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Letter to the Editor: The choice of life


Every national election, abortion is a topic that brings heat on either side. I have my own opinion like everyone else. I chose life. Both by birth and by choice.

Every day that decision to believe in choice is reinforced by my children. It's the life that comes after pregnancy, after birth. It's middle of the night feedings. It's homework. It's those talks we hate to have, field trips, report cards. It's spending the week at the hospital curled up at the foot of his bed when he learns the hard way not to play with lighters. It's being sick yourself and scrubbing up someone else's puke from all over the floor.

I could fill a whole paper with what being a parent is. What it is not is simply giving birth. How do I play God and pass judgement? How do I decide that because I chose life someone else should? What if she is a drunk? Addict? Mentally unstable? What if she is living in a violent home? What if she is chronically ill? What if she has another child that is? Or another child needing constant care? What if she is 14 years old? There are so many what ifs. How do I deem myself the superiority on the life that someone else can provide a child? Because it's not just birth.

Life is not just the final actual minutes of being born. It's at the very least the next 18 years of giving every last part of yourself to someone else. It's promising to love, care and guide someone to the absolute best of your ability.

How does anyone decide if someone else is emotionally, physically, financially able to do that? How does anyone else know if that child will not be one of the almost 500,000 children in foster care? The 695,000 abused or neglected? How do you know that by demanding someone give birth, it will provide a life? Unless you are God, you don't, you can't know. Only the person facing that decision knows, and that is whose choice it should be.

Christina Thomas, Front Royal


The issue is not whether you are a fine mother, Christana -- for I have no reason to doubt that you indeed are.

The issue is not whether a drug addict would be a bad mother -- or whether a good mother will bring a child into the world that can turn against the mother and child in an instant, let alone what can happen during the first 18 years of life.

Either there is present at conception a unique human life or there is not. Science tells us there is in that the DNA of each fetus is unique.

Our culture is torn over the issue of "women's reproductive rights" -- which fails to answer the of rights for the newly created human.

Since the convoluted reach by Roe v Wade, our legal system has been torn over the notion of viability -- Where is the line: 1st, 2nd or third trimester? What about the onerous notion of "partial-birth abortion?"

Ronald Reagan put it best: "I have a very deep belief that interrupting a pregnancy means the taking of a human life. In our Judeo-Christian tradition this can only be justified as a matter of self defense."

Self defense held to its true meaning -- that is, preserving the life of the mother -- I must reject the concerns you cite justifying abortion for any other reason.

To do otherwise would be "playing God" with the possibilities a child has with her life.

Mr. Flathers, you missed the point entirely, and offered a "pro-birth" argument. Which is not, I repeat NOT in fact necessarily pro-life. Its not about conception, or about the point when a fetus becomes a viable person able to live without a host, or the moment of birth. It IS about the Life afterwards.
To me, one of the lowest human beings are people that claim they are pro-life, and then once that life is here and needs care claim its not their responsibility. You TOOK responsibility when you claimed you knew better than her if she was ready for it.
You claim that in your Judeo-Christian tradition it is only justifiable in self-defense. The bible I have read does not specifically prohibit abortion. There are verses that can be viewed to support either side of the argument. It also speaks God given free will, and ultimately a day of judgement for the choices made, by God, not by someone else who thought they were God and understood your heart and soul better than him.

My point remains the same, no one other than myself and God knows what I truly am capable of. Once a child is here, that child deserves nothing less than the absolute best its parent(s) can give them. Not money. The time and effort. The tears and laughter, all that is being a parent. That is pro-life. Its caring about the life of the child born and needing you. Your argument remains pro-birth.

"Pro-birth?" What definition are we splitting with that one?

I'll define my postion on my own, thank you. Perhaps reading what I had written than redefining it might help.

Your reiterated point, I gather -- and by what I wrote --means that being a parent empowers decisions of life and death.

As the father of three and grandfather of eight, I hadn't realized the power your philosophy grants.

Thanks but no thanks.

Life is life. Quality is a subjective concept: No matter what you call it.

