Thursday, August 07, 2003

Do Pro-Choice Activists have the wrong idea?

First let me state, for anyone who might somehow not know, that I am pro-choice.

Yesterday I received in the mail a packet from NARAL Pro-Choice America. It contained a long(ish), reasonably informative letter. It was somewhat biased - it gave the impression that all clinics that perform abortions are bombed and all doctors who do the same wear bullet-proof vests (which, by the way, don't exist; Kevlar is bullet-resistant - but I digress). I know better, I understood their position, I moved on. It also contained a page asking for a donation of $25 (or more) and three petitions to Congress for me to sign. I was impressed that everything was personalized - every page in the packet had my name on it. I was not impressed by the petitions. There were three, and they all were identical with the exception of who they were addressed to. Here is the text:

I am outraged that a woman's Constitutional right to choose is under continual attack by a small, vocal minority. I urge you to support family planning and legislation that protects a woman's right to choose.

Please do everything in your power to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal in this country.

et cetera

The first two petitions were addressed to my state Senators, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Both of them are actively pro-choice. The third petition was addressed to Representative Diane Watson, also actively pro-choice. My state (California) has 53 Representatives. 17 of them are anti-choice and 3 are undecided. Wouldn't one of them have been a better candidate for a petition? I'm sure that the pro-choice Senators and Representatives would love to have their beliefs affirmed, but wouldn't it be more productive for me to contact those whose views do not match mine (or the Constitution) and urge them to reconsider?

Furthermore, I do not have money to give to any cause. Surely there are other ways I can support an organization whose work I believe in; I haven't decided yet if NARAL fits the bill, but I object to the implication that money is the only way I can help.