Saturday, March 26, 2005

Retain Them? I Think Not

In forthcoming elections, my response to each and every ballot question to retain a sitting judge will be NO.

Here’s my opinion:

A court order can be in violation of the law. It is not a law unto itself.

Laws are made by legislators and the executive branch. Judges are not constitutionally empowered to make law. They are to interpret circumstances as they fit under the prescribed laws, not as they fit into other court decisions which are NOT laws.

A court decision is just that and no more. Precedent is not law, and new laws can be made by our elected legislators that supersede precedents, because laws can be changed.

Judges are not empowered to order the death of innocent citizens in a non-criminal matter, particularly when the burden of proof is anything less than reasonable doubt.

The judicial branch of government has no right to impede a criminal investigation ordered by the executive branch.

We have reached the point where we are ruled by the judicial system, rendering the legislative and executive branches impotent.

I don’t have the time or the resources to figure out if the judges who will be appearing on my future ballots agree with my opinions or not. They surely won’t tell me, so I suppose I would have to wade through their decisions looking for clues about how they think. It sounds as if it would take a lifetime, and I could never be certain I interpreted their thoughts correctly.

So I’m afraid I’m going to have to vote to throw out the good with the bad. That is a shame. And I don’t have a say-so about every judicial seat, which is also too bad. But we are unable to root out any corruption if a court order can stop a criminal investigation before it has even begun. The only way I can see for me to mitigate the damage of at least some corrupt judges is to recycle them right off the bench in every election, and the consequences be damned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

To My Elected Representatives, In Re Terri Schiavo

Dear President Bush, Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, and Congressman Jeff Flake,

Over the last couple of months, I’ve written to each of you at least twice asking for your help in the case of Terri Schiavo of Florida. If the court is correct, and she would rather die than live in her disabled condition, the state is assisting in her suicide. If the finding is wrong, it is still euthanasia. In either case, it is unacceptable to me, but apparently not unconstitutional (!?), for the state to kill an innocent citizen. Words fail to adequately express my disappointment in our government for once again failing its citizens on the fundamental civil right to life. Of what value are any of our liberties without life in which to pursue them? Recent legislation was so insufficient as to make me doubt the intentions that drove it. Terri’s case is not being reviewed on an evidentiary basis, but is still being denied on a point of law. We had an opportunity to change that by changing the law, but we failed.

I find the denial of her free practice of her faith as objectionable as the denial of her right to life. We were founded for the most part by men and women who sought freedom in which to practice their religion. Yet Terri Schiavo’s freedom to practice her Catholic faith is being denied. If the court’s finding is correct, and she expressed a desire to die in a manner contrary to the teachings of her faith, her soul was imperiled. In the absence of her ability to communicate a desire to be devout, why couldn’t we assume she would aspire to be? And now, a state judge stands between Terri and the practice of her faith by denying her access to daily Communion because he has ordered that nothing can pass her lips, not even two or three drops of consecrated wine. Further, he has removed the only other mechanism by which Communion could have been administered. It wasn’t necessary to deny her this freedom. The tube could have stayed in, closed off to nutrition and hydration, but available to allow her the Sacrament.

I can’t imagine the consequences of our failure in this and all other cases like it. We are killing an innocent disabled woman by court order in the United States of America. This is not the America I hoped it was. It is not the land of the free or the home of the brave. We are cowards. We don’t have the nerve to stand up and say we love life enough to protect it. We enslave the weak and helpless who live or die at our discretion. Are all men created equal? Yes, but they won’t find equitable treatment in the nation formed on that ideal.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Boy, I Wouldn't Want to Live That Way

Over and over again, in polls, on message boards, in the judge's decisions, and in the media who keep referring to it as a “right to die” issue, I hear the same message – Terri Schiavo is suffering and should be allowed to die. “This is not living. This is existing,” says one comment on a message board. “She has been in this condition for years. It’s time for the suffering to end,” says yet another.

