Gallup brings good news from south of the border. Three years in a row more Americans call themselves pro-life than pro-choice.
With MPs and Ministers tripping all over themselves to “out” themselves as pro-choice Conservatives, I thought I would remind you all that there are pro-life politicians on Parliament Hill. Full disclosure: I work for one of them. And no, I am not paid to blog (unfortunately. Can you make a living pro-life bloggging? Because I’d be interested.) In my office, I have pictures of my boss denouncing the Morgentaler Order of Canada, visiting pro-life organizations, attending the National March for Life and addressing the crowds on Parliament Hill.
If you live in a riding represented by the NDP, the Liberals, the Bloc or any socially-liberal-Conservative, you may feel unrepresented in Parliament. If you have ever written to your MP about pro-life or pro-family issues and received a boiler-plate reply about social consensus and Canadian values blah-blah, you may feel misunderstood and silenced. But you are not. It may not be your MP but some MPs are working hard — and getting flack — making sure that your voice is heard.
Can’t tell you how many people I meet who are fiscally and politically left–and pro-life. So the question is, how many swing votes would a party win if they added the life issue to the roster? Parties only ever consider who they might lose–but done carefully, I think there are many votes to gain. Too late, I know, but it’s a conversation I had this past weekend.
Read this morning over coffee:
This feature from the Globe & Mail. I will go on the record saying that the stigmatization, guilt and shaming of women who have abortions is wrong. It doesn’t make abortion right however. This quote caused me to reflect:
Twenty-four years later, Ms. McDonnell says, little has changed: “When the characters in a hip contemporary comedy like Knocked Up can’t even bring themselves to say the word ‘abortion,’ something’s still very wrong.”
Uh… could that be abortion??
On that topic, it seems that the writers of Knocked Up are not the only ones suffering from that affliction. See Fr. Raymond de Souza’s excellent commentary on Morgentaler’s nomination to the Order of Canada.
And on a lighter note, I never thought I would be linking to this guy — and for his defense, as a former Liberal speechwriter, he will probably be mortified at being linked to by a pro-life blog — but this article made me laugh out loud.
Have a great weekend.
Andrea adds: Pro-lifers never have to shame or guilt women who have abortions. They do it to themselves. Apparently, because the
abortion involves a web of complex physical and psychological processes that themselves pull us in two directions at once. It involves our bodies, our emotions and our spirits in a way that engages us on many levels simultaneously, and that ensures that our response will be anything but simple.”
And now in severely non-academic language, because you are killing your own offspring, which certainly would engage those emotions on many, many levels, indeed. Yeeesh. I’ll go on the record saying I’m glad for the stigma. It’s not that I have ever, ever, treated anyone who had an abortion with anything other than respect, and to be frank, in the same manner as I treat everyone. It’s that what the “stigma” here is, is our conscience: that guilt that kicks in when you’ve done something terrible, and you know it. No need for me to look down on someone who has had an abortion, I’ve experienced this terrible feeling for other reasons, at other times. And if we “eradicate that stigma”–we would be paving over our consciences. People have been known to do it. But distancing your actions from your conscience so entirely is not generally a good thing.
It must be spring. Calls for nominations of women of influence for various awards seem to be blooming in all my ladies’ magazines. Calls for applications for various fellowships and other Gold Medals awarded to “outstanding graduating students” are raining down at McGill. I seem to stumble on “most influential woman under 30” and “young person of the year” awards everywhere. Maybe this is just a reflection of my own insecurities. Maybe this is one of the reasons women are delaying childbirth and having fewer children: Our society burns the fuel of external recognition and motherhood provides very little of that. At this point, I’m not quite sure which of the two needs fixing: my insecurities or the world. Likely both.
At the risk of being offered some cheese with my whine, seeing a beautiful, single, 30-year-old career woman receive an achievement award makes me in equal part depressed, envious and somewhat bitter. All the more if she fits in size four pants, but I digress. This is in no small part due to the fact that I am a married, 34-year-old mother of five who will never again fit into size four designer pants unless I get morbidly sick.
