February 1, 1997 Issue No. 25
P L A G A L
M E M O R A N D U M
Post Office Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
MARCH FOR LIFE ENCOURAGING
Fifteen Members of PLAGAL participated in the 1997 March for Life in support of the rights of the unborn, distributing several hundred PLAGAL flyers, and meeting with the staff of pro-life and gay Members of Congress. PLAGAL marched in conjunction with a loose coalition of non-traditional pro-life groups calling themselves the "Left Side of the March" -- a group that included such long time allies of PLAGAL as Feminists for Life and the Seamless Garment Network, and new friends like Democrats for Life.
ANNUAL MEETING HELD
The 1997 Annual Meeting of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians was held on Tuesday, January 21, 1997, the evening before the 1997 March for Life. The current members of the Board of Directors of PLAGAL were re-elected, and Moses Remedios, of Los Angeles and former President of American Collegians for Life, was added. Moses served as PLAGAL's Director of Public Affairs at the 1996 GOP National Convention this past summer, and is working to organize PLAGALites in the Southern California area.
The Directors for 1997 are President Philip J. Arcidi, of Massachusetts; Secretary-Treasurer Hugh Joseph Beard, Jr., of the District of Columbia; John S. Buckley, of Virginia; Steven Wesley Cook, of California; Martha Goodson, of Alabama; Cecilia Holesovsky, of Ohio; Donna Kearney, of New York; Betty Anne Keener, of Pennsylvania; Moses Remedios, of California; founder and former President Thomas Sena, of the District of Columbia; John Stanek, of Minnesota; and Charles Volz, of Pennsylvania. All directors are ex-officio Vice Presidents of PLAGAL.
SAN FRANCISCO MEETING CALLED
There will be another attempt this February to organize a PLAGAL group in San Francisco. A meeting of all PLAGAL members and friends will be held 6:30 P.M., Thursday, February 11, 1997, at the Fior d'Italia Restaurant, 601 Union Street, in San Francisco's North Beach area. PLAGAL Secretary-Treasurer Joe Beard, visiting there as part of his annual escape from Washington's February weather, will convene the meeting, which will discuss ways by which PLAGAL might advance the pro-life message within the lesbian and gay community in San Francisco.
PLAGAL LOCAL CONTACTS
ALABAMA: Martha Goodson
1308 Plum Tree Trail No. "B"
Birmingham, AL 35226
BOSTON: Michael Dubson-Sage
10 Ferndale Avenue
Dorchester, MA 02124
CLEVELAND: Cecilia Holesovsky
Post Office Box 609001
Cleveland, OH 44109
CONNECTICUT: Philip Arcidi
U-200 Box 67 UCONN
445 Whitney Road Extension
Storrs, CN 06269-9012
1375 Pearl Street; No. 4
Denver, CO 80203
INDIANA: David Horne
Post Office Box 7891
Bloomington, IN 47407
IOWA: Juan M. Jorge Ramirez
LOS ANGELES: Moses Remedios
516 West 31st Street: No. 21
Los Angeles, CA 90007
MINNESOTA: John R. Stanek
5053 Washburn Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55412-2225
NEW YORK CITY: Mike Flannery
210 East 23rd Street: No. 5-R
New York, NY 10009
OMAHA: Elizabeth Bejan
2328 South 32nd Avenue
Omaha, NE 68104
PHILA: Charles F. Volz, Jr.
10935 Ellicott Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154
ROCHESTER: Donna M. Kearney
Post Office Box 10035
Rochester, NY 14610
SAN JOSE: Steve Cook
Post Office Box 4848
San Jose CA 95150
WASH. DC: National Office
P. O. Box 33292
Washington, DC 20033
WISCONSIN: Jim McFarland
1133 East Pleasant: No. 206
Milwaukee, WI 53202
DREAMING IN THE WOMB
The following two articles were submitted by PLAGAL on behalf of Philip Arcidi and Tom Sena to the lesbian and gay media as an Op-Ed in connection with the 24th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's tragic decision inRoe v. Wade.
The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote that "The history of man for the first nine months preceding his birth would probably be far more interesting, and contain events of greater moment, than all the three score and ten years that follow it."
What Coleridge knew by instinct, modern science has confirmed by research. Life in the womb is crowded with awesome developments. We know, for example, that an unborn child's heart begins to beat independently within a month of conception. Within a month after that, the child is recognizably human. Before the end of the third month, the unborn child is developing fingernails, toenails, bones, and genitals. By the eighth or ninth months after conception, there is evidence to suggest that unborn children actually dream in the womb. Thus it can be said that even in the womb, the unborn have dreams and aspirations like the rest of us.
Lesbians and gays likewise have dreams and aspirations like everyone else. We want to be able to reach our full potential as human beings, we want to be able to love freely and openly, we want to be able to form lasting and legally-recognized relationships, and we want to carry on our lives without fear of prejudice, discrimination, and violence.
