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March for Life?

To all those who participated in the DC or local demonstrations of March for Life I want to say first, that I think that what you guys did is awesome.

However, I have a few questions/comments. When you have a rally that big, what exactly are the anticipated results? The government knows there are tons of people who are pro-life, and their opinion isn't bound to be changed by people blocking off all traffic in the city and marching around with posters. So, I guess I sympathize and am truly excited that everyone there was so dedicated and involved, but I just don't see the point.

Additionally, I am a little confused by people who want to make a law saying that women can't have abortions. The reason I am against the LAW (note: not the idea) is that I don't want the government regulating my body. What if the government were to say that certain types of surgery were forbidden. Like, if you needed surgery, but the risk the surgery presented was greater than the chance of survival. Let's say, just hypothetically, that the government made illegal all medical procedures that only had a 25% or less survival rate. I think that the 25% of possible survivors would be pretty upset. Oh yeah, and also DEAD.

If the medical community gets together and decides on a certain stage in pregnancy and says that after this point, it is a human being and has the right to life and THEN the government makes everything after that illegal abortions - cool. However, if the fetus has a 0% survival rate without staying inside the mother, then I think the mother should have the legal right to do what she wants. Personally, I think that baby is alive from the moment of conception, but let's look at it logically here folks - it just doesn't make sense to force someone to be a mother who doesn't want to be. And, by the way, adoption will never give you back the nine months of your life being pregnant took. (If you think nine months is a short period of time to worry about, consider those cancer patients who only have nine months to live - I think they will tell you every minute counts.)

Next, I think we should discuss why the government should not make laws that only have a basis in religion. We have freedom of speech. We have freedom of religion. We have freedom of a whole lot of things (stuff I never really even thought about until I came here and noticed the rest of the world doesn't have it). Why would we impose a religious belief on the rest of the country? If the largest portion of the population were atheists, we wouldn't want them saying that voluntarily saying grace before lunch in the school cafeteria with your other Christian friends was illegal. We would want that option. If the country was predominantly Islamic, we wouldn't want women to be forced to wear full body coverage clothing to go out in public, would we? If the country were predominantly Jewish, we wouldn't want people saying you HAD to have your son circumsized, would you? What if they were believers in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (read about this if you have some time and are also concerned about intelligent design being taught in the classroom) and the new government said everyone had to have Friday's off? What if you couldn't sell cheeseburgers because it wasn't koscher? What if you couldn't drive because you were a woman? What if you were only allowed to have one child because the government couldn't control the population? What if you weren't allowed to be free?

These are the things I fear when people try to make laws about things that aren't theirs to regulate. In the Bible, Jesus said, "Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and unto God what is God's." If people want to have an abortion, nothing is going to stop them. Not laws, not guidelines, not mandatory parental permission forms. On this earth, in our country, let them do as they please. Help them make better decisions. Pray for their hearts and souls. Don't try to get people into heaven by making it illegal to sin. According to the Catholic Church we were already born with sin anyway. Nothing is going to stop a sinner.

The March for Life is, in principle, a fabulous demonstration of the power of the pro-life public. Use every freedom given power you have to try to take guns out of the hands of people who don't know how to use them, change what is taught in schools to a balanced curriculum - not taught to a test, help regulate violence on television, spend time with your own children, become acquainted with other cultures - do anything you can to make yourself a better, smarter, more informed person. Teach your children to do the same. Then let them make the right decisions for themselves. Give them the right to have a choice. Let the government give us a choice. And pray that people make the choice of life.

Love always, ~Heather


pritcher said…
you know, for the longest time i considered myself pro-choice for many of the reasons you mention (and also because all i ever heard from the "pro-life" movement was condemning, hateful rhetoric...i admit i wasn't paying very close attention to the issues, just to stereotypes of each side and my assumption that to be against abortion meant being against women).

i especially would have agreed with you, and i still do, when you say that "if people want to have an abortion, nothing is going to stop them," especially the self-righteous, simple-minded folks who wanted "to get people into heaven by making it illegal to sin."

