Wallis said that although he believes abortion to be a moral tragedy, he doesn't think the best way to prevent abortions is to criminalize them. He asks, "The question is how can we actually prevent unwanted pregnancies, protect unborn lives, support low-income women, offer compassionate alternatives to abortion, make adoption much more accessible and affordable, carefully fashion reasonable restrictions, and thus dramatically reduce the shamefully high abortion rate in America?"
Haffner responds by suggesting that it's not unwanted pregnanies Wallis should be concerned about preventing, but unplanned pregnanies. She writes,
What Rev. Wallis isn't telling you is that the abortion rate is at its lowest since 1974, a year after Roe v. Wade. Abortions are coming down in the U.S. The abortion rate is down 100,000 since 2000, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
What Rev. Wallis isn't telling you is that a majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and that 62% of mainline Christians and 84% of Jews believe that.
What Rev. Wallis isn't telling you is that according to the Guttmacher Institute, placing retrictions, whatever "reasonable restrictions" might be, doesn't make abortions rarer, it makes them less safe.
And despite my reading his paragraph over and over again lest I missed it, what Rev. Wallis isn't calling for is hope for young women for productive futures through quality education and job opportunities (as was missing in last week's stories on the so-called pregnancy pact), sexuality education, and high quality family planning services. Rev. Wallis, as a pro-choice feminist and minister, I will do everything I can to work with you on assuring adoption services and high quality prenatal care and parenting support -- when will we see you working to assure women AND men have access to the means to prevent pregnancies in the first place?
If anti-choicers really want to prevent abortions, they should support easy access to birth control and family planning services because that's what prevents unplanned pregnancies, not misleading information and abstinence only education. Just one more reason that the anti-choice promotion The Pill Kills is more about imposing conservative sexual mores on society than it is about preventing abortions.
Last week, James Dobson from Focus on the Family said that Obama was "deliberately distorting" the Bible to fit his own theology. Haffner critiqued Dobson, writing,
"I find it almost laughable that Mr. Dobson (he is not a minister, he just plays one on radio and tv) doesn't understand that he too uses the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own theology. After all, the Bible is silent on birth control, silent on abortion, and silent on consensual same sex adult sexual relationships as we understand them today, yet Mr. Dobson says he is talking about a Biblical morality when he opposes them. And as a Unitarian Universalist minister, I understand that of course, we bring our own worldview and our own theology to understanding our sacred texts."Exactly what I was thinking. If Dobson doesn't realize that individual experience and beliefs shape the way we see the world (including individual understandings of theology), then he's sadly out of touch with human experience. And because we all have different experiences and viewpoints, we must be able to make our own decisions for our own lives. That's the beauty of choice - I'm not fighting for abortions; I'm fighting for women to have the ability to make their own choices regarding their bodies and their lives.
Bookmark Haffner's blog and keep reading - she's consistantly proving that religion, feminism and choice can, and do, go hand-in-hand.