Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Questions They Never Asked Me: All About Practical Pro-Lifer, the Blog and the Blogger

Who is The Practical Pro-Lifer?

Presumably, you are. Or at least I hope you will be after spending some time here.

No, I mean who are you?

Oh. I'm a young professsional woman who spent some time doing pro-life advocacy in college. In my early involvement, I quickly grew frustrated with the terms of the debate and with the minimal effect most of our activity seemed to have. Since then, I've been seeking practical ways to make daily choices that will help us progress toward ending legal abortion in this country -- and, more importantly, toward changing the culture until abortion is seen everywhere as both unwanted and unnecessary. I've started this blog to share what I'm learning and to learn from you, my readers, in turn.

So let us get this straight. You're one of those rabid, repressed fundies who hate choice and reproductive freedom, who want our bodies to belong utterly to the patriarchalist ultra-right wing establishment?

I don't recall having been bitten by any dogs recently, I happen to like sex just fine, thank you, and I am allergic to the words "fundie" and "patriarchalist."

Also, I love choice and reproductive freedom -- but I think real reproductive freedom is having the maturity, self-respect, self-knowledge, and consideration for others to know when you are in a relationship that is loving and permanent enough to bloom into a family. And real choice happens when you are empowered to choose what won't cause harm to you or anyone else. That's not the case with abortion, which ends a human life, quite often causes physical and/or emotional harm to the woman, and frequently ruptures relationships as well. See the extended Practical Pro-Lifer essay on abortion [in progress] for more.

Ohh, I see. You're one of those anarchical witches who are all about ditching outdated concepts of morality, inverting the universe, and sitting around in circles singing kumbaya because that will make everything better.

Did you read the Five Simple Rules yet?

Just kidding. Is the Practical Pro-Lifer religious?

The writer is, the blog isn't. How is that, you ask? While my pro-life convictions are certainly shaped by the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which I am blessed to be part, the facts and principles that first convinced me against abortion are primarily scientific and logical. If tomorrow I suddenly lost my faith and became a die-hard atheist, I would still be pro-life. Those, then, are the facts and principles this blog will rely on -- things that anyone, religious or not, can embrace.

For the same reason, I'm asking that we not engage in direct discussion of religion on this blog. It will only be fair to you-my-readers that you get to read what you came for, not long off-topic threads that can become highly technical, emotional, and/or exhausting. If anyone has honest questions or respectful comments about the Church, I'll be delighted to respond to those via personal email, at katyacatholic (at) Sincere discussion makes me happy. Attempts to be inflammatory, however, will be -- with all due respect -- ignored.

If it's not a religious blog, how come the Virgin of Guadalupe is on your banner [also in progress]?

Notice I said direct discussion is out of bounds. That means no long debates about doctrine, Scripture, practice or worship. A picture's not a long debate; it's art. It's an expression of faith. Expressions of faith are totally in-bounds at The Practical Pro-Lifer, as long as they relate in some way to pro-life-ness. And Our Lady happens to be the patroness of the pro-life movement, so there we are.

Will you tell us anything else about yourself?

No, and here's why not. Everyone has spheres of experience. Everyone shows one facet or another of themselves to one person or a group of people. Here on this blog, I want to share with you everything that's directly relevant to my passion for pro-life activism. But there are lots of things in my life that aren't directly related to that, and it wouldn't be fair to anyone if this blog became personal in that way. I want to be involved in the pro-life discussion, but at heart I'm a fairly private person, and I'd prefer to stay that way.

It's the same principle by which we share some things but not others with our colleagues at work. To be widely known as The Practical Pro-Lifer in my workplace, for example, would be just as inappropriate a crossing of boundaries as if my supervisor were to post my performance review here on the blog. Or as inappropriate as if my husband, on a lunchtime visit, called me, in front of all my co-workers, his "sweet little pumpkin."

Does the Practical Pro-Lifer in any way resemble a pumpkin?

Not relevant. Next question?

What does the Practical Pro-Lifer think of feminism?

I self-identify as a feminist, but I think few mainstream feminists would agree that it's accurate for me to do so. That's a shame, since I believe the same things that Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the other feminist foremothers did.

Does the Practical Pro-Lifer support contraception as one practical means of reducing abortions?

Nope. It doesn't address the root causes of abortion; so far from that, it contributes to a culture in which the body is an object to be manipulated, not a human being to be respected. Therefore, though contraception might decrease abortions in the short term, it isn't an effective long-term solution. For those who need to avoid pregnancy, Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an organic, holistic solution that empowers women to know and embrace their own fertility instead of fearing and manipulating it. And yes, I practice NFP myself.

In all seriousness, is the Practical Pro-Lifer liberal or conservative?

Neither, though most people would probably label the positions I take as conservative. I find that frustrating and limiting, though, and try to stay away from the designation in my own discourse. I find it creates tension and polarization without the benefit of contributing clarity.

OK, then how do you normally vote?

I know how I WOULD normally vote, but these aren't normal times. More and more, I wonder if there are any "normal times."

Will the Practical Pro-Lifer comment on issues like race, economics, the environment, the death penalty, war, euthanasia, stem cell research or anything else that might be seen to be connected to the issue of abortion?

Only if it's absolutely necessary to show the empirical or logical effect that something has on abortion and, in connection, what we can do about it. This blog is not a forum for speculation about pet theories, though the author may (correctly) be suspected to have them in plenty.

What about politics?

[Update!] At this writing, The Practical Pro-Lifer is disaffected with politics and will only nudge them with a nine-and-a-half-foot pole, and that only when necessary. As with religion, threads about politics can become highly technical, emotional and/or exhausting very quickly. I prefer to save my technical prowess and emotional energy for the simple issue at hand, which is exhausting enough to begin with.


I try.


Sheila Kippley said...

Breastfeeding should be part of this discussion. God certainly planned for a long period of natural infertility for an extended period during the breastfeeding as well as during a certain time during the menstrual cycle. For a nursing mother to experience menstruation within a few months after childbirth should be the exception; for the nursing mother to go one or two years without menstruation should be the norm according to nature or God's plan for spacing babies. It's pure physiology. Breastfeeding is one very pro-life activity that any couple can take part in. There are so many benefits for mother and baby during the breastfeeding period as well as years later that our U. S. government now say babies are at risk if they are not breastfed. For free, short, easy-to-understand instruction on the Seven Standards of eco-breastfeeding, go to An informative brochure promoting breastfeeding can be downloaded on the Home Page for free. Sheila, volunteer, NFP International

Katya said...

Sheila, thanks for the helpful information. You're absolutely right to point out one more way in which the current culture, while supporting a superficial and destructive mockery of "choice," doesn't recognize or defend many other authentic and life-giving options, such as moms having the financial and personal autonomy to stay home with babies and breastfeed if they so choose. It's a messed-up world to be sure. Thanks for being part of the solution!