The Real Victims of Stupak-Pitts


When I
heard about the Stupak/Pitts amendment, I was in a room with 15 other doctors who
shared my anger and disappointment. We had gathered for a board meeting for Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health,
and we were horrified by the cruelty the amendment has in store for our
patients.

In
examining rooms, we see women in terrible pain, but their suffering doesn’t
count in Stupak/Pitts world. By banishing abortion from the reform bill, the
amendment punishes women who need to end unwanted or unhealthy pregnancies.

We share
the stories
below and on our website
to show what can happen to women physically, financially, and emotionally when
they don’t have insurance coverage for abortion. As physicians, we try our best
to help these women. As advocates, we will fight to protect their access to
abortion.

From Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH:

My patient Carol was excited to
give birth to her first child.
Her husband was a Marine serving in
Afghanistan. Sadly, in her second trimester, Carol learned that her baby had a
lethal anomaly. She and her husband made the difficult decision to have an
abortion.

That’s when they learned that the
military health insurance they relied on wouldn’t cover the abortion unless
Carol’s life was in danger.

Her husband was outraged. He had
just flown back from Afghanistan to be with her, and he angrily asked me, “I’m
over there defending my country, and they won’t even take care of my family?”

From Natalie Roche, MD:

Renee was 18 years old and in
prenatal care
for a pregnancy she wanted. Her physician found that she had
an elevated white blood count. Renee was diagnosed with acute leukemia.

Her oncologist could not begin
treatment. The chemotherapy Renee needed came with a risk of miscarriage that
could cause fatal hemorrhaging or infection. She decided to have an abortion to
save her life.

But Renee did not have insurance.
It took time for her to find a doctor who could perform her abortion. The time
she spent searching for a provider she could afford endangered her health. She
developed anemia and dangerously low white blood cell and platelet counts. She
also entered the second trimester of her pregnancy, making her abortion
riskier.

I performed her abortion
successfully, and Renee went on to have her treatment for leukemia. I do not
know if it was too late.

From Willie Parker, MD, MPH:

A woman who was 16 weeks
pregnant
and had an alcohol problem came to me for an abortion. She knew
that she was not ready to be a mother. But she had a condition with her
placenta that made abortion risky, and I had to tell her that the procedure
would require a hospital stay, making it much more expensive.

She didn’t have insurance or enough
money to cover the termination. She had no choice but to continue the
pregnancy. I got her into prenatal care. That was the best I could do.

From Pratima Gupta, MD, MPH:

I wasn’t able to help Anna.
She became pregnant unexpectedly and decided to have an abortion. But when I
started the paperwork for Anna’s procedure, her insurance coverage was denied.
Anna works for the postal service, and as a government employee, she is not
allowed to have health insurance coverage for abortion.

I had to tell Anna that I couldn’t
provide her abortion, and I gave her the phone numbers of some clinics that
could help. In the end, Anna had to borrow money from several friends to pay
for her abortion. I will never forget how frightened and frantic she was to
learn that her good government health insurance didn’t cover the care she
needed.

From Renee E. Mestad, MD:

My patient Sherry is 24,
pregnant, and the mother of a 7-month-old son.
Although her pregnancy was
not planned, Sherry and her husband were initially excited to have a little
brother or sister for their boy. Then Sherry’s early ultrasound showed she had
twins. She and her husband spent several weeks eagerly anticipating the growth
of their family.

But the next ultrasound showed that
the twins are conjoined, or Siamese. The babies are joined at the head, sharing
a brain, and chest, sharing a heart. They have two spines, four arms, and four
legs. It would be impossible to separate them. If they survive after birth, it
would only be for a few minutes. One heart can’t keep two bodies alive. The
risk of stillbirth is also very high.

Now 19 weeks into her pregnancy,
Sherry tells me she is depressed. She wakes up every morning wondering if today
will be the day her babies will die inside her. How would she deliver them? She
knows that she would probably need a cesarean section because their combined
size might make them too large for the birth canal. Sherry then imagines
carrying the twins for another four and a half months. She sees herself
delivering stillborns or watching her babies die minutes after their birth.

Sherry must decide whether to
continue her pregnancy. An abortion might give her and her husband some
emotional relief. And if the twins are small enough, she might not need surgery
to remove them.

But because Sherry’s insurance will
not pay for her abortion, she has to worry about money on top of her other
fears. She is on Medicaid, which will cover the twins’ delivery, alive or dead,
but not an abortion—fetal abnormality isn’t enough to get around the Hyde
amendment. Although the abortion would be less expensive in a clinic, Sherry
would have to go to a hospital since she could need surgery. She would be
responsible for the entire bill of at least $10,000 to cover the operating
room, anesthesia, medication, and other fees. This expense would destroy her
family’s financial well-being.

Sherry can carry her babies to term
who cannot and will not live, or she can have an abortion and
possibly bankrupt her family.

Sherry’s pregnancy is medically
rare, but her dilemma about money is all too familiar. When a woman doesn’t
have insurance coverage for abortion, she and her family suffer.

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To schedule an interview with Dr. Suzanne Poppema please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • catseye71352

    Since the anti-abortion crowd is so hipped on the idea that forcing a woman to watch an ultrasound will “show [her] that it is a living baby” and change her mind, maybe we could force the anti’s to watch footage of these circumstances (re-enacted by actors to protect the women and their doctors) but certified as factual.

    Catseye  ( (|) )

  • kate-ranieri

    I have witnessed women telling antis their reasons for choosing abortion. And regardless of how painful it must be to reveal their circumstances, regardless of the obvious fact that the antis deserve NO explanation, it matters not. The antis don’t care if a little girl has been raped, if the woman would die if she carries the pregnancy to term or if the couple simply cannot afford an additional child. They care only about themselves or their zealotry.

    The modest proposal sounds great but the reality, at least in Allentown PA, is that these wackadoodles are deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to having compassion for real women.

  • jeornom

    The antis don’t care if a little girl has been raped, if the woman would die if she carries the pregnancy to term

     

    The life of the women in story #2 (and possibly #5) is in danger, and would therefore be covered if she were insured through a QHBP (according to the Stupak text).

     

    For the women in the other stories, elective abortion remains legal. It’s not free, but neither are many other elective procedures.

     

    They care only about themselves or their zealotry.

     

    Actually, we care about the babies. The babies are the ones whose situation is truly grim.

  • emma

    Kate, I agree with you.
    I’m not being snarky – genuinely – but it feels to me as if they’ve just developed such an obsession with foetuses that it verges on idolatry foetolatry (worship of foetuses).*

     

    I don’t have the impression they see us as thinking, breathing, talking (etc) people; it seems they view us as an obstacle, to be coerced into whatever choices, behaviours and so on that the anti-choicer so desires.

     

    This is a pretty crap comment (I’m a teensy bit drunk) but am posting it anyway.

     

    *For the religious – is idolatry a hellworthy offence?

  • kate-ranieri

    Idolatory is usually defined as worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a monotheistic God. It is considered a major sin in the Abrahamic religions whereas in religions where such activity is not considered a sin, the term "idolatry" itself is absent (thanks to Wikipedia). So, let’s see. Protesters carry around posters of dead fetuses. Protesters hand out fetal fetishes that look like plastic mini humans. Protesters chant, harangue and pray for fetuses. Hmm, sounds to me like foetolatry….

     

    Venial or mortal sin? Don’t know. Perhaps Paul Bradford can/will chime in with his insights. 

  • mikeoliphant

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) released a merged version of the Senate comprehensive reform on 11/19/09, which Mike Oliphant whom manages Utah health insurance plans for http://www.benefitsmanager.net/utah-group-health-insurance.htm employers could get behind and support some of it (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or H.R. 3590). This should encourage the private sector health insurance carriers to form INSURANCE EXCHANGES which is what we have done here in Utah. They carry the risk and burden, not the tax payer. See more about this at http://www.ahealthinsurancequote.com/reform.html

  • womantrust

    Womantrust The comments by jeomom perfectly reflect the zealotry being discussed. In her world, only if a woman will die should her abortion be funded. What about #1 whose fetus has a letal anomaly (meaning it won’t live)- how cruel to make the woman continue the pregnancy then deliver (usually with great difficulty), with all the attendant stress and expenses involved with pregnancies incompatible with life. Is it also about dead babies? #3 has an alcohol problem, increasing risk to her and the pregnancy. And placenta problem- which frequently means it can detach during pregnancy putting the woman at risk of bleeding to death- usually meaning death of fetus as well. #4 looks like an ‘elective’ abortion and no one knows what that woman’s other considerations are, i.e. family, financial ability to be out of work for maternity leave or even if this woman wants to have a child. Most women do the best they can with birth control, but even the best methods can fail- especially high with the ‘rhythm’ method or natural family planning. So jeomom shows us just how unconcerned the movement is with the woman- who must be the first consideration- and her situation. We know from experience, if a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, she won’t. Before legal abortion, women risked loss of reproductive health and lives to end a pregnancy; now they risk flying bullets in providers parking lots, the misinformation given by ‘pro-lifers’ about a supposed breast cancer connection and ‘automatic death’ from a safe abortion. Some believe this false info but still proceed with their abortions, in spite of the protestor gauntlets they must run just to get inside a safe clinic. It could be said we’re all ‘pro-life’, but whose life (or quality of), are we talking about? Providers risk their lives daily to protect and preserve women’s lives. How can anyone decide better than the person who lives with the consequences involved? Most ‘pro-lifers’ also oppose sex education and the most effective birth control methods- since these are the greatest tools against abortion, their opposition speaks volumes.

  • crowepps

    A 15-month-old girl who died of traumatic brain injury more than a year ago died at the hands of her father, who slapped her head into a highchair repeatedly because she wouldn’t stop throwing food on the floor, according to court documents.

    In January, Clayton Allison told investigators Christiane would come home from work and weigh Jocelynn, asking if the girl had been eating well. Clayton Allison told investigators he tried to feed the girl oatmeal and peas to put weight on her but Jocelynn would throw it on the floor. He told investigators he felt like a failure as a father.

    To stop her from throwing the food, Allison began slapping her, knocking Jocelynn’s head against the back of a plastic highchair, according to troopers.

    “Clayton said that at that time her head would snap forward striking the tray table,” Ferno wrote. “The other blows would be a forehand slap followed by a backhanded slap causing her head to strike the side of the chair.”
    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/crime/story/1020841.html

  • julie-watkins

    Nature is sexist: pregnancy impacts women more than men. Society tends to take advantage of that & adds classist discrimination on top of the sexual discrimination. It seem to many people (not me) that enforcing nature’s sexism is, by definition, ethical — even though sexual & classist discrimination is the result. It seems to many people (not me) that a woman (or her supporters) who objects is, by definition, to be considered unethical and selfish. I’d rather not be considered second class by definition, so I’m not convinced by your social coercion.

  • crowepps

    Isn’t there also a question of duty versus freedom? The same people seem to hold both the idea that it’s a woman’s DUTY to risk death during pregnancy because it ‘serves society’ and the idea that it’s a man’s DUTY to join the military and risk death because it ‘serves society’. People who assert personal freedom are considered selfish because that’s always the accusation that users make when people have the nerve to resist being walked all over.

     

    After having waded through just enough of the enormous amount of philosophical and religious disputes about Duty to Society versus Personal Freedom to make me nauseated by the doubletalk and unspoken underlying assumptions about how people have to be useful to be tolerated by others, it seems to me that the extreme ends of the conflict are between What’s In It For Us (‘why should you as an individual exist unless we can harness you for the benefit of the rest of us’) and I Didn’t Ask To Be Born (‘I’m loyal to my family but society in general hasn’t done a darn thing for me and I don’t owe the rest of you anything.’)

     

    It would be interesting to quantify ‘duty to society/freedom’ index and see exactly where people at various steps on the continuum fall on various issues. Certainly there are conservative posters on here who talk a lot about how people have a ‘duty’ to serve others/society while simultaneously resisting strongly any idea that society might have a reciprocal duty to individuals. If ‘personal responsibility’ is so great for individuals, then doesn’t EVERY member of society have a responsibility to meet their own needs without imposing on other people?

  • ahunt

    Hey Crowepps…soldiers are PAID for doing their duty, with hazardous duty bonuses, and medical care is…FREE. 

     

    (Just an itsy bitsy, teensy weensy distinction.)

  • crowepps

    That is a very recent development historically – soldiers (and sailors) didn’t used to be paid much at all, their only bonuses were what they could loot, and medical care pretty much was sawing things off. Interestingly, the actual mercenaries of the time, who DID get paid, were considered damned because of it – Christianity at that time had no justification for getting paid to kill people. Killing people because the ‘ruler’ told you to was okay because he was considered to be the one who had to come up with reasons; you were ‘just obeying orders’.

     

    The conservatives object strenuously to supporting women while they are pregnant or providing medical care because that’s the same as PAYING THEM TO HAVE SEX which obviously is outrageous.

     

    Paying people to kill other people is much easier to justify morally. AND you can insist all the taxpayers chip in, even if they are dedicated pacifists.

  • ahunt

    Snerk…

     

    Poor conservatives. If only the stork actually did bring their cannon fodder…

  • paul-bradford

    I’d rather not be considered second class by definition, so I’m not convinced by your social coercion.

     

    Julie,

     

    I couldn’t tell who you were addressing in this post, but you and I have been having a discussion along these lines that I’d like to continue.

     

    Nature is sexist: pregnancy impacts women more than men.

     

    I wonder if you’ve considered the fact that this statement would be true even if there were never such a thing as an unintended pregnancy, even if there were never such a thing as pregnancy complications that threatened the mother’s life, even if there were never such a thing as a fetus with congenital defects.

     

    It seems to me that the antidote to nature’s sexism is to provide social, medical, financial and emotional supports to pregnant women.  The only way to protect our species from extinction is for women to get pregnant — so we’d better do everything we can to make certain that pregnant women don’t feel as if they’ve been relegated to second class status.

     

    You’ve focused our attention on the fact that pregnancy impacts women more than men, but it is also true that unintended pregnancy impacts mothers more than others.  We, collectively, have a responsibility to support pregnant women but we have an additional responsibility to support unwilling mothers.

     

    How should we support such women?  Well, first of all we ought to check our own motivation.  Unintended pregnancy affects mothers primarily — but it affects everyone else as well.  There are roughly two to two and a half million unintended pregnancies in the United States every year and the collective impact on all of us is enormous.  Children who are born to unprepared mothers put much more stress on social services than children born to mothers who planned for them.  Such children are more likely to develop medical problems, are more likely to need special education, are more likely to require welfare, are more likely to develop substance abuse problems and are more likely to get into legal trouble than other children.

     

    When a woman discovers she’s carrying an unintended pregnancy it’s a problem for her — but it’s a problem for everyone else as well.  She’s got a choice to make, but her choice affects everyone.  What sort of choice do you suppose the society is likely to support?  The one that costs $400, or the one that costs scores of thousands of dollars.

     

    Another way to think about it is, which form of support would indicate a serious effort on the part of the society to address the problem of nature’s sexism? 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • julie-watkins

    which form of support would indicate a serious effort on the part of the society to address the problem of nature’s sexism? 

    Trust women.

    .
    Leave society out of reproductive matters — it should a matter between the woman and her doctor and chosen advisors.

    .
    Don’t write laws, leave it to medical standards.

    .
    Don’t disvalue women by obsessing on ZBEFs.

    .
    Don’t say we must draw lines about when a potential human becomes a person.

    .
    Accept grey! To mitigate against Nature’s sexism, let us all trust women and say the magic moment when the pregnancy becomes an unbord child is when the woman accepts the pregnancy. Anything less is society enforcing gender roles (discrimination). Accept this acceptance is conditional — if something bad happens, the mother should be trusted to make her own decision (with the help of her doctors and chosen advisors, and medical standards) about late abortion.

    .
    Giving birth (giving life) is a gift, or women and poor people are 2nd class.

  • julie-watkins

    so I answered quickly. There’s still much to say about the rest, which I may or may not answer after thinks slow down again in my world, depending how the rest of the conversation goes. It would center on how the whole rest of your post (and almost every other post you write) is summed up by how you worded this

    When a woman discovers she’s carrying an unintended pregnancy it’s a problem for her — but it’s a problem for everyone else as well.

    and how that’s disvaluing women.

  • kate-ranieri

    At Allentown Women’s Center, a client decided to take up the protesters’ offer of a free ultrasound. She went with them to the Muhlenberg Lehigh Valley Hospital and said the women were really nice. However, she also said that what they offered and what they said reflected how little they understood or cared for her realities. Several days later, she returned to the clinic to get her abortion. When the protesters recognized her, they had nothing but hell-fire and brimstone for her. So much for caring for the women. Put simply, they don’t. 

  • paul-bradford

    Perhaps Paul Bradford can/will chime in with his insights.

     

    Kate,

     

    For you, anything!

     

    I don’t have the expertise to comment on "all Abrahamic religions" but I might be able to say one or two useful things about Catholicism.

     

    The reason Catholics view idolatry as a serious danger to a person’s spirituality isn’t so much that idolatry might lead you to deny that God is one, but rather that idolatry inevitably causes you to lose sight of God’s transcendence.  Idolatry puts something temporal at the center of worship and leaves you vulnerable to multiple manifestations of materialism.  (By the way, materialism isn’t simply a modern malaise — it’s been around as long as there have been people).

     

    Is there a ‘cult of the fetus’?  You seem to have thought more about it than I have.  My diagnosis of people who carry around posters of dead fetuses, fetishize fetuses with plastic replicas or who chant and harangue in the name of fetuses isn’t that they have trouble keying into God’s transcendence, it’s that they can’t seem to see that peace is a constituent element in the divine nature.

     

    Care for the lives of the very young should be merely one aspect of one’s concern for every human life.  As I’ve said repeatedly, you can’t be good to the unborn unless you’re good to their mothers — so a genuine interest in the well-being of women is an essential characteristic of any authentic desire to protect the unborn.

     

    Here is an irony worth pondering: abortion severs an unborn child from her/his mother, and many so called Pro-Lifers take attitudes that sever a concern for the unborn from any concern for women (and for anybody else, for that matter).

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    To mitigate against Nature’s sexism, let us all trust women and say the magic moment when the pregnancy becomes an unborn child is when the woman accepts the pregnancy.

     

    Julie, 

     

    Every form of dehumanization, certainly every form of dehumanization where a woman is the victim, is rooted in the distorted perception that a person’s value is the same as a person’s value to somebody else.  When we fail to realize that a person possesses intrinsic value, we dehumanize her/him.

     

    If I were to say that my value is a function of my mother’s acceptance of me, I wouldn’t be "trusting women", I would be complicit in the distortion that my value is the same thing as my value to my mother.  They’re not the same things at all.

     

    Were I to view you in terms of how you support or frustrate my aims, I would be dehumanizing you.  You may have heard me comment that the most important feature of faith isn’t a belief in the existence of God, it’s a belief in the existence of other human beings.  To dehumanize you is to lose faith that you actually are a human being, as I am.  To see you as either an obstacle or a stepping-stone is to lose sight of you all together.

     

    I have neither the right, nor the authority to do that.  Your version of of ‘trusting women’ is an effort to make women gods — and truly awful gods at that. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • jayn

    Paul, your position is essentially that the value of a woman is the same as her value to the fetus developing inside her, which denies that she has any agency of her own.  If we’re making woman into gods, you’re making them into life-support machines.  We are not tools–our value is not dependant on our ‘function’.

  • crowepps

    I would say the limits of human authority would be right at the point where we judge that other human’s can’t make their own decisions because the fact that theirs disagree with ours means they aren’t ‘worthy’ to make decisions.

     

    I understand that you sincerely believe in your religion, Paul, but you have to understand that to people who are NOT members of your religion, the various rules and tenets of that religion are just as man-made and human interpreted as those of Tony Alamo or Brian Mitchell.

     

    Your version of of ‘trusting women’ is an effort to make women gods — and truly awful gods at that.

    Those women couldn’t possibly ever approach the same level of awful as a God who demands that a raped 9-year old die during the resultant pregnancy or that a woman must continue to carry a brainless fetus.

  • colleen

    Your version of of ‘trusting women’ is an effort to make women gods — and truly awful gods at that.

    Because this sounds like overblown, hysterical nonsense to me. Nothing she says is an effort to make women ‘gods’, awful or not. Indeed those who wish to be able to control and dictate the reproductive choices of all women strike me as the folks who wish to be ‘truly awful gods’.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • kate-ranieri

    At the Allentown Women’s Center this morning, the discussion amongst a few volunteers centered around the prolifers’ logic of the fetus as a baby/child and what constitutes pornography. Simplified, they were wondering if charges could be brought against the protesters who consume and publicly display mutilated fetuses as child pornography, specifically snuff films.

  • crowepps

    As I understand the theology, if there is any chance of making a wrong decision, then it is better to make no decision. Aside from ignoring the fact that deciding to do nothing is also a decision, the real problem seems to be that their religious framework is so punitive and has such horrible punishments associated with decisions, that they become paralyzed by anxiety. It’s safer to just stick to tradition, the way it’s always been done, ‘natural law’ or any other set of preset rules than to actually engage with and evaluate reality. Of course, having chosen this head-in-the-sand, let-God-decide course, it becomes intolerable to see someone else making decisions. They too must be prevented from thinking. Cenophobia Rules!

    “The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions.”

    Mike Krzyzewski

    And then of course there’s the insurmountable problem that women don’t have the major asset a person requires before making decisions – a penis.

  • crowepps

    It would be interesting to call the cops, insist on filing a complaint, demand that one’s children not be exposed to ‘indecency’ in the public square, see if the ACLU is willing to do a few test cases. Particularly taking into consideration that a formal complaint was lodged by the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards about a YouTube video:

    “The video depicts young children giving the fingers – a gesture utilised to mock and express hatred towards those who oppose abortion on demand. These provocations are regularly interspersed with cries of “F## You” and “You are a C###” accompanied by the provocative music of the band “Twisted Sister”.

     

    The Society applauds Young’s right to have an opinion and express it in a free and democratic society, but it abhors the publication of objectionable and offensive content on a public website that shamelessly exploits children, uses obscene and vile language and demeans individuals in a manner that is defamatory etc.
    http://www.spcs.org.nz/2008/formal-complaints-lodged-over-hateful-obscene-pro-abortionist-youtube-video/

  • kate-ranieri

    Crowepps, your mentioning indecency and children exposed to obscenities reminds me what happened in Allentown PA this past June. One mother with child in tow were driving down Union Blvd past the Allentown Women’s Center. On the sidewalk were protesters with their vile, larger-than-life signs of bloody fetuses. The mother was so upset that she wrote a letter to the editor, complaining about the fact that children should not be exposed to these images. The public outcry against the protesters in the online forum was overwhelming. While their goal seemed to be to "out" the abortion clinic, they instead outed themselves as uncaring women. They eventually stopped their circus of horrors on Union Blvd, confining their protesting to the residential area around the clinic parking lot.

  • crowepps

    The response that I have heard from protestors when people make complaints about children seeing their graphic signs and photos is that the parents “ought to explain abortion” to those children. Frankly, the idea of explaining any kind of abortion, even a miscarriage, to a three or four year old seems indecent in and of itself. Certainly it’s really weird that the same group of people who object to kids in sixth grade having a book in their library that contains the word ‘scrotum’ want toddlers to be exposed to explanations of abortion.

  • colleen

    Those women couldn’t possibly ever approach the same level of awful as a God who demands that a raped 9-year old die during the resultant pregnancy or that a woman must continue to carry a brainless fetus.

    I’ve always found the men and women who claim that this is moral and god’s will and then lay claim to or express feelings of what they call ‘compassion’ for the women or little girls they condemn a slightly worse level of awful.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

    our value is not dependent on our ‘function’.

     

    Jayn,

     

    Now we’re talking!  We can begin with the acknowledgement that no one’s value is dependent on her/his function.  When I speak of valuing a person, I am talking about respecting her/his rights.

     

    So, let’s go right to the heart of the matter and take up the issue of a healthy mother who is unwillingly carrying a healthy child.  Is that mother valued?  Is her value dependent on anything she does for someone else?  What rights does she have as a benefit of her value? 

     

    The clear and obvious answer is that we ought to value mothers for who they are, not for their mothering function.  We can’t, for example, assert a right to life for women who are fulfilling the function of motherhood and deny that right to women who choose not to be mothers.  Just as we have to respect a woman’s right to life whether or not she chooses to be a mother, we must also respect her right to self-determination and bodily autonomy — whether or not she chooses to fulfill the mothering function.

     

    We should be able to speak, with clarity and with moral authority about how we ought to treat the mother of an unborn child. We also ought to be able to speak with the same clarity and moral authority about how that mother ought to treat her child.  We shouldn’t treat her as if her rights depended upon her willingness to fulfill our ideas about what a mother should do, and she shouldn’t treat her unborn child as if her/his rights depended upon her/his capacity to fulfill her whim as to whether or not she wants a baby in her life.

     

    It turns out that I published something about this on my PLCC website.  I would really appreciate your reading and commenting on that piece. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • kate-ranieri

    Crowepps,

    My observations of protesters’ behaviors are such that they could fall under the category of "Walking Contradictions." For example, they yammer on about offering hope and help in one breath and tell the boyfriend that he’s a coward and shame him. Or I hear them rattling on and on with their prayers and then use the same mouth to ask a young woman why she feels that killing her baby is OK. And these two examples are just the beginning of a very long list on contradictions. 

  • progo35

    And that relates to abortion how? Are you implying that this baby must have been the result of an unwanted pregnancy and that is why her father CHOSE to abuse her? 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • paul-bradford

    I understand that you sincerely believe in your religion, Paul, but you have to understand that to people who are NOT members of your religion, the various rules and tenets of that religion are just as man-made and human interpreted as those of Tony Alamo or Brian Mitchell.

     

    crowepps,

     

    As usual, talking to you is an education for me.  I had no idea who Tony Alamo was until I read his Wiki (sounds to me that 175 years in prison won’t be enough).  Brian Mitchell, as I understand it, is the president of Bucknell University.  I’m certain you meant some other Brian Mitchell but I googled in vain to find one who was responsible for "various rules and tenets". 

     

    You must have noticed, crowepps, that I hardly ever mention my religion unless someone brings it up.  I certainly never haul in any scripture quotes, or passages from the catechism, or references to encyclicals or other religious books.  I do this deliberately because I think it would be both rude and stupid to expect people to adopt my religious orientation in order to talk to me.  I try, with every post, to use language that is natural and comfortable both to me and to the person I’m communicating with.

     

    You don’t have to be a Catholic to talk to me, you don’t have to believe in Jesus or in God or in anything like that.  I always limit myself to lines of thinking that are based on an ideal of justice that I believe I share with the kind of person likely to read my post. 

     

    When I talk about the need to respect other people as if they have intrinsic value, rather than a value dependent upon the service they render to others, I expect you to be able to respond to my comment in the light of your own belief system.  You don’t disclose as much about yourself as I do, but I’m fairly confident that the way you make sense of the universe includes the concept of respecting others.

     

    If I’m wrong about that, please set me straight. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

     

    P.S.  Since you and I have spoken on numerous occasions about the poor Brazilian girl who was raped by her step-father I’d like to know whether you ever read the piece I wrote at the time

  • paul-bradford

    colleen,

     

    Since I’m actually participating in this thread you might take note of the fact that I believe that what Bishop Cardoso and Cardinal Re did last March was reprehensible.  So did the Vatican — that’s why they called them out.

     

    But what are you and I going to do about the fact that the Pro-Life movement has plenty of men and women like Cardoso and Re?  In fact, the Pro-Life movement has plenty of men and women who are worse than Cardoso and Re.

     

    Pro-Lifers do more harm to the unborn than Reproductive Rights activists ever could — but that doesn’t weaken my resolve to do what I can to help protect the very young.

     

    You know, you can’t seem to get it out of your head that my mission is to condemn women who choose abortion.  This is not the case.  I simply point to the truth that a woman’s pregnancy decisions are going to be profoundly influenced by the people and the situations surrounding her.  As things stand now, there are a lot of factors in place that influence a great number of mothers to terminate viable pregnancies.

     

    This, of course, is very bad for the unborn; but it isn’t evidence that mothers are letting their children down.  It’s evidence that you, and I, and the rest of society is letting children down.

     

    I have no interest whatsoever in criticizing, shaming, condemning, stigmatizing or humiliating women who have come to the conclusion that abortion is their best choice.  My interest is in improving conditions so that in the future, fewer women will come to the same conclusion. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    It isn’t necessary to quote scripture to underline that your view is theologically based when your tag line is “Catholics For Choice”.

    Brian David Mitchell is the creep who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart out of her bedroom based on his “revelations from God instructing him to take seven more wives”. He isn’t one of the ‘Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’, but he does base his practice of child rape in similar beliefs about how women are ‘vessels’ for men to use. I find it really amazing that many so-called ‘spiritual’ traditions manage to skip lightly over the transcendent and spend endless time focusing on who the ‘spiritual leader’ can persuade, con, coerce or force into sex.

    You don’t disclose as much about yourself as I do, but I’m fairly confident that the way you make sense of the universe includes the concept of respecting others.

    Sure, but the difference is that I include women, even pregnant women, in the group of those I respect.

  • crowepps

    I was replying to the assertion that "we really care about the babies" because the situation of the fetus is "grim".  Sure wish there was that level of concern AFTER they are born.  The fact that this child was  persistently diagnosed ‘failure to thrive’ means she should have been OUT of that home long before.  Failure to thrive is a strong indicator of neglect or abuse.

  • paul-bradford

    As I understand the theology, if there is any chance of making a wrong decision, then it is better to make no decision.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I’m well aware of how much you dislike it when I make confident or authoritative declarations, but I’m going to make one now.  The person who believes that ‘no decision’ is better than the ‘wrong decision’ is headed for spiritual bankruptcy.  Courage is constituent to any living faith.  Timidity is a cancer. 

     

    I want you to understand that when I use the word ‘faith’ I do not mean ‘acceptance and adherence to a set of doctrines’.  I’m talking about the confidence one has that her/his life has meaning.  Obviously, there’s no need for a person to have ‘religion’ in order to have this kind of faith.  Just as obviously, there’s no need to adopt any sort of religious affiliation in order to see that the lack of such faith can be the root of great inner turmoil.

     

    Hang on to indecision and you’re going to go right down the rabbit hole.  Elevate indecision to a moral good and you’re going to become hopelessly confused.  I’m truly convinced of this. 

     

    [T]heir religious framework is so punitive and has such horrible punishments associated with decisions, that they become paralyzed by anxiety.

     

    I don’t know who "they" are but their religion just isn’t going to cut it.  Religion does nothing unless it helps you come to the realization that we are designed for joy.  If your religion doesn’t help you reach an abiding sense of joy you really should consider abandoning your religion.  

     

    Which are the religions that bring joy?  Which are the religions that don’t bring joy?  It’s not that simple.  The profound truths that lead to peace and to joy are hard to articulate.  The people who have come upon these truths and have tried to share them with others are always misunderstood.  No matter how wise the teacher, the disciples will be fools.

     

    And then of course there’s the insurmountable problem that women don’t have the major asset a person requires before making decisions – a penis.

     

    One of the things that I’m coming to learn about myself is that I regularly fail to take into consideration how sensitive women, particularly older women, are around the question of whether they have the right to make decisions.

     

    For example, in my mind it goes without saying that a woman, if she becomes pregnant, is going to make the decision about whether or not to bring the pregnancy to term — but that doesn’t mean that it ‘goes without saying’ to the woman.  For a lot of women, the ‘right to decide’ is an open question.  My efforts to advocate for the unborn are often taken as an attack on a woman’s agency.

     

    Part of the problem, perhaps, is that a lot of women have an unrealistic idea of what the power of decision can actually do.  I’m getting the idea that some women think that the power to decide means you’re free from outside influence.  The delusion that people ought to be able to make unfettered decisions leaves them wide open to subtle, but powerful influences.

     

    People on this ‘site get furious at my suggestion that their are enormous pressures placed on women to get them to abort.  My observation that women think they’re making free choices when in fact they’re not is taken as misogyny.  My eagerness to open up for women the freedom to choose life is interpreted as an unwillingness, on my part, to allow women to choose at all.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • colleen

    Since I’m actually participating in this thread you might take note
    of the fact that I believe that what Bishop Cardoso and Cardinal Re did
    last March was reprehensible.

    Do you mean when they took the case to court to argue against the abortion of twin fetuses in the uterus of a 9 year old despite the fact that any fool could see that a 9 year old is not able to carry twins to term? Or when they excommunicated her mother and the doctors involved in the abortion after The Church lost it’s court case? 

    So did the Vatican — that’s why they called them out.

     

    Called them out? Oh, please. .I followed this story closely in the news and, indeed, had a google news alert on it. The Vatican agreed with their decision to excommunicate and certainly agreed with their earlier decision to argue against the abortion in court.They backed down only after almost two weeks of justly deserved and extremely widespread international condemnation.

    When The Church finally backed down you sent me unrequested and unwanted email on the subject. I’m pleased that you now find what Bishop Cardoso and Cardinal Re did "reprehensible" but please, lets not pretend that they were lone renegades. 

     But what are you and I going to do about the fact that the Pro-Life movement has plenty of men and women like Cardoso and Re?

    You and I aren’t going to do anything together.

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • paul-bradford

     

    It isn’t necessary to quote scripture to underline that your view is theologically based when your tag line is "Catholics For Choice".

     

    crowepps,

     

    First of all, Catholics for Choice is Jon O’Brien’s group (his latest article is here).

     

    Second, you seem to be under some misapprehension about what Catholics do when they advocate for social justice.  We’re not trying to turn other people into Catholics, we’re using whatever power we have to make things right for people who are being treated unfairly.

     

    Look, I’m a middle-aged, white, Christian, heterosexual male in a world where men are treated better than women, straight people are treated better than gays, Christians are treated better than those of other religions, light-skinned people are treated better than dark-skinned people and people in their middle years are treated better than the very old or the very young.  If I didn’t care about justice I’d want things to stay just as they are — but I’m interested in turning everything upside down.

     

    You may think I care only about the unborn but that’s utterly untrue.  What is true is that I believe that there is no group more discriminated against.  We could do much, much better for the unborn — but the discrimination is mind boggling.

     

    [T]he difference is that I include women, even pregnant women, in the group of those I respect.

     

    You really have no idea how much I care about (and contribute money for) women’s health, women’s education and women who are victims of violence.  Particularly on the international level, but that’s not because I’m not concerned about those issues here — it’s just that I’m very sensitive to the fact that things are much, much worse in other places.

     

    What I know, and what you deny, is that we can never elevate the status of women by denigrating their children.  The unborn are victimized by abortion, but their mothers are victimized by the state of affairs that made abortion seem like a good idea. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    The unborn are victimized by abortion, but their mothers are victimized by the state of affairs that made abortion seem like a good idea.

    I’d go further than that and say that in a country where things have been structured so that it is CHEAPER to abort than to bear, abortion is not just ‘a good idea’ but almost a REQUIREMENT for the poor. And that is unjust, and it is revolting, and the same people who want abortion made illegal are fighting tooth and nail against the idea of providing prenatal and obstetric care for the poor because it might raise their taxes. My rough guess is that if prenatal and obstetric care was FREE for every woman in the country, the abortion rate would drop by one-third to one-half immediately.

  • crowepps

    Second, you seem to be under some misapprehension about what Catholics do when they advocate for social justice. We’re not trying to turn other people into Catholics, we’re using whatever power we have to make things right for people who are being treated unfairly.

    Except, of course, for gays. Certainly the amount of money that the church has poured into various ‘save traditional marriage’ efforts would have been extremely useful to the victims of the pedophile scandal — except that in response to those lawsuits the Church said it was bankrupt and couldn’t pay a penny.

     

    The problem with the present round of Catholic advocation for social justice is that the institutional efforts that are being made, while they don’t necessarily try to “turn other people into Catholics” assume that the civil law in our country ought to require people to ACT like Catholics and punish them for failing to do so. Frankly, a church which cannot inspire its laity, or its priesthood for that matter, to follow all those purity regulations and conform with those traditional roles, conclusively demonstrates that it has failed to feed its sheep when it gives up on inspiration and instead tries to coopt the civil government so that force can be used to drive people back into line.

  • crowepps

    You may think I care only about the unborn but that’s utterly untrue. What is true is that I believe that there is no group more discriminated against.

    Children are the last slave class. The level of discrimination really isn’t much different AFTER they’re born, as demonstrated by the poverty level earnings of daycare workers, the lack of commitment to social service funding, the tolerance of foster parents who are unskilled or dysfunctional because those are the only homes open to children for the low compensation offered, and the attitude of ‘it isn’t right to interfer in the family’ that leaves children to continue to suffer because of a totally unwarranted respect for the ‘ownership rights’ of the parents who are neglecting or abusing them.

  • crowepps

    Since I’m actually participating in this thread you might take note of the fact that I believe that what Bishop Cardoso and Cardinal Re did last March was reprehensible. So did the Vatican — that’s why they called them out.

    The Vatican did not ‘call them out’. The Vatican said don’t talk about this in public because the publicity is killing us. That doesn’t mean they actually changed their mind. Apparently you didn’t see the clarification that said that Sobrinho was absolutely correct (and the girl should have been allowed to die along with the fetuses).

    The brief document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the orthodoxy office that Benedict personally led before becoming Pope, defends Sobrinho’s “pastoral delicacy” and leaves no wiggle room on the standing of the family and doctors who carried out the abortion. “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life,” reads the statement, which widely cites past Vatican documents. “The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.” (While the doctor and the girl’s parents were excommunicated, the girl, being under age 18, was not subject to automatic excommunication.)

    While the doctrinal stance breaks no new ground, the question now, like in March, is a matter of emphasis. Why, months after the difficult issue had largely faded from view, did the Pope feel compelled to return to a case that could leave the church looking coldhearted? A senior Vatican official says the Pope was forced to back up the Brazilian bishop. “[Sobrinho] was furious,” says the official. “There was the impression that the local bishop had been subjected to immediate scrutiny by the Holy See.”

    But beyond the constant tug-of-war between Rome and local dioceses, there is a more important principle at stake. “We have laws, we have a discipline, we have a doctrine of the faith,” the official says. “This is not just theory. And you can’t start backpedaling just because the real-life situation carries a certain human weight.” Benedict makes it ever more clear that his strict approach to doctrine will remain a central pillar to his papacy, bad publicity be damned.”
    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1911495,00.html

  • colleen

    Crowepps,

    Thanks so much for this cite. It seems I ended my news alert too early. I wasn’t aware of this story.

    “a certain human weight” How delicate the Catholic hierarchy is when they discuss the moral necessity of killing a raped nine year old pregnant with twins. What monsters they are.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    The story was released very quietly, probably so that the media firestorm wouldn’t get new fuel. Yeah, “a certain human weight” is an interesting phrase, isn’t it? Actually the whole story makes it really clear that the point of the religion isn’t humans or humanity (or humility) at all but instead an insistence on unthinkingly and blindly following THE RULES, many of which are manmade constructs. It certainly makes me reflect on what Christ had to say about the Pharisees in Matthew 23.

  • paul-bradford

    My rough guess is that if prenatal and obstetric care was FREE for every woman in the country, the abortion rate would drop by one-third to one-half immediately.

     

    crowepps,

     

    You do realize — please tell me you realize! — that you and I are in complete agreement on this.  I will once again outline the five points I’ve suggested for reducing the abortion rate:

     

    * Provide quality OB/GYN care for all women.

    * Provide comprehensive birth control for all.

    * Provide the necessary social supports for mothers and their children.

    * Insure paternal support for children.

    * Eliminate discriminatory language against the very young.

     

    I should probably add: "Eliminate policies that discriminate against pregnant women."

     

    In addition to supporting these policies to reduce abortion, my Pro-Life convictions call me to speak out against the death penalty, unjust war (with the obvious inclusion of the Iraq conflict), gun violence, discrimination against immigrants, the assault on our environment and the lack of universal health coverage.

     

    I wonder if you and colleen would consider reconsider your characterization of me as being ‘extreme right wing’.  I honestly think I’m only very right wing.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Certainly the amount of money that the church has poured into various ‘save traditional marriage’ efforts would have been extremely useful to the victims of the pedophile scandal

     

    The problem with the ‘save traditional marriage’ effort is that there’s no longer anything left to save.  The only way ‘traditional marriage’ makes any sense at all is if the society sets a standard where people generally believe that sex outside marriage is wrong.  Additionally, in order for there to be a ‘traditional marriage’ a couple needs to enter the union with the intention and expectation of producing children.  On top of all that, marriage has to be seen as a permanent union and divorce would be considered a no-no.

     

    What we have today is not ‘marriage’ in the traditional sense, what we have is a domestic partnership agreement that we call marriage.  I don’t see any reason at all to deny homosexuals that sort of arrangement. 

     

    Frankly, a church which cannot inspire its laity, or its priesthood for that matter, to follow all those purity regulations and conform with those traditional roles, conclusively demonstrates that it has failed to feed its sheep when it gives up on inspiration and instead tries to coopt the civil government so that force can be used to drive people back into line.

     

    crowepps, social justice is not about purity regulations or traditional roles — it’s about advocating for people who are being treated unfairly.  To give you an example, the Church’s teaching against birth control is not part of her social justice teaching because it doesn’t address the victims of injustice.  

     

    If one wants to work for justice one shouldn’t be paying attention to the purity or the role of the justice advocate.  One has to be moved by compassion to improve things for the victims of injustice.

     

    Help me understand where the disconnect is between you and me on this one. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    I can’t speak for Colleen, but I don’t think I have ever labeled you personally as “extreme right-wing”. I certainly agree wtih you wholeheartedly that in a culture that asserts Children Are Our Future the first four items are basic commonsense.

     

    On that fifth item, however, I think you are revealed as a sentimentalist and/or Romantic, not only in your view of the fetus in all its stages but also in relationship to sex. In my opinion you would also benefit from insight into how your biases as a member of the privileged class distort your views, which IMO is particularly distorted in your view of women’s obligation to conform ‘for the sake of society’.

     

    To me “extreme” means both authoritative and punitive, and you don’t strike me as being particularly punitive. Except, of course, emotionally, since that would be the end result of the propagandizing you advocate in which women would be encouraged to adopt your sentimental views about their obligation to “cherish blastocysts”.

  • jayn

    Paul, I find your worldview troubling at times.  While there are certainly areas where we are in agreement, in some ways your ideology is more insideous than the typical extreme-right views.  While you agree with the idea that women should be allowed to make their own choices, you seem to be of the opinion that there is only one ‘right’ choice, and anything that would lead a woman to the ‘wrong’ choice needs to be fixed.  Which isn’t to say that they don’t, but I find your reasoning disturbing.

     

    What I see in you (and seems all too common in Christian thought–I’ll admit to being victim of this myself in the past) is the idea that what you see as right IS right, and that anyone who doesn’t agree with you needs to be ‘corrected’.  In this aspect you appear very similar to the fundamentalist movement to me, as if no reasonable person could possibly disagree once their eyes are opened to the ‘truth’.  You pay lip-service to ideological tolerance, but I find it hard to believe that you are really all that open-minded. While I agree with you in many ways, it’s this aspect of your worldview that I cannot support.

  • crowepps

    If one wants to work for justice one shouldn’t be paying attention to the purity or the role of the justice advocate. One has to be moved by compassion to improve things for the victims of injustice.

    Help me understand where the disconnect is between you and me on this one.

    The disconnect between us is really easy to understand. You are not practical. The various mechanisms that you have agreed are sensible in other posts (truthful sex education, birth control, medical support, social support and economic support) all are things which would address the injustices which our current social structure currently inflicts on the women. You keep insisting that the goal in addressing the ‘injustice of abortion’ is the fetus as a victim. I understand that you agree that helping women is good but you base that in the underlying meme that it’s valuable because it helps the fetus. Try to make the conceptual leap to the idea that the social structure as it currently exists fails to provide ‘justice’ to the fetus aborted, but ALSO fails the women who have abortions, the women who DON’T have abortions, AND the children who are actually born.

     

    “The purity of the justice advocate” matters a great deal when that advocate is actually working for the SECONDARY benefit of upholding male privilege and patriarchy and using pregnancy to reinforce ‘traditional’ female subservience. The institutional Catholic demand that girls and women who get pregnant should be allowed to die along with the fetus because the only life that demands respect in the case is that of the fetus certainly doesn’t demonstrate to me that there’s any compassion involved.

     

    The way things are currently structured, the focus of far too much ProLife advocacy seems to be concentrated on saving the the fetus at the woman’s expense. Good golly, go read Progo’s justifications for refusing women therapeutic abortions, if you have the stomach for them. If all of those necessary social changes that we agree are necessary were made then it might be interesting to have a philosophical discussion about the ‘value of life’. At this point, however, when we have been drowning for many, many years, since way before abortion was ever made legal, in an absolute sewer of indifference to the mistreatment of the children who are already born, it just doesn’t seem all that important to me. Instead it seems like a huge distraction.

     

    It seems to me like people go on and on about I care SO MUCH about the unborn and waste their and everybody else’s time protesting at clinics to show they love the preborn because it’s a much easier and cheaper way to care compared to the actual heartbreak and expense of taking care of real, actual, BORN children who desperately need help. Of course, they’re not innocent or adorable and the responsibility for them can’t be shoved off so easily on somebody else because she “should have thought about the consequences before she had sex”.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-giago/the-dark-legacy-of-the-in_b_44720.html

  • emma

    Jayn, I’m inclined to agree.

     

    I do. not. get. the whole thing with romanticising zygotes and insisting that they’re really microscopic people. I don’t see why a human blastocyst has any more intrinsic value than a canine blastocyst or a dustmite. So it has human DNA. So what? Why does that have some kind of amazing cosmic significance?
    I’m not sure what you want, Paul, or what you’re expecting. That someone will develop some kind of system whereby women will be alerted the second a sperm penetrates an ovum, so we can (voluntarily, of course! Because we’ll all have realised that our most pressing concern is Saving The Undead Unborn) devote our existence to ensuring that all embryos implant? That people who don’t want kids will all realise they just shouldn’t risk a zygote death and thus should never, ever fuck? That more men will take an active role in attempting to coerce women into continuing pregnancies they don’t want? That absent any social or economic concerns, women would all realise how much they love and adore The Undead Unborn?

     

    What exactly would your ideal world look like, Paul, and why on earth should I adopt some scary religion-based anthropocentric doctrine in which a microscopic organism consisting of a couple of cells is a person?

     

    ETA: Also, a million times YES to crowepps’ comment at 5:37. That is absolutely it in a nutshell.

  • paul-bradford

    I think you are revealed as a sentimentalist and/or Romantic, not only in your view of the fetus in all its stages but also in relationship to sex.

     

    Actually, I consider myself pretty hard-boiled with respect to fetuses.  Unlike a lot of Pro-Lifers, I’m not particularly taken by the vulnerability, the innocence or the cuddly adorability of the fetus.  I’ve said in the past, and I know I’ll say in the future, "The fetuses we abort today could have been the drop-outs and junkies of tomorrow."

     

    My advocacy for the unborn isn’t rooted in any sentimental or romantic response to them, it’s rooted in my conviction that everyone — even if they’re destined to be drop-outs or junkies — deserves to be treated fairly.  

     

    You know, a lot of Pro-Lifers talk about the 50,000,000 that have died since Roe.  I’m not of the opinion that our world would be any better if those fifty million had lived and been added to the census.  Fifty million more people, mostly poor, many with congenital defects would put an incredible strain on our society — but I believe we have a moral responsibility to endure that strain because the people who would have been added have as much a right to life as any of us. 

     

    In my opinion you would also benefit from insight into how your biases as a member of the privileged class distort your views, which IMO is particularly distorted in your view of women’s obligation to conform ‘for the sake of society’.

     

    I don’t know why it is that I haven’t made clear to you my conviction that every time a woman procures an elective abortion she is conforming for the sake of society.  The society has a vested interest in doing away with unwanted people.  It’s an insane and vicious attitude, and it’s not an attitude that originates with women particularly, but it’s an attitude that many women have come to accept.  Many women, and many men who buy into the idea that abortion can be morally justified.

     

    If women came to expect true support from their partners, and from their families, and from their society they’d realize that in the unfortunate event that they conceive an unwanted pregnancy they deserve a lot more than the option of aborting.  And if we had a sane society, instead of a crazy one, we would all understand that it’s an extremely sad thing for a woman to have life ripped out of her womb, it’s sad for her and it’s tragic for her child and we ought to do everything we can to avoid that tragedy.

     

    I look forward to your explanation of how my view of the situation is distorted by my status as a privileged member of our society. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice