Some thoughts on January 22

I am pretty certain that this post will upset many. I have come to loathe the words liberal and conservative. They serve no point and I often find myself in some netherworld between the two. Anyone who knows me also knows how I feel about dualistic thinking and as such, this ends up not being an unusual position to hold – both/and.

As such, I have spent a lot of time in the past two years in the both/and space of my more (for lack of a better term) liberal friends and in my life as a Roman Catholic. Now anyone who thinks that claiming Catholicism and then automatically holding a certain set of views is not taking into consideration the ambiguity and challenge of life. Catholics are instructed to believe one thing, but that does not mean that they always do believe it. Also, sometimes they believe it at the expense of other beliefs.

As for my life as a Catholic, I have had to plumb some depths that I was not always willing to plumb; it is like that when you need to confront what you truly believe. I think that willingness is the operative word; it is for me.

Just as the word homosexual conjures up images of wanton sex and riotous living among the most conservative, the words pro-life conjure up images of people like this. That someone kills like that disgusts me and does not show us any regard for life.

Like all stereotypes, I ask you to look beyond them all.

I also post this video, which I found at the very thought provoking Catholic blog, Καθολικός διάκονος. Scott’s post was entitled, Ideology Cannot Move Us. I think he is right.

Being “for” abortion no more means that you want to kill babies than being “against” abortion means that I want to kill those who provide for them or that I want women to die in back alleys. Anyone who thinks that the reversal of Roe V. Wade is a simple solution has not thought this through. To continually demonize serves neither side; it does not serve the cause of life, the cause of peace and the cause of human dignity.

Let the comments begin.

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21 thoughts on “Some thoughts on January 22

  1. Very well said Fran. It might upset some people but we need to get to a point in the abortion discussion at which people can feel free to express an opinion without being labeled as members of the extreme of either side of the issue. It's so complicated.

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  2. Fran, this is SO well-stated; thank you so much. As a Catholic myself and very much a "both/and" person, I can see all sides of the debate from many angles, and mostly see how destructive it has been without making any progress whatsoever. I wish we could all realize WE HAVE THE SAME GOAL — no unwanted babies — and work together on a multi-pronged approach to get there in a way that is humane and, dare I say it, truly Christ-like.

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  3. This is Fran, I am at work and commenting briefly and as anonymous.Thank you CDP for your thoughtful comment – yes, we have to get to a point where conversation can happen. Let's forget for a minute just "whose" fault anything is, both sides could use a little time-out space and some basic interaction without attack.Piglet! I am thrilled to see you here at my blog and grateful to Angel for getting a chance to know you. Thank you for your own thoughtful words and input. It is such a hard topic to discuss.

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  4. Fran,One of the things I love most about you is how thoughtful you are with everything you write. I can always count on you to be genuine and not say what you say because it's politically correct or because you're trying to appease anyone. You hold your beliefs because you took the time to examine the good, bad, and ugly about them and reached conclusions that were right for you. Not right because someone said they were right, but right for you.I agree with you completely that every child should be wanted. I don't know how we get to that point in our society unless we give women the right to choose for themselves and trust that they have examined the good, the bad, and the ugly of their decision and chosen what is right for them.Further, I think that the only way we get there is to give women ALL the tools they need to raise a family. Quality affordable healthcare. Jobs that pay a wage people can live on. Quality affordable childcare. A safety net where they're not looked down on as being lazy and that is not just there to help put food on the table temporarily, but allows people to climb out of the mess they are in and stand on their own again. Just to name a few.I just don't know how we get there with all the polarization we have that seems to have only gotten worse in the last 12 months.

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  5. Nothing is as black or white as the media and the extremists on either side of the debates would like us to believe.Real people, with real lives, real thoughts, and consciences are behind all these shades of gray that those with an agenda prop up as black and white.While I'm pro-choice, I was raised Roman Catholic, and morally, I'm not sure I would ever be able to choose an abortion – I say that coming from a place where I thought long and hard about one in the not too distance past, and realized it was a thing I couldn't do. But I did have the choice.Free will and all that. We are faced with moral choices EVERYDAY, many of them without the benefit of legislated morality. We have the choice to make decisions and face the consequences of those choices.I think, for me, being pro-choice allows for me to be both/and, instead of either/or. My support for women who need or want to have an abortion in no way impedes the choice I would likely make in my own life on the same issue. If I don't believe in abortion, I don't have to have one.I think about that bible verse that talks about how much time we spend worrying about the specks in the eyes of others, while we ignore the LOG in our own eye. How often I do that…A hard issue, yes. But one which we must keep talking about, and where both sides can come to a place where they can live with it, if they let go of the black and white thinking (myself included here..first in line!)

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  6. I am for helmet-wearing while driving or riding on motorcycles, but I don't care if others want to ride sans helmets. It's not my business.As for abortions, I don't know if I would have considered having one back in my breeding days, but I most certainly believe that decision should have been my own, period.No church or organization should be able to dictate what one chooses to do with her body.If a fetus were a human being, then all miscarriages would require a death certificate, a funeral and a burial.If abortion becomes a crime again, then all spontaneous miscarriages should have to be handled as human deaths.There, I said it.

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  7. Fran, what your thoughtful post illustrates, as does the thoughtful comments, is that most Americans have a range of emotions on this issue. And you are so right about labels. I am for reproductive rights, yet I can respect someone who has a moral issue with abortion. But it's people like us who don't make the news because thoughtful consideration of all sides doesn't make a good sound bite.

