- GOProud's Jimmy LaSalvia urges gays to fight aboriton
This week, several local universities organized events aimed at raising awareness around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Some of these issues were unorthodox. "Lady Gaga is evil," radical queer activist Ryan Conrad told a group of Georgetown University students on Tuesday. The group "seemed bewildered by Conrad’s arguments," the Georgetown Voice reported.
And then there was this: "I don't know too many gay guys who have unplanned pregnancies," gay conservative leader Jimmy LaSalvia said at the George Washington University this week. "But I believe the LGBT community should support the pro-life community. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness applies to gay people and the unborn."
In a rare collaboration, pro-life group Colonials for life and LGBT group Allied in Pride brought LaSalvia to campus to speak about the importance of anti-abortion activism within the LGBT movement. The GW Hatchet called abortion "an issue [LaSalvia] will never have to deal with." Over the phone today, LaSalvia rejected that assertion.
"I did say that I'm certainly never going to have an unplanned pregnancy, but I also talked about the possibility and potential for selective abortion in the future," LaSalvia told me. A gay man's personal stake in the abortion issue lies in the realm of speculation, LaSalvia explained. "It is conceivable that there will be a day when we know the factors, genetic or chemical, that cause a person to be gay. And the gay community should be very careful in relating abortion rights to gay rights, because selective abortion [of gay fetuses] is a potentially real issue facing gay Americans in the future," LaSalvia told me.
From LaSalvia's view, gay men will never be pregnant. Once they are established in their sexuality, they are highly unlikely to ever impregnate a woman. But the "what if" scenario of having "never been born" looms large.
So "what if" LaSalvia had been born a woman? A 2008 study showed that lesbians are at a higher risk of experiencing unplanned teen pregnancies than their heterosexual peers. Due to "discrimination, sexual abuse and harassment," queer youth are more likely to engage in riskier sexual behavior, "like having sex without using condoms, starting to have sex before the age of 14 or having multiple sexual partners." And since it's rare for sexual orientation and sexual behavior to match up exactly in the teen years, gay and lesbian teens are likely to have opposite-sex partners, often to deflect harassment. Lesbian and bisexual women who become pregnant as a result of these risk factors—including rape—might like to have a choice about whether to carry the pregnancy to term.
In the end, though, the potentially gay fetus's right to life outweighs a lesbian teen mother's right to choose. "There are many people in the LGBT community who think that abortion is about personal freedom, just like gay rights is," LaSalvia says. "It is about personal freedom—but only in the sense that the personal freedom of an unborn child is important."