Some Disturbing Thoughts on the Eve of Obamacare

Catholics have been preoccupied with the possibility that abortions will be paid for by the government, with their tax dollars, if the Democrats gain the votes required to pass their health care bill on Sunday. While I certainly share this concern, I must say that it appears to be too little, too late. In the first place, federal funds already make up 1/3 of Planned Parenthood’s budget – in 2008, they received 350 million dollars from the federal government. In the second place, given that 46% of private health insurance companies cover abortion, that means many of us have probably been paying for abortions with our own money as we pay our monthly premiums. Of course, if you use Windows, you’ve made Bill Gates a richer man, and Gates gives tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood, because he and some of his fellow billionaires are obsessed with population control. Nothing to worry about there.

You might also live in one of the 32 states that fund abortion through Medicaid in the case of rape, incest, or the “health” of the mother, or the 17 states – 13 of which are forced by court orders – to cover all “medically necessary” abortions. If you pay state taxes, you’re already funding abortion with your tax dollars, and you have been for decades. Granted, you haven’t been funding abortion on demand, at least not on paper. In practice, who knows.

Abortion advocates have met with a measure of success in advancing the argument that rights without access are meaningless, that access for the poor requires massive public funding, and that a failure to provide it constitutes class and possibly racial discrimination. Alas, they are not the only ones who make arguments linking money to rights; the recent Supreme Court ruling on corporate and union participation in political campaigns also established that the right to free speech is meaningless if one can’t spend unlimited amounts of money to spread the message. I’m certainly aware of the fact that in one case advocates are demanding federal funding, while in the other advocates were simply insisting on a right to spend private money. The common denominator, though, is that a right is virtually null and void if its use requires money and you, for one reason or another, don’t have it or can’t spend it.

Unfortunately I see no way to argue with this logic. We have a sixth amendment right to counsel and a speedy trial, but without public defenders, a lot of poor defendants would be effectively denied this right. A string of Supreme Court rulings have established, therefore, that the sixth and fourteenth amendments logically require government-funded legal services. Though the language of Roe only appears to include abortion under a more vaguely understood “right to privacy”, the logical outcome of a constitutional right to abortion is federal and state funding of abortion on demand.

Now, frankly, I think the fact that poor women can’t get abortions is a great thing. One study showed that of the women who want abortions, but are ineligible for Medicaid coverage, 1/4 end up giving birth. How many lives saved that translates into I can’t say, but it is evident that restrictions on abortion funding make at least some women think twice and do the right thing. I fear however that in the long-run, anything declared a constitutional right in the United States will have to be publicly funded.

I don’t want Obamacare to become law, whether abortion funding is in it or not. The country can’t afford it, I have zero confidence in the federal government’s capacity to implement it in a way that won’t be inefficient and immoral, and it may spark a nullification crisis of the kind America hasn’t seen since before the Civil War. Perhaps in a world in which Obama didn’t handout hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, continue the over-extension of the American empire, and spend even more money on a bogus stimulus package that hasn’t moved the unemployment numbers  – perhaps in that world, I might support an overhaul of the American healthcare system.

Fortunately, the only condition under which Stupak and his stalwart followers will vote for the bill are conditions under which at least 40-50 radical pro-abortion Democrats will vote against it. These forces appear to cancel each other out, and Obamacare seems doomed – unless, of course, Stupak is abysmally stupid enough to accept the prospect of a presidential executive order to restrict abortion. That’s not just putting the fox in charge of the hen house; that’s giving him a gun and a butcher’s knife to make sure he gets the most out of it.

96 Responses to Some Disturbing Thoughts on the Eve of Obamacare

  • “Obamacare seems doomed”

    I pray that you are right.

  • Well, if we can believe this, I think our prayers might be heard.

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36124

  • I fear however that in the long-run, anything declared a constitutional right in the United States will have to be publicly funded.

    Well, if I may be arch, at least anything progressives believe to be a right will end up being publicly funded. I don’t think anyone imagines we’ll see successful pushes for the government to provide people with subsidized firearms in order to support the 2nd Ammendment.

    Behind that cheap political point, however, is arguably a very important distinction in the thinking behind “rights”. It seems to me that the rights conceived in the original Constitution and Bill of Rights are essentially negative rights or, to use a better phrase: liberties.

    A very different conception of rights has, however, become very common — and all the more confusing for using the same term — which is a positive entitlement rather than a liberty. So, for instance, a “right” to public schooling.

    I’d be curious where exactly this idea of “rights” comes from, and whether it is American in origin, or comes from Bismark’s Germany or perhaps one of the French republics.

    That more general commentary aside, however, I think you’re right. Though I wouldn’t want to cede too much those seeking to insist that pro-lifers simply shouldn’t care about Stupak’s ammendment, it doesn’t strike me that the bill as written would mark a major advance in abortion funding or the number of abortions. The primary reasons for opposing this bill, it seems to me, is that it is massively irresponsible from a fiscal point of view, and will precipitate all the faster the point when our country’s finances come to a true crisis point and we have to make some major decisions which will cause levels of political division we haven’t seen in fifty years or more. I have no idea how that will work out if it happens, but I can’t imagine it will be a good thing.

  • “Well, if I may be arch, at least anything progressives believe to be a right will end up being publicly funded. I don’t think anyone imagines we’ll see successful pushes for the government to provide people with subsidized firearms in order to support the 2nd Ammendment.”

    Yes, that would be one of the few things they wouldn’t want subsidized, I agree.

    Though I wouldn’t mind if some states wanted to adopt the Swiss idea and actually do what you only suggested in jest :) There has to be the right culture in place for that, of course.

    People who discount Stupak, I think, are misguided. The Stupak language would have guaranteed total defeat of Obamacare, because of the bloc of pro-abortion Dems who vowed to vote against any bill that contained it.

    Without it, I still think Obamacare will lose because I don’t think the Stupak coalition has collapsed. The fact that Pelosi is throwing out the idea of a presidential executive order – as half-baked and idiotic as it sounds – is proof that they still don’t have the votes.

    I really think the Dems sunk themselves. We’ll see tomorrow though.

  • [G]iven that 46% of private health insurance companies cover abortion, that means many of us have probably been paying for abortions with our own money as we pay our monthly premiums.

    I don’t think that’s right. Suppose I buy a used car from someone who then uses part of the proceeds on porn. It’s simply not correct in that situation to say that I’m paying for the guy’s porn with my own money. The money ceases to be mine as soon as I hand it over in exchange for the car.

    The government subsidies case is different. There the situation is more like me giving a guy money so that he can buy porn. I’m morally involved in his porn habit in a way I’m not in the case of the car. I don’t say this is the only difference between the two cases, but it is a significant one.

  • Well, BA,

    What if you know for certain that he’s going to buy the porn? What if that’s what he does every time he has money? And what if he’s buying it for children too?

    I’d probably think twice about doing business with such a person.

