Archive for the ‘abortion’ category

The Hoot About Pro-Life

September 23, 2020

The Republican Senate majority is about to make a mockery of their Constitutional duties and at the same time, freedom of religion.  President Trump will nominate a conservative Justice who will hint (or maybe promise) to rule on future decisions with a pro-life bias.  In other words, the Senate will approve someone who wishes to limit a woman’s control over her reproductive options.  So tell me something new.

The shame of the Senate’s upcoming footsteps is that in addition to discriminating against women, pro-life also discriminates against the less affluent.  Women with money can easily obtain an abortion by traveling to a State which allows abortions.  National polls continue to show strong support for Roe v Wade, so even in the event of a future Supreme Court overturning Roe, safe and legal abortions will be available in many States.  Republicans know that.

Pro-choice supporters do not champion abortion in place of family planning.  Abortions are a measure of last resort and should be the outcome determined by a doctor and his patient.  Republicans know that.

Abortions have been trending down for years ( thanks to the increased availability of family planning and birth control information.  Republicans know that.

So what are we missing?

Most but not all pro-life supporters have fallen prey to the urging of organized religions (conservative catholic and evangelical/fundamentalist protestant groups). These groups have used the abortion issue, not as a christian “love thy neighbor” pledge but as a “if you want to go to heaven, you need to believe this” inducement.  Republicans know that… but even more Republicans want these votes.

Women who sincerely believe that abortion is morally wrong even in cases of rape and incest should have the right to live by these beliefs.  These sincere beliefs, however, do not extend to forcing others to live the same way.  Republicans know that.

And if conservative religious groups voted for Joe Biden, republicans would drop this issue like a hot potato.  Everyone knows that.

Speaking About Life

May 12, 2019

On Friday, another pro-life protest broke out in Philadelphia.  The site was the center city “Planned Parenthood” office and as has happened so often in the past, pro-life demonstrators were “praying” and then “calling out” (respectfully they say) to strangers who appeared about to enter the Planned Parenthood office.  A Philadelphia State Senator happened to be present and went into a tirade against a pro-life mother and daughter telling them this was none of their business.  Bad form to be sure and not very smart since his tirade got onto social media and you guessed it, more pro and against people arrived.

Seizing the opportunity the Catholic Archbishop (Chaput), called out for protecting the unborn.  I wonder whether the Bishop was aware of the irony of his words.  The Bishop is someone who has stonewalled the investigations into priest child abuse and yet he feels compelled to speak out on women’s rights.  Hmmm.

There is no question in my mind that many pro-life advocates genuinely feel that abortion is wrong.  To this group the fetus is life and is destine to live in suburbia, go to great schools, and when an adult, saves the world.  Unfortunately, life is not that way.  Planned Parenthood deals mostly with middle class to the very poor Americans who lack the means and knowledge to prevent unwanted pregnancies, or sadly learn that the fetus is defective or likely to be a risk to the mother herself.

The Catholic Church speaks of love yet until very recently shunned LGBTQ community members and still speaks of them in “defective” terms.  Wouldn’t it be far more loving for the Church to welcome pregnant women and if the pregnancy is unwanted, to provide options including moral and accepting ways to end the pregnancy?

There should be no concern that “well to do” women will need the service of Planned Parenthood.  Abortions for the well off are safe and widely available if you have the money.  It seems life of the unborn is only a problem for the poor.  

A Special Place In …

October 5, 2017

Abortion is a complicated and oft confusing debate. There should be no question that some sincerely hold the sanctify of life and can accept no reason for ending a pregnancy. There are others who also are against abortion in most cases but do make some exceptions such as rape, incest, and health of the mother. And still there are others who who wish abortions to be rare, safe, and in the end, the exercise of a woman’s right to control her own reproductive health. Heart wrenching arguments have been and continue to be made for each of these positions.

And then there are the politicians who join this argument with an ulterior motive. These politicians can produce a tear on the spot, can get red in the face as they implore a religious justification for denying a woman her right, and while pandering to anti-abortion groups feel no compulsion not to pass the hat for donations. (In truth, politicians are on both sides of this issue.  Regrettably, some who support a woman’s choice may not really care whether Roe v Wade is maintained but show support to help them get reelected…  that’s a good outcome they think.)

