JESSICA: “Yes. That language of “I support abortion but wouldn’t get one” is part of the conservative agenda to make abortion shameful and each time a pro-choicer participates in it, it simply reifies this anti-choice idea. While one can personally feel like that (though no one – NO ONE – knows what will happen to them in the future), saying that out loud serves two purposes: 1) to show that you do think there’s shame in abortion and 2) to position yourself higher on a moral hierarchy than people who get abortions (and, of course, that woman said that in a room where Carolyn Jones had already told her abortion story). That language does not help the pro-choice movement in any way. I will say that I appreciate how many people spoke up as pro-choice supporters and as active members in their religious communities. One of the panelists remarked that the reproductive rights movement does not do enough to include those voices in their protest and I think that’s true. I did love your intervention in the discussion of the morality of abortion, Garland. I think what you said about how necessary it is for pro-choice advocates to stop ceding the moral ground to anti-choicers and to say vocally that what we do is moral and is about saving and protecting lives is vitally important right now.
GARLAND: Like I said that evening, that was the tack that finally brought me around from milquetoast support of choice to demanding abortion on demand without apology. I think as long as a person is going around and around about “when life begins” it can seem like a distant philosophical question and as long as they’re clinging to the idea that there are babies that they are courageously saving, they are intellectually pliable. Yes, there are some people who think that if a person dies during an abortion procedure and their children are left orphans that that person was a dead slut who got what they deserved, but I don’t think that describes everyone who currently identifies as “pro-life.” I think there is a large portion of the movement that is moveable on this issue, if we could shift the conversation away from fictitious magical unicorn babies to the consequences of blocking abortion access for real people.”