Hello. I’m Leslie Loftis, lawyer turned writer.
Leslie Loftis

Great question. Let’s see, which of my beliefs have I wrestled with the most? I probably have a few answers.

I’m against the death penalty from an informed, humane, economical, philosophical, and logical perspective. But in my heart, I know that if someone killed one of my loved ones, I’d want an eye for an eye. There’s a disconnect between what I think and how I feel. When it comes to voting, I vote against the death penalty, but I struggle making that choice every time.

Abortion is another interesting one for me. I am pro-choice — again, from an informed, humane, economical, philosophical, and logical perspective. But I believe life starts at conception. Is the zygote a mature life, one as valuable as the mother’s right to choose? No, I do not think so, but it is still a life, and I take issue when people try to reduce it to non-life because it makes their choice to have an abortion more convenient. Those same people might later celebrate their baby’s heartbeat at 8wks. But why is that fetus a life because it is wanted, but an unwanted fetus is not a life? If a woman is going to choose abortion, I believe she must be honest about the weight of her choice. For this reason, I would limit the window to have an abortion to the first trimester, unless it is to save the mother’s life. Still, it’s a never going to feel like a “good” choice — but it can often be the better choice given circumstance. For this reason, I 100% support Planned Parenthood because by giving out birth control and teaching women to prevent pregnancy and STDs, they’ve greatly reduced the number of abortions. I also support educating women abroad and providing birth control to 1) give women opportunity, 2) limit overpopulation, and 3) prevent backstreet abortions. I also support entitlement programs to assist poor women in caring for their children. If women had more support (like paid maternity leave like every other developed nation) perhaps they woudn’t feel desperate and choose abortion. It’s a complex problem — one I grapple with and take seriously.

Question for you — what do you think of this nun’s statement?

In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy of many (particulary of Republican lawmakers) in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

If we are going to be a pro-life society, do you believe we are then resonsible, as a society, for the child’s life we are so adamant to save? Is it right to “save a baby” but then let that child grow up in abject poverty, with no heath coverage, malnourished, neglected (single mom works to barely make ends meet), substandard public education with high dropout rates, in a building with black mold in a neighborhood with high rates of crime and police brutality? Or perhaps the child goes into foster care or is homeless? We must think through our choices — so where does a pro-life choice lead?

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