busted halo annual campaign
Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
January 20th, 2010

Pro-Life or Pro-Active?

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a nun reflects on the abortion debate

 
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

prolifeproactive-inside

This past January 22 was the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion in the United States. There aren’t very many other days in the United States that manifest such division. I can’t think of any other anniversary that has consistently been celebrated with public demonstrations of opposing beliefs and emotions. Some, including such high profile figures as Alan Keyes, have compared the abortion debate in this country to the debate regarding slavery in the 19th century. That’s a pretty serious comparison considering that that debate was resolved by a civil war.

The latest Gallup Poll conducted between May 7 and May 10, 2009, found that for the first time since this question was first posed in a Gallup Poll in 1995 more Americans (51 percent) consider themselves to be “pro-life” than “pro-choice” (42 percent) with respect to the abortion issue. While I am heartened by the information, I don’t have the same optimism that some pro-life groups have that this will suddenly change the law. And, whether it’s rooted in my own cynicism or in my basic distrust of politics, I don’t think that simply “voting pro-life” will do the trick either.

Before I go any further, let me insert a disclaimer. I personally can never vote for a pro-choice candidate when a comparable pro-life candidate is also running. However, I have lived through the presidency of three pro-life presidents, as well as a Republican-led Congress. As far as abortion is concerned, not much has changed. With a track record like that, I can understand my peers who don’t get the logic behind voting for pro-life candidates as the answer to the abortion debate.

Changing the reality regardless of Roe v. Wade

Most women must pass a church on their way to have their abortion. I wonder what the symbol of that church building is communicating to each of those women?

While Catholics receive information from their bishops urging them to vote pro-life, I don’t ever remember hearing with as much emphasis other ways that we can help to change the reality of abortion beyond simply trying to overturn Roe v Wade. Have you?

What would happen if every one of us were involved, if every one of us made it our responsibility to change the reality of abortion, regardless of whether Roe v. Wade is overturned?

This question has been nagging me ever since my brother, Dominic, and his wife, Cynthia, took in a young woman with a brand new baby. Cynthia befriended her while volunteering at a local home for unwed mothers; but once she gave birth to her daughter, the young mother had nowhere else to go. Dominic and Cynthia were newly married — and they took her in. When they looked for a different apartment, and later for a house, they looked for one that had adequate room for themselves, their guest and her baby. For the last three years, they have provided a home for her and her daughter. It was a delight for me to hear the little 3-year-old girl ask Cynthia if she could call my nieces and nephews her cousins too. Not only have she and her mother been given a place to stay, they have a new “family” of sorts as well.

The numbers

It is estimated that 43 percent of all women have had at least one abortion by the age of 45. That means almost half of all women have had an abortion. Every year in the U.S., 1.37 million abortions occur. That translates into about 3,700 per day. A little over half of these abortions are performed on women under the age of 25. African-American women are three times, and Latina women two times, more likely than white women to have an abortion. The majority of abortions are undergone by women who are not married at the time of the abortion (80 percent), and who identify themselves as Christian (Protestant 37.4 percent, Catholic 31.3 percent, Evangelical 18 percent).

According to an article that appeared in the Medical Science Monitor in 2004, an incredible 64 percent of women report being pressured into having an abortion. The Guttmacher Institute, a division of Planned Parenthood, published the most important reasons women choose to have abortions in the September 2005 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. These reasons are:

Reason for abortion
25% Not ready to have a child; want to postpone childbearing
23% Not afford to care for a child
19% Completed childbearing; have other responsibilities
8% Relationship issues/single mom
7% Not mature enough/too young
4% Child would interfere with personal goals such as education or career
4% Problems with the mother’s physical health
3% Possible health problems of baby
.5% Rape/husband, partner, or parent wants the abortion/desire to conceal pregnancy
6% Other

“While the percentages above reflect the most important reason, most women cited more than one reason. The most common theme when several reasons were cited was the claim of not being able to afford the child. A high percentage of women (74 percent) also cited concerns about how the baby would change their lives. Relationship issues were cited as high as 48% of the time.” (Source: http://www.wrtl.org/abortion/whywomenhaveabortions.aspx.)

Behind the numbers

We are repeatedly reminded that every statistic represents millions of babies, but it is important to keep in mind that they represent millions of women as well. These women are our mothers, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, sisters-in-law, etc., and every one of them has their own unique story to tell. One trip to the section of the site afterabortion.org about research being conducted on the post-abortion effects on women is enough to dispel the myth that abortion provides women with an easy out. Besides the numerous physical issues resulting from abortion, a high percentage of women undergo multiple psychological problems including guilt, nervous disorders, sleep disturbance, regret and, in some cases, serious psychiatric conditions.

The only message I was given growing up was that if I ever came home pregnant before I was married, I would be kicked out of the house. I have no idea what I would have done had I ever found myself in that situation. But I thank God every day that I did not have to confront that nightmare.

So my question is: How can we not get directly involved in this issue? Do we have conversations with girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, etc., regarding the possibility that, sometime in their life, they may be in a situation where they might consider having an abortion? Have we told our friends that we will support them, help them out, etc., so that they know have a friend to turn to should they be pressured from other significant people in their lives?

The only message I was given growing up was that if I ever came home pregnant before I was married, I would be kicked out of the house. I have no idea what I would have done had I ever found myself in that situation. But I thank God every day that I did not have to confront that nightmare.

With 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods, it is compelling to keep in mind that most women must also pass a church on their way to have their abortion. I wonder what the symbol of that church building is communicating to each of those women? If the message that young girls and women heard at church was that if they ever faced an unplanned pregnancy, there was someone they could turn to for help — not for moral condemnation — I have a funny feeling they would naturally remember that message when passing by a church.

Googling “The Catholic Church and abortion” yields one site after another proclaiming the Church’s doctrine: that abortion is a “grave offense” and that anyone who procures an abortion is automatically excommunicated. One priest has gone so far as to publish that a confessor — when counseling a woman who confesses the sin of abortion — must make it clear to her that she bears full moral responsibility for the abortion. How will this encourage a woman contemplating abortion to come to us for help — when all she’s heard is condemnation?

How can the Church’s teaching be presented in a balanced way?

What if every parish bulletin listed the contact person for any woman who was pregnant and scared (and if that person were visible within the church community)? What if our focus changed from a debate about the constitutionality of abortion — which requires very little personal sacrifice on our part — to directly helping the women who may potentially have an abortion?

How can the presentation of the Church’s teaching be balanced so that women would be more likely to come to us when faced with the prospect of an unplanned pregnancy?

Asserting that the woman who procures an abortion does bear moral responsibility could be balanced with the truth put so well by John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (no. 59) that there are many people responsible: the father of the child, parents, other family members, friends, legislators, doctors, nurses, etc.

What if, rather than the doctrine, the care and concern of the Church for a woman contemplating abortion were the starting point for every homily, every “Catholic” television or radio program, blog, etc.?

As long as our most concerted effort is focused on electing all the right pro-life candidates, the reality of abortion in the United States will not significantly change. But what would happen if the 51% of Americans who have now identified themselves as pro-life decide to become pro-active in the lives of the actual women they know who are pregnant and need help? What would happen if every parish bulletin listed the contact person for any woman who was pregnant and scared (and if that person were visible within the church community)? What if our focus changed from a debate about the constitutionality of abortion — which requires very little personal sacrifice on our part — to directly helping the women who may potentially have an abortion? What would happen if all of us were to recognize that we too may bear responsibility for someone who has chosen to have an abortion because all that a woman heard from us was our view about abortion itself and not about the woman caught in the middle? How will we get involved?

RESOURCES:

http://www.afterabortion.org

http://www.hopeafterabortion.com

http://www.birthright.org

http://www.catholic-social-services.net/crisispregnancy.htm

 
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
The Author : Sr. Bernadette Reis, fsp
Sr. Bernadette M. Reis, fsp holds a Bachelors Degree in Spanish and English Literature and has spent several years researching various women’s issues. She lives in Rome and works in the English department of Paoline Multimedia, an international bookstore near the Vatican.
See more articles by (26).
Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Georgianna Penn

    God bless you for sending a message of compassion… for sending a message of hope and of saving lives one soul, one person at a time. Excellent article!

  • Jay

    There is a group in this area that provides money, emotional support and other tangible help to mothers at the very beginning who decide to have the baby. But how about after six months from birth? One year? Five years? Ten years? Being pro-life should mean supporting a human being from birth to natural death.

  • Steve

    A large proportion of abortions result from failed contraception. Broken or improperly used condoms, forgetting to take a pill, etc. have all attributed to the rise of abortion.

    Contraception use is at all-time highs, yet a record 42 million abortions occurred this year.

  • William Grogan

    The author nailed the crux of the issue when she stated that the Catholic Church offers primarily condemnation to women who have had or are contemplating abortion. Many prochoice people are actually antiabortion but support a woman’s right to choose that for herself. If the Catholic Church faced reality instead of saying no to every possible means of preventing abortion in the first place maybe the numbers of abortions would decrease. Education and contraception are absolutely necessary in today’s world to help prevent unwanted births. Condoms should be paramount in helping to prevent HIV/AIDS and other STDS. What we get instead is that all these actions are sinful. If you are serious about preventing abortions, and I have no doubt you are, then these other issues need to be considered as well.

  • Catie

    First, I should note that I have not been a practicing Catholic for many years, and that I don’t intend to be again, and also that I am a pro-choice feminist. I realize I am not your target demographic, and that I’m very late to this conversation, but I’d like to point out that, in my view, being “pro-active” on the issue of abortion implies doing things to prevent abortion from being necessary.

    Frankly, I am perplexed that Catholics are against pre-marital sex, contraception, AND abortion–if we look at the world in a practical manner, isn’t it obvious that we can’t stop young, unmarried people from having sex? Most people don’t practice abstinence until marriage, and I think Catholics and other religious groups need to accept that in order to productively contribute to preventing unplanned pregnancies and abortions. In order to do that, shouldn’t Catholics encourage that contraception be taught alongside abstinence?

    Obviously abstinence is the most effective form of birth control, but if we want to prevent abortions from happening (which even I, as a non-religious pro-choice feminist would like to see), we ought to say “you should probably wait to have sex, but in case you do have sex, these are some options to prevent pregnancy and disease.”

    I hope this is not read as an attack, because I certainly believe taking on this issue at all is brave of this site, and I am only aiming to bring another perspective to the discussion. I hope my points are not entirely lost on you. If there are less unintended pregnancies, there will be fewer abortions, and I think we would like to see fewer of those.

  • Jan Nichols

    It is striking to me that there is so much emphasis on abortion, prenatal care, help for the unwed mother etc and almost no emphasis placed on abstinence. Our secular society would lead one to believe that self control is impossible but that is not so. Have we forgotten that the pill was not even used much before the 1960s? Yes, people have found ways to abort pregnancies for centuries but that doesn’t make it right. Also, there have been tremendous medical and technological advances since abortion became “legal.” Years ago, it was taught in college that a human embryo was a glob of cells that could not be differentiated from a dolphin! Now, with DNA and 3D ultra sound, we see a HUMAN “baby” and no longer a “glob” of cells. I believe the church is NOT helping the abortion issue because in her effort to be “non-judgemental” of unwed mothers, and because birth control is so prevelant that talking about abstinence is “archaic” and rebuked by our secular society, that she has neglected to remain focused on the morality of sex outside of marriage. I agree that we must help the least of our brothers and sisters, whether an unwed mother or an unborn baby….but much more energy could be put into studying abstinence and its advantages, both before marriage and when necessary, during marriage. It takes two, BOTH partners to be committed for it to work but the results can only be good. Fewer abortions. Fewer divorces. Almost 50% of Catholic marriages, including those who “lived together” before marriage,end in divorce as opposed to the 3% who practice natural family planning. We must love and forgive anyone who made abortion their choice, but let us pray that we develop the self control and love for all God’s creatures, especially the defenseless unborn.

  • ali

    I am new to this site and this is the first article I have read. I am not currently a practicing Catholic but I am looking to find a way to reconnect. I am disturbed by a number of the comments here as I see some major flaws and double standards in regard to the pro-life movement in general. The major one is that many seem to be vocally against abortion yet are noticeably silent when it comes to issues like capital punishment, or voluntarily serving in the military. Why select which form of murder is more “sinful”? Also, as someone who has worked with abused and unwanted children, I have experienced what happens to children who spend their childhood in the system. Along with protesting abortion, it would be balanced to see as much effort put to funding and supporting these children who were spared abortion but suffer a living hell on earth. Where is the commitment to them? Why are so many of the women and doctors currently involved with the abortion process treated with such vitriolic wrath on the part of “pro-lifers”? If the whole point is to save lives, wouldn’t more women be convinced to try other alternatives to abortion if they were treated with love and Christian charity rather than being vilified? After all, I thought the whole point was to save lives, rather than to condemn the “sinner”, yet it appears that more energy is spent on the latter.

