Terra Walters, June 6, 2022
The leak came out late on May 2, 2022. A source close to the Supreme Court had given Politico a big scoop: Justice Samuel Alito had written the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, finding for the defendant.
Roe v. Wade would be overturned. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey was next on the chopping block. Half of the country mourned. The other half took a victory lap, then quickly got back to work on furthering their agenda.
We cannot go backward from this. We must find our way and define our new reality in a post-Roe world.
To that end, the Fair Start Movement has a vision that, hopefully, can breach the divide and bring us together. Everyone could have a slice of what they want in the debate over abortion.
Historically, the pro-choice lobby has focused heavily on an individual’s right to bodily autonomy and protecting their access to abortion. This approach takes into account only one stakeholder: the person seeking reproductive care.
In fact, we argue that there are at least three interested parties in each case.
1) The pregnant person
2) The future child (Not the fetus, but the future person if they were brought to term)
3) The community/society at large, which would be set up to help raise and nurture each baby born to them
In this vision, all people would identify as members of their communities. Society would be structured around a smaller set of largely self-governing groups. Each member would begin life with a Fair Start, having the access and opportunities afforded to all. A pregnant person would be free to decide how and when to start or grow their family. The community would support them equally through any decision they made.
Any future version of Roe would require that we prepare healthy space and allocate resources for future generations. The current ‘family-planning’ model, and indeed Roe as well, did nothing to protect and nurture future children. A Fair Start would mean that each child begins life:
- Being wanted
- Being cared for physically, spiritually and financially
- Being assured a level of comfort and opportunity only the wealthy enjoy today
If those criteria were met for every child born into society, our communities would automatically begin to thrive. Once one generation of Fair Start Kids is established, life will continually improve as long as this new egalitarian mode of living remains the norm.
The reality we face in the wake of Alito’s scoffing assertion that Roe v. Wade was “egregiously wrong from the start” will include forced pregnancy and birth. It will worsen poverty, crime and human suffering. It will impact and end careers. Mental and physical health will decline. It will continue to turn a blind eye to the Climate Crisis. It will do nothing to improve the circumstances of anyone but the 1 percent currently alive and in power today. It will create our progeny but ignore their basic needs. It will create more children, but it will not be bothered about their quality of life.
We hope that our approach would plant the seeds of an empathetic, self-governing populace – one that cares for all existing (and future) members. We envision a community that does not dictate personal choices, that respects privacy and welcomes and cares for each member and each baby with open arms.
For a start, working within our current anti-choice, anti-privacy reality, we have a proposal that would help women and reproductive health care professionals.
The Fair Start SMA Project: Educate and Inform to Protect Choice
Fair Start’s initial response to the Politico leak was to issue a broad challenge to Gov. Greg Abbot (R) of Texas, demanding that he revise his draconian, miyopic and cruel Texas SB8 bill. SB8 prohibits abortion six weeks after the pregnant person’s last menstrual period. Oklahoma would have been the natural next target.
After May 2, we knew we had to think beyond Texas. Our modified proposal will go further. It will elevate and scale education programs for abortion-care professionals on supporting patients through self-managed abortions (SMAs). SMAs will increase tenfold once Roe is overturned, and these solutions are typically safe today thanks to medications like Plan B, sometimes called the “Morning After Pill.”
We will ensure our health-care professionals have access to specialized pro bono legal services when we launch in Texas and Oklahoma. Ultimately we aim to organize a fleet of pro bono lawyers who will intercede for educators, their professional students and patients in case of legal interference by the state.
We need your help creating this safety net! Anyone seeking abortion care, and in particular anyone who provides it will be on very shaky ground. We reject the notion of health care professionals in prison over helping someone take charge of their life.
A ‘Right’ to Elevate and Empower All
At Fair Start, we aim to replace the current outdated parent-centric family planning paradigm with one that is child-centric, ecologically restorative, objective and fair. This includes recognizing and promoting each person’s basic, singular and overarching ‘Right’ to life, safety, adequate food and shelter. Granting The Right to all at birth will also allow everyone to pursue their dreams, because they will not begin life at the bottom.
The concept of The Right is inspired by the concrete standards laid out in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Beyond children’s rights, The Right would guarantee everyone independent, autonomous control over reproductive and other personal choices. Moreover, it would acknowledge and elevate the other two stakeholders in the family planning process: the future child and the community.
FSM pioneered the claim that The Right supersedes all others, because without the ideals The Right represents, personal autonomy, freedom and potential are null and void. When a child is born into poverty or abuse, the pursuit of higher goals and self-actualization are impossible. This concept is supported by voluminous peer-reviewed and recommended research.
Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at Cambridge University, writes “Our children and grandchildren have a right to sufficient food, shelter, and physical security, and to opportunities to develop and flourish.”
Today’s parent-centric, short-sighted approach does not even begin to gesture toward the looming and blatantly obvious questions about our future. It is focused squarely on ensuring that every pregnancy ends in birth. After that, good luck and good riddance.
Call to Action – Join the Good Fight
We know we have to take this one step at a time. Our ideals are lofty and would certainly face strong opposition. The fact is, however, our vision is all-inclusive. We want to bring everyone along into a gentler society focused on life and happiness, not locked in a deathmatch over wealth and power.
The government and societal models we live in today were simply dreamed up by old white men throughout the ages. It doesn’t have to be this way. None of this is carved in stone. Human suffering is a bug, not a feature! Governments CAN nurture and protect their citizens instead of groveling before their big donors.
The truth is: Human potential is vast. The only thing keeping us in this deadly downward spiral is a lack of imagination. Roe v. Wade is emblematic of our predicament. Ultimately these kinds of laws will become unnecessary. In the future, fairness and universal equality will be the base of the pyramid, not a pipe dream.