The future of pro-life is both religious and secular. The future of America is pro-life.
The Pro-Life community in recent years has become one of the most diverse and united movements in American history. It has representation from every faith, race, gender and creed. The only qualification to become a Pro-Life activist is a basic understanding of human development and an interest in consistent human rights without exception — a belief which is not specific to one religion or culture. It should not surprise anyone then that those who have experienced the most discrimination are often the most supportive of consistent human rights. One group in particular is Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL). And below is an interview with one of their most passionate members, Sarah Anne.
Carly: Hi Sarah Anne, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Would you mind telling the readers a little bit about yourself?
"My name is Sarah Anne, and I live in Ohio. I've had to stop using my last name because of threats people have made to me online. I am many things, there are many labels or identifiers I feel fit me and many topics I feel are important to me. It's hard for me to say some are more important than others, when each one is a vital part of me. I am a pro-life feminist. I have been a vegetarian for 18 years and am an animal advocate. I have depression.
What led me to the decision to become Pro-Life? I really began to think about the issue in high school. At first I was pretty on the fence/ambivalent about abortion. Then I did some research about what abortion is, how it is performed and learned about fetal development. I think I even was able to locate some videos that showed abortion or the after effects of abortion (fetal parts and blood). When I understood how developmentally far along a fetus actually is at six, seven and eight weeks, I was horrified that this procedure even existed. That there were women out there who thought this was a good idea for whatever reason."
Why did you decide to become a life defender? And a staunch, outspoken one at that?
"In high school after really researching human development and taking advanced health class, I became interested in sex education and abortion. I think education and prevention (contraception) are key which puts me at odds with many Catholic pro-life folks. It was during this time that I was trying to find my place in the pro-life movement and finding more often than not that my ideas and ideals were not welcome. I existed in many groups on the fringe, terrified to fully speak my mind and be alienated further from people who were "on my side."
It's disquieting when you feel you have more in common with your opposition than your "peers." I don't want anyone else to feel like that, because I still remember what it's like to feel like you have nowhere to belong. I had these strong pro-life beliefs and no outlet to really express them."
What is PLAGAL? Why did you decide to join?
"PLAGAL is a national group of pro-life individuals who happen to be gay (or allies). The group exists to counter the misconception that if you're gay, you've got to be pro-choice. I don't think this misconception exists without good reason though because it was the pro-choice community who first accepted individuals (like gay and trans people) perceived as different.
The pro-life movement has traditionally been tied to religious groups and thus in their condemnation of homosexuality, they have driven away any support they might have had (for the pro-life issue) among gays. PLAGAL exists to fill a void. Many loving, ethical and compassionate people of the LGBTQIA variety feel that condoning abortion in order to fit in to a certain expectation is just not acceptable. But then they would have no place to go. That's why secular and non-traditional groups like PLAGAL are critical to the pro-life movement."
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, how are you accepted within the Pro-Life community?
"As an individual, basically anyone presenting ideas outside of traditional Christian morals, within many Christian Pro-Life organizations, is shunned. As a group, PLAGAL and other non-traditional groups are slowly seeing a welcoming. We have been around for a little while and have become visible among the pro-life conventions and meet-ups."
How do people within the LGBTQ+ community feel about gay/lesbian Pro-Lifers?
"I would say they don't understand the allegiance to the pro-life because gay people are usually not getting abortions. In a bigger sense they also probably see it as a huge slight since the pro-choice side embraces who they are and who they love, not the religious right who make up the majority of the pro-life side."
What is something you want everyone to know about PLAGAL and Pro-Life? Why do you feel passionate about Pro-Life and achieving equal rights for all?
"I realized how much abortion poisons every life it touches. A woman gets an abortion, and a fetus dies, but it doesn't end there. A man loses the chance at fatherhood, a grandparent loses a grandchild and a sibling loses a sibling. I found out as an adult that I had an older half-sibling who was aborted."
Would mind saying a little bit about the activities of PLAGAL?
"We had an information table at the first annual Pro-Life Women's Conference. We have sponsored forums on preventing HIV infection in the children of HIV+ mothers. We have participated in the annual January 22 March for Life since 1991, local pride events in DC, Philadelphia and Boston, the 1993 March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights and a number of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. PLAGAL publishes a newsletter two to three times yearly, entitled "PLAGAL Memorandum" and several brochures presenting pro-life arguments to the lesbian and gay communities. PLAGAL has submitted numerous articles and letters to the editor of lesbian and gay print media, some of which have actually been published. In addition, PLAGAL has received media attention in both straight and lesbian and gay media at both national and a number of local levels."
Thank you, Sarah Anne for your time and for your vital work at PLAGAL! You are saving lives.
So here's Carly's final message:
At just six weeks old the pre-born is rapidly developing and very clearly a member of our human family, despite attempts toward dehumanization. The heart is formed three to five weeks after conception.
Due to the increased secularization of the movement and its emphasis on science and philosophy, more millennials than ever before recognize that "fetus" is nothing more than a dehumanizing term used to justify the stripping of "personhood" and citizenship from an "undesirable" human life.
Within millennial communities, pro-life organizations have transitioned to principles of inclusion, and these communities have flourished in number and influence. Indeed, this is the circumstance of most organizations — pro-life or otherwise — as social climates change, and attitudes toward human rights change.
In the circumstance of abortion, the primary reason for the shift in public opinion on human dismemberment is the advent of the 4D ultra-sound, which has exposed and left no doubt that a "fetus" is a human being in its earliest developmental stages. It is arbitrary and dangerous to grant the government the ability to determine when a human being receives human rights. Claims to the contrary are the words of politically and financially motivated demagogues — unsupported and even rejected by the vast majority of scientists who acknowledge that life beings at conception and the very latest implantation.
The 1973 (pre-ultrasound) claim of "blob of cells" is pseudo-science and downright superstitious.
PLAGAL, in particular, emphasizes that those who have endured legal dehumanization; the differently-abled, refugees, persons of color, and gays and lesbians, have a distinct understanding of what it is like when the law excludes human beings from full citizenship. They want members of the human family to understand that all of the above groups have been decreed by the government at one point or other to not be worthy of personhood and subsequently lost their right to life. The same has occurred with the pre-born. Abortion is a remnant of a bygone age — a century which would use the law to legally discriminate, even kill those whom the state and humanity regarded as "unwanted."
Thank you, PLAGAL, for taking a stand on life. We are winning. Soon abortion will be on the ash heap of history. You will have the privilege of telling your grandchildren that you were apart of the 21st century abolition movement.
Author's Note: Other major pro-life organizations with strong principles of inclusion are: New Wave Feminists, Feminists for Life, Secular Pro-Life, Students for Life of America, Pro-Life OBGYNS and Life Matters Journal.