Answering A Comment | Giftie Etcetera: Answering A Comment

Friday, January 11, 2008

Answering A Comment

A poster asked an interesting question in the comments to this post:

You might want to refresh by reading the original post and the comments in order to understand the response I am about to give.

Her final question was in response to something I said. I said, "I didn't say that I think it's okay for people to murder their children, nor do I think it's OK for people to choose to murder their own children."

She responded, "Then why do you consider yourself pro-choice? (I am genuinely confused...)"

First, let me say that my originally post was not in anyway intended to be a political one, or a debate sort of post about either pro-life versus pro-choice, or a questioning of my choice to have a D&C. It was a reflection on how the D&C made me feel, and places where it affirmed my moral beliefs, and places where it shaped and changed them in my mind.

But I'll readily admit I used a hot button word, "pro-choice," and I guess that gets people's attention. I didn't intend that...I simply intended to explore my feelings.

However, I will explain what I mean, because I try to respond to comments and keep a back and forth going on my blog. :)

I think is that it is extremely hard to tell sometimes if a baby is still alive or not, and that decision (whether the baby is alive...not whether there should be an abortion) is better made by medical professionals and patients rather than legislators. My fear of anti-abortion laws is that the government, if it tells us when to not terminate a pregnancy (and I did terminate the pregnancy, which was not terminating on its own and causing me major medical complications that I am still dealing with today, even though the baby had long since died), a woman may be faced with life-threatening complications EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NOT A LIVING BABY TO PROTECT. I don't think it's the government's job to tell us how to handle our medical care. I think, in fact, that is DANGEROUS to let the government tell us how to handle our pregnancies (as well as end of life decisions).

I'm not pro-choice because I ever believe a person should ever have an abortion. I am pro-choice because I believe the government needs to stay out of our doctor's offices, and instead, doctors and individuals have to take reasoned, moral stands to protect life.

I imagine in horror a world where the government comes in and says that a woman must deliver via c-section, because some study says that c-section babies have better outcomes, and the woman gets forcibly cut open, even though she believes that she should have a natural childbirth. (I'm not saying the study exists, or not. I am saying that I'm scared of the government's response if it does exist.) Heck, I'm even more scared that the government will stop all epidurals, because some politician decides it's better not to have pain meds. I should decide that, with my doctor, my husband, my Church...not my President or my Senator.

I imagine a world where the government forces me to use, or not to use, birth control. Either way is unacceptable. I will not use hormonal birth control again, and if you let the government get involved in pregnancies, they could force me to do so.

I imagine a world where the government forces breastfeeding, or formula-feeding, or public-schooling, or home-schooling.

I imagine a world where the government decides what Ander should and shouldn't learn.

That world is not hard to imagine. It already exists, in many ways.

So while I consider myself 100% pro-life (life begins at conception, the end of life should be God-induced and not human-induced, my personal morals forbid me from getting or assisting a person in getting an abortion, I oppose the death penalty, and I feel a moral and ethical obligation to support adoption options - which I actively do through my career), I am pro-choice (for want of a better description) because I don't want the government to decide when a D&C (or other procedure terminating a pregnancy, even if it does not terminate a life) is warranted and appropriate, morally or otherwise. Pro-choice is the political buzzword that is used to describe people who don't want the termination of pregnancy decision to be the government's decision, but I would prefer pro-life, but anti-government interference in beginning and end of life issues, as those are moral and family issues where minimal interference and much prayer is most appropriate.

The other aspect of this is that, as a Catholic Christian, it is difficult for me to call a person who does have or support abortion (not that I am or will ever be one of those people) a murderer. How can something be murder, if your conscience and your church (small "c" - whatever your church is) does not teach it is so? Under Catholic doctrine, to be morally reprehensible, a person must be aware of the immorality of their act. I don't think Jesus Christ would go around calling people murderers because they had abortions. I think he would educate them on the sanctity of life. And if you start with the word murder, they often stop listening, and at that point, there is no educating.

There is another entire aspect to this. I know there are women with missed miscarriages who cannot tell if the baby has stopped living for many weeks, and sometimes months. I cannot imagine their pain. I also know that there are women who would truly rather miscarry at home. Just as I think it's not the government's business to decide when the baby's soul is gone to God, I don't think it's their business to tell these women they must have a D&C, even if these women hold off the D&C to the point of risking their lives. The women are entitled to wait for a miracle, at any costs.

