Sunday, October 5, 2008

Abortion battles

I see in the NY Times that the Catholic bishop in Scranton, PA, has ordered his priests to read a letter saying that voting for a supporter of abortion rights amounts to supporting homicide.
This is the annual "respect life" Sunday.

Y'know, I don't like abortion either, although I respect the decisions of those who choose one. I'M not the one who is pregnant and I figure i can't judge anybody for choosing to have one. I'd rather it wasn't chosen to be used except in the case of saving the life of the mother, or if the fetus would produce a severely damaged child.
Given the current state of politics and religion in this country, I don't see any other option. There are enough unwanted teenage pregnancies, enough people with more kids than they can afford to take care of.
If the Catholic Church, and its evangelical brethren, really want to stop abortions, they should put their considerable resources into:
• taking the stigma out of out-of-wedlock pregnancy
• free prenatal care and hospital services for unwed or poor wed mothers. Also helping the women to eat well and be healthy in the pregnancy.
• developing a host of willing adopters so that women who didn't want a child could be sure the child got a good home
• helping out those who want to keep a child but need help in raising it
• Stop acting like sex was the devil's creation instead of God's. That is, providing condoms, birth control pills etc to anyone who wants them.
Of course that is a big hurdle for the Church and the evangelicals. God forbid anyone should enjoy sex unless they were trying to make a baby. This whole pleasure thing is very suspect among those people. I'm sure they would rather no pleasure was involved.
I believe that even the flower enjoys the touch of the bee picking up her pollen. But that's just me.

Abstinence only goes so far, and only works for some people. I think it's a good idea for teenagers, but I don't expect that it will be widely used.

And then there is rape and incest. Traditionally, male-dominated theocracies have tried to put the blame for those things on the women. They blame everything sexual on the women. Even if one doesn't blame the women, what to do about the unwanted pregnancy that often arises from these violent acts? If it happens to you, your neighborhood priest or minister will urge you to keep the child, but don't expect him to come up with the scratch to pay for all the things you need to pay for.

Going back to "respect life Sunday." Something I find really objectionable and hypocritical about the anti- abortion crowd is their insistence that it not be done even to save the life of the mother.
Look folks, if you try to save the mother's life, the fetus dies. But if you save the fetus, the mother dies. If you believe each is a human being with a soul, then one way or another IT'S STILL KILLING! Choose your poison.
I'd say the mother has more right to decide what she wants than a priest or minister. But again, that's just me.

Sorry to be so grim, but sometimes that's what I'm here for.

Incidentally, the UCC got some flack from the IRS because Obama spoke at the big meeting in Hartford some months before he decdlared his presidency. The IRS felt that the UCC was endorsing a candidate. When they realized he was a member of the UCC, and as a member had a legitimate right to speak there, and hadn't declared his candidacy anyway, they backed off.

So is the bishop of Scranton risking taking the tax-exempt status away from the Catholic Church? Don't hold your breath. IRS agents won't be surrounding parish houses and taking priests off in handcuffs any time soon.
Nor should they.

On the other hand, there are a lot of Catholics in Scranton who say that abortion can't be the only criteria for choosing someone. They realize that electing people who can help make this a more humane world—better environment, better health care, more equitable distribution of wealth etc— may do more in the long run to take care of the abortion problem than someone whose only qualification for office is willingness to pass laws against it.

That's enough.

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