  • The primary reasons for opposing this bill, it seems to me, is that it is massively irresponsible from a fiscal point of view, and will precipitate all the faster the point when our country’s finances come to a true crisis point and we have to make some major decisions which will cause levels of political division we haven’t seen in fifty years or more. I have no idea how that will work out if it happens, but I can’t imagine it will be a good thing.

    Given what has occurred in the last eighteen months and the effects of same on public sector deficits, the willingness to devote so much effort to the expansion of entitlements (in lieu of addressing the structural defects in the financial sector) are an indication that about half the Congress of the United States (and the President and his camarilla) are unfit to hold the positions that they do, either due to stupidity or a sociopathic indifference to consequences.

  • Excellent, Art Deco.

    I want the government to pay for my Cadillac.

    No! Wait!

    I’m a taxpayer. I own 60% (the union owns most of the rest) of GM. I want that Cadillac as a dividend.

    The bishops get serious about abortion in February 2010. What was the moral imperative in June 2008?

    Too late.

    Anyhow, the country will be fiscally bankrupt once they’ve done this (it’ll take a few years for the government accounting lies to be disproved by mass impoverishment and anguish). It’s already morally bankrupt.

  • I’m on the complete opposite end of the issue from you, but I do wonder why the view of bishops seems to be more important to many Catholics, Stupak included, than the view of nuns who have come out in support of the bill. Nuns are generally more apt to deal with the poor and the sick in direct ministry than bishops, is that not true? Wouldn’t they know better what is needed even in keeping with an anti-abortion stance?

  • Femspotter, that would appear not to be the case for the small percentage of LWCR signers who support the current bill. The more orthodox nuns and sisters, who are far and away the faster-growing group (most of the LWCR orders are dying off, w/ average ages well over 60, and no new blood whatsoever joining them), side with the bishops, whose charism as teachers and shepherds is to lead on issues of faith and morals. I’m not sure how any Catholic nun could so utterly and completely ignore the clear language of the Senate bill and the record of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party to claim that somehow this bill will actually reduce abortions. It’s a farce, and the head of the dissident nuns’ group supporting it makes $850K per year for what amounts to being a lobbyist for liberal reform. I’m not saying that the nuns who run and staff many Catholic hospitals support abortion and euthanasia, nor that they don’t care about conscience protections for pro-life medical professionals, but they ARE being badly represented by Sr. Keehan and the LCWR signatories.

    I would not want to be one of those women with abortion blood on their hands if/when the current Senate bill passes and more abortions are a direct result. It’s not worth the trade-off to get more money from the Devil to do much good (and they do much good in their hospitals, certainly) if the end result is an increase in abortions, euthanasia and contraception. Progressives make no bones whatsoever about having those exact ends in mind, so I can’t understand how anyone with Catholic or any other Christian values can be so naive as to believe Obama and Pelosi when they say they want fewer abortions. It’s just a bald-faced lie, something those two seem to have had plenty of practice and gotten very good at telling.

  • I don’t believe that Pelosi or Obama want to increase the rates of abortion without cause. I’m a staunch abortion supporter but I don’t want to see rates rise without reason either. (Point of order: we’ll have to agree to disagree on abortion for the sake of discussing Stupak.)

    Ultimately, I think it’s Unconstitutional for legislators to make policy decisions strictly based upon what religious leaders or laypeople tell them. Stupak should be answering to his constituents rather than the Catholic Church, which may not be representative to all his constituents. However, Stupak himself does claim that the views of nuns are not significant to his decision-making process. I think there’s some misogyny there that’s worth evaluating. It may not be original to Stupak but may instead by intrinsic to Catholicism. Men are the leaders of that religion without question, no?

    http://vodpod.com/watch/3269929-bart-stupak-hates-nuns

  • Femspotter, just want you to know that I agree with everything Kevin said above, so it’s not strictly a male chauvinist thing. It’s about principles.

    If it’s “unconstitutional” for legislators to make policy decisions based on their consciences — which can include, but may not be limited to, the teaching of whatever religion they belong to — then what about the legislators who opposed slavery or Jim Crow based on what THEIR religions or philosophies taught, and perhaps even in opposition to the majority of their constituents?

    When Jeannette Rankin, one of the first women ever elected to Congress, voted against U.S. entry into BOTH World War I and World War II (in the latter case, she was the only dissenting vote), based on her pacifist convictions — whether or not you personally agree with her decision, would you say that she was violating the Constitution?

    For a legislator or other officeholder to vote his or her personal convictions over those of his/her constitutents is either 1) an unconstitutional disregard for the will of the people in ALL cases, no matter what the issue, or 2) a manifestaton of personal judgement which he or she has a right to make, no matter what the issue — although the voters also have a right to disagree with that conclusion and vote them out of office. It isn’t “right” when liberals do it and “wrong” when conservatives do it, or vice versa.

  • Were I a resident of Michigan who had voted for the Democrat Bart Stupak, I would feel violated that he is ignoring my support for the health care reform bill based on what his religious leaders and not what his constituents say. I can’t speak to the other ideological questions you raise. I am ignorant on those issues and I apologize for it. I’m sure you’re not arguing that slavery and war are things to be supported, however.

    I will tell you, Elaine, that I’m glad you feel empowered by the Catholic Church. It is not the same for all women, however.

  • I think it’s Unconstitutional for legislators to make policy decisions strictly based upon what religious leaders or laypeople tell them.

    And which constitutional provision does Mr. Stupak’s internal thought process violate?

  • Femspotter,

    Nuns do not form Church teaching. They apply it. A few years back Pope Benedict made absolutely clear that there are three issues on which Catholics must stand firm: defense of innocent human life, defense of traditional marriage, and defense of parental education rights.

    I don’t believe it is unconstitutional for Stupak to vote his conscience. If his vote bothers his constitutents, they are free to vote him out come November. That’s how our system works. If a representative truly fails to represent, the voters may hold him accountable. Otherwise, should Stupak be reelected, it would show that his actions are sanctioned by his constituents.

    Time will tell.

  • http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2113185320100321

    Seem Stupak is about to vote — yes — to the reform after all. Though it seems to come with some work behind the scenes to get him to say it — that there might be promises for an executive decision to go with it.

  • If Stupak accepts this bogus executive order nonsense, he will set the cause of pro-life Democrats back. He’ll certainly lose my respect.

  • What I do not understand is the ferocity, the fanaticism with which the pro-abortion people fight for yet more federal support of abortion. What is it that drives them? Is it that they feel that they should be free to copulate as much and with whom they desire? As though the U.S. period should be one giant bordello.

    And without the natural result. This, it seems to me, explains the ferocity and the fanaticism of the push to abort the result before it issues forth from the womb.

    And I believe there is a touch of the desire to wreak vengeance on the male as such. Consider Medea. She murdered their children to satisfy her desire for vengeance on Jason.

    Why must abortion be included in the health insurance bill now? What is the urgency? How many women will die from pregnancy? As Senator Boxer once said “pregnancy is not a disease”. It is this screaming urgency which rightly makes one suspicious of the current bill. Why the rush?

  • “What is it that drives them?”