There was no miracle available in my case. I prayed about it. More than I've ever prayed before. I was already having major problems, and am currently seeing a doctor for serious problems arising out of the miscarriage. Going longer before the D&C was not an option for me. I know that God gave me an answer.

Did you know that the Church does not teach that my baby's soul goes to Heaven? I researched it extensively. I think the Church is wrong. I named the baby Grace Pax (Grace and Peace) because I think God can give grace and receive the baby into Heaven. It's not the only thing I think the Church is wrong about, BTW. It's just the latest one. Voting pro-life is another one (because I truly believe that being and acting and living a pro-life life is important, and leaving Caesar to deal with his business and God and the disciplines of God on Earth to deal with God's business is the way to honor God).

This is probably more of an explanation than any of my loyal readers expected. Frankly, it's probably more revealing of my religion beliefs than I've ever revealed before. But I think it's important stuff to say, both for other women suffering miscarriage who might stumble upon my site, and for my loyal readers, some of whom only get to really know me through this weird, long-distance relationship of the internet.

I didn't proof this, BTW, so forgive any typos. ;)



Stac Cole said...

Do you know (and you probably do) that one of the actual definitions of "abortion" is: Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival. By this definition, yes I do support abortion rights. And I see where you are coming from. When abortion is defined as the termination of life, then it becomes something I do not believe in.

I also often wondered if babies that died before being brought into the world went to heaven and I was somewhat taken back when I learned that in order for your sould to go to heaven you must first be baptized. One of the many infallibilites of the Church, IMO.

Mamaebeth said...

actually i think the Church doesn't have a defined teaching about what happens to unbaptized babies. there was that period when Limbo was taught but last i heard the answer was something like, "It is a mystery but we trust in the words of jesus when he said let the little children come unto me" or something like that.

i know quite a bit on this if you want to get together and talk about it.

Miss-buggy said...

"I don't think Jesus Christ would go around calling people murderers because they had abortions. I think he would educate them on the sanctity of life." - Natch

you know I think you are right here. He wouldn't be judging and I think by calling someone a murderer may be judging.
We ere not in your situation and there for we as a whole should not be judging what you should or shouldn't have done. Same with the government. They need to keep their business out of it. I don't think it is their business. You had to do what you had to do. You knew there was no chance of life and unfortunately that is what God had decided for you, for some reason we may never understand. It still would hurt. Maybe God just wanted to keep Grace home a while longer or decided that she fulfilled what He wanted her to do. I don't know. Cause to me I get confussed as to how He can take a child back home. I don't agree with the church saying an unborn, undedicated child would not go to heaven. Just doesn't seem right to me. I will have to research that. Doesn't seem right that the church should decide that either. Only God knows.
I believe 110% that life begins at conception. It also ends when God chooses and a lot of the time it is way before we are ready. You did the D&C cause you had to, you had no other choice. Better then making yourself worse. You and your doctor had to decide and you did. YOU made the right decision for you and I am sure that God won't judge you and neither will I. No one should really.

Beorn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beorn said...

I find this entire post to be extremely unsettling. I've always considered myself to be pro-choice, and from the beginning it was because I have wholeheartedly believed that murdering children is a fairly benign activity for people to get so worked up over. Also, it's loads of fun! All of my liberal academic colleagues feel the same; this past semester alone, members of my department had seven journal articles accepted for publication in which they argued that people who murder children (their own or those of others) are happier and more well-adjusted than people who don't. In addition, murdering children is one of the primary sources of entertainment among The Gays; at least once a month, my queer friends and I slip on our skirts, carefully apply our makeup, and make our way to Baton Rouge's largest gay bar and child murdering facility, Splash. (Luckily, Reverend Larry Stockstill and Bishop Robert Muench haven't figured out that the name actually refers to the fluids of our victims spilling out across the dance floor as we cackle gleefully and femininely.)

So. If pro-choice no longer means pro-child-murder, you can just count me right out. And I'm sure the same goes for the hundreds of millions of other Americans who consider themselves to be pro-choice because they too have always understood the beauty of murdering children.

