From Abortion to Assisted Suicide, the Death Penalty, and War. If past experience is repeated, there may be some letters to the editor responding to the ad, and some can be quite assertive in a negative way. We ask those who subscribe to this magazine or have a friend who does or who have access to it at a library to pay attention to the letters to the editor in the October issue, and consider if any of these inspire you to write letters of your own into the magazine.”
    • “The research arm of Consistent Life has an on-line survey ready. It’s to help answer these questions: To what extent does the consistent life ethic strengthen the case against issues of violence by being more persuasive? To which kind of people is it more persuasive, and which are more unimpressed? Does the idea of killing as trauma have any impact on people’s understanding of issues involving killing?

    In particular, they are in need of more survey answers from people who identify as pro-choice on abortion, and who favor the death penalty and/or the Iraq war, in order to have more balance as to how many are in each group. This isn’t meant to be a random sample, but they do need participation from lots of different people in order to make meaningful comparisons.

  • Via Nonviolent Choice Blog: the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood is asking for signatures on a letter asking world leaders to make health care for mothers a priority. They are trying to gather 500,000 signatures to represent the 500,000 women who die during pregnancy or childbirth each year. Online petitions don’t do much in themselves, but while you’re there, please read more about the organization and consider joining and taking further action.
  • Depending on the result of Troy Davis’s clemency hearing, there may be another one later today.

Rachel MacNair interview on Northern Spirit Radio

Via Rachel:

Because of the ads that Consistent Life and Friends Witness for a Prolife Peace Testimony ran in Friends Journal, I got an invitation to do a one-hour radio interview that is much more satisfying than usual. It was an abortion-defending Quaker professor and me who both got plenty of time to say our piece and to be calm and reasonable about it. This is a one-hour show, and it’s up on the web, information below. I thought some of you would be interested in listening in — there’s naturally a lot of consistent life ethic involved when any pro-life Quaker discusses abortion. Note also that comments and ratings will help to keep it visible so that others are more likely to listen in as well.

The program is Northern Spirit Radio‘s “Spirit in Action”, or you can go to the direct link here.

Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus formed

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA 5th) has launched the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus. Its goals include educating members of Congress on Down Syndrome issues, promoting better treatment and education for people with Down Syndrome, and advocating for the rights of people with Down Syndrome and for support for their families. Representative Morris has a son with Down Syndrome, who is my daughter’s age. (via Mommy Life)

Mother’s Day

From the mindful mission, I learn that 178 House Republicans voted against a resolution “Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother’s Day” — but not before first voting for it. It’s a purely symbolic resolution, so no big deal, but I can’t help wondering why they switched their votes. Maybe word got out about some of the original “goals and ideals of Mother’s Day” in the U.S.:

The cause of world peace was the impetus for Julia Ward Howe’s establishment, over a century ago, of a special day for mothers. Following unsuccessful efforts to pull together an international pacifist conference after the Franco-Prussian War, Howe began to think of a global appeal to women.

“While the war was still in progress,” she wrote, she keenly felt the “cruel and unnecessary character of the contest.” She believed, as any woman might, that it could have been settled without bloodshed. And, she wondered, “Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?”

Pro Every Life, Pro Woman, Pro Reproductive Justice for All

Marysia has the manifesto online and ready for signing!

Pro Every Life, Pro Woman, Pro Reproductive Justice for All: A Manifesto

Sponsored by: Turn the Clock Forward & the Nonviolent Choice Directory

We, the undersigned, affirm that:

We are pro every life, before, during, and ever after birth.

Therefore we vigorously, straightforwardly advocate women’s right to nonviolent sexual and reproductive choice.

What is nonviolent choice? (more…)

Cleaning out bookmarks

* Discrimination against blacks linked to dehumanization, study finds. This study looked at the racist association of blacks with apes, and its consequences for people’s willingness to accept violence against them. Any anti-violence advocate could tell you that one way to get people to accept violence is to dehumanize its victim.

* It’s pretty easy to find the candidates’ stands on abortion, but glassbooth has also collected their stands on birth control and sex education.

* A New Zealand Idol contestant was kicked off the show for being pregnant. “Public life is set up with the assumption that people participating won’t have primary responsibility for childcare. This is incredibly anti-woman and extremely restrictive for women who do have children. A huge part of what I’m fighting for, as a feminist, is ending the notion of a ‘private sphere’ the idea that child-rearing is an individuals (usually a woman’s) primary responsibility, and that you have to choose between that role and any other role that you want to take.” Maia isn’t pro-life, but this is one area where feminists should be able to find common ground. (No, I haven’t actually had that bookmarked since August 2006. I’m not that far behind.)

* From another of Maia’s posts come two links to brownfemipower on the struggles of women, especially women in marginalized communities, to have their right to give birth respected.

* In that vein, Marysia (with a bit of help from me) has been working up a manifesto for an inclusive reproductive justice organization. This organization will encompass the rights of the unborn and already-born, and will advocate for all women’s rights to the full spectrum of nonviolent reproductive choices.