    On the surface? It’s what I said in my post: if abortion is a constitutional right, but it also places a financial burden on poor women, then society is “discriminating” against poor women.

    You see, pro-aborts have made this their number one argument. They don’t care about the philosophical question of life or existence. They only care about one thing: that middle class and rich women can get abortions while poor women can’t. That’s all that matters to them.

    “Why must abortion be included in the health insurance bill now? What is the urgency?”

    Because it is how the pro-aborts want to secure abortion as a constitutional right. To them, a right to something means you get it for free if you can’t afford it. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has upheld that logic time and time again.

  • Art Deco, Thomas Jefferson maintained that the first amendment to the Constitution not only protects religion from government, but also prevents religion from taking over government. Government has a sphere and religion has a sphere and the two should be separate per our Constitution.

    Joe Hargrave, I believe we are entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. As a “pro-abort,” I think abortion is a necessary unpleasantness for the health and safety of women who should, like men, maintain complete sovereignty over their own bodies. Not everybody is educated enough to understand the consequences of sexuality. Not everybody is capable of raising their unwanted baby. To deny these truths is to demonstrate an ignorance of the problems that still meet women in the U.S. and globally. Pro-aborts see abortion as a women’s health measure: a reproductive RIGHT that should not be taken away. I do not speak for pro-lifers inaccurately. Please extend me the same courtesy.

  • Art Deco, Thomas Jefferson maintained that the first amendment to the Constitution not only protects religion from government, but also prevents religion from taking over government. Government has a sphere and religion has a sphere and the two should be separate per our Constitution.

    Thos. Jefferson’s sundry pensees are not constitutional text, and he was not present at the conventions who drafted or ratified the document. Where is it in black letters in the document itself?

  • I don’t understand the relevance of the question. Are you suggesting that the Lockeian/Jeffersonian interpretation of the first amendment, the Constitutional basis for seperation between church and state, is inapplicable? If so, do you advocate Catholicism as the supreme religion that should be allowed to steer the U.S. government? That seems mighty unfair to Muslims, Jews, atheists, et. al.

  • Femspotter,

    If a provision in a statute or a regulation is described as ‘unconstitutional’, the person so describing is saying that it violates a provision of the Constitution of the United States, which is a law comprehending seven original articles and 27 articles of amendment and ratified in June of 1788. I asked you which provision of that law is violated by Mr. Stupak’s internal thought process and you made reference to what Thomas Jefferson thought of whatever. What Jefferson thought or did not think is irrelevant. What’s on the page is relevant. Jefferson is not a particularly authoritative source for interpretation of that document as he took no part in the deliberations over its composition or ratification.

    If you think Stupak is violating the Constitution, you ought to be able to say which provision thereof. If you cannot, why not at least reserve judgment?

  • Excepting the civics lesson you are asking me to provide you, I have answered to where my view that the seperation between church and state is constitutional comes from. Will you not answer my questions?

  • Femspotter,

    First of all, like so many on the left, you have conflated the establishment clause of the first amendment for some sort of public ban on religion in politics.

    The vast majority of the founders and indeed American citizens at that time were Christians. Not for one second did they imagine that anyone would use the first amendment to essentially argue that a person cannot vote in accordance with their religious conscience. To suggest such is to falsify the historical record.

    I have ABSOLUTELY NO OBJECTION to a Jew voting according to his religious conscience, or a Muslim, or even an atheist. It is for the VOTERS to decide whether or not that representative, in doing so, is also representing their interests. Representatives are not installed – they are elected. Their religion is a matter of public knowledge and record.

    Arguments against voting in accordance with religious conscience are really arguments FOR all voting to be done in accordance with the ideals of secular humanism, a secular religion. I have NO RESPECT for dishonest arguments that seek to place the secular religion of humanism or political ideologies in general in this totally separate category from religious convictions. Our first amendment ONLY says that the government cannot establish a state church. IT DOES NOT SAY THAT A POLITICIAN CANNOT VOTE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES.

    Now, as for your remarks to me:

    “Joe Hargrave, I believe we are entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts.”

    Who said otherwise?

    “As a “pro-abort,” I think abortion is a necessary unpleasantness for the health and safety of women who should, like men, maintain complete sovereignty over their own bodies.”

    I don’t care. That’s not the issue.

    But since you brought it up: It’s unconstitutional for the federal government and the courts to override the democratic will of the people and force them to support with their dollars the murder of innocent human beings.

    “Not everybody is educated enough to understand the consequences of sexuality. Not everybody is capable of raising their unwanted baby.”

    Neither of these facts justifies the legalization of child murder.

    “To deny these truths is to demonstrate an ignorance of the problems that still meet women in the U.S. and globally.”

    I’m not ignorant of the problems, nor do I deny the facts. I say, find other solutions. Child murder is not an acceptable solution.

    “Pro-aborts see abortion as a women’s health measure: a reproductive RIGHT”

    God didn’t grant women that right, and the US Constitution doesn’t grant it either. Where do you cook up this so-called “right”?

    “that should not be taken away. I do not speak for pro-lifers inaccurately. Please extend me the same courtesy.”

    On what matter did I speak “for you”? All I said was that the primary concern of pro-aborts is that poor women can’t afford abortions while rich women can. I don’t think that’s inaccurate at all. As far as most pro-aborts are concerned, the “fetus” is a worthless lump of cells until its mother decides otherwise. That’s the subordination of objective reality to subjective opinion, its philosophically and morally bankrupt, and that’s why they don’t talk about it.

  • I find many of your assessments of abortion supporters inaccurate or at least oversimplified. I am an abortion supporter and also a pregnant woman. “Worthless lump of cells” is not my view of the fetus, for instance. Regarding your earlier comment, I do understand that “nuns do not form church teaching.” I think that’s a problem.

    Vote your conscience, but Stupak is meeting with Catholic lobbyists. That’s going a step further than prayer and rumination.

  • Femspotter,

    Among the clauses of the 1st Article of Amendment is one that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’. Mr. Stupak has, as far as I am aware, not suggested we adopt a federal statute that provides for fining people for recusancy, or for having the Army Corps of Engineers build Catholic chapels on Indian reservations, or for deporting adherents of Santeria to Guatemala. That clause of the Constitution is irrelevant to this discussion or the substance of the legislation in question. Give it another go.

  • Fem,

    What would you say about people who voted pro-choice on the basis of their religious convictions? Who met with pro-choice religious lobbyists?

    These politicians exist, and these liberal religious groups exist.

    There’s also all of the other issues of the religious left, such as war, immigration, etc. etc., even this ridiculous health care bill. If religion informs their view, is that this terrifying violation of the first amendment?

    Or does it cease to be a problem when religion does what you want it to do?

    “Worthless lump of cells” is not my view of the fetus, for instance.”

    Clearly you don’t believe it has enough worth to be protected under the law. A class of beings that you can murder on demand for any reason at any time is not valuable. Do you know what happens to an aborted fetus? It is violently dismembered and thrown in the garbage. That’s not what you do with a being that is valuable, that has worth.

