In a commentary, Valerie Schultz writes about why she, as a Catholic mother, stood on a corner in support of abortion rights. "The short answer is that the so-called 'pro-life' advocates in the United States have turned me pro-choice," she says. Following are NCR reader reactions to Schultz's commentary. The letters have been edited for length and clarity.
Thank you for printing this. I agree with every item she says, and have used some of these talking points during discussions with "pro-life" people.
I also used to be "pro-life" years ago, but the pure vitriol and sanctimonious attitude of the people involved in this movement really kind of let me what kind of Christians are in this movement, and I want no part of it.
Valerie Schultz seems sympathetic to the hyper-individualism advocated by pro-choice extremists. A person's autonomy and right to privacy cannot trump the right of innocent persons created in the image and likeness of God to not be killed. The person in the womb and the person who has a womb both unique children of God, beloved of God and equal in dignity.
Catholics and all reasonable people of goodwill should resist the pro-choice tactic of shifting the conversation about abortion from the question of personhood to bodily autonomy. We can discuss bodily autonomy once we ascertain whether we are talking about two bodies or one, and if we are talking about two bodies whether or not those two bodies are persons.
"Life" is not the point of contention, but personhood.
Hamburg, New York
I agree with Valerie Schultz on why she supports pro-choice. I too am for pro-choice.
I don't feel that pro-life is the correct description for the anti-abortion movement. It would be more honest if they called themselves the "pro-birth movement," because that is what it really is. There is more to pro-life than abortion — the homeless, the ones at the border, the poor, the hungry, the incarcerated, the evicted, the mentally ill, the abused, the racial injustice — what about their lives or don't they count?
Walnut Creek, California
Language matters. Reading the article by Valerie Schultz reminds me that we need to change the language.
Referring to opponents of Roe v. Wade as "pro-life" is not precise. Such a designation gives the inaccurate impression that persons who support Roe v. Wade are "anti-life." This is a false dichotomy. A person may be "pro-choice" valuing the entire seamless garment approach to life issues, including abortion.
A Catholic may decide never to have an abortion herself, but supports the decision to being left to the woman, not the government. This is a matter of personal freedom, rather than government intervention.
Also, a person may designate themself as "pro-life" regarding Roe v. Wade, but reject some or all of the other life issues in the seamless garment. Therefore, "pro-life," in this case, is a misnomer.
Language matters. Therefore, in all further reporting, please use the designation "pro-choice" or "anti-choice."
JOE A. IANNONE
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