Every so often along comes a Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA). Murphy has been an ardent anti-abortion supporter and has spoken out mightily against woman’s rights. But Murphy is also a human being and his heart is susceptible to infatuation (for what ever the reasons). Representative Murphy entered an affair with someone other than his current wife. During this involvement, Murphy and his partner believed she was pregnant. Representative Murphy advised his partner to end the pregnancy with an abortion. Hmmm.

His partner has become dissatisfied with her relationship with Murphy and has revealed Murphy’s urging for an abortion. Social media is abuzz. What else could happen?

Today Representative Murphy announced he would not seek reelection. Justice?

If it were not that the actions of the pro-life crowd and the hypocritical politicians who side with them hurt disproportionately the poor and those least able to take care of themselves, one might argue that not seeking reelection was sufficient pay back. But hypocrites like Representative Murphy deserve something even more special.

Hypocrites occupy a special place in hell (if there is one) and now the reservation sign has Tim Murphy’s name on it.

A Woman’s Right

October 7, 2016

If ever there was a universal “right” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, a woman’s right to choose must be it. Only women can become pregnant and give birth. Since pregnancy involves a woman’s body, it would seem reasonable that carrying a pregnancy full term should be a choice a woman makes freely.

Listening to the Vice Presidential debate, you would be forgiven if you thought otherwise. Describing abortion as murder, as some pro-lifers do, is to use hyperbole as  a tool to obscure a difficult moral choice. But when the speakers are men, or even worse members of the clergy, hypocrisy rules.

If one goes back in history, even just back to the birth of our country, full term pregnancies were the expected outcome simply because “society” said so. Pregnancy out of wedlock did present some complexity and back alley abortions of course occurred. Society saw babies as helpful in growing the population and minimizing the detrimental impact of mortality due to early childhood diseases and birth complications.

Going back even further, families, tribes, and countries with large populations usually won wars. So if one did not want to end up a slave, staffing a large army was considered a good outcome. Authority figures reinforced superstitions around the need and duty of women to produce as many babies as possible.

In the modern world, these conditions no longer exist. Therefore, it is no longer necessary for clergy to spread superstitions around the woman’s duty to give birth often. Yet, many religion still do.

The abortion debate is very simple at its extremes and excruciatingly complex in the middle. Those who hold a woman has the right to end a pregnancy for any reason, and those who hold a woman must go full term, even when her life is at risk, are easy to understand. Their positions are absolutes.

But what about a young woman who has an unwanted pregnancy? This person has a full life ahead and plenty of time to have a family. What about a person who may have wanted the pregnancy but experiences a life event, like unemployment, disease, and serious injury, and decides the timing is not appropriate for giving birth. It is possible this woman already has children and feels economically or emotionally it is not wise to go full term.

For the absolutist, these situations are cut and dry. Yes or No.

In the real world, however, there are also some who exercise no personal responsibility. In this day and age there is little if any excuse for a woman unwillingly becoming pregnant. Family planning and birth control measure are readily available. Never the less, the spur of the moment (or plain disregard for ones reproductive health) leads too many women to unwanted pregnancies.

For the absolutists, this is again a black and white situation, yes or no to ending the pregnancy.

In Pennsylvania, the US Senate race could help determine the Senate leadership control. If Democrat challenger Katie McGinty beats incumbent Republican Pat Toomey, Democrats may regain Senate control. Toomey is quoted as opposed to Planned Parenthood and abortion, and has said he would support jail for medical persons who perform abortions.  This sounds pretty “absolutist” to me.

With Senate control, and/or a Hillary Clinton victory, Roe v Wade will be safe for probably enough time that the nation’s demographics makes its reversal impossible.

The abortion absolutists (both yes and no’s) do in their own ways, all women a disservice.

Medical experts have advanced the science of determining when it is medically safe to end a pregnancy and what would be the consequences if the pregnancy went full term. Making the subject a litmus test with innuendos of “murder”, removes the discussion of the middle ground where morality and ethics meet.

It is time for pro-lifers to expand their definition of life and include some notion of quality of life as well as the woman’s right to choose.

By the same token, it is time for pro-choice supporters to advocate for responsible sexual behaviors and emphasize the responsibility a woman incurs if she becomes pregnant.