    You say you’re pregnant, and pro-choice. That means your child only has the value that you give it. It has no intrinsic value, and if you decided you didn’t want it anymore, you’d justify its death by saying what, exactly? That its your property and you own it, that it has no rights, that you’re the sole arbiter of the life and death of your child?

    A modern, civilized society is supposed to tolerate this? And force people who are morally opposed to it to pay for it?

  • Face it. You have no arguments. You don’t understand the first amendment, you hold pro-life religion to a double standard, and you aren’t honest about your own pro-choice philosophy. You have no credibility.

  • I am morally oppposed to the war in Iraq and I pay for it.

    My feeling is that a fetus falls under the control of its mother’s body until it can sustain its own life. Just because I choose the right to be available to women, does not mean I would exercise it, even under all too common rape scenarios.

    I would caution all people to respect the freedom to practice religion of choice, which in turn means to allow the same freedom to others under a secular government. I love to defend my views and the means don’t justify the ends even when I agree with the ends.

    Art Deco, I would love to learn from you but I will not be taught by someone who doesn’t respect me enough to answer my direct questions.

  • That’s cruel and disrespectful, JH. I haven’t sunk to any such depths. Given the frequency with which Catholic male leaders abuse alter boys, I could just as easily say that Catholics have no credibility. But I am here trying to understand, learn and inform.

  • I’ve removed my previous comment.

    Fem,

    You say you’re here to learn. Ok.

    What is it you want to know. Ask your questions, and I will try my best to answer them fully and civilly. My apologies if I crossed the line with previous comments. This is a heated issue and today is an extremely heated and tense day.

  • A human baby isn’t capable of sustaining his or her own life independent of others until around 26 years of age these days.

  • I answered your bloody questions.

  • My feeling is that a fetus falls under the control of its mother’s body until it can sustain its own life

    A baby can’t survive for several years after birth without either the mother or father, so do you support the right to kill your “child” in the 17th trimester?

  • Biologically speaking, a fetus is a parasite until about the second trimester. That may seem heartless to all of you men who’ll never have to worry about the autonomy of your bodies (waiting for a pro-life woman to weigh in here and dispute this argument based on her vagina – personally I love when this happens because it makes it easy to point out that if a woman gets a say solely based on her genitalia, then men should not get a say seeing as this is a choice they’ll never have to face, even when raped), but the bottom line for me (and I speak only for myself) is that a woman’s autonomy outweighs her baby’s until such time as the baby can live without sustenance from her body. The argument that babies need love and care from adults for several years after birth doesn’t dispute this because that love and care can come from any adult. Adoptive parents can give it, not necessarily the woman from whose body the baby came. If abortion is made illegal and thus unavailable, women will still maintain our rights to personal sovereignty over our bodies and will take, once again, to back alley and coat hanger abortions. The results of these abortions are sometimes fatal for the women involved, begging the question, “When do Pro-lifers have to give up the “life” part of their identity? How many women must die for that label to be inapplicable?”

    Another issue I have with the pro-life philosophy is that is generally coincides with a staunch opposition to same-sex marriage. But there are so many wonderful gay and lesbian families adopting unwanted children and giving them love, care, education, etc. While I would love to see less women in this country utilizing abortion as a means for escape because of my own Christian reverence for life, I would love even more to see the people that would deny them abortions putting their money where their mouth is, adopting children or making it easier for others to do so.

    Finally, I do not believe that Art Deco answered my question about the separation of church and state and whether or not Catholics believe Catholicism should be allowed to hijack the United States government. I read the First Amendment to the Constitution not only as a granting of freedom to practice religion of choice, but also as a reinforcement that government cannot establish a religion of its own and cannot allow any one religion to control it. In this spirit, I stand for removing the language “In God We Trust” and “One Nation Under God” from all government sayings and documents, etc. Polytheists and worshipers of God by a different name are systematically excluded from government through this language.

    I’m sorry that you disrespect me based solely on my view. Your comment policy had me thinking this was an open forum where we all could speak courteously. I think, given your declaration of this disrespect, you show a lack of reverence for life (I respect you based on your humanity), and, given this and your church’s insistence on imposing a glass ceiling for women in the church hierarchy, that you demonstrate a misogynist core. I pity you for this. Women are wonderful and equal human beings. I therefore disrespect you, not because you are passionate about the lives of unborn babies, but because you work against my cause that would give women the right to total sovereignty over our bodies, our choices and our lives.

    Good day.

  • I have answered your question, femspotter, and answered it more than once. Statutory legislation, administrative rules and regulations, and case law have to be congruent with constitutional text. Those are the boundaries which must be respected. Mr. Stupak’s metaphysical understandings have implications for what he understands as moral, ethical, and just. So do Fortney Stark’s. Neither, in their interior deliberations, violates any constitutional provision. A Catholic society presided over by Catholic legislators is going to have different provisions in its penal code than does contemporary California. Get over it.

  • Thank you. I don’t understand how that answers my question. You’re obviously much smarter than I…but I’m sure you already know that. :)

  • “I’m sorry that you disrespect me based solely on my view. Your comment policy had me thinking this was an open forum where we all could speak courteously.”

    Did you read my last comment?

    It is such a forum. If you have questions to ask, ask them. There will be no more verbal abuse.

  • Femspotter,

    Please continuing engaging with us in a constructive debate, but please leave vulgar comments such as v@g1n@ out of your posts.

    Thanks!

    :)

  • Thanks. I did. I got the first one via email and I reacted emotionally. The question I came here with was regarding nuns and how their views seemed to be taken less seriously by Stupak than the views of bishops. He told Chris Matthews that he didn’t know of any nuns lobbying in Washington and that their views weren’t taken seriously because they don’t get involved. I wonder if that’s the way most Catholics feel about nuns. I have a feminist Catholic friend who works to change the rules for women in the church because she obviously doesn’t agree with the glass ceiling.

    Also, I am very interested in learning about the pro-life opposition to abortion, especially from men who seem to be very passionate about it. I don’t understand the passion because the fact is that men don’t need/want/receive abortion procedures for any reason. I do appreciate the “I wouldn’t be here if my mother had aborted me” argument.

    Until you told me that I lack credibility, I was feeling very satisfied with the discussion. I do realize my philosophical approach to the separation of church and state is met with disdain. I don’t think I’m wrong, nor do I think it is wrong to concentrate solely on the text verbatim. I am not a lawyer. I have two degrees in the arts, so that’s where I come from. You accused me of being dishonest about my stance on abortion, but I know I have not been. Please let me know if there’s anything else that needs clarification. You accused me of holding pro-life religion to a double standard, but that is also not accurate. I don’t think that pro-choice advocates should be limited in their governing opinions and acts to input from religious leaders either even though, as you know, I do agree with them.

  • I do not consider vagina to be a vulgar term. It is an anatomical term. Knowing that it offends you, I will not use it again.

  • “Biologically speaking, a fetus is a parasite until about the second trimester.”

    Socially, all human beings are parasites on the Earth’s eco-system. Certainly poor, weak, and sick human beings are parasites on the strong.

