Daily Archives: October 19, 2010

Truth is dispensible if it makes you feel guilty

There is a breathtaking article in the Herald Sun today. Here it is with [my comments]:

No shame in aborting unborn life
Susie O’Brien
From: Herald Sun October 19, 2010

CHOOSING to terminate a pregnancy is better than ending up as a bad mother who hurts or neglects her kids. It’s time we realise that having an abortion doesn’t mean you don’t care about the unborn life you are carrying. [That’s the thesis. Now for the rationale, such as it is.]

Women abort potential babies because they would prefer not to be a mother at all, rather than be an inadequate parent. It’s not that they don’t care about the unborn child, it’s because they care so much. That is the startling finding that emerges from groundbreaking new Victorian research. [They learnt this from “research”?]

In the aftermath of the Queensland case that saw two young people put on trial for taking legally available medication to terminate a pregnancy, it’s time to reassert the rights of women who choose to have an abortion. [Is it? Remember the thing about rights: if someone has an authentic right, we have an absolute duty to provide it.]

Although Tegan Leach, 21, and her boyfriend, Sergie Brennan, 22, were acquitted, thousands of women are still made to feel like criminals because they choose to terminate a pregnancy. [Note the importance of feelings, note too the equation in this article between legal and moral/ethical.]

However, a startling new Melbourne study lifts the veil of secrecy on this issue, uncovering both the complex decision-making women go through, and the guilt and judgments they have to endure from doctors and others. [“guilt and judgements” – the true crime]

There is still a feeling in society that a woman who has an abortion is blithely ending the life of another potential human being. [Again, “there is a FEELING”. I don’t know whether the person who performs an abortion is doing it “blithely” or not, but the reality that a real (not only “potential”) human life is being ended has nothing to do with “feelings”.]

It’s said she’s selfishly putting herself before the needs of her unborn baby, or just using abortion as a form of contraception. [That may or may not be the case. The motives may be many.]

Let’s face it, lots of people have had abortions, but would never talk about it, and can find it hard even using the A word. Some hide their experience as a shameful secret from their loved ones for years. [Let’s face it, lot’s of people do it, so it must be okay, yeah?]

There are even still lines of people placarding abortion clinics, willing to call her a baby killer to her face. [“Even still”? In this day and age…]

And let’s not forget that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in the past has condemned the abortion rate, saying that he was concerned about an “abortion epidemic” and doesn’t “much like abortion, full stop”. [No, don’t forget him. How dare he!]

Now I don’t think anyone should be celebrating their abortion, or shouting it from the rooftops, but women shouldn’t feel bad about pursuing a courageous, legal course of action. [If it is “courageous”, it should be “celebrated”, no? But just because it is “legal” doesn’t make it moral.]

Yes, it is a big, important, life-changing event that should be taken seriously – but let’s get off the guilt-trip. [Because after all, guilt is the real bad here, not the killing of an unborn human being.]

In the only study of its kind in recent years, researchers spoke to a group of 60 Victorian women aged 16 to 38 who rang a Royal Women’s Hospital pregnancy advice service for help about their reasons for considering an abortion. The research team was led by Dr Maggie Kirkman from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Women’s Health and Society.

The group was hand-picked [so not random, huh?]to include women who were 16-18 years old, rural wome, and women who had rung the advice service in their second trimester (12 to 18 weeks). All but five went on to have an abortion.

Women in this position – and, yes, this includes me ( I have written previously about the fact that I had an abortion 20 years ago) [Right. So may we be excused for thinking that this article is some attempt to come off your own guilt-trip? A sort of “Oprah” confession? You want we should cheer you?]– were thoughtful and painstaking in their deliberations.

In making their decision, they assessed their capacity to be a good mother and provide for their child. They also took into account their relationships and the role of the father and the impact on other children. Many of the women had multiple reasons, and went through a complex process of making a decision, and weighing up the options. As one teen, Prue, said, she thought it was better to have an abortion than be a bad mother. [Because, like, you know, its better to just put an end to thier lives here and now, rather than have us all suffer later, you know?]

It might sound counter-intuitive, but it actually makes perfect sense. [???!!!!????]

We also shouldn’t harshly judge those seeking abortions in their second trimester. [No, you are right, we shouldn’t judge anyone (not the least because that might make the guilty actually FEEL guilty). Judge not and you will not be judged and all that. But we can point out faulty thinking and bad rationalisations and wrong reasons and evil actions. Love the sinner, hate the sin.]

One woman interviewed, Abigail, didn’t realise she was pregnant until this time, and decided to have an abortion because she had been drinking heavily and feared for the foetus’s health. [How curious. A kind of prenatal euthanasia…]

“You know, you don’t just have a child because you can,” she told researchers. [Um…?]

But it’s still not easy, and I think it’s important to acknowledge this. Out of the 60 women, only three made the decision quickly or with any ease. [You’re right. You actually have to work very, very hard to convince yourself that a really, really bad idea is a good one. And you won’t feel good about it, because you like me and everyone else actually have a conscience which tells you not to do what is wrong, but to do what is right. And you are trying to make these young girls feel better by simply telling them “It’s not wrong” in the first place.]

