Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One issue?

Pro-life activists are often accused of many things. Among the most popular, we are accused of being "one issue" people or simply crazed fanatics. These view is well represented in a recent article in the New York Times, despite the truths contained therein about the shame, secrecy and despair of abortion. Here, I wish to address the former claim about pro-life'ers briefly.

The article states:

"While public conversation about abortion is dominated by advocates with all-or-nothing positions - treating the fetus as a complete person, with full rights, or as a nonentity, with none - most patients at the clinic, like most Americans, found themselves on rockier ground, weighing religious, ethical, practical, sentimental and financial imperatives that were often in conflict."

The article seems to accuse both pro-choice and pro-life activists with refusal to compromise or work for common ground on the abortion issue. Pro-life activists are especially criticized here for the problem of abortion because it seems as if we do not do enough to provide alternative options for pregnant women. Blame is not placed on the abortion industry that pries on vulnerable women for profit while offering empty promises.

The champion for promoting real choices for pregnant women has been Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of Real Choices: listening to women; looking for alternatives to abortion. Frederica has a unique way of addressing the abortion problem from the view of helping both mother and child for the sake of family and society.

In fact, what many don't realize is that the pro-life movement (and even some in the pro-choice movement) spends much effort not only providing for pregnant women, but also rescuing them from the clutches of society that try to convince them that even trying to have a baby is a grave irresponsibility. We work against society, media and culture, clinging to the hope of Jesus Christ. Pro-life activists recognize the needs that women have and seek to meet those needs. We understand that the conflicts that women have are not a violent desire to kill a child, but it is a response to despair in the fact that "religious, ethical, practical, sentimental and financial" issues are overwhelming.

Let’s use an analogy that is easy to relate to: Hurricane Katrina. The response to that tragedy was largely unorganized. The hit was expected, however the amount of damage was by far under-expected. So… in this situation, we are not only helping those whose lives are devastated by the disaster, but also using our experience to devise a new plan. Part of that plan is not only to have better crisis intervention response teams prepared, etc, but also to have the water drainage systems and levies inspected and in proper working order. It would be silly to suggest that only one of these things is important; it is all important. Such is with the pro-life message. Our message must be comprehensive and truly revolutionary. It must address the needs of women and families.

In high school, I was actually forbidden to write papers about contraception or abortion because it was a Catholic high school and "the issue is settled," I was told. "There is no need for you to address a topic that was already defined by the Church." Now I see that maybe the problem is that it abortion not addressed enough by the people in the Church in response to the firm teachings of the Church that guide us.

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