Give it up for Johnny Reid

I was driving this morning and CBC had an interview with one Johnny Reid. He said he likes to keep his music simple because the world is complicated. He said he likes to be optimistic, to draw people toward the light. He added life always has dark moments but those only help to understand the light, the happy moments. He described how he came to Canada as a 15-year-old from Scotland, with a funny accent and few friends, and his guitar became his friend; he could tell his guitar things he couldn’t tell others. He said his talent is music, but told the host she is able to keep people company when they are driving or alone; his father had the talent of being a mechanic and was able to keep things running; his mom had the gift of seeing the bright side of life…He hopes everyone finds the thing they are really good at, so they can do it, and make this world a better place.

I probably am not doing justice to the words of this lovely man, but I agreed with everything he said. If I can find the interview, I’ll link to it, for now, here’s one of his songs.  I may buy his music just because of that one interview. That’s the kind of impact it left on me. If I may add, I think the CBC host was inspired by him too–there was a bit of a pause after he stopped speaking and she simply said, “Thank you for coming in today.”

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I could’ve told you that

I think all parents know that having kids has some economic impact on your life, but does this mean that we really need to think hard about the budget when we’re talking about our children? Of course we want our kids to one day go to college, eat healthy organic foods, and go to nice schools, but what does all this talk about how much a child “costs” ultimately do to how we perceive not only our offspring but every other human being in our lives?

I’m asking these questions because of this article today in the New York Times entitled “Mothers of Children With Autism Earn Less”. Well, duh, but how does this information effect our lives?

Mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder are less likely to be employed than mothers of children with no health limitations. They work seven hours less per week, on average, and they earn less: 35 percent less than mothers of children with another health limitation, and 56 percent less than the mothers of children with no health limitations.

Figuring out the exact amount a child may or may not financially cost a family seems to be a morally responsible act on the surface, but putting these figures into practice, letting them effect our decisions, doesn’t reek of the kind of unconditional love I’d like to aspire to as a parent. Either you believe that your bundle of joy, not to mention the elderly and the sick and the generally unemployable, have a value and a dignity irrespective of how much they tap your paycheck, or you value something else entirely.

Welcome to our “pro-choice” world

The story of a girl who “chose” abortion, in today’s National Post and Ottawa Citizen:

Anna, first, asked her mother whether she would help her, if she had the baby. Her mother flatly refused, saying, “I do not want to waste my life babysitting.” Her male partner said he “wasn’t interested in a kid” and their relationship has since broken up. She tried to get an appointment with her gynecologist to discuss her options, but the first available one was two months away. She then contacted an abortion clinic, which gave her an appointment in two weeks, at which time Anna was nine weeks pregnant. She said, “I went to them to get information on abortion, to know more about my options, the consequences of an abortion. I was open to getting an abortion, because that was what everyone around me recommended I do. I saw abortion as an option, but was really not sure. I was hoping for some answers.”

World Down Syndrome Day

It is World Down Syndrome Day, I learn today from this article:

For World Down Syndrome Day 2012, I wish I could write more on the gifts that our fellow citizens with Down syndrome give to their families, friends, community and the world. The fact of the matter is, though, that unless regulations and laws are changed, there will be fewer people with Down syndrome to celebrate on future World Down Syndrome Days, making this year the high water mark of lives with Down syndrome. Because these individuals should be celebrated, they deserve more and better representation by those who have sworn oaths to their medical profession to do no harm, and by others who have sworn to provide equal justice for all, and to promote the general welfare to ourselves and our posterity.

When you have come to view abortion as the killing of the powerless by the powerful, as I do, then there is no more egregious an example of this than the targeted killing of those with disabilities. (Filing under eugenics.)

One woman talks birth control

You don’t have to be American to know that there is a battle over religious freedom waging south of the border, regarding whether the Pill must be funded by those who disagree with it. Loved this take on it, from a site I’ve never checked before called Ethika Politika:

I will state the obvious: Contraception is about contraception, not my medical affliction. We’ve established that contraception is insufficient in addressing medical problems anyway and rather causes more medical problems, but even if it the pill did appropriately treat my medical condition, most women want contraception for contraception. If I were forced to use it for medical treatment, I would also be forced to use it also as contraception against my will because that is what it does. As someone who hopped from doctor to doctor in college with no insurance and a limited income, I can assure you that oral contraception is really easy to get.  Real medical care? Not so much. It took significant time and money to address my health problem but and yet I did. It would take no such effort to get an oral contraceptive, especially with a medical indication.

This issue over who funds what in the States is being made into a woman’s health issue, but as is so often the case, that’s the political spin, not the reality.

“Over the counter birth control, why not?”

So reads the headline in the Globe today and it turns out it’s a column by Margaret Wente.

