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A holistic approach to justice

June 6, 2009

I came across this article the other day, and it left me nearly in tears: 

“I don’t think you’ll like what I have to say. No one does. I don’t identify pro-life and I don’t identify pro-choice. I don’t think either ‘side’ has the vision for what women in this world need.”

I moved my eyes from her face, knowing the line of questions that were coming.

“But do you believe in a women’s right to an abortion?” Katie wasn’t eating anymore.

“I believe in women. I believe that all this crap and dialogue is bullshit. I believe we haven’t been given the funding, education, and means to even think beyond having a baby or having it terminated. We don’t even envision the kind of LIFE women should be given and so we aren’t given the options we deserve, the resources we need, or even the chance to consider what else is possible with our lives. So when you ask whether a women has a right to an abortion, all I think of are ALL the things, all the basic things that women don’t have that lead to make her choose between ‘life’ and ‘choice.’ It’s not that simple.”

Katie resumed munching on her rice and chicken, “Well, yeah. I mean, women don’t have access to the education and resources they need in general, but that’s a whole other conversation.”

I looked up, “Is it?”

Head over to read all of what Lisa has to say because it’s definitely worth your time. I love her approach to this issue, because it is holistic and transcends the traps of party politics or ideological talking points. I was talking about this article with a friend at breakfast this morning, and she pointed out how easily we compartmentalize justice issues: we think of abortion, poverty, environmental degredation, and racism as separate problems, when in reality they are inextricably related.

This friend is particularly passionate and educated about environmental issues, and explained how frustrating it is to observe the “either/or” choice that the public often faces between economic growth and environmental stewardship, between poverty reduction and sustainability, between people and the earth. What I find fascinating is that not only are injustices interelated in the sense that they affect each other, but the patterns of oppression and dominance used to prioritize men over women, white over black, and people over the earth are the same.

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