i am all about catholic social teaching. i believe strongly in the preferential option for the poor, and i see the consumerist ideology of many north americans as terribly sinful and unjust. so if a government wanted to pass legislation that empowered the poor and defended their rights, i'd be all for it. i'd even feel smugly (and sinfully, of course--but when i read the psalms i get the feeling i'm not alone in this) righteous if that legislation meant that the wealthy would have to give up some of their unjust wealth. rights of the little guy, ya know? so of course, i would be the first to defend a woman's right to work her way out of difficult circumstances, and if that meant abortion, then that's sad, but necessary.

what i've come to realize over the past several months, though, is that i was missing something important: in my rush to defend the rights of one person, the mother, i was blatantly disregarding the rights of the child. if i'm really going to commit myself to the preferential option for the poor, i have to recognize that if "the baby is alive from the moment of conception," then he or she, who owns nothing and can control nothing, certainly must be one of those poor.

my point is that, if i'm going to accept any legislation that protects the poor--whether it allows workers to unionize,tries to keep "guns out of the hands of people who don't know how to use them," or prohibits folks from baking meth in their living rooms and blowing themselves up--i need to also support any legislation that protects the unborn. otherwise i'm being a hypocrite. and i'm a hypocrite about so many things; i want to try to get at least this one right.

of course it's not an either/or situation. the rights of the child don't cancel out the rights of the mother; but neither are they less important. what i've finally found is that there are pro-lifers who actually are pro-life, which includes supporting mothers.

i apologize for the long comment. you may want to check out i think you'll like what they're doing.

Napoleon said…
Hello, I'm one of the many people who were fortunate enough to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and I happened upon your blog through intermediate blogs, but you have some really good questions and I wanted to add my own musings.

Your first question on "Why march?" is one I thought about a lot as I walked slowly among the throngs of Pro-lifers. First, in my experience with political activism, many times the rally in front of the Capital or the letter writting campaign isn't about the Congressman or legislative body it's addressed to. Many times the rally is more important to the followers. It energizes the Pro-life movement to see so many people in one place for a common cause. It also make voters, hopefully swing voters, take notice, do research, and recognize a cause that they otherwise would not have stood behind. Organizers of a rally hope that energizing their base public, and securing a few swing votes, will pay dividens during elections.

Second, the Pro-life movement is not only political it is cultural. I personally hold what is a common belief among pro-lifers that the legal problems of abortion and legalized ethunasia have cultural roots in the way individuals few medical ethics, scientific research, and life itself. In organizing and joining together one a year to re-energize, the rally is about shifting focus and changing America's cultural views. By raising our collective voice the rally is meant to speak to those stuck in traffic, to those watching on t.v., and to those talking about it on blogs. By creating discussion about how we value life and what freedom truly means, this is how to end abortion. Because you are right, even if abortion were illegal then individuals would still find a way. But if we change the culture, educate the masses, and re-shift society's thought process; then maybe, just maybe abortion will be recognized as an unfeasible solution.

And with all that said... I do apologize to all those who had to sit in traffic or deal with all of us Pro-lifers in the Subways during rush hour on Monday
Heather said…
I sympathize with your sticking up for the poor Pritcher. In general, I do too. I also, mostly, agree with your sentiment. I would suggest however reading Atlas Shurgged Which a friend lent me over Christmas. I think it will be an interesting philosophical insight into making laws that help the people, even if it "meant that the wealthy would have to give up some of their unjust wealth." Let me know what you think when you get through. Until then, thanks for posting to you and to Jeff - I appreciate the commentary and the ideas.
crestafiesta said…
I came here through Gashwin's page and wanted to let you know that I am a Catholic woman and I share your worries about legislating morality and I thank you for your post.

On a personal note, after having a tubal pregnancy last year, I find it especially troubling when blanket statements about when life begins are made and the cavalier attitude about "saving the child." For me there is a difference between a child and an embryo or fetus. I don't believe that God wanted me to carry a pregnancy that was a threat to my life. For the record, I held my beliefs long before they were convenient for my situation. What my experience did was further strengthen that the decision to end a pregnancy has to be between a woman and her God and it is not one that is come to lightly.

No one is pro-abortion. How about lessening the need for abortions by stopping unwanted pregnancies from occurring in first place? A good place to start would be to provide comprehensive sex education and access to reproductive health services.

I hope that this late night post is coherent. Thank you for speaking your mind.

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