Like many of you, I have become more and more frustrated by hearing statements from politicians about rape and abortion. The worst were the gaffes and wrongful responses made by “pro-life” legislators regarding so-called “exceptions” that would allow abortions for rape, threat to the life of the mother, and for special needs babies.
Have they ever looked into the eyes of a mother who learned she conceived through rape? Would they look into her child’s eyes and say, you don’t deserve to be here?
So we went on a mission…
This summer, equipped with our “Pro-Woman Answers to Pro-Choice QuestionsTM” and the stories of Remarkable Pro-Life Women® who shared their eye-opening testimony in “Hard Cases, Exceptional Choices,” we quietly went to 160 legislative offices on Capitol Hill.
We educated the legislative staff and their bosses with pro-woman talking points, the message that Women Deserve Better® than Abortion and what that means: holistic, women-centered solutions.
We also gave legislators powerful feminist history quotes to use on the House and Senate floors–gems of truth first revealed by FFL researchers.
Legislators’ need for these resources was obvious. The gratitude was palpable.
Now we want to go even further to reach policymakers who are Key Agents of Change:
These are the people who make policies, set priorities, pass laws, and allocate funds–and many need our help to get it right for women and children at highest risk. Looking ahead, some of these elected officials will one day run for higher offices, including the White House. The time for us to reach them is now.
FFL is uniquely qualified for this critical mission, and this is why we need your support right now.
For two decades, Feminists for Life has taken on the issue of violence against women–including rape and abortion. In addition, we have produced numerous issues of The American Feminist devoted to the subject (“Victory Over Violence,” “Forward Into Light,” and “Hard Cases”). And since 2008, FFL speaker Joyce McCauley-Benner has shared her story annually on Capitol Hill and on campuses about surviving rape that resulted in pregnancy–and how she chose victory over violence.
Mary Meehan documented our leadership position on this issue in an opinion editorial, “Rape and Abortion: A Double Injustice, published in the Human Life Review:
Feminists for Life of America has been dealing with rape and abortion for many years. “We will never trade one form of violence for another,” says FFL President Serrin Foster. She champions both the federal Violence Against Woman Act and pro-life legislation [Laci and Conner's Law]. She calls abortion “a second act of violence against a woman who is raped,” and she quotes a medical student who said her abortion “was worse than the rape.” Foster declares: “Both victims–the woman and her child–deserve our unconditional support.”
Mary also cited statistics from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that 8,000 mothers in this country keep children who are conceived in rape every year. Another 6% of the 25,000 women who become pregnant from rape choose adoption.
For the last two decades, FFL has provided legislative solutions to prevent violence and to protect survivors.
The next step is to educate and influence legislators by helping them listen to women. By providing them with our pro-woman policies and answers, we can prevent more cruel misstatements and votes against both victims.
You may know that FFL Vice President Sally Winn has been working on this issue in her state and helped to pass a law to protect women from rapists who seek visitation and even custody of the children they fathered as a result of sexual assault.
This weekend Sally will speak at Yale University. This is important because the hideous gaffes are not just being made by legislators. Yale now calls rape “nonconsensual sex,”thus minimizing the violence.
FFL’s credentials are why legislators–and college students and administrators–listen to us.
There are nearly 8,000 U.S. and state lawmakers we can reach–and provide them with the tools they need to stop the ongoing discrimination against the more than 8,000 rape survivors each year who choose to keep their children, and the 1,500 rape survivors who choose adoption.
As a stakeholder in our work, you can reach these key agents of change. You can choose to help us reach today’s leaders in Congress, state legislators, or leaders on campus. Or you canrefuse to choose and support both initiatives. Both choices will support women and support life.
We need to raise $50,000 to underwrite our efforts to reach today’s legislators at the state and federal level–and also equip tomorrow’s leaders who are leading the efforts now on college campuses–with our soon to be released updated issue of “Pro-Woman Answers to Pro-Choice Questions” and our other materials.
Because women deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster