February 07, 2008

Not just about `choice' or `life'

At the last vegan potluck we had, a month or so ago, my friend Sarah said something about how she didn't like basing abortion rights just on the notion of choice, nor the idea that opposition to abortion is based on the notion of life.

Reproductive Health's Reality Check's factsheet on immigration and reproductive justice gives an excellent summary of reproductive justice, which I think might be a far superior feminist framework for analysing these issues:

Reproductive justice involves more than the right to end a pregnancy. Safeguarding an individual's right to determine her or his own reproductive future is an integral part of an overall agenda to promote social justice. That vision includes the ability of all people, whether American-born or immigrant, to:

1. Become a parent and parent with dignity.
2. Determine whether or when to have children.
3. Have a healthy pregnancy.
4. Have healthy and safe families and relationships.

Note first that this notion incorporates both choice -- in point 2 -- and life -- in 1 and 3 -- subsuming them under the more general notion of justice. Second, in addition, this notion straddles the liberal (that is, individualist)/communitarian divide. There is a recognition of both the irreducible value of the individual's life on her or his own terms and the necessity of living that life as a part of a flourishing community.

No comments: