Friday, April 20, 2007

Amen, Sister

Read this.

(In case I screwed up the link as I always do:, post called Second Class. It's so perfect I can add not one thing).

1 comment:

pnutsmama said...

thanks for the link, amy, and i agree, it is disheartening and sickening. as someone who is in the loop on this issue on both sides i know that many pro-life (of the unborn fetus, not the born people involved) groups have put the issue of reversing roe v. wade on the backburner, and instead are fighting at the local levels to change state laws limiting a womans right to choose what she can and can not do with her own body and child. you can see all over the country how state legislatures are slowly chipping away at roe v. wade, and the supreme court's decision on partial-birth abortion will only strengthen their position.

as a pro-choice/pro-life and clearly progressive roman catholic, i hear so many sides of this issue. first of all, i without hesitation believe that a woman has the inherant right to decide what her body will and will not do. i also believe that the rights of every marginalized person on this planet, both born and unborn should be protected, but not at the expense of the born. i believe that as a church and a society we must fight for social justice for all born people, and when that is achieved, the rights of the unborn will follow suit. i also believe that women in this world continue to be marginalized and not given the credit they deserve to make their own moral decisions, especially when it comes to their families.

it still surprises me that in this day and age so many people still see the world in black and white- as if one answer is the only answer for every scenario or situation. while i agree that the final choice for abortion should be avoided in the best case scenario, i feel that way only in the sense that in most cases as a society (and a church) we avoid doing nearly everything we can to prevent unplanned pregnancies in the first place. what i mean is that i abhor the society that we allow to continue that only gives women the choice of being re-active, instead of pro-active. if my diocese spent 1/2 as much time and money on programs that taught comprehensive sexual education (including contraception, but that is a whole nother issue) to our boys and girls and teenagers and men and women we could empower many people to avoid unwanted pregnancies. i work with teenagers and i can assure you on their best day they are mostly clueless about their reproductive cycles and the facts about pregnancy. and believe me, i am familiar with the theology and church documents that protect the integrity of human life, and in theory, i agree with their overall premise. but what i cannot agree with is when theory and the realities of a non-theoretical world collide. as in, life is not so neatly packaged- it is messy and complex.

let alone our church and society fighting for laws that protect and support unwed mothers and people that choose to have children when they clearly don't have the sociectal support systems in place or the financial stability to raise healthy kids in a stabile environment. it astounds me that people are able to limit a woman's right to choose (one of the most difficult and painful and serious decisions anyone could ever make, btw, and thanks, folks, for not giving women the credit due for their inherent wisdom for making those choices everyday- why is it that when we picture a woman about to have an abortion it's some young slutty girl who couldn't control their desires? why can't we ever truly disseminate the facts of who the women are that actually get abortions?) yet not see the big picture- of how cycles of poverty (and every social and economic issue that is connected to that) will continue to extend into the future until we step up and get pro-active and educative with regard to these issues. and clearly study after non-biased scientific study has shown that comprehensive sexual education is one that includes a healthy sexuality from birth- not just quick scare tactics as a teen promoting abstinence. i would recommend christine gudorf as an excellent theologian who addresses this issue far better than i ever could. she is the feminist contemporary expert in the field, to be sure.

and finally, with regard to partial-birth abortion, it *is* a terrible procedure, and i can't even imagine being in the situation that would require one. i can't imagine being diagnosed with a terminal cancer at 22 weeks gestation and being told in order to save my own life and remain a wife and mother to my born children i would have to give up the child i had chosen to have- wanted- in order to even get the chance at survival. or the woman who after a great deal of testing and anxiety and soul-searching over the fetus who is so genetically abnormal her doctor cannot guarentee even 24 hours of life after birth chooses the path of termination. because that is the usual reality of partial-birth abortion. it's not some dumb, clueless, selfish girl who decided she didn't like that she was getting fat or just 'changed her mind' about the baby. it is usually women who very much are unwilling to lose the life that they chose to bring into the world. and we should be honoring their strenth and courage and wisdom and grace and grief at their choice. not eliminating a path that was nearly impossible to choose in the first place.

i'm sorry i went off, amy, this should really just be a private email to you i guess, it really struck a nerve. i know so many women who have had to make this choice, and have chosen both options, and i can see both sides of the issue, and the results of both decisions, even long term. you can not publish this if you'd like, i don't want your site to become a warzone over this by any means. i wish more people were willing to sit down at the table and have a real discussion about this, instead of digging in their heels and refusing any openness at all.