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consistent life ethic

What Pro-Life Feminism Means to Me (in Pictures)

Pictures in order of most recent to oldest.

Fight for the rights of ALL human beings.
Speak out for ALL life.
Help children learn how to make peaceful choices; demonstrate that we CAN all get along.
Expose children to diversity through media, books, and everyday life.
Support local, small businesses as much as possible.
Regularly volunteer with the local pregnancy helpline, raise awareness of diaper need, help connect other volunteers with the opportunity to help, and spread the word to families who need it.
Organize work parties for the local pregnancy helpline/diaper bank/sharing center. And sing Christmas carols!
Stand tall by refusing to accept the violence of either political party.
Engage others in conversations about what it means to be a pro-life feminist. Click for story.
Raise awareness of perinatal mental health problems and support mothers as they struggle to adjust postpartum.
Fight for little lives by raising awareness about the lifesaving abilities of human milk by leading a Miracle Milk Stroll in 2015.
Love and raise a child I didn’t give birth to.
Support and represent causes that matter to me.
Love Mama Earth and all her people, places, creatures, plants….
Image of the 1st UU principle from the UUA website.
View every human -at all ages and stages – as having inherent worth and dignity.

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Consumerism, Self-Control, and Christmas

As I sat in my therapist’s office the other night, chatting about how complicated life is, the topic of self-control came up. It was refreshing to hear someone else who found our culture of instant self-gratification to be disturbing and unhealthy. We were specifically talking about porn and the demonization of sexual self control, but the more I think about it, the more I see how our modern culture promotes unhealthy levels of self-gratification. If people have the money, they can go shopping and find exactly what they want without ever having to consider the laborer, laboring, and materials used to create these items. We can go to the grocery store and grab whatever we need without having to consider the farmers, earth, processing, and transportation that went into putting it in the store. We can consume anything and everything our heart desires without ever realizing the history behind the items.

If you walk into your closet and look at the clothes hanging there, do you see the people who made them? Do you feel their labor? Do you know if they were paid appropriately for their work? What about the food in your pantry and fridge? The tea or coffee in your cup? What about the furnishings in your house? The sheets on your bed? The electronic device you’re using to read this right now? Perhaps if we could comprehend the human and ethical costs of the many things surrounding us, we’d feel more kindly about paying the true cost to the people who make them. Of course, for those of us who struggle to get by, we often have to choose between buying cheap or simply doing without. I would love to purchase a pair of fair trade/handmade pajamas, for example, but the cost is more than my budget can currently sustain, so I will likely look for a nice pair at a thrift store (which is where 90% of my clothing comes from anyway).

I’ve been working on crocheting gifts for people in preparation for Christmas, and my hours of work and love have illustrated to me the true cost of things. Machines may be responsible for knitting and making so many things nowadays, but people operate those machines and are responsible for growing and preparing the fibers used. People are sitting in sweatshops around the world stitching up clothes that they will not be fairly compensated for, but those clothes will go in shiny department stores where other people will buy them and add to their already-stuffed wardrobes. We are consumers. There is no perceived reward for exercising self-control and taking only what you need. There is little thought given to the spiritual harm being done to oneself and others when we become consumers, not to forget the harm being done to Mother Earth.

As we head into the season of buying buying buying, pause and consider the real cost of your purchases. Are you supporting consumerism and modern day slavery? Could you make it yourself or support a small business by asking them to make it? Could you purchase it from a fair-trade rated company? Do you need to buy it brand new or can you find it secondhand? Do you or the person you’re purchasing a gift for really need more stuff? Could you gift an experience (special trip or activity, etc.) or food item instead?

Resources:

Fair Trade Certified: Your Purchase Matters. Quality products, improving lives, and protecting the environment.

Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade helps Catholics live their faith in solidarity with farmers and artisans through fair trade crafts, coffee, and chocolate.

Trusted Clothes is an organization linking people, organizations and brands that are ethical, environmentally friendly and health conscious.

Buycott App: Vote with your wallet

WorldCrafts: Bringing hope and dignity to impoverished people around the world, WorldCrafts is a fair trade nonprofit importer of beautiful handmade crafts.

This is What a Pro-Life Feminist Looks Like

Last December my parents bought me this pro-life feminist sweatshirt from Life Matters Journal as my birthday present. It’s soft, cozy, and makes a statement – a very bold, supposedly impossible statement: people can be both pro-life and feminist.

Front: this is what a PRO-LIFE FEMINIST looks like

Back: Core Tenets of Feminism

  • Equality: For all human beings, regardless of gender, race, religion, politics, age size, or any other circumstance.
  • Non-Discrimination: Because any act of discrimination (whether it be sexism, racism, ageism, or ableism) is contrary to human dignity.
  • Nonviolence: Because non-discimation in practice means that every human being has the right live a life free from violence.

For Info about Pro-Life Feminism, check out:

  • feministsagainstviolence.tumblr.com
  • ffnvc.org
  • newwavefeminists.com
  • propeaceprolife.org
  • guidingstarprojects.org
  • alicepaulgroup.com

Now that the cool of Autumn is here, I’ve begun wearing my sweatshirt again. Because the message is controversial, and I dislike being involved in confrontation and stress (empath here!), I’ll admit to being nervous about wearing this out in public. I live in the Madison area of South Central Wisconsin, a place where Planned Parenthood and  “pro-choice”  have many passionate supporters, so I’m never sure how people will react when they see the message of “pro-life feminist.” Surprisingly, the only feedback I’ve received has been positive. The first time I wore my sweatshirt out a lady told me how much she liked it. This morning another lady told me she liked the shirt, although she had a lot more to say than just that.

I walked my kindergartner into his class today and, as I was walking back to my vehicle, I passed an older woman who was jogging by. I noticed her glancing at my shirt so I nodded as I walked past her. A few feet down the sidwalk I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the same lady and she was telling me she wanted to read my sweatshirt. After she read it she began talking about it with me. She said she agreed with all the tenets listed on the back and wanted to hear more about my position. She shared that she used to be a nurse practicioner in a nearby town and was pro-life herself. In her years as a medical practicioner, she said she had come to the conlusion that abortion was a terrible thing but sometimes necessary. She said that she believed the best approach to reducing abortions was to prevent the unwanted pregnancies in the first place through comprehensive sexual education, including a healthy approach to sexuality. I agreed with the importance of that and added that I felt like doing everything we could to make pregnancy unnecessary (socail aid, support programs, etc.) was very important as well. As we finished our discussion she told me, “You keep on wearing that shirt!”

I intend to do so.

This encounter has encouraged me to continue boldly living out my belief in a consistent life ethic/pro-life feminism. My current situation doesn’t allow me to do much, but I intend to do as much as I can to support local women, children and families who find themselves in tough situations.

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