The following manifesto was set up as a petition, now closed, on Care2.com’s PetitionSite. The full text is below. If you agree, please join All Our Lives, a new international group based on this statement.
We, the undersigned, affirm that:
We are pro every life, before, during, and ever after birth.
Therefore we vigorously, straightforwardly advocate women’s right to nonviolent sexual and reproductive choice.
What is nonviolent choice? The ability to exercise freedom of conscience in making voluntary, nonabortion, abortion-reducing sexual and reproductive decisions. This freedom depends on one’s fully informed consent regarding different options, their benefits, and their drawbacks. It depends just as much on the social power to carry out one’s values and preferences.
Nonviolent choice includes, among other possibilities:
–Whether, when, how, and with whom (among consenting adults) to have sex. Philosophical and religious/spiritual views of sexual ethics for consenting adults are too numerous and divergent for state power to favor and mandate any particular one of them without treading on vital liberties of conscience, expression, association, religion, and privacy.
–Whether to prevent conception or seek it out. While we recognize the goodness of biological and social parenthood, we recognize equally the goodness of other-than-parental life courses, and the right of individuals to pursue these as desired.
–Which specific pregnancy prevention method(s) to adopt or not adopt. We are cognizant here of the need for the utmost safeguards against coercive population control, unethical pharmaceutical experimentation, and sterilization abuse.
These are all dangers, and dangers with long histories — to the poor, the colonized, people of color/ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. At the same time, we name as unjust the coercive denial of access to the prevention method(s) of one’s own choosing.
–Whether, in the event of a crisis pregnancy, to pursue parenting, adoption, guardianship, or some other safe care arrangement.
Reproductive justice for all is the surest guarantee for women’s right to nonviolent choice.
What is reproductive justice? In the context of all other human rights and needs, reproductive justice secures and protects reproductive rights and needs through deep and enduring solutions to multiple, interacting forms of institutionalized oppression, including:
–Denial and neglect of essential health, educational, and social services.
–Systematic discrimination against women, children, people of color/ethnic minorities, the global poor, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS-affected persons, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) persons.
— Environmental destruction.
Reproductive justice for all encompasses both the unborn and the already-born.
Many reproductive justice activists endorse a general right to abortion. However, we call for a different — and, we venture, ultimately more inclusive — vision of reproductive justice. We identify abortion not as a right across all circumstances, but as generally a form of violence against women and unborn children that arises from and continues reproductive and other social injustices.
Male responsibility is indispensible to achieving reproductive justice for all, for the unborn and already-born alike.
Men, individually and especially as a class, exert unjust physical, social, and economic power over women. These power imbalances throw such heavy, lifelong, and life-stunting burdens on women as the devastation of violence; economic dependency; HIV/AIDS; and undesired pregnancies posing the horrible “choice” between abortion on the one hand and abandonment to unsupported single motherhood on the other.
This dynamic of abuse and neglect is reinforced by an ideal of limitless feminine self-sacrifice that represents a pernicious and fundamental form of disregard for women’s precious human lives. All men must learn what it means to have nonviolent power-with — not power-over — women. We stand with — and in some cases are ourselves–undergoing this profound transformation, and encourage all men to brave it themselves and become the best human beings they can.
We will carry out, or continue carrying out, whatever actions are within our nonviolent power to make this vision of life, compassion, and justice for all into global reality.