    But, “biologically speaking”, you are still incorrect. A parasite is an organism that feeds off of another from a different species. Here is a list of other reasons why this statement is factually incorrect:

    http://www.l4l.org/library/notparas.html

    I hope you will read them.

    “That may seem heartless to all of you men who’ll never have to worry about the autonomy of your bodies”

    This is a logical fallacy. The gender of a person making an argument has no bearing on its validity. If you want to be respected, please respect the rules of logic.

    “but the bottom line for me (and I speak only for myself) is that a woman’s autonomy outweighs her baby’s until such time as the baby can live without sustenance from her body”

    The bottom line for me is that my right to exist begins the moment I begin to exist – and so does my parent’s, both male and female, obligation to care for me until such time as I can do so for myself.

    “If abortion is made illegal and thus unavailable, women will still maintain our rights to personal sovereignty over our bodies and will take, once again, to back alley and coat hanger abortions. ”

    You do realize that, by and large, this was a huge myth, a lie, right?

    http://www.aboutabortions.com/Confess.html

    The guy who helped found NARAL, later became pro-life, and exposed the whole scam. Feminists and communists are still running the same scam in Latin America.

    In any case, I don’t believe in legalizing an immoral act because it might be dangerous. Anyone who elects to murder their child has to face the consequences of that action.

    ““When do Pro-lifers have to give up the “life” part of their identity? How many women must die for that label to be inapplicable?””

    This is why we tend to think people like you are crazy. You don’t seem to understand that we really do believe that the life of a child is a real life, and that legalized abortion results in millions of real deaths – far more so than the handful of women who die trying to murder their children with coat hangers.

    That said, there are MANY pro-lifers, individuals and organizations, who are willing to give all sorts of help to women in need, so that such drastic measures are not necessary. A woman who does not know of such help, I can understand her plight. A woman who DOES know, and chooses to maim herself anyway, is acting out of a level of selfishness and soul-rot that I can’t begin to help with either charity or policy.

    ” But there are so many wonderful gay and lesbian families adopting unwanted children and giving them love, care, education, etc.”

    We reject the notion of “gay families.” End of story.

    “Women are wonderful and equal human beings.”

    There are probably just as many, if not more, women in the pro-life movement than men. And we appreciate everything they do.

    But so you know, I am an equal opportunity oppressor, and I believe in supporting laws – through legitimate, constitutional processes – that would not only outlaw abortion, but punish any father who abandons his child, and punish him even further if such abandonment or other actions on his part result in abortion.

    ABORTION IS NOT A WOMEN’S ISSUE. IT IS A PARENT’S ISSUE.

  • Femspotter,

    I do not consider v@g!n@ to be a vulgar term. It is an anatomical term. Knowing that it offends you, I will not use it again.

    Yet you still took the time to type it.

    Vulgar means it is obscene, lewd, crude, course, and/or banal.

    Though it is anatomically a correct term, it is not used in polite company in front of strangers.

  • Abortion is not a parents issue in cases of rape, incest or when the “father” abandons the mother-to-be.

    It is infuriating to me that you “reject the notion of ‘gay families.'”

    Since you insist on adopting a lecturing tone, please look up the word gender. It does not mean male/female. That’s sex. Gender means masculine/feminine.

    Thank you for the links. I will read them.

  • Wow, Tito. Well, I consider your condescension more of the same “verbal abuse.” My polite conversation includes accurate anatomical terms. There are many other impolite words that can be substituted.

  • Femspotter,

    gay families?

    To use your words, Biologically speaking, people of the same sex are incapable of procreating children. Hence the notion of gay families is rejected, if even considered.

  • “Abortion is not a parents issue in cases of rape, incest or when the “father” abandons the mother-to-be.”

    Every child has two parents. That makes every abortion a parental issue. Now granted, there are some cases where we don’t want the father involved, such as rape or incest. Those are less than 1% of all abortions.

    As for abandonment, as I said, I believe if it is possible the father should be forced to take responsibility. His obligation to his child is no less or greater than the mothers.

    Gender, sex, whatever. It has no bearing on the logical validity of an argument, and its a still a fallacy. I will repeat: respect the rules of logic, and I will respect you.

  • I substitute the term “dependent” for parasite. I know that I have changed many of the things I do for the good of the baby in my womb. It cannot be born and survive at this time. I will be more careful with definitions.

  • I am an illogical being it seems. Sorry to offend.

  • Do you consider heterosexual families that don’t or can’t procreate to not be families?

  • http://www.aboutabortions.com/Confess.html

    As a journalist and an academic, I am not able to validate this link or take it seriously. Sorry.

  • Fem,

    I consider heterosexual unions that are – by choice – closed to the possibility of children to be immoral.

    I do not consider heterosexual couples that can’t procreate immoral, or oppose their adoption of children. That’s how children are supposed to be raised – with a mother and a father. That is what is best for their social and psychological well-being, and I will stand by that. Even the ancient Greeks that practiced open homosexuality for pleasure understood the necessity of the traditional family unit. I would have more tolerance for them than I do the militant homosexuals of today who seek to relativize all social relations and abolish all distinctions between perversion and virtue.

  • JH, you want logic; I am a queer theorist and I work to abolish gender roles and stereotypes. “Gender, sex, whatever” is highly problematic for me. FYI.

  • There is an internet full of links on Nathanson.

    http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1DVCA_enUS347US347&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=bernard+nathanson

    Believe him or don’t. He was there, you weren’t.

  • So you don’t apply the word “family” to a hetero couple with adopted children?

  • Femspotter,

    They are still families because they are living within natural law. Regardless if they can reproduce or not.

    No society, culture, nor government in all the many millenia of human history has ever defined marriage as something more than a covenant between a male and a female.

    If life tells us anything, it is to survive. And to survive a society needs basic building blocks to sustain itself.

    Besides, it goes against God.

  • A “queer theorist”!?

    Well, I am a Catholic, and I work to preserve gender roles and stereotypes. So we are fundamentally and irrevocably in a state of war, Fem.

  • So you do think that women are inferior to men and should not have leadership roles within your church?

  • “So you don’t apply the word “family” to a hetero couple with adopted children?”

    I thought I made it clear that I would, and do. If I didn’t, let me do so now: yes.

    I DON’T apply it to a man and a woman shacking up and using birth control.

  • Tito, that “goes against God” part is really restrictive for people in the US who don’t believe what you believe. If it doesn’t go against my God or his God or their Gods, shouldn’t it be allowed under that First Amendment? There’s a first time for everything. I’m not literal about the term marriage or the term family. I think love is a wonderful thing wherever it can be found. I am lucky to be happily married myself.

  • Fem,

    Your problem, and that of all feminists, is that you think “different” = inferior.

    There is no conception of “inferiority” that goes into the defining of role of men and women in the Church. Instead of researching that, with your academic skills, you assume it is inferiority.

    If you can’t engage the arguments of the people you criticize on their own terms, what kind of “academic” are you?

  • Women and men are equal in dignity in the eyes of God.