At least least these silly pro-life do-gooders can't do much to stop me acquiring children from foreign orphanages and murdering them in the privacy of my own home. And while "pro-choice" folks might waffle, I for one will continue to take great pleasure in murdering children myself, as well as distributing equipment to make it possible for other like-minded adults to murder their children when and where the feel like it. I'm SICK of having to moan and cry and pretend as if murdering a child is going to be the most life altering decision any of us will ever make. Poppycock! I've known PLENTY of folks who've terminated perfectly good pregnancies strictly for the sheer fun of doing so (though I must admit that I've known several women who murdered their children in order to be able to slip into a favorite evening dress for an important event, and in their case the fun was only an unintentional side affect of an act of convenience--but it was very real, nonetheless). If anyone knows of an activity that matches the deep-down satisfaction and happiness that can be gained by murdering a few children, please let me know--but I don't think you'll be able to find such a thing. For the REAL pro-choice advocate, nothing can beat a good child slaughter.



"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."

--John Stuart Mill

Mathochist said...

Thank you for clarifying. Your posts always give me a lot to think about.

I didn't know you were Catholic again. Last I heard, you were going to the UU.

Giftie Etcetera said...

Oh, no biggie. If you can't be responsive to your readers, a blog is but a journal. And I like that you always ask questions, well, like someone who actually wants to know. I like to talk (big surprise!), so the opportunity to talk more is always welcome.

Another clarification, though. :)

I've always been a Catholic. We were exploring the UU Church because Alan wanted a place to worship, too, and we thought the UU Church would allow both of us the freedom to practice our own religion beliefs (me Catholic and him exploring whether God did exist and hoping God did). But while the young people in the UU Church were great and open to other beliefs and practices, the older, more established members tended to be anti-Catholic. That's why we left.

Alan has since visited some Catholic churches, attends Mass with me fairly regularly, and is considering converting to Catholicism, but it's one thing to disagree, thoughtfully, lovingly, and in conscience with some Church teachings (ie. male-only priests, the prohibition on barrier birth control methods, the lack of marriage covenants for gays and lesbians)when you are already a Catholic and have read the Cathocism cover-to-cover and been educated through the Church. It's another to disagree and convert.

And, as the above paragraph says, on many issues, I'm a struggling to rebellious Catholic. Sometimes, it's hard to go to Mass because I disagree so strongly and at such a basic moral level with a small handful of teachings. But then, I think about all the things I do believe (most of the teachings). I think about how Jesus really did always show love...and I TRY to be like that. I think about the miracle of Mary and Joseph, and how Mary was born without original sin. I think of the respect for life, which is incredible and amazing, even if I don't always agree with the implementation of respect for life (hence my position that barrier birth control is fine and even morally appropriate in some instances, even if chemical birth control isn't). And so I go to Mass, sometimes...more often now. I go to confession. I try to learn and participate and pray.

Everyday, I say the Serenity Prayer, and hope that I can change the Pope's mind about some things. (I'm an perpetual optimist!) I'm pretty sure I'm going to Heaven as long as I try to follow the Serenity Prayer, but I'm not sure the Church is sure about that. :)

So I am Catholic, but struggling, questioning, dynamic Catholic.

Mathochist said...

"on many issues, I'm a struggling to rebellious Catholic"

(ironically) You know what my very first memory of you is? Arguing with Fr. Roy that you were in Confirmation class at the insistence of your parents and completely against your will, and that you shouldn't be confirmed because you didn't agree with a lot of the teachings. I guess that's why I assumed you were going to the UU church for you as much as for Alan.

I think every Catholic struggles with the Church's teachings at some point in their lives. I had a really hard time for several years with the teachings against Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Finally one day I gave up trying to understand it, and told God if He wanted me to understand, HE would have to show me why He didn't want me to do it. The next morning He gave me my first answer, and continued to give me others over the next week or so. Several other times I've had experiences of things I held dearly, convinced I was right, ot things I was SURE I needed, that when I surrendered them up to Him, I discovered He was right all along, and my faith life was deepened for it. (Not trying to sound preachy here... just wanted to share something that happened a while back and changed me a lot)

I will be praying for all of you. Kindly do the same for us. ;)

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