There was a story on NPR today about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame graduation this weekend in South Bend, Indiana. The story was how ND is a Catholic school, Obama is pro-choice, and the "controversy" that is underway on campus.
Abortion and reproductive rights are a hot topic with me - about as hot as it gets - but I was listening, and getting all riled up, talking to the radio and saying, "If YOU don't want to have an abortion, then don't! Just don't tell me I can't! Teach your kids it's not OK but don't teach mine that."
And then I thought... what if I was adamantly against abortion? If I thought it was murder, what would my response to that above statement be? Probably something like, "Well, we teach all our kids that killing another human is wrong, not just some of the kids. So I want to teach ALL kids not to murder, even in utero, not just my own kids!"
And that would be a legitimate opinion.
So for the first time in a long time, I feel particularly stuck and conflicted about the abortion argument. How could either side ever change hearts and minds? I have nothing worthy to add except that I am left with two lingering questions this Friday afternoon:
1. Catholics are also against the death penalty/capital punishment. How come we never hear about church members organizing against the death penalty, only abortion? Is that the media drumming up controversy, or are there so few capital punishment protests to report on?
2. When they write about these laws, and they say there is usually an exception* in cases of incest, rape or the health of the mother. Now I know that "health of the mother" can be widely interpreted. But can anyone tell me how they determine rape or incest? Is it the word of the pregnant woman? Does it have to first be proved in a court of law**? Does anyone know?
* Not always. In the Dominican Republic, there are now NO abortion exceptions. Ectopic pregnancy? Fetal illness that is leading to fetal death and ensuing mother complications? Sorry. You don't have a choice and you may very well die. This is where my blood boils, nearly literally. Don't tell me that reproductive rights don't keep women powerless, abused, voiceless.
** 'Cause god I hope not. Write me if you want some extensive stories on how a raped woman's entire sexual history is often used in court to "prove" she was a slut who was asking for it by the defense attorney.