Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Nana's Buttons Are Pushed
January 22 is the anniversary of the historic Roe v Wade decision that made abortion legal in the United States. The Supreme Court determined that the Constitution protects a women’s right to privacy. A woman, not the state, retains autonomy over her body.
Every year our local Catholic Church, Our Lady of Angels, recognizes this anniversary by setting up a display of white crosses across the street from the church. A large banner proclaims that each cross represents lives lost to abortion. The display evokes emotion in me, but perhaps not those that the organizers intended.
It makes me angry. Angry at a church that doesn’t trust women. Angry at church doctrine that denies the kingdom of heaven to couples who practice birth control. Angry at the paternalistic church that encourages third world women to reproduce, thus ensuring the continuation of the poverty cycle to a new generation. Angry at a church that would deny an abortion to a 12 year old child raped by her father. I’m angry that this church presumes to impose its beliefs on all women. I’m angry that it would take that most personal decision away from me, or my daughter, or my granddaughters, or any woman.
My child bearing years are behind me. I never had to make a decision to terminate a pregnancy. But then, I didn’t follow church doctrine on birth control either. But just because I never had to exercise my right to control my own body doesn’t mean that that I don’t value that right.
Since the shootings in Arizona there has been much in the press about the level of harsh political rhetoric in the media. The abortion debate has been laden with inflammatory language on both sides, and yet it adds nothing to the discussion. It seems that we are not seeking solutions, but passing judgment.
I am not a supporter of abortion, but I strongly believe that the decision to have an abortion is mine to make. If I cannot control what happens to my own body, then I am a slave to the state. I want my government to trust me, to trust that I am smart enough to make an informed decision. This is an issue of privacy. Only the woman who is facing this decision knows all the reasons why or why not abortion is an option for her, and she shouldn’t have to justify that decision to anyone. Trust us to make a good decision.
As a propaganda device the white crosses deliver a powerful message. If we want to continue with the inflammatory language and media manipulation, perhaps it is time for the pro-choice voices to speak up. I’m thinking of running a similar campaign in the local paper. Picture rows of teddy bears on a blank page. The caption reads, “Each teddy bear represents a childhood lost to molestation by a pedophile priest.”
Yeah, it’s a cheap propaganda device, but effective, don’t you think? I won’t be handing out these fliers on the sidewalk in front of the church, inflammatory ad campaigns contribute nothing to improving our society...someone has to show restraint, trust me.