While the medical details are certainly different, Terri’s situation still reminds me of the late Christopher Reeve. Was he not trapped in his body just as surely as Terri is? Mr. Reeve could still communicate in a way we could understand. But he was completely dependent on others for life support, just as Terri is, in that he was unable to take care of his own basic needs, such as food and water. And I could easily look at him and think, “Boy, I wouldn’t want to live that way.”

Shortly after his accident, Mr. Reeve expressed his own desire to die rather than continue in a body that no longer responded to him. He could not imagine life in the condition he was in, which held little hope for recovery or even amelioration of symptoms, unlike Terri, whose condition might be improved with therapy, if only someone would try. But Mr. Reeve’s wife did not allow him to surrender to despair. She helped her husband realize that he was still valuable, and viable, and capable of living a full life as a husband and father in spite of his physical limitations. And realize this he did – he went back to work, he stayed actively involved with his family, and he even became a political activist. Disregard for the moment his seriously misguided efforts to fund embryonic stem cell research. That he fought for research for a cure shows us that he was a desperate man who had found even in his severely disabled body a strong desire to live.

We know what Mr. Reeve suffered because he had no brain injury that prevented him from telling us what he went through. We don’t know what Terri Schiavo suffers. We can only guess. She is not in a persistent vegetative state, but even if she were, there is testimony from others who have been diagnosed as such who were not at all unaware. They could hear, feel, think, see, all while trapped in a body that no longer responded to their wishes. But those around them couldn’t “see” what they were experiencing. We only know it now because they recovered, and they can tell us.

It’s very easy for most of us to say, “I wouldn’t want to live that way” when we look at either of these disabled people. It’s easy because we are not actually in their shoes. But if life with disabilities is so horrifyingly empty that we would choose death instead, why aren’t disabled people killing themselves in large numbers all over the world? We should be inundated with suicides, because medical care has advanced far enough to leave us with many people who live on in spite of great physical trauma. Dr. Kevorkian notwithstanding (and he is a convicted criminal), we aren’t. Why not? There must be something to living, after all, even when life is imperfect. Isn’t that exactly what Mr. Reeve learned and why he chose to live?

If Terri’s feeding tube is removed, she will begin to thirst and hunger. She already communicates with the people around her. There is no reason to believe she will not try to communicate her need for sustenance. Will anyone be listening? Will Judge Greer, who has not even seen her, yet claims to be her representative in the matter, make any attempt to listen if she now expresses her desire to live? Or is she bound for slow and painful execution by the state, having committed no crime, with no recourse and no right to come to the same conclusion as Mr. Reeve did, that even life in an imperfect physical condition is life worth living?

This case is less about Terri’s desire to live, which cannot be determined with the degree of certainty that should be required before she is irreversibly killed, and more about our desire to see her suffering end, not for her sake, but for our own, because we can’t stand to see her this way. We kill a lot of people (more than 4,000 every day in this nation) because we arrogantly decide that their lives are not worth living.

I don’t understand this love of death. Every one of us has suffered, is suffering, and will suffer in the future. We should be killing ourselves in droves if we hate suffering so much, but we aren’t. We love our lives even when they are filled with hardship. Still, we look at the suffering of others, and we think since we could not endure it, it must be untenable and death must be preferable. But when we are faced with our own suffering, somehow most of us do endure. We find strength, which those of faith believes comes from God, and we go on. That we don’t commit suicide more frequently demonstrates that we do love life, even a life filled with suffering – but apparently, only as long as that life is our own.

Matthew 25:41-46

“Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’”

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Is There Something Missing in Me?

I recently read a comment from a woman who says she just does not regret her abortion at all, and she wonders, rhetorically, I supposed, if there is something wrong with her.

It caught my attention because I have often wondered if there is something wrong with me because I do have such sorrow over the choice I made myself. In this day and age, we are supposed to be comfortable with whatever we do simply because we have done it. I’m okay, you’re okay. Do your own thing, and if it feels good, do it. As long as you are happy, then it’s a good thing. Relative morality – it it’s right for me, then it’s just plain right. We can justify all kinds of immoral and criminal behavior if we believe that right and wrong are in the doing.

True, I had some of the best coercion possible – when your mother drives you to the clinic telling you it’s for your own good and that you have merited the punishment to follow,’s a bit powerful. Sure, parental influence in adolescence only stretches so far. She wasn’t in the room when I chose to have sex and create that child. She made sure that mistake wouldn’t be repeated with the abortion, and personally escorted me. She had no regrets about my abortion. But what about her own?

Years later, when I was in my early twenties, Mom and I had us a conversation over a few dozen beers and a couple of boxes of wine. My goodness, how alcohol loosens the tongue. It was then I learned for the first time about the little brother or sister I had lost when my mother had an abortion. She was a single mother and would certainly have lost her job had she continued the pregnancy. She had to choose between the children who lived with her and needed her financial support, and the child not yet born who would endanger supporting those children. Or did she?

No, she didn’t - not in reality, only in her perception of it. She believed she had difficulties because she believed she was on her own. She made herself that way. She had family to whom she could have turned for help. All she had to do was swallow her pride and go home. This was less acceptable to her. So she went to California, where it was legal at the time, and had an abortion.

Her story came out while we were sitting at the table that night, both of us drunk, when she asked me for the first time to tell her about my abortion. When I told her I had sodium pentothal, she laughed, her mouth and face twisted with bitterness. Tears were in her eyes, but she would not shed them. She stared into the distance, lost in horrifying memories, and told me she had had no anesthesia. “It took two nurses to hold me down, one on each arm. I screamed the entire time. The sound...I’ll never forget the sound.” And when I recall her speaking those words, my memory ends. Recalling the sound – forgedda about it. That’s as far as I can go before denial shuts down my thought processes.

My mind having gone into sleep mode, I don’t remember what else she said about her abortion experience. Part of that is probably due to the revelation she hadn’t intended. I was distracted by the thought that not only did she know what I was going to go through, she thought it was going to be so much worse – and she did it anyway. I was trying desperately to find the motherly love in that, and failing. My abortion was my punishment. I had known it at the time because the baby’s father was forced to go along to the clinic, “to teach him a lesson.” So, of course, I was supposed to learn a lesson too. But this way? Mom, why didn’t you lock me in a closet for two weeks without food and water? Take a belt to me? Use your fists, even? For heaven’s sake, if you wanted me physically punished for getting pregnant, why didn’t you have the guts to do it yourself? Perhaps because those things would have been illegal, but abortion was not?

But why punish the innocent child who had nothing to do with my actions or yours? And this must be where her quite bizarre expression of motherly love comes in, because I do remember some of the conversation that followed about whether or not she had done the right thing by insisting I have an abortion.

Either she had convinced herself that she felt it, or she truly felt at the time that nine months of pregnancy would have derailed my entire life. What bunk. An hour in the abortion clinic derailed my entire life instead. But she desperately wanted me to tell her it was okay. I think she might even have wanted me to thank her. In her own experience, she convinced herself that there were no regrets to be had about either of our abortions. She thought she had done the best thing possible and had even been protecting her children.

The problem is that she was wrong. She was so wrong, and I believe that on some level she knew she was wrong, or she wouldn’t have been looking for validation from me. I can’t answer the commentator I mentioned above because I cannot see her face when she says she has no regrets or sorrow. But I could have answered my mother, who was asking the same question whether she knew it or not, because I saw her expression. It isn’t polite to tell people they are in denial, so I have heard. But denial is what she was in. No one who feels neutral about a subject, or good about it, should look the way she did when she described her choice. I’ve seen that look since then – in the faces of the women who are Silent No More, and in the mirror. Grief-contorted mouths, tear-filled eyes, and deeply furrowed brows say, without words, “Oh, God help me, what have I done?”

She said she had no regrets even as her face belied the words. There are women who will tell you they have no regrets, and who will assign their sorrow to something more ephemeral than a real, living child – “I mourn the perfect child I should have had,” was the comment by a mother who aborted her baby after tests revealed he was defective. But she wouldn’t say she regretted her abortion.

At times, regret takes the form of the “If onlies.” “If only I had already had my career started when the baby was conceived,” or “If only the baby’s father had been there for me,” etc. So it was the child’s fault for choosing a really inconvenient time to be conceived. “Come back later, when I have more time, more money, more love, more of myself to give.”

Sometimes regret takes shape in the plans we make for the future, where we hope to make it right. “Next time I get pregnant, it will be planned and I will have the child.” That’s a good one. Some women get to do that. For others, the perfect moment never arrives, and suddenly, we’re past child-bearing, and “some day” has come and gone.

When our regrets and sorrows stem from our own actions, we often displace or deny these emotions in order to protect ourselves from the fact that who we think we are doesn’t match with what we have done. When we say “yes” to abortion, we say “no” not just to the child who wants to share our lives. We say “no” to selflessness. This is hard to accept about ourselves if we feel we are otherwise good people. I wouldn’t take food from the mouths of children. I think I’m a decent woman. I wouldn’t pass a dog shivering alone and cold in the street without taking action to help. But this image of myself as a compassionate and caring person who loves the young and helpless is not just tarnished, but completely obliterated, by the image of myself on the abortionist’s table failing to cry out with everything I had for him to stop, and let the baby live.

My mother died seven years ago this December. We never had a chance to finish that conversation properly. I simply could not continue discussing it with her, because I could not tell her what she wanted to hear – my life had not been made better. Drs. Burke and Reardon have found that post-abortion sorrow may not be fully realized until years after the fact – sometimes decades. Often there is a life-altering event that brings the abortion into a woman’s mind, and it seems she suddenly discovers grief. It isn’t that she suddenly feels it – she discovers it was there all along, because something has happened to bring it to mind. In my own case, it was my mother’s death. Because she was so wrapped up in it, even directly responsible for refusing to hear of alternatives, when she died, I had to face all of our unresolved conflicts.

Her ghost haunts me in every word I hear from women who say they cannot regret their abortions because if they had not had them, their lives would be too different. I am plagued by my own case of the “if onlies.” If only we could have this conversation today. If only I hadn’t run from her and her cancer, leaving her alone to contemplate her own mortality and robbing us of the chance to talk about death. Perhaps we might have come to the heart of her sorrow, and we would not have parted in this life with so much left unsaid. Her regrets were there, just under the surface where anyone else could see them, but not so close that she could put her own finger on them because she was deliberately pushing them away by thinking them through. It isn’t hard at all to convince ourselves that we are good if we think about it long enough. We know all the facts, so we can find all of the excuses for ourselves. What is hard is acknowledging our own shortcomings and trying to come face to face with the woman in the mirror who has killed her child to further her own interests.

The commentator who is not sorry wonders if there is something missing in her. I wonder how she can be so certain she has no regrets considering how much she wonders, and whether the answer lies in her having asked the question. Go ahead, call me rude if you like, but if you have no regrets, spend a few minutes saying it to yourself in the mirror. Look at your expression as you say out loud, “I killed my child, and I am not sorry,” and try to ascertain if there is more truth than wishing in that statement.

Monday, March 14, 2005

No Room on the Earth

For the first time in their e-newsletter, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign is actively encouraging women who have not yet shared their abortion testimony to do so. Their newsletter has been reprinted in its entirety at this blogspot (my thanks to After Abortion for the link).

Over the last year of working to find a voice in the pro-life movement, I found that breaking my silence about the pain of my abortion has helped me begin to heal the wound. It is my hope that others will read about my experience and make a better choice for themselves and the women they love. If asked, then, I would encourage other women who have these feelings to join the crusade. Open up, and tell other people how abortion has affected your life, for good or ill. Sadly, it doesn't even matter if you are drawn to testify in the “I’m Not Sorry” campaign. In those chilling testimonies the atrocity of what abortion is and what abortion does cannot hide any more than it can be hidden in the outpouring of grief-stricken women who do acknowledge sorrow and regret.

But sometimes I wonder if what I am doing is simply another form of denial, at which I excel. Certainly, when I look back at the subjects I have tackled, I wonder how much of the truth I still hide from myself. What is the gist of what I have been writing? Abortion hurts women. Women deserve better. Abortion is a form of self-abuse. Abortion is a crime against women in poverty. Abortion forced on a young mother is another method of child abuse (well, that story is still to come). Abortion disenfranchises men from fatherhood by stripping them of their rights to their own offspring. Look at all the victims and all the ways they are victimized – but something is definitely missing.

No where in these statements do I address the primary reason why abortion is and does all of these things: abortion kills an innocent person. Sometimes, as I did this morning, I read something that penetrates the layers of philosophy, theology, and science that I have been using to coat the truth with something more palatable.

In “Remembering Thomas,” the father of an aborted child writes of what he knows is missing:

“He won't be lying on the grass by the tent at night looking at the starry sky and saying, ‘What's that one called, Dad?’ Because there was no room on the Earth for Thomas. He's dead.”

He’s dead. That simple line brings it all into focus. His child is dead. My child is dead.

I can’t sugar coat that. It’s an ugly truth that I cannot hide behind any number of fancy words or philosophical speculation. A human life was snuffed out twenty-six years ago, whatever date it was (which I still can’t recall no matter how hard I try). He, if he was indeed a son, would be twenty-six years old sometime in the winter of this year, December, I think.

I wonder what he was like. Not what he would have been like – he lived, after all. He isn’t a “would-have-been.” He was. He lived, even if it was a brief life. He had a personality already determined in great part by his genes, which were formed at conception. He had talents and skills, even if he never had a chance to grow into employing them in this world. He was like me in some ways, and like his father in others, and like himself in his own unique, and not-to-be-repeated way.

He lived, and then he died. I welcomed him into the world while he was still in my womb even as I feared he would never see the light of day. How could I have done that? And having done that, as so many have suggested, why don’t I just find a way to live with it? Be comfortable with yourself. "You did the best you could under the circumstances. You wouldn’t have this or that today, you wouldn’t be here or there, yada yada," none of which is truly known. It’s all speculation, just as it was all speculation that led to his destruction. What isn’t speculation is that he lived, and then he died, and that I am responsible for both of these facts.

Abortion is all of the things I have said it is. It is abuse. It is the most violent action taken against women in thousands of years of human existence. It is the destruction of fatherhood. It is a punishment for those who live in poverty. But above all of these things, I must remember that abortion – my choice - killed an innocent human being who had every right to be born, and who had every right to expect me to see to it that he was. I am his mother. There was more than enough room for him on earth, but he is dead.

Monday, March 07, 2005

See the 4D Images Used on "In the Womb"

If you missed National Geographic's "In the Womb" it will air again on March 11th. You can check their listings at

Using 4D imaging technology we are now better able to study fetal behavior and characteristics. Here are a few tidbits I jotted down:

By Day 15, the fetus begins developing neurons in the brain and spinal column. At 22 days, the heart cells begin to beat.

Up to the age of 8 weeks, the fetus subsists on the yolk sac, which then shrivels away as the fetus begins to rely on his mother for continued nourishment.

Reflexive movement meant to strengthen and exercise his body begins at just nine weeks of development.

By four months, the nervous system is up and running, and his bones begin to harden.

His hands develop before his feet, probably because they are keeping up with the development of the rest of his senses: taste, hearing, etc.

By four months, the fetus squirms when prodded.

At just 11 weeks gestational development, the fetus exercises the sucking reflex he will need to feed at birth, and develops left or right-handedness at this time - not in childhood, as originally thought.

Experts agree that there is no difference between the 33-week old fetus and the newborn child. In fact, "birth could be a relatively insignificant event in developmental terms."

Sentience in the womb is well demonstrated by the development of the twin bond between identical twins, who, sharing the same amniotic sac, continually interact with each other in the womb while they explore themselves and their environment. Their intimate bond and familiarity with each other can be observed from birth.

By four months, the fetus is aware of his environment, especially sounds, since hearing is the first sense to develop. He is especially sensitive to his mother's voice, and can recognize music - he has memory.

If you would like to see the 4D images, go to

Friday, March 04, 2005

Can We Make Abortion Go Away Without Legislating?

Do we really have to enact legislation to end abortion? Can’t we just wish it away, or put on our sad faces while we tell people that it is a very bad thing, and they must not do it?

Have you ever parented a child? Thanks to legal abortion, I haven’t. But I know people who do, and who do it well. One thing they know is that it is nearly impossible to tell a child not to do something when the child sees it being done. The doing implies tacit approval of the behavior. It is simple human nature to look at others as examples of how to act. As small children, we are like little monkeys, imitating those around us even to our parents’ chagrin, as when we repeat their most colorful phrases in the most inappropriate places. “Do as I say, and not as I do,” is a common saying satirically pointing out how glaringly insufficient it is to simply tell people how without showing them by our own behavior.

Why else is it statistically true that the children of smokers will grow up to smoke, even if their parents tell them it is bad? Or consider that children of alcoholics often become alcoholics themselves, the gene for this addiction carrying a predisposition toward same, not a mandate. People who abuse children were often abused in their own childhoods. And women will abort their children if other women are doing that, too. Monkey see, monkey do. Only legislation has the strength and authority to change behavior by reducing its occurrence. Those who seek to prevent the legalization of marijuana do so in part because they believe if it is legalized, this will lead to an increased number of users. They are right. There are people who will not do something simply because it is illegal to do it, and that is sufficient reason to maintain legislation against it.

A society enacts laws to provide a framework in which its individual members can live with each other as brothers and sisters with common needs and goals. No where is this described as eloquently as in the Declaration of Independence, which provides that all human beings are created equal, and have those old unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All human beings. We corrected ourselves in the nineteenth century, and we abolished slavery. We spent the next hundred years trying to enforce that legislation. It was not easily done, but we cannot shirk the work simply because it is hard.

We must do the same regarding abortion. Whether you regard it as potential human life, or largely unformed, there is no question that left alone, the result of conception is a human being who grows to take his or her place in society. Can we prove the unborn fetus is human? Yes. He has human DNA. Can we prove he is alive? Yes. He is certainly not an inanimate object. His biological systems function and grow according to design, in the womb and then out of it, just like we all did. The only way to make the unborn child conform to our will to stop growing is to destroy his life. Can we prove the unborn child is a person, entitled to the rights of all persons in this nation? As the late President Ronald Reagan said, “"Simple morality dictates that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is (alive). And, thus, it should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

We already enact legislation when necessary to protect our citizens from harm. In addition to protecting the unborn human life, we are required to protect his parents, who are also citizens of our nation. Sometimes, we legislate against behavior that many people believe is desirable or necessary, because the rights of those people to engage in that behavior are superseded by the rights of society to be protected against the consequences of that behavior. It is illegal to smoke marijuana, although many argue that it has reasonable health benefits, and they should have the right to do what they like with their own bodies. However, our society needs citizens who can do their jobs and contribute to the society without being hampered by mind-altering substances which may endanger other people. And even further, anti-drug legislation is also aimed at the drug user to protect him from the consequences of his own actions. We legislate against suicide for the same reason – to protect an individual from harming himself.

Abortion not only kills the unborn citizen, it also harms his parents and other family members by depriving them of his contributions. Moreover, abortion harms society for the same reason. We don’t like it when our citizens die, and rightly so. We are nothing in these United States if we are not the sum of all of our individual parts. Each part has its own value and we accord each individual equal rights and opportunities under the law so that we, as a nation and as individuals, can mutually benefit from this synergistic relationship. Society is entitled to enact legislation that builds its citizenship for the good of all even when that legislation may interfere with the desires of some individual parts.

Women especially have to be protected against coercion to abort, and we have to use legislation to do it, to make it easier for her to refuse and find another solution to the problem of her unwanted pregnancy. Will some women seek abortions for themselves anyway? Yes, and there may be a large number of them who will seek back-alley abortions if the legal road is closed, much as there are and were hold-outs in the South who refused to treat black citizens as equal to themselves. We don’t cave in to those interests simply because they exist. We continue to enforce the structure that prohibits enslaving another human being because the rights of those who want to keep slaves do not supersede the rights of other human beings not to be enslaved. Abortion violates an even more fundamental civil right than does slavery.