Of course, we don't live in the world of our dreams. Rather, we live in a world in which our dreams and even our lives can be arbitrarily and savagely ended for no better reason than because we are who we are.
What if every major gay and lesbian figure had been cut down before he or she had had the chance to realize his or her full potential as a human being? To make his or her unique contribution to society? Imagine the world without the art of Michelangelo or da Vinci, the music of Handel or Bernstein, the plays of Oscar Wilde or Joe Orton, the novels of Virginia Woolf or Willa Cather, or the philosophy of Plato or Wittgenstein. Unquestionably, the world would be a poorer place.
Gay rights activists keep a grim tally of gays and lesbians who are beaten up and murdered every year. Every gay and lesbian who falls victim to violence will never have the chance to realize his or her dreams, or to enrich the world with his or her particular gifts.
As the roster of lethal crimes against gays and lesbians remind us of the tragic annihilation of potential, so too should we consider the monstrous tragedy of one and one half million abortions each year. Those millions will likewise never have the chance to realize their dreams or make the world a better place by their talents.
As victims ourselves, we ought naturally to sympathize with other victims -- especially the weakest and most defenseless victims of all. If we value our own lives and the chance to realize our own potential, we should feel the same way about the lives and potential of others. Where the lives and dreams of any group can be snuffed out at will, none of us is safe.
A WORLD WITHOUT GAYS?
BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY!
"Well!" I fumed as we emerged from the movie house., "I guess as far as Star Trek's concerned, there are still no gay people in the 24th Century."
Greg and I had just seen Star Trek: First Contact, and as we walked out into the December night I pointed out in exasperated detail that every other minority group was represented among the crew of the Enterprise except gays and lesbians. Not that we needed to be popping out from every control panel or beaming down on every transport just to make a point, I acknowledged, but
we needed at least to be there.
Greg flashed me a mischievous smile and replied, "Well, who knows? Maybe we're not there. Maybe they finally found the gay gene and we were all eradicated before the days of Kirk and Spock."
He chuckled at his own joke, but suddenly he sobered. "You know," he continued thoughtfully, "it is possible, isn't it? I mean, if science could isolate the gay gene, we could be engineered out of existence -- and maybe in the next thirty years instead of the next three hundred."
And of course, we could be. The discovery of the "gay gene", which most of us are convinced exists, will be a double-edged sword for gays and lesbians when and if it happens. On the one hand, it would demolish forever the argument that gays "choose" their orientation and are thus undeserving of protected minority status like African-Americans or the handicapped. But on the other hand, if the exact cause of our sexual orientation could be determined, it would be no time at all before science offered a "cure" for homosexuality -- perhaps not for those of us who are already legally recognized as persons in our own right, but certainly for prospective parents who might be "at risk" of giving birth to a gay son or lesbian daughter. And if the cure turned out to be too expensive -- well, there would be another option for parents who didn't want the responsibility of bringing a "different" child into the world. Thanks to Roe v. Wade, they could always choose abortion.
What's that you say? No woman would choose to abort a child simply because of his or her sexual orientation? I'm "fearmongering" in an effort to drive a wedge between gay activists and the pro-choice movement? Not at all. I'm simply a gay man who's looking the facts squarely in the face and inviting my brothers and sisters in the community to do the same.
If some women are already having abortions because the child they're carrying is of the "wrong" sex, do you really think that women in the future will hesitate to abort a child because he or she has the "wrong" sexual orientation? Remember, one of the grounds on which pro-choicers justify abortion is that every child should be "wanted." You don't want a gay child? Fine! You can get rid of it.
And such fears are anything but exaggerated. For example, John Fortunato, in Embracing the Exile, recounts that after a young man named Tim came out to his parents, ". . . his mother approached him. She put her arm around his shoulders. Tim took this to mean that she was going to accept him. 'Tim," she said, 'I've made only one mistake in my life.' Tim asked her what she meant. 'Twenty-two years ago,' she said, 'I should have had an abortion.' This is no isolated instance. In the now-famous report on teen suicide that Dr. Louis Sullivan suppressed during his tenure as United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, there is an account of a gay teenager who was thrown out of his home when his parent's discovered his sexual orientation. When he tried to reconcile with his parents by calling them from a pay phone, the boy's mother told him point-blank that had she known when she was carrying him that he would grow up to be homosexual, she would have aborted him then and there.
A rare case, you say? Enlightened, liberal, and well-meaning parents wouldn't dream of doing such a thing? It's comforting to suppose so, but I wouldn't bet on it. In fact, some might very well decide that aborting their unborn gay child would be in the child's best interest. As one woman I know put it: "Why should I bring a child into the world whom I know is going to have to deal with all this bigotry and hate? Why bring up an innocent child to face that? So, yes, I would have an abortion if I knew my child would grow up to be homosexual."
In other words, "Trust me, dear, you're better off dead."
