Today, I received a very interesting and thought-provoking e-mail from a person who knew Mary Wagner, (a more than willing candidate for pro-life martyrdom, it seems), from her time as an undergraduate at the University of Victoria.
However, what is more remarkable about the message was that the person is pro-life, but s/he very well illustrates the common ground that the pro-life and pro-choice activist could achieve… in a perfect world, that is.
Before I lose any points as a feminist (since I don’t want to be perceived in the same light as Elizabeth May), let me reaffirm that I’m unapologetically pro-choice. At the same time, as someone who is actively involved in the pro-choice movement, I never claim that opting for an abortion procedure is an easy decision. I see it sometimes when volunteer at the clinic. Nonetheless, I still do believe that it should be an option and that women should not be forced to have children they don’t want to. I choose to trust their judgment when it comes to making a decision in this regard and I don’t think that their private matters are any of my business anyway. In addition, I would never, ever argue for re-criminalization of abortion, even if the two sides joined forces and were able to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies through the measures described in this message.
Anyway, onto the e-mail:
I know her from my days at UVic, when I was a member of the campus pro-life club.
Now even though I am pro-life, I am about as far removed from people like her as you can get, in that I believe in contraception and comprehensive sex education as a means of reducing abortion through reducing unwanted pregnancies, as well as through a social safety net that includes affordable housing and universal childcare. I also felt that we should work with the pro-choice movement to achieve these goals.
Needless to say, my views were met with downright hostility from her. The look she has on her face is an interesting combination of humbleness, arrogance and fear. Fear that the way she lives her life will be threatened if anything that is different from it is allowed, and arrogance that her pre-Vatican 2 Catholic way of life is the only thing that is remotely acceptable.
The thing is, it is this attitude that drives progressives such as myself from the mainstream pro-life movement, causing it to become increasingly dominated by the lunatic fringe that you have described.
I’d like to thank him/her again for coming forward with his/her thoughts.