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  8. Thank you for this post, Fran.I'm grateful for your thoughtfulness on this issue.It can be challenging to articulate the reasons for being Pro-Life. It can be hard to make the case for the unseen soul to well-intentioned people who don't believe what believing people do about when life begins. And, it's not easy to ask a woman to make the sacrifice for life when she's not ready to have a baby. But, it's a request we do have to make — both in law and in practice. I have several pro-choice friends and it can be hard to discuss abortion with them. I usually try to ask them when they think life begins and then take it from there. And, I try to focus the conversation on the existense of the soul. Because, really, it comes down to belief in the soul and when the soul begins. I also try to make the point that "being ready" and "ideal circumstances" are overrated. We need to be open to the unplanned and the path that God has set before us.

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  9. Superbly articulated, courageous post, Fran. As someone old enough to remember when abortion was illegal, I do not have the words to express my thoughts and feelings on this topic. I'm grateful that you do.

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  10. Thank you one and all – what a range of thoughtful comments. I am not even sure where to begin, so this is all I will say for now.

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  11. Dear Fran:I look forward to hearing your story what happened to you that moved you. Thanks for these insights, especially on this day that is so overtaken by ideology. Dcn Scott

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  12. Fran, your post does not upset me. I don't believe I could have had an abortion, but I was never in a situation in which I had to choose. I would not want to deny women the right to choose. I would not want to return to back-alley and coat-hanger abortions again.I wish that we could have sensible discussions about abortion, but the extremists on both sides scream the loudest and hijack the discourse.It seems to me the height of hypocrisy and, yes, immoral to deplore abortion, and, at the same time, deny information and methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And I'm not referring only to the Roman Catholic Church, because they do not stand alone in this view. Try to establish sensible sex education classes in public junior high or high schools in the Bible belt, and you will hear the outcry.The end, I guess. I could go on…and on…and on….

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  13. Fran, as always you bring us back to our senses. Abortion is a Solomonic dilemma: two lives hang in the balance and whatever decision is made, suffering most likely will ensue. I have friends who regret having had abortions yet candidly admit, in their situations, it was the lesser of two evils. They were in no position to raise a child and couldn't bear the guilt of bringing another orphan into the world. On the other hand, I have friends who kept their babies and now struggle to reconcile their decision with what it's cost them. It doesn't mean they don't love their children, but they weren't prepared for what they would sacrifice to do it. That sounds harsh, but it's very real.Abortion isn't the issue, anyway. The right to an abortion is. The practice has been with us since the dawn of time and will remain no matter what we do to end it. Supporting the right to an abortion actually supports the right to life, inasmuch as it protects women who feel they can't or choose not to support a child. And that's why I believe you're right–it's not as easy as either/or, because every case is unique. And it's also why it sickens me to hear either side diminish the lives affected by abortion for their purposes.Thanks for reminding us to put the brakes on our simplification and get down to the hard truths.

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  14. Fran, I'm pretty new to your blog, so let me start by saying how much I appreciate your thoughtful, kind and eloquent writing. There are actually some great articles in one of the most recent National Catholic Reporters that really touch upon some things I've come to believe. I've come to label myself as a reluctant pro-choicer. I'm not certain that abortion serves women well, ultimately, and is signal that we're failing as a society. One, that we cannot manage to prevent pregnancies, and two, that someone feels this option makes the most sense. I've never felt desperate. Never felt as if I couldn't care for a child. I've never been abused or taken advantage of. I grew up in a place where I felt valued and treasured. And sometimes I think these are the things that are missing from this debate. The act of abortion is the focus, and not the myriad of ways that pregnancy came to be.There's so much more I feel I can say, but I don't want to put an entire post in your comments. And Tim (the comment above mine) is correct. Whether or not Roe remains the law, people will find ways to terminate pregnancies. Perhaps our goals should encompass reducing unwanted pregnancies and supporting greatly the women who choose to carry them to term — both, incidentally, issues that I feel the pro-life side in general seems to forget about.

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  15. Thanks for this…I think that there needs to be an understanding on the side of the pro-lifers that not everyone wants to be a parent (or can go without having sex for 30-40 years). And the other side needs to realize that having a baby is a valid choice.

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  16. I had an abortion. Before I was married. Nearly forty years ago. And then I got an infection from the IUD they implanted and was unable to have children when we really wanted them. That whole history just plain sucks and is still painful on so many levels. For many years I believed I was being punished by God for having had an abortion. I believed that because I believed God hates sinners. It took a revelation of real grace to know that was not true.I hate abortion. But I hate the alternatives of not having an abortion even more. And I would and have accompanied more than one woman through the pain and agony of the entirety of the decision to have an abortion. It makes no sense to me to be "pro-life" and refuse to support health care for all, equal education for all, and be willing to give our young over to fight and kill in war. Fran–I am not at all suggesting that you do –as a matter of fact, I believe your pro-life commitment goes as far if not further than those things listed above– in awe of life… However and moreover, the Church has not always been so fundamentalist on "when" life begins and whether or not it is okay to terminate that life…. So –in theory, I hate abortion. In real life, I hate the idea that abortion may be legislated out of existence, and believe it should NOT be legislated as such due to faith sentiment.Just sayin'.

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  17. "Pro-life" is a misnomer. I value life, but also of the mother who has struggled to decide whether to bring a fetus into life or not. I could not have an abortion, plus I have four adult children of my own, but I don't want women to die from illegal abortions. If I believe that God holds each soul, God also embraces anyone involved (or not) in an abortion. Such a difficult and inflammatory topic.

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