In her paper, published in the November edition of the international Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Journal, Dr Kirkman reports that women still feel stigmatised by doctors and others “both for being inappropriately pregnant and for terminating the pregnancy”. [So, how can we help people to be “appropriately” pregnant and KEEP the child?]

Now, around 80,000 women claim Medicare rebates for abortions in Australia each year, with about one in five women terminating a pregnancy at some point in their lives.

As I say, it’s not really a cause for celebration, but neither is it a cause for great shame or sadness. [You are right, it isn’t a case for celebration, because it is a tragedy. But unless you acknoweldge what a tragedy it is, if you want to cover it up and call it “courageous” and “smart”, then why not celebrate it? I will tell you why. Because you have a conscience which can’t quite get over the fact that there is indeed something wrong with abortion.]

There are so many parents out there making bad decisions or hurting their kids – ranging from the woman who drove kids home in the boot, to Robert Farquarson, to the South Australian parents who starved their kids then made them beg for dog food. [All of these are horrific, but than God, rare occurences. The occurence of child abuse in the community is high, but no where near as high as the abortion rate. The parenting instinct kicks in for most parents. In the mean time, this argument amounts to “We’ll hurt them now so we don’t hurt them later”.]

So it doesn’t make sense to harshly judge those who make a positive decision that they are not ready to be parents. [They should have thought about this before they had the sexual intercourse that resulted in them being parents. Once the conception takes place, bingo: you’re parent. If you fail to care for the child in the womb, you are no morally better than one who doesn’t care for the child after birth.]

Isn’t it better to end the pregnancy than be a parent when you know you are not ready for it? [You want it short and sweet sister? The answer is NO.]

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More on Mary…

Cartoon by Bruce Petty, The Age, 18/10/2010

The above cartoon did cause a little chuckle, I must admit… (Note the nuns in brown habits frolicking outside the window).

Saints really are “good news stories”, and Saint Mary has been one for the Church in Australia. But I must admit that if I hear one more person say that she is “a saint for all Australias” or that she “belongs to Australia”, I will… well, I don’t don’t know what I will do. Probably just groan and put up with it. The fact is that Saint Mary is who she is, and belongs to Who she belongs to. When she chose her new name in religious life, she didn’t choose “Sister Mary of All Australia” or “Sister Mary of the Battler” or anything like that. She chose “Sister Mary of the Cross”.

The Cross. That “emblem of suff’ring and shame” as the old song has it. Why has there been so little focus on this in recent days? Have we been ashamed of the Cross? The very least that could have been said is about how she bore her own “crosses” in her life – but for Saint Mary “the Cross” was the Cross on which the Sacred Heart was pierced (remember the full name of her order, and the fact that Fr Woods was a Passionist and you will get a good clue to all this). The Cross which proclaims the salvation which is in Jesus Christ and in no other. So very little commentary surrounding the canonisation has mentioned Jesus Christ. That isn’t the fault of Catholic doctrine, nor is it the fault of Mary, but it might just be the fault of those who are hungry for a good news story and an “Australian hero”, rather than for an opportunity for evangelisation.

All sorts of people are wanting to co-opt her at the moment. There is the suggestion in today’s Age (from a Jesuit at America Magazine no less) that she become the patron saint of those who have been abused. Well, maybe. But I’m not particularly sure what makes Saint Mary of the Cross any more suitable for that job than any other saint. I would have thought that Saint Maria Goretti would have been the most likely candidate for that portfolio.

Then there is all this business of miracles and prayers. Someone asked me at my class tonight: how do the saints know we are asking them to pray for us? Do they watch over us? Are they omnipresent and omniscient like God? As far as I know, the answer to the last question is “no”. The saints “hear” our “prayers” (technically our “requests for their intercession” – Catholics may “pray” to the saints, but they never offer “intercessions” to anyone but God) spiritually, as an outcome of their complete communion with God in Jesus Christ. They, like us, are in the one communion in Jesus Christ – a communion which not even death can sever (Romans 8). Christ is not simply the mediator between the saints and God, it is his Spirit that joins all the saints, living and departed, into a single communion of love, such that he is the connecting point between the saints themselves. It is in this communion of charity in Christ that the saints “hear” our requests for their intercession. This is an area of theological reflection that deserves a great deal more reflection.

Which brings us back to Mother Mary. Mary was once an Australian. Whatever else we may retain of our personality in heaven, the one thing I am pretty sure we will not retain is “ethnicity” in the sense of nationalistic or racial distinction from one another. The Virgin Mary and the Apostles were once all Jews, Newman was an Englishman, Padre Pio was an Italian. Now they are all fully and simply “human”. Mary too is a saint for the universal Church. She belongs to the Cross of Christ, not to Australia. Surely that is what St Paul was on about in Galatians 3 when he said that there is now “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female”? It is what Mary is now, more than what she was then, which is important.

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