  • pff

    Mike, it sounds to me that you have some anger issues with women–putting “equal” in quotes is suggestive. Women do not get pregnant by themselves. Men and women are responsible for the pregnancy, however it is the woman’s body which bears the child and has to deal with any health concerns associated with the pregnancy. A real understanding, rather than “pat” answers is what is needed. It is a very complex situation–not all pregnancies are created equal..and God alone knows what is in a woman’s heart when she chooses to have an abortion–as reprehensible as that choice is. We are here to love ,not to judge.
    BTW, women have been having abortions for hundreds and hundreds of years–lonfg before it was legal. Making abortion illegal won’t stop the abortions–The main thing is to educate men and women about the sacredness of all life.

  • Matt

    Most American citizens only make political decisions once every two years. (Twice, if they’re active enough to vote in primaries.) It takes nothing away from our obligation to make those decisions correctly to say that the political domain is not the only place we can act.

    We are indeed obligated to choose correctly when called upon to make a political choice. A vote in an election for any office with any prospect of authority over abortion in any regard must necessarily be considered as a vote to either curtail the holocaust or to extend it. No other political question before an American voter can possibly be as grave as that.

    But elections only happen every other year, and an individual voter’s contribution to their outcome is almost always negligible. Whereas we have opportunities every day, as individual Christians, to make a positive difference in the lives of other individual Christians.

    You and I almost certainly can’t stop abortion by ourselves. But we can often prevent a woman contemplating an abortion from going through with it, by showing her a better way, and by helping with the worldly concerns which may lead her to such contemplation.

    And if we have such an opportunity and decline to take it, we’ll surely be called to account for it during out particular judgment, just as we would if we were to put lesser concerns ahead of the sanctity of life in the voting booth.

    Even in the present legal climate, with hot and cold running abortions on-demand 24/7 and a substantial part of the culture devoted to keeping it that way, we can still save lives by helping individual women to choose not to kill their children. And unlike the political method, we can do it right here, right now, with nothing but the Grace of God and our own willingness to roll up our sleeves and do our part.

    I don’t know if Sr. Bernadette’s specific proposal is the best one, but it might be a good start, and it certainly represents the right sort of thinking about what we as Christians ought to be doing in between our biannual opportunities to make the legal system listen to us.

  • Eddie Louise

    You cannot legislate and stop abortion. A desperate hand will always find a coat hanger or lye soap and a douche bag. I for one take a three pronged approach:

    First make sure my own daughter and as many of her friends as I was able to influence have a strong sense of self-worth and personal value they never feel so desperate as to need an abortion.

    Second – Do my best to help any woman I come across who needs support so she will not feel desperate and led to have an abortion. In these cases I make it my personal goal to never express condemnation.

    Third: Try and influence as many friends and neighbors as I can to follow suit.

    Final interesting point: I have know two young girls who got abortions – the first was protestant and got it because her parents said they would dis-own her if she got pregnant. When she was raped by her boyfriend she felt she had no choice to endure the secondary horror of an abortion. The second was the 16 year old daughter of Catholic parents who was forced by her parents to get the abortion because they feared the condemnation and social ramifications at church.

  • Kyra

    I am of the opinion that abortions in this country could be greatly reduced if pro-lifers made a concerted effort to understand the demographic of women seeking to obtain abortions, and provided alternatives that met women’s real lives and circumstances, instead of just urging them to “give your baby life” or “put it up for adoption.”

    What do I mean by this? I think that a woman’s decision to have an abortion runs much more deeply than “I don’t want my life to change, or to have to sacrifice one little bit.” First, it should probably be noted that abortions occured prior to Roe v. Wade and that worldwide, half of the 40 mil+ abortions each year occur in countries where the practice is illegal. So should our main focus above all else be changing the laws? The fact remains that women as a gender continue to be treated unequally not just under our society’s laws but in the eyes of the church.
    Some examples of inequality that I find unconscionable:

    -That a single mother and sole financial provider of three children might be paid 76 cents on the dollar compared to a man with the exact same job, and on top of that her daycare expenses may eat up close to half of her salary.

    –That a pregnant woman without insurance would have to pay full price for all medical services if she carried to term because her pregnancy would be seen as a “pre-existing condition” barring her from obtaining private insurance. Which do you think is within reach financially for a woman earning minimum wage…an abortion, or seven months of pre-natal checkups, a c-section and a four day hospital stay?

    –A single pregnant woman who decided not to abort might be facing homelessness because she lives in a country (the US!) that doesn’t legally require paid maternity leave and she doesn’t earn enough to be able to miss work for six weeks and still make rent. I know because I was once in this exact situation.

    –The government provides a free education to pregnant teens, but if they decide to have their babies they have to drop out of school anyway–to work–so they can afford to pay for, among other things, daycare, which is far from free.

    And my personal favorite, that a woman (even a minor child) could be condemned and excommunicated by the Catholic church for undergoing an abortion, but the men involved can be forgiven of their sins that led to the circumstance (even if their sins range from mere pre-marital sex all the way to rape or incest).

    We need to be sensitive to the fact that for far too many women, an unplanned pregnancy doesn’t just change her life but effectively ends it in many countries uncluding the US. Ends her chance for an education, significantly limits lifelong job opportunities, effectively condemns her to a life of financial instability and bad credit…those are best case scenarios. In the worst cases she faces life-threatening scenarios during pregnancy and childbirth, especially if she lives here in the US which ranks 36th in the world in terms of maternal mortality rates (where country #1 has the fewest deaths in childbirth). There’s a statistic you don’t hear often from pro-lifers trying to scare women into not having abortions. I’d hope everyone would agree that the way to provide real women with the opportunity to make choices other than abortion is to start fixing all of the above problems, as opposed to just focusing on installing pro-life candidates or closing down abortion clinics.
    I applaud Sr. for pointing out that we need to focus less energy on condemnation, legal loopholes and scare tactics,and focus more on meeting women face to face and providing real solutions to them in the midst of their struggles. Wow, sounds like something Jesus would do.

  • Christy

    Thank you, Sr. Reis, for a well-written, obviously thought-provoking article.

    My thoughts exactly. We are called to love like Christ & allow God to do the judging.

  • micaela swift

    unfortunately you are GRAVELY mistaken in your logic. Just as “lawmakers” create laws….those laws put into place have a grand effect on the “culture” and thinking, as well as practice of its people. You show to have very little understanding on this reality.

    Catholics must always promote pro-life laws, and the best way to promote PRO LIFE LAWS is to vote for pro life politicians. Those politicians, although may not do much in the area of fixing this EVIL Law of legalized abortion, we as a culture must continue to do all we can to overturn that disgusting immoral law that is promoted on this land and defended. We must do that, as well as build the culture of life through support centers…all that is happening and must continue to be enhanced and supported.

    To basically think that “voting for a pro life politician in the past shows that it does not really do anything to stop abortions” Is such a lukewarm way of understanding. Statistics or not. The Law of this land cannot allow a mother to murder her own child. The politicians need to be on that page…..and if they are not, you will only get Lawmakers who continue to corrode the law of the land.

    WAKE UP!!

  • Denise

    Interesting article. The Church’s teaching role in the abortion debate is to speak the truth: abortion is evil. Today’s pro-abortion response in the Wash Post to the Tebow pro-life ad that will air at the SuperBowl assumes that choosing either life or death (abortion) is equally difficult and equally valid. Pro-aborts support abortion any time, any reason. How can we effectively communicate that even if you commit mortal sin, you can seek help and forgiveness at the Catholic Church?

    Yes, we should provide personal support to women in crisis pregnancies – Maybe we need to see that every parish has connections to Project Rachel for that person who can be called to provide direct support. But it is also important to March to let the public know that lots of normal people are pro-life. In my county, PP is harassing the pregnancy centers by asking the county council to regulated them, this despite the fact that NO ONE has ever complained about services received from the pregnancy centers.

    So, I agree that we need to both promote the pro-life direct care services, to make them more widely known and to encourage more Catholics to directly help. This will be always true: even when Roe vs Wade is overturned, the pro-life community will still need to provide support and example.

  • Danielle Perata

    What is needed is a change in the message.

    Issues of childbearing and sexuality go to the core of our identity as men and women. Teaching values is not sufficient. The tone with which they’re taught is even more important. There is so much in Bible that teaches one to turn to the highest. Why not emphasize that? If all someone hears is sin in all it’s permutations and how broken and flawed they are how can anyone expect them to behave differently? Maybe if we all spent more time teaching our children not simply to avoid sin because of some terrible fate (or, as you had mentioned, because the family/church/God will ostracize you) but what God believes is possible for us, what our true value is and what love is… and LIVE by that example will this (or many of society’s ills) change. Only when we remember that not one of us is perfect and actively practice compassion and forgiveness will women not shudder when they walk by a church. If they feel that they will find a sanctuary and support, they just might walk in and open their hearts rather than run.

