US Mayors Offer Pro-Choice Resolution

The non-partisan U.S. Conference of Mayors voted on Saturday to pass a resolution in support of women’s reproductive rights and funding for Planned Parenthood.

The group, made up on representatives from about 1200 cities, held their 80th annual meeting in Orlando, Florida and as Laura Bassett reports, took up the resolution in specific response to the ongoing attacks on women’s health by the right. “When it comes to reproductive health decisions, nobody knows better than an individual woman what is best for herself and her family,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “New York City is committed to supporting a woman’s right to choose and ensuring that all New Yorkers have the information, and access to care, they need to make safe and healthy decisions.”

The resolution offers a worst-of-the-worst look at state and federal lawmakers’ attempts to restrict women’s access to abortion and family planning services, including attempts to mandate ultrasounds before abortions, 20 week abortion bans, efforts to compel the IRS to audit rape survivors who have abortions and allow hospitals to refuse emergency abortion care to women. The mayors promise to fight back against these efforts in the future and to speak out on behalf of their female constituents.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said she was “inspired” by the coalition’s move.
“In a political climate with so much hostility toward women’s freedom and privacy, I am thrilled to see more leaders respecting a woman’s ability to make her own decisions regarding her health and privacy,” Keenan said. “These mayors collectively represent millions of Americans in communities where the public-health programs and clinics under attack by members of Congress and state legislators provide basic care for their residents. We are inspired by the mayors who supported this resolution, and we salute them for stepping up in support of women’s freedom and privacy.”

The resolution may not hold significant political sway, but it is am important symbolic commitment to women that at least some of their elected officials will not treat their lives like a political football. The next obvious step is to move beyond symbolic resolutions and toward legislation that embraces the humanity of women instead of denies it.

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Photo from fibonacciblue via flickr.


Amanda M.
Amanda M.4 years ago

Thank the Goddess for these mayors who recognize that women's rights come first! It's high time someone stood up for us against the anti-choicers who fail to realize that their rights to object to the idea of abortion stop where OUR rights to bodily autonomy start!

Vasu M.
.4 years ago

Secular (religion-neutral) arguments apply to **everybody**, including atheists and agnostics. Yur freedoms are limited by someone else's rights. You no longer have the "right to choose" to lynch blacks or commit domestic violence, or commit hate crimes against LGBTs.

Liberals concede abortion is not merely a "religious" issue, but a secular civil rights issue. Few conservatives admit we're violating the self-evident rights of billions of animals every day! They obsess over the silent screams of the unborn (which, at an early stage of development, lacking a brain and central nervous system, might merely be reflex action), while ignoring the very real screams of animals. They obsess over protecting mentally handicapped children while silent about experiments on chimpanzees.

Religious pro-lifers dictate to those outside of their faith... but react with disbelief ("God!") when told it's wrong to kill animals. If their faith "exempts" them from protecting animals, are members of the Unitarian Church, the United Church of Christ and nearly all of Judaism similarly exempt from protecting the unborn? If you carry pro-life Christian sectarianism to its logical conclusion, religious pro-lifers can't oppose abortion, either, if someone else's religion permits it!

Ian Fletcher
Ian Fletcher4 years ago

Let women decide!

Vasu M.
.4 years ago

The pro-life movement desperately needs religious diversity. Pro-lifers should welcome people of other faiths and those of no faith. Not everyone in the United States is a Christian. This country wasn’t founded by Christians; many of America’s founding fathers were Deists. There are other faiths, besides the Abrahamic faiths. There are other holy books out there besides the Bible or the Koran, like the Bhagavad-gita, which also claim to be the word of God.

I really have a problem with pro-life Christians who adhere to a double-standard: i.e., they insist their stand against abortion be applied to everyone, including others who may not share their faith, but then they embrace moral relativism when it suits them, e.g., “...*your* religion says it’s wrong to kill animals for food, clothing or sport, etc. -- mine doesn’t.”