Newly minted with a Master’s degree, I am looking for a job with a resume that is, well, very similar to what it was when I graduated from high school in 1992. Odd jobs, volunteer work, you know what I mean? I resent the fact that I have to remind myself that the subtext of my threadbare resume is “five children.” I have to remind myself that getting a Master’s degree while caring for a household of seven is worth a Gold Medal even though I will never get one. I have to remind myself that my utter lack of professional experience and connections is the cost of committing the last 12 years of my life to carrying, delivering and raising five little persons. And finally, I have to remind myself that if I never get an achievement award but if my children grow into “competent, responsible, considerate, and generous men and women who are committed to live by principles of integrity” (to quote writer James Stenson ) , I will have been successful beyond measure.
But today, I resent having to remind myself. Because it should be obvious and it is not. I don’t think that putting professional aspirations on hold while children are very young is a bad thing. However, women should be able to reintegrate into the workplace post-bambino without feeling like 5, 10, 15 years of their lives have gone the way of the dodo. If we want women to go forth and reproduce, we have our work cut out convincing them that they will not just disappear under a pile of housework. That’s just one of the ways in which being pro-life starts by being pro-woman.
Andrea adds some spring flowers to accompany the spring rant, a very fine rant, Véronique, and I do agree–it ought to be obvious that what you are doing is worthy of a gold medal. In the interim, before attitudes change, some flowers.
Tanya adds: A woman has such a peculiar role to attempt to fill in today’s western society. Stay-at-home mothers are sacrificing their dreams and financial security for the sake of family. (Oh! what noble martyrs we are.) Career women sacrifice their families for their own personal goals. (Images of a briefcase wielding woman who missed her child’s soccer game come to mind?) For the most part we are either pitied or scorned by others (and sometimes ourselves). I suppose we should start by fixing our own insecurities if we want the world to view us any differently. (We can’t fix the world if we’re broken.) I’d say we need to reasonably adopt the mantra, “If mom is happy, then everyone’s happy.”
I received this link from a good friend who is, incidentally, a pro-life physician.
I am always puzzled by statements that uphold freedom of conscience while denying the ability to act upon it. What worries me is not that our freedoms and liberties would be limited, but the absence of discussion as to why this particular freedom (conscience) should be limited and how.
In the case of pro-life physicians, they think that abortion is wrong and this thought is expressed by their refusal to have anything to do with it. This is socially relevant because abortion is legal in Canada and women are free to request one.
Many pro-life physicians don’t only believe that abortion is wrong for them but wrong period. Morally wrong, yes. But also medically wrong and this is where the issue gets really sticky: Physicians are never forced to perform procedures that would go against their patient’s best medical interest. If I suffer from arthritis and want my arm amputated and my physician thinks it can be controlled with acetaminophen, she is under no obligation to cut my arm off. If I want to treat my clinical depression with high doses of morphine, no physician has to give it to me. Yet, amputation and morphine are legal in Canada, and women are free to request them until the burly men in white come to escort them out of the building.
Now, what if a physician thought abortion was not in the best medical interest of a woman? The more I reflect on this question, the more the ACOG’s position starts looking like a pro-life doctor witch hunt. If you oppose abortion on medical grounds and are pro-choice, you are acting within the parameters of ethical medical practice. But if you oppose abortion on medical grounds and are pro-life, we will get your license. Troubling.
Quite right. Roy Eappen at torydrroy.blogspot.com frequently writes on abortion, freedom of conscience, and doctors and has discussed this in the past.
Look, the whole point of doctors is to evaluate what treatments are medically necessary or appropriate. One reason antibiotics aren’t sold OTC is that most laymen without access to a lab don’t know if they actually need them. If you walk into a doctor’s office with a cold, whether or not you want antibiotics, the doctor shouldn’t give them to you. And if birth control pills, which are ethically and medically much less problematic than abortion, are subject to a doctor’s prescription to ensure that they’re medically appropriate for the woman who wants them, how on earth can abortion not be?
Or, we can dispense with the fiction that abortion on demand has anything to do with medical necessity. Even if terminating a pregnancy had the same moral status as getting breast implants or a nose job, we would have no business forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for it. Since it is on a different moral plane, to all but the most die-hard Pete Singer types, it is increasingly barmy that we ask medical professionals and taxpayers to treat abortion as if it were as neutral and necessary as a tonsilectomy.
Tanya is reminded: Dr. Chris Kempling has been on this bandwagon for several years. He’s quite adamant that the Canada Health Act is violated when abortion is covered by our tax dollars.
“The Canada Health Act says that to qualify for public funding, a health procedure must
1) be medically necessary,
2) be beneficial,
3) have benefits that outweigh the risks, and
4) be the result of informed consent.
Abortion, as it is currently practiced in Canada, meets none of the four requirements of the Canada Health Act. http://www.chp.ca/forum/Kempling/Abortion.htm
I rather tend to agree.
Sometimes I have time to sit and think. That happened this morning.
I was thinking about what it means to be pro-woman and pro-life, and how others view this.
There is a stigma attached to being pro-woman. Recently, I chatted with a man who was taken aback when I referred to myself as a feminist. The only self-proclaimed feminist he’d ever met was yelling, “We won’t go back!” and striking him in the head with a hanger. I assured him I was not that sort of feminist.
Being pro-life comes with its fair share of negative connotations as well. Here is the kind of pro-lifer I am not. But separating these people out from other pro-lifers in people’s perceptions is not easy.
ProWomanProLife comes across as an oxymoron to some. That means it is challenging some preconceived notions on what it means to be both pro-woman and pro-life. And maybe, just maybe, it will prompt some people to re-evaluate their own stance on issues of life and feminism.
Andrea adds: I personally avoid use of the word “feminist” altogether. Why? Because it means many different things to many different people, and is entirely meaningless to many more. This group is therefore not called “feminists for life” for a reason. It’s those 1960s feminists who are responsible for abortion on demand, claiming it is good for women. Early feminists, those fighting for the vote, recognized and knew abortion was bad for women, bad for the child, and would never have called sacrificing the unborn a victory in any way. So I stay away from the term altogether. After all, those 1960s feminists have done a lot of damage; damage we must all work to undo. I will say this for them: They were very successful: Just look at how “the right to choose” is accepted dogma. Time to re-evaluate, indeed.
Véronique adds: To me, being a feminist — and I don’t shy away from the word, how else can I redeem it? — is not so much a way of “doing” as a way of “thinking.”
Generally, I try to avoid equating feminism with certain principled conclusions such as “abortion is a human right” or “men are pigs.” It’s a little like “if you are pro-life, you must be a Conservative.” What does being pro-life has to do with it? Or if you believe in climate change, you’re a Liberal, if you don’t, you’re a Conservative. What does climatology has to do with political ideology? Same with feminism. What feminism is about is power struggles, inherent sexism, patterns of sex-based discrimination. You can advocate in favor of gender equity without ever mentioning abortion… in theory. In practice however, feminism is now associated with abortion as right. But I can point to power struggles, inherent sexism and patterns of sex-based discrimination in the abortion industry or abortion rhetoric any day of the week.
I’m proud to be a feminist. I’m just not sure feminists are proud to have me…
Andrea adds: Well right here we have what ProWomanProLife is all about. Different pro-life women expressing their views, unplugged. The words “I’m proud to be a feminist” have never–and will never–pass my lips. Because the way feminism looks to me, I’d rather, um, be a chauvenist.
Rebecca adds: I find it easier not to identify myself as a feminist, because for most people today it carries baggage I don’t want and connotations I actively reject. Lots of women I respect feel differently. I also generally subscribe to Christina Hoff Sommers’ distinction between “equity feminism” (which she considers to have realized its goals) that demands equality (same pay scales for men and women, women not needing their husbands’ permission to open a bank account, the franchise, etc) and “gender feminism”, which characterizes such lunacy as insisting that women be firefighters even if they can’t carry an average sized person, that women make up 50% of engineering students even if they don’t want to be engineers as much as men do, and getting Lawrence Summers publicly barbecued. Hoff Sommers also wrote the very important The War Against Boys, which all parents and teachers (of boys or girls) should read.
“Scheduled for euthanasia?” In Massachusetts, USA? (Did I miss a news item on the legalization of euthanasia in Massachusetts?)
The story explains. Ventilator-dependant Haleigh Poutre was not “scheduled for euthanasia,” however, they were going to remove her from life support.
Haleigh was in fact scheduled to be left to die of her injuries by the child protection services who had authority over her medical care. In short, there is a lot to condemn in that decision without labeling it euthanasia.
LifeSiteNews reporter Thaddeus M. Baklinski’s use of the word “euthanasia” is wrong. To win the euthanasia debate we use terms correctly. If pro-life advocates call every questionable death “euthanasia” we will not meaningfully engage proponents of euthanasia.
We can debate whether Haleigh’s planned withdrawal of life support was premature, unjustified or motivated by administrative rather than medical imperatives. But it was not “the intentional killing of a person by another for compassionate motives,” which is the definition of euthanasia.
Calling removal of life-support “euthanasia” is a concern for critically ill patients and their families. In Canada for instance, euthanasia is not legally different from murder. Where life-support is often needed to help a patient survive a critical event, it was never meant to maintain life at all cost. Equating withdrawal of life-support – however unjustified it was in Haleigh’s case – with euthanasia may cause families to refuse life-support for their loved ones because of fears over over-treatment. On the flip side, families may request over-treatment for fear of “euthanizing/murdering” their loved ones.
The indiscriminate use of controversial words like euthanasia causes suffering. (See “Thad’s” comment on systemic concerns about addiction to pain killers in dying cancer patients.) Let’s be aware of it.
Most debates on futility considerations revolve around mechanical feeding and ventilation. If I had a dime for every time I heard “feeding tube” and “futility” in the same sentence, I would be laughing at my student loan by now. This is why I was compelled to share this little nugget of everyday life with you.
One of my friends suffers from a degenerative disease that attacks her muscle tissues. She has difficulty feeding herself since her caloric intake is entirely consumed by her degenerating muscle mass. I recently asked her husband how she is doing this winter (the cold season is never a happy time for people who have a hard time breathing) and he got really excited telling me about her new feeding tube. She gets all these extra calories with the push of a syringe; she’s getting better colour and putting on weight. She hasn’t been that sick at all this winter.
Quality of life improved by feeding assistance… Think about it, it happens.
Hear Bill Clinton lash out at pro-life students:
The sound is not great. I will spare you the joy of listening to bad audio several times. He says:
I gave you the answer. We disagree with you. You want to criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree. I reduced abortion. Tell the truth, tell the truth, if you were really pro-life, if you were really pro-life, you would want to put every doctor and every mother as an accessory to murder in prison…
Is that a fact?
As a pro-life advocate, I find the issue of criminalization anything but straightforward. On the one hand, I do not share concerns about imposing my morality on others since the purpose of criminal law is to impose a minimal morality on those who might not have it. When we live law-abiding lives and expect others to do the same, we impose our morality on others. When John Robin Sharpe tells us that child porn is a valid form of self-expression, we impose our morality on him by not putting up with it. On the flip side, the Supreme Court of Canada imposed their morality on me in Morgentaler and again in Tremblay v. Daigle.
When people say that they don’t want to impose their morality on others in the context of abortion, what they really mean is that they don’t want to do it in that particular context. This is problematic because it recognizes abortion as a legitimate choice in some cases thereby seriously undermining the pro-life position.
On the other hand, I also find myself at odds with calls for the criminalization of abortion. Not because I think that abortion is a legitimate choice but because I believe that in our present socio-cultural environment, criminalizing abortion would further victimize women. And I am not talking about clothes-hangers. Bear with me:
I believe that criminal law serves its most important purpose as instrument of social ordering not by its coercive force but by the general sense that the limits it imposes on free choice are legitimate and necessary. Unfortunately, abortion has been seen as a necessary and legitimate choice in Canadian society for many years.
As things stand now, abortion is not seen as an anti-social act from which society needs to protect itself. Even worse, right now Canadian society benefits from the (induced) infertility of its women. We all benefit from the strong economy fueled by the presence of women on the labor market. We all benefit by the consumer prices driven down, in part, by not paying the real cost of having mothers in the labor force. And we will not pay the real cost of having women in our labor force as long as our fiscal and social policies cast childrearing as a personal choice that women must assume.
In Canada – indeed, in most Western societies – women who get abortions do not behave in an anti-social manner. I will go even further and say that women who have no children or few children act as our stuff-hungry, profit-making, economically-growing, materialist society expects them to.
Pro-life reader, we have some work ahead of us before abortion could be made illegal. It is simply not enough to say abortion is wrong. Women need to be convinced that it is.