    Sister, your response to Jim is interesting, this idea of “biological distance”. There may be some truth to that, but if gender roles are strictly enforced, then how can one expect a man to ever understand or bond with their wives lives? I’m not calling for men to emasculate themselves, but perhaps if we as women invited the boys and men in our lives into our sphere a little (especially when they’re young), perhaps that “bond” could happen. Maybe with that new perspective, men could understand more fully the need for a kinder, more hands-on approach to preventing through loving teaching (and, failing that, supporting those in trouble) such difficult, emotionally wrenching situations like this.

  • Sr. Bernadette Reis

    It is extremely difficult to name any one factor that is to “blame” for the prevalence of abortion. After all, women were having abortions prior to the legalization of divorce. To say that the issue is complex is an understatement. Furthermore, the more the issue becomes a volleyball match between opposing ideologies, the more the issue remains distant, abstract, ideological. I don’t believe this is helpful to the women caught in the dilemma.

    Would that we lived in a perfect world, Mike, where we don’t have to deal with the effects of original sin. Until then, we must admit that most people are incapable of the heights of perfection that you are suggesting is the answer to abortion. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in the Theology of the Body and believe that therein lies a wonderful ideal for all of us to strive for. However, the violation that many women experience in the area of sexuality from the earliest ages on, and the sexual acting out that many men learn, deprive many of the foundation on which to build solid marriages. This is the reality that we deal with. It’s messy. Your suggestion reminds me of Jesus’ admonition to the lawyers who put heavy burdens on others without lifting a finger to help them.

    Yes, we do have a duty, as Cibele suggests, of showing people a better way–by how we live. I think that this means that we do so with respect and love, appealing to the freedom of the individual–as God does with us. It means that we remove the beams from our own eyes before we remove the speck in others’ eyes–in other words, we realize our own sinfulness, and not mask it by pointing at others. Again, I can say that my brother and sister-in-law taught me a lot. Their lives showed their guest another way to live, they expected certain things from her because she lived under their roof, and I have seen a transformation in her. It was such a joy for me to call my brother at times and the little daughter of their guest was bugging him because I had interrupted their “play time.” In this very un-ideal situation, my brother was, and will probably remain, a father-figure for this little girl. This is what it means to be Christian–to make Christ present where He so wants to be present–by giving OURSELVES that others may life. People grow so much better when they know they are loved, rather than condemned.

    As women religious, I believe every good work that we enter into is pro-life. I ask you, Mike, to please re-read Tricia’s comment. There is a whole congregation of women religious dedicated to this particular mission. Let’s acknowledge the good that the Sisters of Life are doing, that other women religious are doing.

    I have often wondered the same thing, Michael. Bernard Nathanson, an abortionist, wrote a book called “The Hand of God.” I have always wanted to read this book. I know that you will find his first-hand account of how performing abortions affected him.

    I hear you, Mairie, and thank you so much for your comment. So often, it is women who bear the brunt of so much.

    Jim, you ask a good question. What I find interesting is that due to the biology of bearing life, women are much more in touch to begin with with the life they bear. I’ve noticed that it is more difficult for men to “bond” with the life their wives bear, because there is a “biological distance” for men. This physical reality might also affect the way we tend to look at and deal with the reality around us. A concerted effort to encourage Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates is a more distant approach to the issue than the one that I am advocating. Both approaches, I believe, have some validity. The point is it needs to be both/and.

  • Michael

    I am wondering what performing abortions does to those who do them (the doctors and the nurses)? Does it effect them psychologically or spiritually? I would be interested to know if any study been done on this question.

  • mairie

    Why is this moral low ground, un-parental behaviour and un-christian action ending up at the woman’s feet? It takes two to get pregnant – or is it only the woman promiscuous, who needs to be blamed? Who then has to live with the guilt (This is starting to sound a bit familiar).
    Thre is always the ‘father’ to consider – why aren’t men being asked to take up the banner as well? Maybe some of these children were not likely to have a father in their life, or the woman a committed partner. The Church talks about ideal family groups living in ideal communities -I don’t know many – although I pray for them.

  • Gayle

    Wonderful article and thought-provoking comments. “Anti-aborttion” does not equal “pro-life” esp. when it comes to elected officials. Mike- your comments make you sound like a bit of a misogynist.

  • jim

    The root question, and you sort of addresed it, is how do you regain trust after losing it? How can the Church re-establish credibility on the issue of abortion after years of being used by the Republican party to confuse the public about abortion and the truly complex issues surrounding it? The idea of the grassroots is good, but the tone at the top has to change-the Bishops should end their unholy alliance with the Republican Party and the whole partisan politicking and adopt your pro-life approach.

powered by the Paulists