    Imposing your world view on an organization that has lasted almost two millenia. And will outlast you and the United States of America in the future. Does not apply.

  • Tito said that “family” can only be applied in cases of procreation. That’s where my disconnect lies. So Tito believes that hetero couples that can’t procreate are not families and you believe that they are, is that correct?

  • Femspotter,

    You have a right to your worldview as do I.

    I live my life as best as I can to follow Christ.

    And that is how I vote.

    So I’m not sure what you’re trying to say or imply by your question.

    Because you adhere to an extreme form of secularism doesn’t disqualify you from voicing your opinion.

    And so the same for me. Because I choose to live my life by the teachings of the Church doesn’t disqualify what I have to contribute to society.

  • The only role for women in your church is that of nun or layperson isn’t that correct? Those positions are inferior to Priest, Bishop, Cardinal, Pope, etc.

  • Femspotter,

    You haven’t read what I typed.

    To make it clear, couples with a clear intention to procreate without using contraception and are married are considered a family.

  • Right, Tito, but you are asking others to “live by the teachings of the Church” by not having abortions and not engaging in homosexuality, etc. Not everybody’s religion informs this same path. I find you all intolerant.

  • Femspotter,

    Your view of the Church is one of power.

    As Catholics the role of the Church is to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.

    And each of us has a designated role to play designed by God.

    The difficulty I see is that you view the world through a materialistic view.

    We view the world from a humanist point of view.

  • I am just clarifying the family definition. Mine is: “a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants.” That’s on Dictionary.com.

  • Where is the root of the women can’t be Pope rule? Is that Biblical?

  • Fem,

    The word “subordinate” does not = “inferior”, except in the most dry and technical senses. To be inferior to a superior in a hierarchy is not the same as being inferior inherently, as a human being, by way of your sexual or racial characteristics.

    A nun is not an inferior human being to a bishop or the Pope. But they are subordinates in the hierarchy. There are historical reasons for this, if you bother to look them up instead of making assumptions.

    As for me, my definition of family necessitates a male father and a female mother.

  • Femspotter,

    I’ll use a secular source (Wikipedia) to answer your Biblical reference to a male priesthood:

    Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (Latin for On Ordination to the Priesthood) is an Apostolic Letter issued from the Vatican by Pope John Paul II on 22 May 1994, whereby the Pope expounds the teaching of the Catholic Church’s position requiring “the reservation of priestly ordination to men alone.” In its clear proclamation that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women,” it has resulted in a significant amount of controversy since its release, although official understanding is that this letter is supposed to end controversy.

    Drawing from an earlier Vatican document, “Declaration Inter Insigniores on the question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood” issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in October 1976, Pope John Paul explains the official Roman Catholic understanding that the priesthood is a special role specially set out by Jesus when he chose a dozen men out of his group of male and female followers. Pope John Paul notes that Jesus chose the Twelve (cf. Mk 3:13-14; Jn 6:70) after a night in prayer (cf. Lk 6:12) and that the Apostles themselves were careful in the choice of their successors. The priesthood is “specifically and intimately associated in the mission of the Incarnate Word himself (cf. Mt 10:1, 7-8; 28:16-20; Mk 3:13-16; 16:14-15)”.

    The letter concludes with the words: Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of Our ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful. (Declaramus Ecclesiam facultatem nullatenus habere ordinationem sacerdotalem mulieribus conferendi, hancque sententiam ab omnibus Ecclesiae fidelibus esse definitive tenendam.)

    Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not issued under the extraordinary papal magisterium as an ex cathedra statement, and so is not considered infallible in itself. Its contents are, however, considered infallible under the ordinary magisterium, as this doctrine has been held consistently by the Church. In a responsum ad dubium (reply to a doubt) explicitly approved by Pope John Paul II and dated October 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis had been “set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium” and accordingly was “to be held definitively, as belonging to the deposit of faith”[1] [2].

    In 1998, this was clarified slightly (in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem) to state that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was not taught as being divinely revealed, although it might someday be so taught in the future:
    “ A similar process can be observed in the more recent teaching regarding the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men. The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. As the prior example illustrates, this does not foreclose the possibility that, in the future, the consciousness of the Church might progress to the point where this teaching could be defined as a doctrine to be believed as divinely revealed.

    Here is the link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinatio_Sacerdotalis

  • JH, I think you are continually insulting me. I am “looking things up” by asking the experts here. You question my academic standing and my commitment to said standing. We could just chuck it all and take me back down to square one: explain everything to me like I’m a 5 year-old. It seems you estimate my intellectual merit as such. Why don’t you look up queer theorist or gender, etc. I have never questioned your authority on any of your opinions and take you at your word that you are knowledgeable and earnest, having formed said opinions based on study and contemplation. You tell me the problem with all feminists is…, etc. I don’t believe you represent all Catholics nor that there is a problem with all Catholics.

    You said earlier that nuns don’t form church teaching. Who does? Who gets to interpret the Bible? Why not nuns? As they are “different” based on their sex, they might bring a fresh approach.

    And if you all don’t want readers to engage in discussion applying their worldviews, why write a blog? I’m a blogger because I really want to be involved in discussion. I miss my school seminars when I’m not there.

  • Thanks, Tito. I read it but I’m still not understanding why the Church has no authority to ordain women as priests. Sorry. Perhaps in your own words.

  • Femspotter,

    The teachings of the Church are derived by a combination of three legs.

    One, Sacred Scipture, ie, the Holy Bible.

    Two, Sacred Tradition, ie, oral tradition, practices, disciplines, and dogma.

    Three, the Magisterium, which is the teaching authority of the Church consisting of the Pope and his fellow bishops.

    For more information click here:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a2.htm

  • Thank you, Tito.

  • Femspotter,

    I am human so I may misrepresent what the Church says on the subject, but here it goes:

    Because Jesus specifically chose only males to be his apostles. And because the apostles themselves kept to this adherence up until our time.

    It is sufficient enough to understand that this was the wish of Jesus because of His actions and the actions of the apostles themselves that only men can become priests.

    It’s like asking a person to breath water instead of air. It is impossible and unreasonable to ask someone to do something that is out of the question.

    The Church cannot question something that is an impossibility.

    Remember as Catholics, we view the world through the eyes of the Church.

    Not as a secularist.

    I hope that helps.

  • Femspotter,

    It’s a difficult issue to explain, but I found a link that might do the trick:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=4750

  • Hi, Fem

    “You said earlier that nuns don’t form church teaching. Who does? Who gets to interpret the Bible? Why not nuns? As they are “different” based on their sex, they might bring a fresh approach.”

    It’s worth mentioning that it’s not just nuns getting singled out here. Laypeople (including men) don’t form church teaching either. The church actually holds nuns in very high esteem, as long as they live in keeping with the vows they voluntarily take. And, as a matter of fact, several very prominent nuns have had a siginificant influence on the history of the Catholic Church, including (but not limited to) St. Theresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and more recently, Mother Theresa.

    Hope that helps with that question a little. :)

  • Could it be that Jesus chose only men because of the time and place in which he lived, one that would not accept women leaving their homes as single or married women to travel and preach? In this day and age, that would not be so socially unacceptable.

  • Also, for a pro-life feminist perspective, have a look here:

    http://www.feministsforlife.org/who/aboutus.htm

  • “Could it be that Jesus chose only men because of the time and place in which he lived, one that would not accept women leaving their homes as single or married women to travel and preach? In this day and age, that would not be so socially unacceptable.”

    I doubt it. According to Scripture and tradition, there were women traveling with him among his disciples.

  • Thanks, Christina. I am very familiar with the “feminist” pro-life argument. And the fact that so many nuns have done so many wonderful things only makes me want to hear their Biblical interpretations all the more. :)

  • But would people listen to them?

  • Sorry, I need an antecedent for “them”. :)

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791734/pdf/wjem-10-278.pdf

    Here’s something I just found about the occurrences of unsafe abortions, internationally.

  • Seems to me that the primary problem here is lack of access to antibiotics.

    Better medical care also increases a woman’s chances of surviving childbirth.

  • Fem, even though I am diametrically in disagreement with your worldview, as are most people on this blog due to our Catholic faith, I appreciate your earnest engagement and tone.

    One thing you mentioned that may be a useful example of the irreconcilability of our differing worldviews (if I’m reading you right that you don’t accept that Jesus Christ is divine and truly is one with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit–is that a fair description of what you believe?), was your comment about Christ choosing men as apostles while also having many women among His followers. My worldview assumes Christ’s omniscience and omnipotence, so there would be no reason for me to question His choice of male apostles for His priesthood (technically the Twelve were the first bishops of the Catholic Church, but they were priests, as well).

    Your question about His not choosing women due to socio-cultural constraints of that particular time stems from the assumption of your worldview that sees relationships in terms of power and control, equality and discrimination. You can see how we must reject that question because it would belie our assumption of Christ’s omniscience and omnipotence. If He wished to, He could have selected women to be one of His 12 apostles, but in His omniscience, He didn’t. Who are we as Catholic Christians to question God’s omniscient actions?

    This, I fear, is why our discussions may be interesting and enlightening on a surface level, but our differing worldviews mean we will not truly come to any agreement–the assumptions of our worldviews are starkly contradictory in many ways. Nevertheless, thank you for your earnest efforts and polite tone!

  • Fem, one other thing that may be a useful thought experiment to give you at least a token understanding of our view of the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death is the following (it’s been useful when I’ve presented it to a couple of college-aged women who were strongly pro-choice and insisted that I had no right as a man to control what they did with their sovereign bodies):

    I’ll assume that you, like me, take as a given the inherent human dignity and equality of all human beings, regardless of their racial background or sex. Imagine you could travel back to 1840 Virginia and chat with a reasonable and approachable slaveowner about his keeping black slaves on his plantation. Now imagine that you said to him that it wasn’t right for him to keep slaves, and that you supported the abolition of slavery because slaves were human beings. He, reasonably and benignly, responds that the law of the land does not support your contention that a slave is a unique, full human being, but instead is 3/5 of a human (or was it 2/5? I can’t remember now!) and is simply his property to do with as he sees fit. He continues, saying that if you don’t want to own slaves, then don’t, but don’t try to tell him what he can or can’t do with his slaves, as they depend on him and cannot live any meaningful life free of his “care” as their master. The law of the land, including that decided by the Supreme Court and held up by Congressional legislation and executive decisions, supports his right to own those slaves and to do with him as he sees fit because they are simply property and thus not worthy of full human rights.

    Now jump back to the present day. We can both honestly look at this past conversation and recognize how deeply evil such a view of slaves was back 170 years ago, and we can both be thankful that we as a society have long since “seen the light” and given blacks and all minorities in this country, full rights. We would never deem to look at a black person, no matter his or her state in life, as anything less than a person, and the thought of hurting or abusing another person, or worse, owning another person, is utterly absurd and revolting to us. How could the Supreme Court, the Congress, and former Presidents and most US citizens have ever seen or treated black people as property who were less than fully human?

    This is genuinely how pro-lifers feel about the unborn child and about the decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton by the Supreme Court in 1973, as well as the Casey decision back in 1992. Just as it makes you and I physically ill to think of ever treating a black person as less-than-human as a slave, so too does it make pro-lifers physically ill to hear a pro-choicer say “this fetus is not a human being, and you have no right or standing to tell me what I can do with my body–this is my property because it lives within my body, and I can decide whether it lives or dies.” I assure you that exactly the same revulsion that the slave example above stirs in you and me is stirred in most pro-lifers when we hear these arguments. There is simply no compromise to be made, no discussion to be had, no mid-point of agreement. It’s either all or nothing. Such is the utter, soul-borne certainty we feel about the full humanity of that unborn child.

    Does this shed some light on a perspective you may not understand? I hope it has.

  • Thank you, Kevin. I appreciate all of your thoughts. The slavery argument is very compelling. I am struck by several thoughts of my own:

    1. As a pregnant woman (I just found out I’m having a girl today!!!) I can tell you that, surprisingly, my pregnancy has reaffirmed my pro-choice stance. While I love my baby beyond words, I am experiencing this pregnancy physically alone. My husband is a loving supporter, but, as he confesses, he cannot fully realize the life that grows inside me, even after hearing her heartbeat and seeing her body on a monitor. He is not connected to her and cannot touch her…yet. I can tell you that pregnancy, for me, is entirely about my body: how I feel, what I eat, how I sleep, where I’m growing, etc. And I know that my experience is singular, ergo, I cannot ask other women to behave as I might like towards their own bodies and the fetuses that are dependant upon them. I know this doesn’t make a dest in the pro-life opposition – in truth, it isn’t meant to. But the experience is mine and I am glad to share it.

    2. While I am not a feminist who rejects alliances with male feminists – and there are such people, I do think that it is quite impossible for a man to fully appreciate the situation that women (globally) have historically lived with and continue to live with today. Varying from paternalism, under which men decide they know what’s best for us and our bodies, to misogyny, wherein men hate us and want to hurt us and rape us, etc. (the rape rate is one in six women in the United States and higher in other countries), women’s lives are often very unpleasant. The standards of “beauty” afforded us are very rigid. We have historically been the last to vote, to receive prestigous awards and academic scholarships, and to be able to choose careers offering equal pay and respect. I have been accused here of being someone who wrongfully looks at the status of women in terms of power; but I believe that, owing to the power and authority men have exercised over women, there is no other way to evaluate how far women as a class have come and how far we are going. Feminism is a necessary movement given the rape statistic I quoted and given the inhumane treatment women face in coutries like Afghanistan (where 90% of married women are abused by their husbands) and Eastern Congo (where rape, murder and death in childbirth are rampant).

    3. I was brought up in a Northern Baptist Church, a church with female ministers. I taught Sunday School and believe that I made a profound impact on the lives of my students. It is nice to know that if had wanted to pursue a career as a minister in that church, I would have been allowed.

