Amy Sullivan Still Confused About Meaning of English Language

Everybody knows that the Democrats would be an unstoppable electoral juggernaut if only they could also get all the evangelical voters supporting them. This would give Democrats approximately 79% of American voters, so it's easy to see that the Republican party wouldn't stand a chance.

If you can spot the problem with that statement, you're ahead of professional concern troll Amy Sullivan, who, as Amanda tells us, is still Amy Sullivan.

The topic this week? Abortion, natch. And Sullivan is upset by it. So upset that she's unable to use accurate terms to describe her position:
[Salon:] You’re pro-choice. Does that interfere with being an evangelical?

[Sullivan:] Well, I don’t like the [pro-choice] label. I guess the reason I wrote about abortion the way I did in the book is because I have serious moral concerns about abortion, but I don’t believe that it should be illegal. And that puts me in the vast majority of Americans. But unfortunately, there’s no label for us.
All right! For the block, what label describes someone who has moral concerns about abortion, but thinks it should be legal?

Give up?

That's right, that label is pro-choice. You don't have to love abortion to be pro-choice, you just have to believe that it should remain legal for all women to access.

Amanda opines, "She appears to have a definition problem, basically, characterizing evangelicals as if they are all Bible-believing Christians, when most self-identified evangelicals are patriarchy proponents with a thin veneer of Christianity over everything as a moral justification." That seems about right to me, but Kevin Drum offers a differing view:
Actually, I think Amy's point is precisely the opposite. In the rest of the interview, she basically suggests that about 60% of the evangelical community is politically conservative and won't ever vote for a Democrat. But the other 40% will, and those 40% are worth trying to appeal to. And one way to appeal to them is to acknowledge their moral qualms about abortion even if you don't happen to share them yourself.
Interesting. Wrong, but interesting.

Here's the thing: I agree that pro-choicers need to develop a dialog with people who consider themselves pro-life, but really could be convinced that abortion should remain legal.

But the way to do that is not by saying, "Well, pro-choice doesn't describe me, because abortion is all icky and stuff." The way to do that is to focus on the term, "pro-choice."

As it seems to need to be said over and over and over again, pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion. I know many, many people who personally would not have abortions, but nevertheless believe it should absolutely be legal for those who would. Pro-choice means believing that women should have the right to make their own moral decisions on abortion, even if you disagree with those decisions.

I, like many people, have my own personal opinions on when abortion is right and when it is wrong. I just don't believe my views should be translated into government control. If I was a woman, I might even have the opportunity to act on those opinions -- or find that they've changed once the situation wasn't a hypothetical anymore.

That's the essence of choice -- saying that you trust women to decide. Sullivan can have "serious moral concerns" about abortion all she wants to. She can voice them, explain why she feels that way.

That's a pro-choice position. The way to convince those fence-sitting evangelicals is not to say, "Well, I'm not pro-choice like those angry feminists are." The way to convince them is to say, "I have my problems with abortion, too. But I'm still pro-choice, because I think it's a choice that's up to a woman based on her morality, her religion, her situation." People who are willing to come over to the pro-choice side are going to be receptive to that message. People who are not receptive to that message are going to stay Republican. Let them.


Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus