Posts Tagged ‘pro-choice’

Death of a Doctor…and an Activist

May 31, 2009

I’ll keep this short and simple.

Dr. George Tiller, a performer of late term abortions, has been murdered.

Jim Pouillon, an anti-abortion activist, has also just been murdered.

To the Pro-choicers: I hope your fight for your so-called “rights” has been worth it. Dr. Tiller’s death is a travesty and the person (or persons) who did this act needs to be punished. But this man, this doctor, performed abortions because you wanted him to. If we as a society had chosen responsibility and compassion for both mothers and babies, instead of denying the value of life and making excuses for our own irresponsibility, his death might have been avoided, as well as the deaths of so many others. We celebrate death so much in our culture as a means of escape and ‘freedom.’  Well death is exactly what we’ve gotten back.

Look to the 1966 film Alfie, and its controversial abortion scene. The point is not whether abortion is right or wrong. It’s that it never would have happened in the first place, had it not been for Alfie’s irresponsible and callous behavior.

And I hope you will not rejoice in Pouillon’s death. You may not have approved of his position, but our society calls for tolerance and decency, even and especially with people we disagree with. Practice what you so ardently preach.

To the Pro-lifers: I consider myself pro-life. Also a Christian. That’s why I am so disapointed at the level of hate that so often pervades the pro life movement. Jesus said to love our enemies, even when it’s the most difficult thing to do. Can we truly call ourselves Christians?

Do not rejoice in Dr. Tiller’s death; it is murder, the same as any abortion. Loving and praying for your enemy is essential to being a truly decent and honorable human being. The party responsible for this man’s death has potentially damaged the movement we have fought so hard to build. People who might have joined with you will now be disgusted, and rightfully so. Do not hate this man’s memory, the party responsible, or anyone you know who might be Pro-Choice. To do so would make you the same as what you hate.

To both of you: Donate to women’s shelters and to adoption agencies that support both mothers and their babies. Support women who are frightened, unprepared or abandoned in their darkest hours by offering them hope, not death. Stop being fooled by political pundits who only care about you as far as you can vote (speaking to both Democrats and Republicans). Don’t give in to the pessimissm of death. Nor the hatred of each other. Give into hope.

The End.

Obama at Notre Dame: A Good Fit?

May 16, 2009

As the nation slowly makes its way beyond the scandals of beauty pageant contestants, we find ourselves now engulfed in an even more tense and controversial situation. Namely, the protests against Notre Dame University for asking President Obama to speak at their graduation ceremony. The reason behind the protests? Notre Dame is a Catholic institution, and in theory dedicated to the preservation of life in all its forms, including unborn children. Obama, however, is Pro-choice and does not share the Church’s strong feelings on the abortion issue. Therefore, several students have risen up in protest against the President’s appearance, which is being called a violation of Catholic values.

I’m of two minds about this issue, and no that’s not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a sign that I refuse to give myself over to limited partisanship. The moment you give yourself so completely to an ideology, liberal or conservative, is the day you’ve stopped thinking.

On the one hand, I am disappointed in Obama’s stance on the abortion issue. As a bishop recently put it, people fought for Obama’s right as an African American to be free and equal in our nation. Now that he is in a position of power, Obama turns his back on the most vulnerable of our society. In many ways, he resembles our founding fathers who yearned for independence…but only if slavery was permitted to continue. Having rights for yourself should not mean denying the rights of others.

Everyone was once a fetus (trust me, it’s science 😉 ) and we are all here because someone made the choiceto give us a chance at life. Ironically, so many who have benefited from that choice now fight to take that same chance at life away from others. Obama is an intelligent man, and I hope someday he is able to reconsider his position on this issue. However, I still respect him as a fellow human being and wish him well. Jesus did not reject those who disagreed with him, quite the contrary (more on that later).

I admire the Notre Dame protesters for speaking their mind even when the law and society are against them. Whether you’re liberal or conservative, it’s rarely a good idea to adopt a “my country, right or wrong” attitude. Sometimes your country is wrong and when that happens, you must speak up. Frankly, it has never been popular to be Catholic in America. Celebrities like to think they’re gutsy for ridiculing the Catholic Church, when in reality, it’s probably the safest, most acceptable thing in the world to do. Interestingly, according to the recent Gallup poll, more and more Americans say they are opposed to abortion. I do believe this is due in part to the brave protestors over the years who dared to spread the word and never give up.

No, America is not perfect. Still, one of the reasons we have to be very proud of our little nation is our emphasis on free speech and civil exchange of ideas. At times we take this privilege for granted, forgetting that so many citizens of the world can only dream of such a right. As I said in my entry regarding the Miss California controversy, we ought to be able to have serious discussions and disagreements in a respectful manner in the spirit of camaraderie, without declaring war on each other. This is a lesson both liberals and conservatives continually need to learn.

I admire liberals for preaching the values of free speech and equality. But sadly this often only seems to apply to those who agree with them. The words “liberal” and “partisan” seem like automatic contradictions, yet ironically they are all too frequently seen keeping company.

By the same token, I admire The Catholic Church for its undeniable dedication to charity and education over the years (I went to Catholic school my whole life and was always taught evolution, thank you 😉 ). However, it often has a somewhat “our way or the highway” attitude which makes it comes across as overly authoritarian and needlessly intimidating (two things you can never accuse Jesus of being 😉 ).

You know what, though? I think Notre Dame’s graduates can learn from both President Obama and the Pro-life protesters. And now I’m going to shock all of you. I honestly appreciate Obama’s agreeing to appear at a prodigious Catholic college like Notre Dame, despite knowing he disagreed with many of its policies. He could have just as easily brushed the invitation off. Instead he chose to realize that Catholics are a part of this nation too, and deserve his respect and support as President of the United States. Just as Jesus befriended the dreaded tax collectors, so should Notre Dame welcome those who respectfully disagree. To do otherwise would indeed be a violation of Catholic values. 😉

By the same token, the Pro-life student protesters have shown that we are a nation that prizes free speech, free thinking and the ability to critique our leaders (civilly of course 🙂 ). Ah protestors, as an early ’90s “Cotton – Fabric of Our Lives” commercial once put it, “With steadfast stares, the people cry, brave future…new world…” 😉

Furthermore, these brave souls are standing up for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. It’s an American tradition, and not something to be discouraged. As long as they conduct themselves in a civilized manner and not give the naysayers a reason to discredit them. Here I’m reminded of the words of another group of young protestors from the 1992 classic Newsies, “If we get violent, it’s only playing into their hands.” 😉

So in conclusion, I hope and pray President Obama and Notre Dame’s Pro-life protesters can find it in themselves to provide a good example for the graduates of 2009 and for all of our nation. New ideas don’t come from stagnation, they come from exchange. We need it now more than ever.

Reminds Me to Never Watch the Oscars Again…

February 23, 2009

I admit, I thought it might be fun tonight to sit and watch the Academy Awards. Having  just finished watching Sunset Boulevardon TCM, I was filled with glamorous Hollywood nostalgia. Silly me, for thinking I’d find it at the Oscars…

Instead, we get Bill Maher and his bigoted, ignorant statements on religion. Now, I respect Mr. Maher as a person and his right to have and share his opinion. His opinion that it is our belief in God that is responsible for the majority of the injustice and devastation in our world.

Well Mr. Maher, fine, let’s forget about religion. Just for you, sir, we’ll cut it right out. And in turn, let us end the multitude of good works religious people and organizations have offered to the needy through the years, often at the expense of their own lives. Let’s let alcoholics languish in darkness because they can find no power greater than the bottle. Let’s tell grieving widows that their spouses are lost forever. Let’s tell our children there is no right or wrong in the universe, and ignore the blatant increase in school yard bulling, drug abuse and depression. And let’s tell them there was never a man who dared to stand up to a corrupt society, teach compassion and love and ultimately give his life to save us. Yes, better to tell them it’s all a fairy tale.

Gee, what a great world we have created without religion. But at least we’ve put an end to oppression and war right? Wrong. Mr. Maher seems to have forgotten the multitude of greedy, power hungry atheistic dictatorships that have come to power and destroyed the lives of their people just in the 20th century alone.

I think what Mr. Maher needs to realize is that it’s not religion or athiesm that’s at fault. It’s PEOPLE. We are all imperfect, all capable of good and evil. If we could just stop judging each other for two minutes, perhaps we’d find some common ground and truly find some peace in this world we all share.

In another matter, I admire Sean Penn for standing up for same sex marriage rights during his acceptance speech, hoping we’d someday finally realize that we are all created equal. I only wish as much attention was given to the rights of the unborn at such an award show. Sadly, our great society still has a long way to go…

There were rumors floating around that the Red Carpet event would be cut this year or next, because it was getting higher ratings than the actual awards show. Is this how the Oscars planned to gain new viewership? Good job, Oscars…I for one, will think twice before watching again.

The Abortion Issue: Choice and Compassion

October 22, 2008

A recent episode of the CBS show Dr. Phil focused on men fighting for the right not to become a parent. That is, they demand the right to refuse to support or acknowledge a child they did not plan for, simply because of one night of sex. I personally found this episode disturbing, yet quite interesting, and telling, in many ways.

These men say they have been told by the legal system that they do not have the right to deny their parenthood. If they had sex that resulted in a baby, that’s it, they are a father and they have to take some kind of responsibility. Dr. Phil largely seemed to agree with this, saying it’s important to take responsibility for your actions and accept the consequences, especially when it comes to raising children. There are too many women struggling to raise children alone. And I could not agree more with Dr. Phil (which doesn’t happen everyday! Hehe). 🙂

That’s why I am quite confused. We as a society say men aren’t allowed to stop being fathers, no matter what they may want. Yet at the same time, we say women are permitted to deny their own parenthood, through abortion.

(Before you stop reading in disgust, let me just say that while I am pro-life, I am also a woman, and an Independent, and very much concerned with women’s issues and rights. I think women who have children in our society are not getting enough support or help, and that needs to change. This is still a very sexist society. But this also needs to be said…)

I was disturbed by the reactions of some of the guests on this Dr. Phil episode, their outright refusal to acknowledge a beautiful, innocent, needy child they helped bring into the world (though to be fair, I don’t know there full stories and only have the show to go on). I think both pro-life and pro-choice people would agree with me on this. But was I surprised? No…and none of us really should be.

In my opinion, this is what Roe vs. Wade has led to. In theory, it’s supposed to free a woman from being held down and subjagated in a sexist and unsupportive culture. But sadly, it has instead encouraged women (and now men) to fight against and vehemently deny their responsibilities to their children, in the name of choice. They say, if they don’t want to, they don’t have to. These men on Dr. Phil are only asking for the same rights women now have. The right to abandon a child they created. And no one is asking how the child feels…

Now I’m not saying rights, freedom, choice and personal power aren’t important, they are. But think of it this way. Those things are neutral concepts, neither good nor bad in themselves. Mother Teresa chose to help the needy. Suffragettes chose to fight for a women’s right to vote. Everyday people choose to help, care, share, defend and love. All very good and noble things.

On the other hand, Hitler chose to try and commit genocide. People chose to own slaves during The Civil War. Everyday people choose to steal, kill, hurt, bully and tease. Clearly, freedom and choice can be used to represent either good or bad. Perhaps choice, while important, isn’t quite enough.

Fans of the show Star Trek might recall the pilot episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before” where a crewman named Mitchell is given supernatural powers and becomes virtually god-like. He now has the power to do and choose whatever he wants. His supporter, Dr. Dehner, insists this could be “a wonderful thing…a forerunner for a new and better kind of human being.” With great power could come the ability to make a better, more peacful and more just world. Sounds logical.

But instead, Dehner and Captain Kirk are disturbed and surprised to see Mitchell using his new found abilities to inspire hurt and fear among the people he once called his friends. His fellow human beings are no longer important, no longer worth fighting for. No longer his responsibility.

As Captain Kirk observes, power means nothing…if it lacks compassion (“Above all else, a god needs compassion!”). No matter how powerful Mitchell gets, he is still human, still weak, as we all are. We have compassion and morals in our society in order to stop evil from occuring in the world. But Mitchell now rejects that. He is all-poweful, unstoppable…and he has chosen not to care.

Now, in no way am I comparing pro-choicers with the likes of Mitchell. All I’m saying is this: Just like Dr. Dehner, some people also hoped Roe vs. Wade would bring about a noble, positive change in the world. But as this Dr. Phil episode demonstrates to me, all it as done is give people the choice to avoid compassion.

Our society generally defends the rights of children to be cared for, by both parents. But if we tell adults that children are disposable before birth, how can we expect them to care for children after birth? I’m not sure we can have it both ways…

I know what the pro-choice argument might be. After birth, children are entitled to parental care and legal rights. But before birth, they are not yet human, not yet entitled to rights. What’s my response?

Well #1. It’s an oldie but a goodie. The argument that fetuses aren’t human is disturbingly similar to the argument used to justify slavery. In the play 1776, our founding fathers in the Continental Congress were fighting for independence from the tyranny of England. In the making of their declaration, they chose to uphold slavery, despite Thomas Jefferson’s insistence that slaves “are people who are being treated as property.” Ironic that those who fight for freedom, are often just as eager to fight for oppression of others…when it serves them.

Then again, children have always been third class citizens in our world. After all, they’re not the same as the grown ups who run the world. They aren’t as big as grown ups or as intelligent, they are outside of what we consider human. Let’s face it, as a species we do NOT have a good track record with those who are different. Children are also vulnerable, awkward and helpless. They, by their nature, require grown ups to stop being selfish and take responsibility. In this, we also have a poor track record.

John Lennon, a vocal advocate for women’s liberation in the ’70s, was once said to regret the fact that while women have a certain amount of rights, children seem to have absolutely none. I mean, think about what you see on the news everyday. Crimes committed against children, stories of physical and emotion abuse by parents, laws that fail to protect children. People given the power of life over death through abortion. A civilization is often judged by how it treats its most innocent. In this respect, America has a very long way to go. We cannot honestly claim to be a safe haven for children in our “great and free” nation. In many ways we are still stuck in the dark ages…

Many say the story of Hansel and Gretel is reminiscient of a time in history when parents purposely led their children out into the woods, never to be seen again.

Even the Roman Catholic Church has been guilty of this way of thinking, with their previously held belief in the existence of Limbo. For anyone unfamiliar, the idea is an unbaptized baby is unable to go to Heaven when it dies. But rather than go to Hell, it goes to a halfway point called Limbo. Sounds relatively harmless, even humorous nowadays. And some still look on this concept as a positive, at least the baby doesn’t go to Hell. But the basic principle of Limbo is that an unbaptized baby is unworthy, basically not yet human, and therefore unable to be with God in Heaven. Nevermind the fact that the baby is an innocent and has never harmed anyone (unlike many baptized grown ups). Limbo was just another way of denying children their humanity. And the Catholic Church is better off without it…

In another recent episode, Dr. Phil interviewed a woman who had paniced as a pregnant 16 year old and chosen to kill her baby. She said if she had known there were places to drop off abandoned babies, she would have done that instead. Now, I sympathize with his woman being young and scared, and I know she regrets her decision. And more publicity should be given to baby safe houses. But her ignorance of these safe havens does NOT excuse what she did.

We all have children in our lives, that are not our own, that we are fond of. A friend or relative’s child, a student, a camper, etc. With their innocence and cheerful spirits, these children make our lives a little brighter, a little easier, a little more happy. They are hope for the future as they grow and mature. Now imagine if you could go back in time, and it turns out a parent has made the choice to abort this child. They will never exist to make our day better, never exist to inspire home. Would you really stand by and accept this choice? As Captain Kirk said, above all, we need compassion.

Ironically, John Lennon was also quoted to have said, “But the women will liberate the children…”  With Roe v. Wade…clearly that has not happened…

Now having said that, I do not want to forget the rights of women in this argument. Abortion is often done not out of selfishness, but out of loss of hope. Women are in a very special, yet vulnerable position as the bearer of children in our world. More and more, women are left to raise their children alone. Their parents throw them out, their boyfriends abandon them, their bosses punish them for taking maternity leave. Families are so spread apart, women no longer have a grandmother or sister or aunt to help them out with daily needs. Another recent episode of Dr. Phil featured a woman who felt so inadequate and overwhelmed as a mother, she considered giving her young children away for their benefit. I can’t say I blame some women for being afraid.

That’s why pro-life groups, in my opinion, shouldn’t be wasting their time trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade (it won’t change much) or elect Republicans (who talk the talk but do nothing). We, both pro-life and pro-choice, should make the choice to help women and their babies. Make the choice to give them hope. 🙂

Well Obama is now the President. And while I admire his work to eliminate povery over the years, he has made it quite clear he has no interest in using his activism to lessen the number of abortions in this country. As a Catholic Bishop noted recently, people fought for years for Obama’s right to be president as an African American. But he himself is unwilling to defend the rights of the unborn. In a way, he is inadvertently taking a cue from the founding fathers who fought for freedom, while defending slavery. Obama is a very intelligent man, I hope someday he can give this issue a second thought. Despite everything, I do honestly wish him luck. 🙂

Not that I wanted McCain. The Republican candidates have been all talk and no action on the abortion issue. Not to mention they are largely responsible for the economic crisis we are now in, making it that much more difficult for young mothers.

While we’re on the topic of politics, I feel for all the people affected by Prop 8 in California, prohibiting gay marriage. That isn’t right, especially for couples already married and with children. I don’t blame people for protesting. But if gay marriage is an important issue (and it is), then defending innocent life (born or unborn) should be just as important.

We can’t just rely on our leaders to make things better. All we can do is take responsibilty and consequences for our own actions, and remember to support our fellow human beings, both mothers, fathers and babies alike. 🙂

Also see Sophie’s Dilemma–Don’t Make Them Choose.