Sunday, March 6, 2011

Abortion: The Faithful/Conservative Paradox

Originally published in the Loyola Phoenix on February 2, 2011

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Sergey Gabdurakhmanov under Creative Commons 3.0

by "A Voice of Treason" columnist Anthony Betori

On Jan. 26, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times published a column on the recent actions taken against a Phoenix, Ariz. hospital by the local Catholic diocese. Bishop Thomas Olmsted stripped St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center of its Catholic affiliation because it administered an abortion to a mother of four who almost assuredly would have died from the pregnancy.

Additionally, Sister Margaret McBride was excommunicated for being on the hospital ethics panel that approved the measure.

In the same week, New Jersey Rep. Christopher Smith (R) introduced a bill in the House called the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act." The bill, an exceptionally intrusive one for Republicans who trumpet individual rights, effectively takes the choice on whether or not an abortion should be administered out of the hands of the woman and into the hands of the federal government. With this bill, small business owners cannot gain a tax credit for providing healthcare that covers abortions.

I'm furious.

Growing up in a right-of-center Catholic community in Toledo, Ohio, I have been forced my entire life to sit through rhetoric that explains how there is never a time for abortion, that overturning Roe vs. Wade is the most important issue facing the world today, that there is no greater moral crisis than that of being (gasp!) pro-choice.

There is no logic to any of this. I have seen people stagnate by reading magazines that simplify encyclicals and twist tangential lines from the Bible into moral imperatives and condemnations of women who are, arguably, at the most stressful point in their lives. I know people who stand outside abortion clinics yelling "Baby killer!" while halfheartedly thumbing their rosaries. I know people who seek to traumatize the raped, the abused and the unluckiest only because of their misguided fetishism for Pope John Paul II.

Anti-abortionists are interfering with our government, our hospitals and the rights of women, and I won't have it.

I stand with Sister Margaret McBride for choosing to save the life of a woman and the livelihoods of four children and a husband. I stand with St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center for administering care to a sick woman, as Jesus, a great Utilitarian, would have. I stand with raped women. I stand with dying women. I stand with liberated women.

I find the greater moral crisis to be that Catholic higher-ups still believe they have the ability to deny people entrance to their heaven. I find the greater legislative theory paradox to be that you can have every right except the one to your health. Catholics, there is a separation between Church and State. Tea-publicans, you can't allow this bill to pass and continue threatening to destroy progressive, fiscally responsible healthcare legislation on the basis that it is invasive.

The time of the faithful/conservative paradox should end. We must guide legislation and policy by a post-Industrial, scientific rational understanding of the world — not by a book written 2,000 years ago. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I agree one hundred percent with you. There is a separation of church and state for a reason, one that is backed by fact and history. There is abortion for a reason, and from a need that doesn't stop because abortion is not allowed in a safe and legal space. Facts do not change because someone doesn't like them, and they don't happen because someone wants them. And the fact is, women matter and abortion is needed and if both aren't addressed it still doesn't change either. When people stop listening to interpretations by other people on a book translated a dozen times in a dozen different ways by many other people, that was written thousands of years ago by a culture very different from ours today with needs very different than ours today, we will get our shit together.
    p.s.- so one of the reasons people want PP defunded is because some locations offer abortion services... but so do hospitals...