Seduce and Abandon

Driving around North Providence I see there’s a billboard from ‘Prolife Across America’. They used to have one that said, ‘Embryos are babies’, which got to me, because it’s like saying that acorns are oak trees. It’s like saying that the blood, sweat and tears of pregnancy and childbirth have nothing to do with bringing a baby into the world. It’s like saying that parental care has nothing to do with a healthy baby. And they didn’t use a picture of an embryo on the billboard, they had a picture of a well cared-for baby several months old. Now ‘Prolife’ has another billboard that says, ‘Every baby is a blessing, I have Down Syndrome’.

The Catholic Church basically campaigned for the Republican Party in the last two presidential elections. With the sharp divide in this country and the close margins in so many races they are definitely an influence. The Church has never supported the concept of separation of church and state. That’s a heresy of American Catholics.

This week some bishop is threatening to excommunicate Rudy Giuliani because he doesn’t promise to support the Church’s effort to make abortion illegal.

Meanwhile, the President just vetoed the SCHIP bill that would have provided health insurance coverage to ten million American children. This was only his fourth veto in six years. The only Catholic voice of protest I’ve heard so far was some nun on the radio saying that insuring needy children would be a very pro-life thing to do. She must be one of those boots-on-the-ground type nuns. She’s never going to get a cushy post at the Vatican.

I wonder if the anti-legal-abortion activists who are so supportive of the Republican Party ever think about the infant mortality rate. The United State has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed world. But we’re talking about infants. Once they’re stained with original sin they’re on their own.

If I sound bitter, I am. It’s been said that the anti-abortion concern for life begins at conception and ends at birth, and the silence from the Catholic Church as millions of children are denied health insurance seems to back that up. The silence from the ‘pro-family’ lobby when the President vetoes a bill that would immediately help poor families and children makes it clear that only some families are valuable.

They’re Pro-baby until there is an actual baby who needs support. It’s seduce and abandon, the oldest story in the world.

6 thoughts on “Seduce and Abandon

  1. Well said. Perhaps the silence on SCHIP is to be expected from a camp that sees no contradiction in being both “pro-life” and pro–death penalty.

  2. That’s my baby. I wish you could meet him. He is a blessing and I can’t wait until he can say that! Sadly, you have no idea how those of us in the Catholic Church love and care for babies, children, the young and the old. Life is precious, at every stage. God bless you!

  3. Best wishes Gretchen to you, your son, and all your family. I believe, and vote consistent with my belief, that all the adults in our community have a responsibility for the well-being of the children. And those in the disability rights movement have an apt phrase, ‘temporarily-abled’. We all need help sometimes.
    This would be a good time for the Catholic Church to use its influence to reach our governor, who is cutting benefits to children and youth, and our president, who vetoed the s-chip children’s health insurance funding bill. It would be a powerful witness. Catholics who work directly with poor families are very aware of the limits of charity when health insurance, housing and jobs are out of reach more and more people.

  4. It’s always about the money with people like Dan. Money matters more than people.

    If it’s the money, why aren’t you complaining about the $200 BILLION for Iraq that Bush has asked for THIS YEAR.

    Remember: Back in 2003 Bush fired his economic advisor Larry Lindsey when Lindsey suggested that the total cost of the war might reach $100 billion. Now, the total cost estimate may hit $2.4 TRILLION.

    Why don’t you complain about that spending, Dan? Why are you OK with spending money to kill people, but then protest when we suggest that the gov’t could help people?

  5. Dan, thank you for presenting the view of people who want to make abortion illegal and cut healthcare benefits to poor women and children. You are well-served by the current president. If abortion becomes illegal nationwide there won’t be any need for the seducing billboards and all that political energy can go to carrying out the abandonment.

  6. Don, I really appreciate your call for sincere dialogue between those opposed to legal abortion and those in favor. I think that is a better line to draw than slogans like ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’.

    I also appreciate your generous offer to your relatives to provide support if they wanted to continue their pregnancies. I once was asked if I would provide infant care for a friend who was trying to decide, and was considering the obtacles in her path. I didn’t want lack of support to be one of them, so I agreed, and prepared to rearrange my own schedule to help her. She had other doubts, I am sure, and did not continue the pregnancy. We as parents know that having a baby is not a matter of ‘convenience’ it is a profound, life-changing decision. All that I see in my work of the role of families reinforces my belief that we need to trust women to make the primary moral decision whether to become a mother, and to be very wary of intruding into end-of-life choices as well. A minister in my church gave a sermon, ‘Sacred Because it is Free’.

    I always like former Surgeon General David Satcher’s call for ‘responsible sexual behavior’. If I woke up tomorrow and abortion was safe,legal and available everywhere in this country, with no organized attacks and shaming of women and providers, I would like to shift my energies to working on a more responsible, respectful and honest dialogue about sex. I am not unique in being a pagan who is appalled by the heartlessness and vulgarity of our culture. Do you think it’s a coincidence that the televison network that pushes the envelope of partisan politics started by pushing the envelope of profanity? You know which network–rhymes with shlocks.

    It also is apparent to me that the party that seduced religious people with talk about a ‘culture of life’ has abandoned them when it comes to real support for families,peace, economic justice and stewardship of the environment.

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