Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians
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|Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians|
|Motto||Human rights start when human life begins|
|Purpose/focus||LGBT organization opposed to the legalization of abortion|
|Region served||United States|
The Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians (PLAGAL) is a United States-based interest group of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) persons and straight allies opposed to legalized elective abortion and supportive of alternatives to abortion.
The group was founded by Tom Sena in 1990 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Washington D.C. under the name "Gays Against Abortion". Its first President was Philip Arcidi, who was elected in 1994. "Gays Against Abortion" changed its name to "Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians" in early 1991 to better reflect its membership of gay men and lesbians. In addition to gays and lesbians, the group also includes bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed persons, as well as straight allies.
PLAGAL has pointed to pro-life research that shows a link between abortion and breast cancer. They have also taken the position that even if a woman is infected with HIV she should not abort the fetus because there are ways to prevent the transmission of the virus from the mother. They support expanding access to antiretroviral drugs for all people who need such treatment, including pregnant women and their fetuses. In March 2005, PLAGAL came out in support of legislation introduced by Maine state legislator Brian Duprey, which assuming that science would discover a significant genetic component to homosexuality, would make it illegal for a woman to selectively abort a fetus based on predicted sexual orientation.
Reaction from the gay community
Since the religious right is perceived as dominating the pro-life movement, LGBT pro-choicers question why any LGBT person would want to align themselves with a social movement that has traditionally opposed not only legalized abortion, but often also LGBT rights.
LGBT pro-lifers counter that their beliefs on abortion derive from beliefs regarding nonviolence, human rights, and the interconnectedness of human rights. Although some PLAGAL members are otherwise conservative, they span the entire political spectrum. PLAGAL President Cecilia Brown, for example, is a member of the Green Party. Another national officer, Jackie Malone, is outspoken on disability rights.
As early as 1994, Chuck Volz, co-founder of the now-defunct Delaware Valley PLAGAL chapter, started a row in the local gay media when he condemned the sponsors of the Philadelphia AIDS walk for diverting "crucial funds" to assist in the abortion of HIV positive children.
Most of the debate within the gay and lesbian community remains peaceful, if not always civil. However, in 1995 PLAGAL applied for participation in Boston's annual Pride parade and was denied. PLAGAL set up a table along the parade route, where members distributed literature. During the parade, the table was surrounded by angry hecklers who tore up PLAGAL's leaflets, leading to police asking PLAGAL to leave the parade area to restore order.
At the 2000 Millennium March for Equality, major gay rights interest groups such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign endorsed pro-choice public policies, despite the protests from PLAGAL.
Reactions from the pro-life community
The reaction from the pro-life community is divided. Some pro-life advocates see their position as part of a more secular, human rights position and sent letters of support for PLAGAL. Some of these individuals and organisations affiliate their opposition to abortion as part of a consistent life ethic. Others see the struggle against abortion in more pragmatic terms and welcomed the support of PLAGAL, without care for their positions on other issues.
Still other pro-life advocates that see their position as part of a broader conservative religious movement, opposed the inclusion of an LGBT organization at pro-life events. The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., denied a request to allow PLAGAL to cosponsor a pro-life conference in January 2009, citing the group’s support for same-sex marriage and condoning of homosexual sexual activity.
The debate is still on-going, but PLAGAL is currently welcomed to events including the annual March for Life.
- Catholic University Rejects Campus Activity by Gay Rights Group
- Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians — official website
- PLAGAL Weblog
- PLAGAL in a Gay.com story
- Article with PLAGAL from the Advocate archived at encyclopedia.com
- Pro-Life Gay, Lesbian Group: Homosexual Orgs Shouldn't Be Pro-Abortion, Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, 9 June 2006.
- Pro-life Feminists, Review by Agnieszka Tennant, Christianity Today, 1 July 2006.
- Gay and Republican, but not Necessarily Disloyal to the President, David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 9 March 2004.
- The Outsiders: A new breed of campus activists are trying to drag the pro-life cause away from the religious right, Jason Gay, Boston Phoenix, 30 November 1998.