    Christina, while the problem you see with those statistics is lack of antibiotics, the problem I see is desperation on the part of the women who hurt themselves trying to abort their pregnancies. I would like to know why they do this and how I (we, humanity) can help them so they’ll stop doing this to themselves.

  • Fem,

    Congratulations on your baby girl!

    The things that drive women to illegal abortion are very often the same ones that drive them to seek legal ones.

    One study done in this country and published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction(see here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/k6q73h0225t75113/?p=19cb7380f12c4f9d9dcd0ae1bfb9ac45&pi=1) concluded that unstable/unavailable/abusive male partners were the most common predictor of the choice to abort. More common even than poverty, which is a very commonly cited reason as well.

    While your husband is physically unable to share in your pregnancy, it is probably safe to say that your pregnancy has been a much better experience with his love and support. As the child of a “crisis pregnancy” myself, I know how invaluable outside support was for my mother. That support left her free to carry me to term, without being driven to an abortion clinic out of fear for her future. It wasn’t just about her body. It was about both of us and our survival.

    The trouble with abortion is that it does nothing to solve the injustices which drive women to seek it. This is why we do not see making abortion legal as a solution to the problems of women. It does not lift them out of poverty. It does not increase their opportunities for education. It does not encourage men to treat our fertility with the respect it should command. It certainly does not serve to protect women from abusers. On the contrary, it often makes it easier for injustices against women and girls to be perpetuated. When we say, “My body, my choice” the reply is often “Your choice, your problem”.

    This attitude leaves men free to exploit us and our bodies with no consequence for themselves, little thought for the consequences to us.

    Our ability to participate in society should not come at the expense of our offspring or our uniqueness as women.

    It is this problem that the pro-life movement seeks to address. As you know, making abortion illegal does not stop it from happening. While pro-lifers are best known for wanting abortion to be illegal, that is not the ultimate end of our work. Our primary goal as a movement is to change the things that cause women to seek abortions. In other words, we create a society in which women are free to give birth to their children.

    This means educating women about their bodies, so that they understand their fertility rather than fearing it. It means providing support for pregnant mothers that allows them to find safety and economic security. It means treating pregnant women with respect, providing them with access to support services that help them carry their pregnancies to term and raise their children, or, if they wish, to seek adoption. It means raising our sons to honor women, and our daughters to choose men who treat them with dignity.

    It also means working with men (feminist or not) to help create that world. As the study I cited above demonstrated, absent men (or worse, bad men) are a big part of the problem. Good men, likewise, are a part of the solution. Such men will respect and even admire us for our abilities, and will not ask us to sacrifice our fertility, or our unique roles as mothers in order to use them.

    “Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.”
    —Victoria Woodhull

  • “The things that drive women to illegal abortion are very often the same ones that drive them to seek legal ones.”

    Of course. But the issue remains that the legal abortion is generally safer for women than the desperate act of attacking the womb without medical attention, illegally.

    I definitely agree that my pregnancy benefits from the love and support of my husband, my other family members including my two brothers, and my friends. I am very sorry for women who don’t experience the same kind of love and support.

    I don’t think abortion is a solution to the problems of women…only the one immediate problem that is an unwanted pregnancy. I think education, welfare, and harsher punishments for rapists and abusers, to name a few, go far in eradicating the problems that women face at the hands of men. I think it’s a misconception that all pro-choicers want abortion to be an indiscriminate, birth control service for women. That’s certainly not my stance and most of my pro-choice friends simply believe in staying out of other people’s business but would never champion less-than-necessary abortions. What constitutes a necessity: the woman’s health and safety, severe defects that would prevent the child from sustaining life or living comfortably, pregnancies due to rape wherein the woman had no choice in her pregnancy, etc.

    Many schools restrict pregnant girls and women from continuing in their education. I went to Catholic high school and knew a girl who was expelled for pregnancy. Nothing happened to the “father” of the child. What kind of message does that send? Your pregnancy is evil and you should be punished, but just you and not the other half? I knew another girl who hid her pregnancy and then had her baby placed for adoption. In either of these cases, (secret) abortion would have resulted in the ability to continue on in (Catholic) school. That sets up a double standard I think. We don’t want you to get an abortion, but we’re not going to let you come to school if you don’t.

    Essentially, we are in agreement, Christina. The difference is that I don’t want to make abortion illegal. I do think the need would drop were the conditions of women’s lives bettered.

    Thank you for the congrats! I think my husband is in shell shock.

  • Additionally – and this is not necessarily a Catholic occurrence, I have heard of parents who are pro-life until their teenage daughter becomes pregnant and then they, because of embarrassment, force her to undergo an abortion. I have no statistics to support this; I mention it only because I think it’s important for both sides of the aisle to understand that not all for or against abortion agree with all of the methods and ideologies on their respective sides.

  • “I don’t think abortion is a solution to the problems of women…only the one immediate problem that is an unwanted pregnancy.”

    The trouble is that in many (if not most) circumstances, the pregnancy is “unwanted” because the woman does not feel free to continue it due to something in her situation.

    “I went to Catholic high school and knew a girl who was expelled for pregnancy. Nothing happened to the “father” of the child. What kind of message does that send? Your pregnancy is evil and you should be punished, but just you and not the other half? I knew another girl who hid her pregnancy and then had her baby placed for adoption. In either of these cases, (secret) abortion would have resulted in the ability to continue on in (Catholic) school.”

    Yes, but the problematic policy of the school would remain.

    Keeping in mind that I agree with Kevin’s earlier comparison of the pro-life and abolitionist points of view, I hope you will understand where I am coming from when I add this: Perpetrating an “attack on the womb” as you so aptly term it, whether this attack is legal and medically supervised or not, only increases the injustice, both against the girl and her baby.

    I also went to a Catholic High school, and have had opportunities to familiarize myself with the policies of other such schools. These schools have abandoned the policy you describe precisely because expelling students for becoming pregnant tends to lead to clandestine abortions.

    Instead, these schools allow the girl (and the father of the baby, should he also be a student there) to remain enrolled and ultimately graduate. This sends the message that protecting the lives of both mother and child is of paramount importance to the community. Under such a policy, if the girl lacks the resources or the maturity to raise her child, which is a fairly safe assumption if she is in high school, she can still place the child for adoption.

  • The universal repeal of this policy would go a long way toward empowering pregnant teenagers. (My school has not abandoned this policy, unfortunately.) It’s not limited to Catholic institutions. Here’s another instance from The New York Times Ethicist column:
    “Our small nonprofit, the Opportunity Fund for Developing Countries, offers scholarships to African boys and girls who agree to keep up their grades, stay out of trouble and refrain from pregnancy. When a 20-year-old orphan we’ve supported for many years had a baby, we revoked her scholarship. (Significantly, we have never dropped a male’s scholarship for impregnating a female.) Now she wants to return to school. We’d like to readmit her to our program, but won’t that set a precedent? DEB DAY OLIVIER, SALT LAKE CITY”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/magazine/31FOB-ethicist-t.html?ref=magazine

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