Given the hard facts, the great question becomes, what are gays and lesbians going to do now to prepare for a time when a woman's "right to choose" becomes a hunting license to exterminate our kind? For that time may well be coming -- perhaps as soon as within the next two or three decades. Do we really think that we can educate society out of its anti-gay prejudices by then? Or do we as a lesbian and gay community need to reconsider the whole issue of abortion?
After all, if a woman's "right to choose" is absolute, then a woman is free to have an abortion for any reason _ even blind, irrational anti-gay prejudice. If gays and lesbians want to object to aborting the gay and lesbian unborn on grounds that we are persons of worth and dignity who have a right to grow up and lead productive and fulfilling lives, then we have another issue to confront. Because if we have a right to life, doesn't every other unborn child have that same right?
In the end, gays and lesbians my find that for us, the issue of abortion boils down to a choice between defending the lives of all unborn, or sanctioning our own extinction. As science closes in on the gay gene, "going boldly where no one has gone before", it may be that more and more "pro-choice" lesbians and gays are going to start listening to the arguments of their pro-life brothers and sisters and then say, "Beam me up, Scotty."
Hello, everyone . . I'm a writer and social service professional who has been involved in prolife work for over a decade. I am the co-editor, with Rachel Macnair and Linda Naranjo-Huebl, of the anthology Prolife Feminism Yesterday and Today (Sulzberger and Graham, 1995).
Have you heard of this book? If you are like many, many people in the prolife movement, you want an approach to the abortion issue that affirms and embraces both mother and child. But did you know that such an approach has been taken for at least two hundred years by none other than leaders of the struggle for women's rights?
Whether "feminism" is a good word or a bad word to you, you owe it to yourself, and to the audience you're trying to reach through all your
hard work, to learn all you can about this rich but often suppressed and ignored history. And it IS ignored and suppressed. When the book came out last year, it immediately went onto an academic book bestseller list. The publisher sent out a press release to every imaginable organization that might be interested. The book was distributed nationally through national chains such as Borders and B Dalton. And for all that, not even half a dozen publications reviewed the book. When no one has ever heard of a book, no one goes looking for it.
But now YOU have heard of it, and now you can help remedy this umpteenth example of censorship. Here are some ways you can help:
--purchase the book directly from the publishers at 1-800-366-7086, from your local bookstore, or from online bookstores such as Amazon.com and Booksite
--tell you friends all about it
--review the book in one of your publications
--distribute the book and/or ordering information at your events, especially if you are trying to show the diversity of views within the prolife movement
The book presents the voices of many wise and wonderful people who offer truly healing solutions to abortion. Please do what you can to give them a hearing! Thank you for anything you can do--if you haven't done it already!!
Blessings, Mary Krane Derr
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THE PRO-LIFE ALLIANCE
GAYS AND LESBIANS
ANOTHER NAME FOR
ABORTION AS GAY BASHING?
Gays and the unborn have an important characteristic in common: In the minds of many people we are considered less than human. And because we are considered less than human, we are not deemed entitled to the basic human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There is nothing academic about this comparison. If, as recent scientific discoveries suggest, homosexuality has a genetic basis, the day is not far off when doctors will be able to determine if a child in the womb is predisposed to be gay. Once medical science achieves that ability, it will be possible to do by legal, surgical procedure what all the homophobes and gay-bashers throughout history have tried and failed to do -- to eliminate lesbians and gays once and for all.
As soon as this "final solution" becomes available, a couple that finds gay sexuality an affront to their sensibilities won't have to face up to it -- not in their own family, anyway. Or suppose that the parents-to-be consider themselves to be good liberals. They may still decide that homosexuality is too great a handicap for their unborn son or daughter to carry through life -- or an added complication in child-rearing that they themselves can do without. Why should they borrow trouble when it would be so much easier to try again in the hope of producing a straight child?
The brutality of abortion hits home when you consider that this "procedure" could have snuffed you out before you drew your first breath. When sexual orientation becomes grounds for abortions, it is difficult to argue that a fetus is not human. If we exterminate a fetus because of his or her intrinsic nature, we are acknowledging that that fetus has the qualities of a unique human being.
Pro-choice advocates say that the issue of abortion boils down to a question of whether or not people have the right to do what they choose with their own bodies -- therefore gays and lesbians should be pro-choice. But once abortion is perceived as a legal means of exterminating lesbians and gays, the underlying fallacy of the "pro-choice" position is exposed.
The freedom for each of us to dispose of our bodies as we see fit does not give us the freedom to dispose of someone else's body. No one has the right to decide for others whether they will live or die. Each human life is its own justification for being.
Pro-choicers talk about abortion rights without acknowledging what abortion really is -- a violent act. Stop and consider what happens in an abortion: a human being is ripped apart; then it dies. Doesn't your intuition tell you that something horrible is happening?
America's abortion on demand policy -- the most sweeping of any developed democracy -- says that some lives can be exterminated at will; birth is a privilege reserved for those deemed eligible. While that policy exits, neither gays nor lesbians -- nor, for that matter, the disabled, the elderly, the terminally ill, or any other class of human beings who may be considered "expendable" -- are safe.