Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sounding off against leading pro-choice organizations

At Daily Kos, a pro-choice blogger named Angry Mouse has an interesting take on the leading pro-choice organizations.
And I'm wondering if FeminismTM is really such a good investment.

You know those emails? The ones from NOW and NARAL and Emily's List that declare, with great urgency and lots of ALL CAPS and exclamation marks, that you must give money right now? Stop this bill! Block this nominee! Protect Roe! Save the Supreme Court! And give, give, give!!!

And since you often agree -- why yes, I do want to stop this bill; why no, I do not want that nominee confirmed -- you click and give. It won't stop this bill or block that nominee, but you will get another email at the next crisis.

And it's always a crisis. Even under a Democratic president, with a Democratic supermajority in Congress, the nation's biggest feminist organizations are in crisis mode, raising money but unable to deliver results. They're just as effective as they were under Bush. Which is to say, Not. At. All.....

In the last decade, we've seen more restrictions on women’s reproductive health, more government-funded sex (mis)education, and budget cuts everywhere -- for after school and early education programs, for employment and training programs, for programs to fight domestic violence -- all of which directly and disproportionately impact women.

And at every step backwards, the major feminist organizations have been powerless to stop it. Or just plain absent....

They’ve failed to frame the debate and influence how we talk about issues that affect women’s lives. While they're still arguing about "choice" -- a word that persuades no one and narrowly focuses the conversation on abortion instead of the full spectrum of reproductive health -- opponents are thinking up clever new phrases to use incessantly and force into the public consciousness until they become law. "Partial birth abortion." "Rights of the preborn." "Culture of life."
While I don't mind pro-choicers dissing leading pro-choice organizations, I don't know how much of this is NARAL and company's fault. I think it's more that those organizations are focusing most of their efforts clinging to what they have because the facts and arguments aren't on their side.

For example, the majority of the population isn't in favor of tax-funded abortions. Maybe NARAL and company could change that with some new slogan or debate framing operation but I doubt it.

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