Here’s why not.

Certainly, ignorance can be bliss, but in that case, should you really be writing columns? And parts of the argumentation are hogwash, too. Pharmaceutical companies apparently find gaining over the counter approval too costly. Really? Come on. It would make the drug more available and that means money–for said pharmaceutical companies. Anyway, no need to type more; I’ve already written a column in response.

The tragedy of reproductive technologies

Tinkering with the origins of human life leaves many of us feeling uncertain, at best.  Should we really be creating human embryos outside of that space that sits just under a mother’s heart?

Don’t get me wrong – the end result – the person born through this kind of genetic engineering is an unquantifiable good.  However the means used is what is in question.  As the old saying goes: the end does not justify the means.

In these cases of surrogate motherhood, IVF and the myriad of other reproductive technologies, I wonder whether we are not creating a mine-field of human pain and suffering.  Like, for instance, this father who tells a tragic and heart wrenching story of his wife’s choice to  “selectively reduce” her pregnancy after three embryos created through IVF implanted successfully in her womb.

My soul carries a new scar.  The pain is fresh and keen, and I know that while time might see the pain fade, I will never fully recover from what I’ve seen, and done.  For I have failed, intentionally and knowingly, in the first duty of a parent: protecting the lives of two of my children.

Knowledge is not always power. In these matters we have allowed science to usurp the natural processes of our human bodies, and in doing so, have ignored the ability of our fragile hearts to cope with the repercussions.   Too many choices, too many demands on ourselves and not enough ability to accept the way things are.

Margaret Wente missing the mark

Don’t get me wrong, I like Margaret Wente, and one bad column isn’t going to change that.

But the biggest problem in the so-called “war on reproductive rights” is not Republicans but the media.

There’s some of this column I agree with. There’s a lot I disagree with. But in areas where I haven’t followed closely, or am not sure, you can be sure I’m not trusting Margaret Wente or most any other mainstream media source.

Why? Because Wente clearly thinks that abortion is part of “women’s rights.” For starters, any journalist can and should ask what “reproductive rights” are. And why they include abortion. But no journalist ever does that, because most of them drank the Kool-Aid.

Who knows whether these laws Wente mentions are sound or not. I’m likely to say no, but that would be because my approach to the life issue is more grassroots/cultural.

But any media commentator who shows such disrespect for the idea that abortion is not part of women’s rights, and who fails to note that more women than men are pro-life, or who fails to not only notice but respect the sizable proportion of pro-life women, particularly Republican women (as concerns this column) certainly isn’t going to get my trust for attempting to learn about the other issues.

Ah, Toronto, my hometown. Land where views contrary to those of the Toronto Life ed board make you a “knuckle dragger.” So glad I got out of Dodge. (And now I’m not sure I’ve used that phrase correctly, but it’s what came to mind, so I’ll leave it stand.)

Sad to see Margaret Wente present the standard liberal meme where typically she offers a fresh perspective.

Baby survives abortion in Ottawa

I must admit, though I’ve certainly heard the story of Gianna Jessen, I thought this was the sort of thing that happens once in a lifetime, and certainly not near me.

Yesterday, I went to visit a friend here in Ottawa. I met her other friend and after she left, my friend, we’ll call her Brenda, recounts what the friend who just left told her.

She is a healthcare worker (I know the details, but I’m leaving this deliberately vague) and yesterday was called in on the case of a baby born prematurely with multiple problems. This is because the mother went for a chemical abortion early on in the pregnancy (not sure how many weeks–but I think it may have been around eight weeks). It did not work and the baby lived. At 18 weeks, the mother rediscovered she was pregnant but did not at that time want to have another abortion. (Words you don’t hear often because abortion is most often “effective” in that the baby really is killed.)

So said baby was born and is now going to be adopted, but is very low birth weight and has some health problems.

That will never figure into the statistics, nor will any newspaper ever report it.

Here’s another angle on the story. My friend “Brenda” is pro-life. Her friend who recounted this story is not. Brenda listened to the story and asked why the mother didn’t abort again. She joked, something along the lines of saying “did she suddenly get all moral?” in that way that you do when you are anxious and not sure what to say.

To which the friend replied, “You can’t say that, there’s a big difference between 8 and 18 weeks.”

So though I am shocked by all of this, I think the take away is that once again, people are largely pro-life in instinct and want to protect babies. Ie. at 18 weeks it’s a “real baby” where at eight weeks, it’s not.

This is why Stephen Woodworth’s bill and the subsequent discussion is so very important. It’s not about abortion, it’s about when life begins. And uncovering that, hoping that the media doesn’t immediately distort the discussion, will be very critical for those of us who already get it.

Gianna Jessen: Abortion survivor