There ARE Christian vegetarians and vegans, of whom I have the deepest respect. I don't take it seriously when meat-eaters say, "The Bible permits us to kill animals," because the Bible was also used to uphold human slavery. The Bible can also be used to justify abortion.

Vasu M.
.4 years ago

During the '70s, pro-choice liberals, pro-choice feminists, and the secular news media tried to sweep the abortion issue under the rug, by depicting it as sectarian religious dogma.

In her essay "Life and Peace," for example, pro-life feminist and antinuclear activist Juli Loesch describes that when she spoke out against abortion at an antinuclear gathering, she was asked:

‘Are you a Catholic?’

‘Am I a Catholic? That has nothing to do with...’

‘So you *are* a Catholic?’

‘Yes, but...’

‘Well, then. You’re imposing your religious beliefs...’

Today, many members of these denominations which were once discriminated against are similarly trying to sweep the issue of animal rights under the rug, by depicting it as sectarian religious dogma. They focus on the religious identity of the person making the moral argument, rather than respond directly to the moral argument itself.

Vasu M.
.4 years ago

Is there an abortion "crisis"? Pro-lifers show greater hostility when told not to kill animals than pro-choicers show when told not to kill the unborn! Pro-lifers often fail to see animal rights as a directly related cause, like women's rights and civil rights.

Like the corresponding case for animal rights, a rational, secular case exists for the rights of the unborn. Individual human life is a continuum from fertilization until death. Zygote, embryo, fetus, infant, toddler, adolescent, adult, etc. are all different stages of development. To destroy that life at any stage of development is to destroy that individual.

The real question in the abortion debate is not the seemingly absurd scenario of extending human rights to human zygotes, but rather the thorny question of how to legally protect those rights without violating a new mother's privacy and civil liberties.

A 1964 New Jersey court ruling required a pregnant woman to undergo blood transfusions -- even if her religion forbade it -- for the sake of her unborn child. One could argue, therefore --apart from religion -- that recognizing the rights of the unborn, like the rights of blacks, women, LGBTs, children, animals and the environment, is a sign of social progress.

Vasu M.
.4 years ago

Virtually all medical authorities (physicians, biologists, etc.) agree with geneticist Ashley Montagu who wrote: "the fact is simple. Life begins not at birth, but at conception." J. Lejeune of Paris, discoverer of the chromosome pattern of Down's syndrome, observed: "Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception."

When does human life begin? "At conception," states Professor W. Bowes of the University of Colorado. Professor M. Matthews-Roth of Harvard writes: "It is scientifically correct to say that individual human life begins at conception." Dr. Mary Calderon of Planned Parenthood in the 1960s, wrote: "Fertilization has taken place; a baby has been conceived."

Everything that defines a person physically is present at fertilization--only oxygen, nutrients and time to develop are required. The unborn child has his or her own genetic code, EEG trackings, and circulatory system. Often, the blood type and sex of the unborn child will also differ from that of the mother.

The heart of the unborn child begins beating at 18 days, and is pumping blood at 21 days. The brain is functioning at 40 days -- EEG trackings have been made at less than six weeks gestation. The unborn child responds to stimuli by the sixth to eighth week. Rapid Eye Movements (REMs) characteristic of actual dream states, are present in 23 weeks. There are clearly *two* distinct individuals (mother and child) present during pregnancy.

Vasu M.
.4 years ago

"I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity."

--Declaration of Geneva, World Medical Association, September, 1948

"The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."

--A Declaration of the Rights of the Child, UN General Assembly, 1959

"Is birth control an abortion?"

"Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun."

--Planned Parenthood pamphlet, August 1963

"Every person has the right to have his life respected, this right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."

--American Convention on Human Rights in San Jose, November 22, 1969

Vasu M.
.4 years ago

"The reverence of each and every human life has been the keystone of Western medicine... it has been necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent. The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous, whether intra- or extra-uterine. The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life would be ludicrous if they were not put forth under socially impeccable auspices."

--Editorial, Journal of the California State Medical Association, September 1970

Karen E.
Karen E.4 years ago

Thanks mayors!! We appreciate your voice!!