If we make abortion illegal, we will be able to protect women from harming themselves and others. If we restrict legal access to abortion, we close the door on people who would seek to harm women by taking away their right to have the child. Many women don’t want abortions as much as they want to take it back, and be made un-pregnant, which is irrational, but right now we just wink and nod, and let them do it anyway. But once that child is conceived, he has a right to life that supersedes her right to be undisturbed in body and mind. If we are really championing a woman’s reproductive rights by allowing her access to legal abortion, then why don’t we also allow her to kill the child after he is born if he is too much of a burden on her comfort, or her finances, or her weary body? We don’t, because we understand that the right of the child to live has primacy.

Sadly, there is no real distinction between the woman who kills her 4-year old for financial or personal gain and the woman who aborts her fetus after four months of gestation for the same reasons. The act is essentially the same, killing to solve our own problems (to paraphrase Blessed Mother Theresa). However, abortion doesn’t solve those problems. The woman who fears financial distress does not get rich because she has had an abortion. Her abusive husband or boyfriend doesn’t stop beating her after she kills his child. Her other children are still there, mouths open and hungering to be fed, even after she has aborted their sibling. It will still be tough to get through every day on the job or in class even without pregnancy or an extra child – having an abortion doesn’t guarantee that old college degree, does it? Women and young girls who became pregnant because of sexual violence don’t suddenly recover from the trauma of the assault, and often report feeling victimized yet again on the abortionist’s table. The woman whose pregnancy has made her ill is not protected from more illness, and in this case, so tragically, she may find herself in even more distress because of the abortion itself. So what problem has been solved? And how many problems has the abortion created that weren’t there before, like the substance abuse, eating disorders, self-abuse, and suicidal behaviors that statistically and significantly arise in post-abortive women? There is an old saying: everywhere you go, there you are. Abortion doesn’t fix any of the underlying problems that made the pregnancy undesirable in the first place.

Society has a vested interest in protecting the lives of all of its citizens, if only to raise for itself future taxpayers who take over the work and support our aging generations (can we say, “Social Security?”). Some may argue that children drag women into poverty. I argue that society forces women with children into poverty, in large part because it offers them abortion as a solution. Instead of funding social programs that help families feed, clothe, and educate our new citizens, we support aborting the citizens. Instead of funding programs that educate people about reproduction and the intrinsic value of sexual behavior as it relates to the creation of new life, we support the use of abortion as birth control, to destroy our fruits. Foster care programs, adoption services, and child protective services: all are under-funded, while we march in the streets demanding the right to kill the individuals who need them. Don’t we see that the so-called solution is part of the problem? Can’t we understand that if we did not allow legal abortion, we would be able to focus the vast resources and attention of this nation toward fulfilling the needs of all of its citizens, regardless of age or development, all of the living, born and unborn, men, women, and children who need our help to raise them up?

“The Creator has entrusted man's life to his responsible concern, not to make arbitrary use of it, but to preserve it with wisdom and to care for it with loving fidelity. The God of the Covenant has entrusted the life of every individual to his or her fellow human beings, brothers and sisters, according to the law of reciprocity in giving and receiving, of self-giving and of the acceptance of others.” Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 76,

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A Certain Slant of Light Illuminates Dangerous Ground

This article at the excellent blogspot, “A Certain Slant of Light,” caught my eye this morning, saying Judge Greer must rule on whether Terri Schiavo can receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction - more commonly known as the Last Rites:

Where are we going if we allow the courts to decide if and when we can receive the Sacraments of our faith? This is extraordinarily dangerous ground. Not only do we jeopardize our ability to receive the Sacraments, as this author wisely points out, do we also run the risk of judicial interference in the right of the Church to withhold those Sacraments when it is appropriate as a matter of dogma?

“Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, the top Vatican Cardinal in charge of the sacraments of the Catholic Church has made it plain in an on-camera interview with EWTN that pro-abortion politicians may not be admitted to Holy Communion.”

[Read the rest:]