And its high time that both sides of this divide to recognize that a woman who ends her pregnancy because of rape, incest, and medical health of the pregnant woman are exempt from any condemnation.

When Bullets Fly

November 30, 2015

There are some tried and true expressions which describe the confusion which takes place during battle. The “fog of war” and the “heat of battle” are two which are often used when decisions are made which seem to have overlooked what might be obvious after the battle.

Major sports teams today, the coach or manager has now gotten a wide range of subordinate coaches (like hitting or pitching in baseball or offensive and defensive coordinators in football) to run the minute by minute game activities while the “coach” forgets the details and tries to see “the big picture”.

In a strange way the GOP has gotten itself caught up in the “fog of war” and seems to have no one looking at the big picture. With 15 or so candidates running for the Presidential nomination, a national committee (RPNC) complicit, believes that survival (and subsequently winning the White House) lies only in grasping headlines in the 7/24 news cycle. For unexplained reasons, the GOP and the candidates have turned to making one divisive statement after another. Why?

From “repeal Obamacare” to “border security” to “voting fraud and photo ID” to “no expansion of Medicaid”, to “no Syrian refugees” and to “defund Planned Parenthood, the GOP crowd have chosen wedge issues, popular with their extreme base, to cultivate an American atmosphere of hate and divisiveness.

Sadly each of these issues could have been addressed with a compassionate and inclusive criticism coupled with proposals on how to correct. For example, the GOP could have said “we strongly support making health insurance available to all Americans regardless of age, health, or means and here is a more comprehensive and effective proposal than Obamacare”.  Or, “border security especially with Mexico is a national concern. Here is our proposal for ensuring any (or X numbers of) Mexican can come to the US with work papers so they can respond to employment openings. US employers who hire undocumented workers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent”. Or, “Planned Parenthood provides necessary services, especially for those poorer Americans, and contributes significantly to abortion reduction through its sex education classes.  Planned Parenthood may have strayed over the line at some clinics with a policy of selling fetal parts to research institutes. We seek a thorough investigation and policy changes if necessary in Planned Parenthood practices”.

Of course none of this inclusiveness has come from GOP candidates or sources. It appears they do not see it in their best interest. Instead they prefer to throw gasoline on a fire of public misunderstanding… in a seemingly coordinated manner.

Over the weekend in Colorado Springs an unintended consequence emerged. A mentally unstable individual, described in the press as a drifter and trouble maker, entered a Planned Parenthood clinic and killed three people, none of them healthcare providers. Hmmm.

The US has its share of mentally challenged people. The 7/24 talk shows are bad enough in whipping up division (with sparse or no data). When a national political party seemingly coordinates messages of divisiveness in pursuit of gaining power we should worry whether world history is repeating itself.

Bad things usually happen when bullets fly.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

August 6, 2015

Congressional Republicans seem committed more than ever to embarrassing themselves leading up to the 2016 Presidential election. The current, but certainly not the last, focus is Planned Parenthood. These legislative giants have solemnly proposed to defund the diversified provider of women’s services, Planned Parenthood, (again) and have used as their justification some videos said to depict Planned Parenthood selling (or offering to sell) fetal tissue. How outrageous and why shouldn’t Planned Parenthood be defunded? Hmmm.

The GOP continually gets this one wrong. Defunding Planned Parenthood is a naked play for the evangelical conservatives who wish no knowledge of Planned Parenthood’s offering, and certainly do not want family planning to be in the hands (and minds) of other Americans. Ironically, were a defunding successful, Planned Parenthood would likely be unable to continue services ranging from breast exams to family planning counseling from lower income women most in need of this information.  The consequence would likely be an increase in unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Boy, those Republicans are good people.

Most likely GOP leaders really don’t care. They are educated and possess sufficient income that their families will not go without this knowledge and services. Hypocrisy comes to mind but stupidity is edging it out.

These same GOP pandering bible totters are all a twitter about the current status of abortion and of course the cost of Medicaid. Yet when it comes to programs that have been shown to reduce unwanted pregnancies as well as family size, these GOP biggies suddenly cannot or do not want to see the big picture. They are acting like there is a free lunch to be had.

All too soon, when the standard bearers are chosen, the call will arise, “Republicans are at war with women”. And, in a most pretentious manner, GOP leaders will say “how can that be, some our best Republicans are women”.