Sonia Sotomayor: A Different Pro-Life Angle

It took just about an hour for Americans United for Life, a pro-life lobbying outfit, to denounce the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. "Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy undermines common ground," the group said in a press release. "She is a radical pick that divides America."

I watched the press conference when President Obama introduced Judge Sotomayor as his choice for the high court. What struck me most was that both the President and his nominee were largely raised by single Moms. Sotomayor’s father died when she was nine and the President’s father was in absentia for most of his life. Sotomayor spoke movingly about the sacrifices her mother made so that she and her brother could achieve all that they have.

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One of the most disconcerting things about the pro-life movement has been its unwillingness to embrace the heroic role of single Moms. I do not know how many pregnant women decide to procure an abortion because the thought of raising a child alone is so daunting. In the 1980s, the perception of "welfare Moms" as a drain on society and a source of criminality was fostered by the Republican Party as a thinly veiled racist wedge issue. This never cohered with their pro-life agenda which ultimately entailed convincing pregnant single women to carry their child to term.

No Western democracy has ever repealed liberal abortion laws once adopted. I believe that we can only change the laws regarding abortion once we have first changed the culture’s views of the horrific procedure. But, that means that as a culture we must be willing to move heaven and earth to help single women who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy.

It is telling that the Americans United for Life could not spare a sentence in their press release to note the phenomenon that was so obvious watching the press conference in the East Room of the White House this morning: Single motherhood is certainly no one’s ideal, but neither is it an insuperable impediment to their children leading meaningful lives. It is not a good reason to procure an abortion. Just ask Judge Sotomayor or President Obama.

 

