10 Ways To End This “Pro-Life Progressive” Nonsense

There is no such thing as a pro-life progressive. There is no such thing as economic justice without reproductive justice — the right to parent, the right not to parent, and the right to support our families in safe and healthy communities. And yet, my friends, it seems that as of late a number of our friends within the Democratic Party and the broader progressive movement are confused.

We must chase pro-life voters, they say. We must be less rigid about women’s basic human rights.

NOPE.

I can’t tell you how ridiculous it is that some leaders of the Democratic Party have forced this unnecessary, immoral, and losing debate in the middle of  a constitutional crisis. Instead of organizing to address what Donald Trump is doing with Russia, some leaders are focused on crapping on their base (us).

Rather than venting, let’s get productive, shall we? Here’s my 10-point plan for beating back this garbage:

1. Be proud to stick up for abortion rights. First and foremost, state your views like a winner. No need to whisper, no need to apologize. You believe in the right to abortion and you’re not buying excuses about why there is something wrong about that.

2. Get people out of their feelings: The approach of policymakers is about policyPeople with a variety of feelings about abortion vote to advance, respect, and uphold abortion rights. In the political realm, we are talking about putting people in positions of power to make decisions that impact other people’s lives. The only voting options are yes and no. There are no Blue Books about feelings voting on abortion bans, ultrasound requirements, and unconstitutional laws that force abortion clinics to close.

3. If people insist on wallowing in their feelings as an excuse to torpedo abortion rights, call them out. Why is a woman’s private life open for public debate, when other matters of public policy are not? Do they really believe there is not something a teensy-weensy bit sexist about that? Don’t get scared when someone claps back with “religion” — there are large constituencies who believe in reproductive health, rights, and justice because of faith, not in spite of or in absence of faith. “Religion” has been used as an excuse in many civil rights arenas — notably, as a means to stop advances toward racial justice and LGBTQ equality. At some point you just have to clap back. Sometime after that point, you win.

4. Correct the lie that chasing pro-life voters is going to magically produce the numbers Democrats need to win. Voters who are highly motivated by opposition to abortion are going to vote Republican. Putting in a Democratic candidate who agrees with the Republican is going to drive away more voters than it gains. If people are concerned about Democrats getting more votes, maybe they should tackle voter suppression because that would make a big, actual difference and actually reach toward advancing progressive values. 

5. Point out who stands to benefit from this whole mess: Pro-life conservatives. Gee, it must be a coincidence that the people with the most full-throated defense of this crap are pro-life conservatives who want no functional opposition. They don’t want Vice President Mike Pence to have to bother to cast tie-breaking votes. They want Democrats who will vote with them for 20-week bans, refusal clauses, and Trumpcare. Nope.

6. Hold the paper-tiger “pro-life Democrat” groups accountable for their sole agenda item: restricting abortion. Are these folks talking about saving maternity coverage, reducing maternal and infant mortality, expanding Medicaid, defeating Trumpcare, or basically anything else? Negative. These folks are posers with a teeny base and an outsized profile on The New York Times editorial pages, and they rarely act like Democrats in other senses of the term. They should leave Democrats alone and set up shop in Ivanka Trump’s office in the West Wing, where they belong. They’re made for each other.

7. Get Tom Perez to pull a Tim Kaine. DNC Chair Tom Perez has taken a number of bad actions, and he’s kind of all over the place. It’s a mess. At this point his best choice is to pull a Tim Kaine in the vice presidential debate — to turn the tables on the opposition. Stop talking about feelings and big tents, Tom, and ask the Republican Party why they don’t trust women, and why they are banning abortion and sending women to jail!

8. Demand accountability from Democratic politicians who are screwing up. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin met with David Daleiden last week, whose fraudulent videos against Planned Parenthood led to 15 felony charges and whose rallying cry was used by a terrorist who killed three people and injured nine others in Colorado Springs. Bernie Sanders, you are an independent vying for control of the Democratic Party and we see you and your ‘super progressive’ endorsements, too. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could give better interviews about this flap. Let them know you’re mad.

9. Don’t agonize, organize (part one)! Defeat “pro-life progressives” in your local elections. Think global, act local. Are one of these guys or gals (but let’s be real, it’s mainly guys) running in your area? Volunteer for other campaigns, recruit better candidates if there aren’t any, think about stepping up yourself to run. Talk to other voters. Be indefatigable. Keep persisting, it works.

10. Don’t agonize, organize (part two)! Let the Democratic Party know how you feel. Those national mailers from the DNC with postage-paid envelopes? Return them with messages, not checks. If you’re not already involved in your state and local party, start showing up. The world is run by people who show up.  

But also, these are my preliminary ideas. I’d love to hear yours — please share them in the comments! This moment is serious. ALL HANDS ON DECK.

 

Carly Fiorina’s Faux Feminism Is A Joke

Carly Fiorina’s faux feminism is an offensive ribbon tied around a dangerous pile of lies.

Life is short, so let’s dive in. Carly has made her pro-life views and willingness to lie through her teeth for them a marquee aspect of her candidacy.

This woman has concocted disgusting, disturbing and roundly discredited lies about Planned Parenthood that fan the flames of terrorist attacks like the recent mass shooting in Colorado Springs. These lies are in service of a small group, to which Carly belongs, who wish to ban abortion entirely — and that hurts women. Access to abortion is a great thing for women. Whether we use it or not (though lots of women — 1 in 3 — do), easy access to abortion ensures our safety and well-being if we find ourselves pregnant in the wrong place or at the wrong time.

There is no such thing as a pro-life feminist. Pro-life opposition to abortion, contraception, sex education, and reproductive health care is diametrically opposed to women achieving equality and justice. This is basic stuff: If women don’t have control over whether and when we have kids, we have no dignity and equality under the law. We need to be able to control our fertility in order to have equal access to opportunities, period.

Pro-life advocates like to say they are pro-woman (which often takes on an additional LOLsob factor when you account for the overwhelming number of men driving the pro-life bus). But if you can only agree that women should have the final say over their bodies when they do not have sex and are not pregnant, you aren’t actually pro-woman — and you certainly don’t believe in equality for women.

All this makes Carly Fiorina’s latest faux feminist salvo even more weird. Now she’s claiming a feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses (emphasis mine). Ooh, that’s rich from a woman working to prevent women from having choices over their own lives.

Deeper still, Fiorina’s definition of feminism as a woman doing whatever she wants — well, that’s ridiculous. Feminism is an action agenda working to secure equality and justice for women. A feminist is someone who believes in redistributing power toward women and other marginalized people, and works toward that goal. Living your life the way you want is great, and feminism works so that women can have those choices. But simply having choices and exercising any choice whatsoever doesn’t mean that you’re a feminist.

You can choose to work against the interests of women — and men — as Fiorina does, and if you are a woman that may make you a trailblazer in the backward-looking world of the male-dominated GOP.

But choosing to live your life doesn’t make you a feminist, though presuming to make some of the most important choices in life for other women certainly makes you a hypocrite.