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8 years 6 months ago
Sotomayor raised by Single mother??? have you and the Americans for Life never heard of widow.. get a life man.. zillions were raised by what was and is called widow..
8 years 6 months ago
I am a single mom, so I do appreciate that these children of single parent homes are so accomplished - more than most.  My four teenage sons are right behind them, ready to change the world, as well.  That doesn't for one moment, however, change the fact that the President's pick is a radical pick that will, as AUL said, further divide this country.  Republicans should just say NO.
8 years 6 months ago
In MD, there's a law that lets mothers leave their babies to any hospital or police station or church with no questions asked.  So, a woman need not be punished or burdened with a child.  So, again the economic argument to support murdering babies does not apply anymore because the mother will not spend a cent nor a minute after the child is delivered. And I among many others am not a Republican.  Go to my site if you want my story.  In short, it is about God and the babies. So, for the sake of honesty, do not reduce me to a caricature.
8 years 6 months ago
I'm not sure if I follow this argument. AUL denounces the nominee because she is a "radical" and fails to mention she is a single mother. For this we are to... think she is an appropriate nominee? Or not? We are to applaud her keeping her child, certainly. But are you suggesting our President has nominated her because she is pro-life? Because she is a single mother? I would hope it was neither of those reasons (indeed, I hope she was nominated because she was thought to be the best suited). But I do think there is some cause for concern about her. She has been pretty open about being an "activist judge" (the Court of Appeals is "where policy is made").  She has also, and I'm relying on CNN here (hardly a lapdog of the republican political machine), seems to have had a number of rulings reversed by SCOTUS and has the notorious firefighters affirmative action case pending in SCOTUS as we speak (the case is briefly discussed on CNN's "resume"). [url=http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/26/sotomayor.resume/index.html]http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/26/sotomayor.resume/index.html[/url] I'm sorry if I'm not following you here or if I've misinterpreted you, but I just don't follow you.
8 years 6 months ago
"No Western democracy has ever repealed liberal abortion laws once adopted." This seems to suggest that people who are struggling to have that law repealed should just give up and tolerate the murder that happens under their noses.  My point is why do some pro-lifers take the wind of other peoples sails like that?  As your article states, "Another angle..."  So, others can work another angle if they wish, but I find it offensive for people who appear to be on my side to tell me to give up and accept this travesty.
8 years 6 months ago
I enjoyed the piece very much. After I read it, I noted the author and was pleasantly astonished. I am happy to see that Mr Winters can think sensible things. Perhaps he has taken to religion.
8 years 6 months ago
Thus, single motehrhood is a qualification for a justice of the Supreme Court? Any thought on her other judicial qualifications?
8 years 6 months ago
I don't know when the pro-life movement was taken over by Right-Wing Authoritarians followers, Social Dominators and Double Highs, but their influence on the movement has contributed in a big way to its failure.  Because the RWA/SD/DH crowd is incapable of honest self-assessment, they dig harder and faster after every setback, unable to change course or create more effective methods.  They will never get that they are the radicals dividing the Church and America in the name of their support for the Republican Party/Conservatism.  Their compartmentalized brains won't allow it to sink in.  It's pathetic to watch. 
8 years 6 months ago
"One of the most disconcerting things about the pro-life movement has been its unwillingness to embrace the heroic role of single Moms. "  What a tragic, blatantly simplistic statement.  Spend just a few minutes at any "woman's care center", where they council pregnant women considering abortion, and witness the support they provide these mothers after the babies are born, and you will see what an uninformed statement this is.  To characterize the "pro-life movement" as a whole in this manner is sad.
8 years 6 months ago
AUL's denunciation is good for her nomination, as it immunizes her against any speculation that as a Catholic she may vote with Kennedy, Alito and Roberts on the issue as moderate pro-lifers.  I doubt that she will be voting with Ginsburg, especially as she did not rule in favor of the reproductive rights lawyers when they challenged the Mexico City Policy.  That ruling will at least lead to one question that will be re-aired regarding the President's reversal of the policy. As for the prospect of Republicans not supporting the nomination - so what.  When Franken is sworn in, they can't even stop a scheduled vote, let alone stop the nomination.  If Leahy and Reid want to make this go as fast as Judicary Committee rules and traditions allow them to, there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop them.  Elections matter (as do recounts and denunciations in one's own house - it is no accident Souter retired as soon as Sen. Specter changed parties - I am shocked Stevens did not join him).
8 years 6 months ago
There is certainly a lot of knee-jerk reaction going on. It seems much, much too early for a ''denouncement'' in the style of the one AUL issued, especially since it mentions absolutely no specifics. Perhaps the most measured and reasoned reaction has been the USCCB's (quoted here from Patricia Zapor's article on Catholic News Service): Anthony Picarello, general counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was stillstudying Sotomayor's judicial rulings, but that, ''on first blush, her religious freedom decisions are encouraging. But there are other fundamental, court-driven issues - especially abortion and marriage - where we'll need to take a closer look at the record.'' We should all be so judicious.
8 years 6 months ago
Yes, actually! I agree with pretty much everything Michael Sean Winters says in this blog post. And I write as someone who is as radical an ideological Pro-Lifer as you can get. I am a fierce critic of the Obama administration's policies in this area and I am especially angry about its decision to fund the disgraceful UNFPA, which I consider on a par with governments having funded apartheid South Africa in the past. Nonetheless, that doesn't prevent me from criticising my own side, so to speak. Indeed, I think that Pro Lifers everywhere but particularly in the US should do a lot more of it. The Pro Life movement badly needs to foster a culture of frank, critical internal debate. There is an especial need for self-criticism around its whole approach to single-parent families. It is just not true, as DA says, that Winters criticisms are simplistic. Quite the opposite, in fact. They are too moderate. Notably DA cites the work of Womens Care Centres, their counselling and their witness. This concedes my point. Counselling and witness are hopelessly insufficient measures for addressing the real economic and social needs of women in crisis pregnancies. All the counselling and witness in the world won't put bread and butter on the table of a single lone parent in straitened circumstances in the world. Some might counter that such agencies do provide some of these minimal requirements. They miss the point that women don't want charity, they don't want hand-outs or to be patronised; they want solutions. The other suggestion typically made by Pro Lifers is the surely medieval option of adoption. None of it is good enough. As an aside, I realise that moderation is considered necessary but it does have the effect of slowing down debate. Could the bloggers occasionally venture into the comments boxes?

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