What an accurate letter Christina! Dan needs to learn that if all life is viable he needs to be adopting children out of the system rather than sowing his own seeds. Almost all pro lifers prefer to populate the earth with their own seeds rather than help a non aborted baby by adopting it.

I do not believe in abortion as a form of birth control unless it is one of the things you mentioned but I do believe it is the woman's choice to make.

Maybe if the Dans of the world would step up and take the children out of foster care as their own I would be able to see his point.

I quit trying to understand air-head Dan Flatulence once I began believing he can not find his rear end using both hands. This skill is needed when one becomes a shill for Tea Party craziness.


Great letter Christina! Past, present and always I will support Roe vs Wade. It is a woman's right to choose....period! I was christened Catholic but do not follow the faith. One of many reasons is their blatant contradictory views on being anti-abortion AND they do not believe in birth control. Many many years ago I had a decision to make and I chose life but I have always been grateful I did have a choice!

Men need to get the heck out of women's reproductive choices. Unless you walk in her shoes, you don't know squat! People squawk because they don't think birth control should be covered by insurance yet Viagra is. Until a woman reaches a certain age and/or has a certain number of children she must get written permission from her husband to have a tubal ligation yet a man can have a vasectomy whenever without any permissision from his wife.

What kind of prehistoric, hypocritical, and contradictory rubbish are you trying to shove down women's throat?! I am sure you also believe that we should be seen and not heard, chained to the kitchen with a multitude of children clinging to our legs all the while waiting on you hand and foot. Rubbish!! Welcome to the 21st century! Women will move forward NOT backwards in time!

Let me help those claiming an understanding of Catholicism on this issue:

The conjugal act must be open to life.

That's it. Accept it or don't.

There are 30,000 variations of Christianity in the world to chose from. Catholics have this quaint notion that Christ dictated morality to us -- we did not dictate to Him.

You want to complain about the cultural objectification of women?

Great! That all starts with the notion that women are sex objects -- contrary to the digest of Catholic teaching just provided you.

Please, leave the "prehistoric, hypocritical, and contradictory rubbish" rally talk to the unthinking mob needing some false validation.

"Maybe if the Dans of the world would step up and take the children out of foster care as their own I would be able to see his point."

No, you wouldn't, user123.

Mother Teresa spent her life doing just that -- and she had no influence on your position.

And so the debate on the divisive issue of abortion rages on. On one side we have religious fundamentalist ideologues who would force their religious dogma on all Americans and on the other those progressive Americans who have this crazy notion that government derives its power to rule not from God but from the people, who have, in their quest for individual freedom, created what has evolved into the greatest document in the history of humankind, the United Sates Constitution which states unequivocally that the right to chose is a fundamental liberty.

The Bill of Rights guarantees individuals the right to personal autonomy, which means that a persons decisions regarding his or her personal life are none of the governments business. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly on the right to those freedoms. In 1965 the court ruled that a state cannot prohibit a married couple from practicing contraception. In 1972 it extended the right to use birth control for all people, married or single. And in 1973 the court ruled that the Constitution’s protection of privacy included the right of a women to have an abortion under certain circumstances. This decision led to a dramatic improvement in the lives of women relieving them of facing the perils of an unwanted pregnancy, self induced abortion, back alley abortion, and forced child birth. And by relieving American women of unwanted pregnancies Roe has permitted them to pursue economic opportunities on a more equal basis with men. To restrict this choice is therefore an attack on the principal of equality of women and a grave threat to all Americans’ cherished right to privacy and liberty.

The crux of this debate revolves around a crucial question: When does life begin? Despite the absolutist claims of the fundamentalists no one knows with absolute certainty. The court in deciding Roe struggled with this controversial question. They heard from religious leaders, scientists and philosophers and opted for the following compromise. In the first trimester the decision to abort must be left to the judgement of the pregnant woman and the attending physician. After the first trimester the State may if it chooses regulate the abortion in ways that are reasonably related to the health of the pregnant women. After viability of the fetus the State may if it chooses regulate and even ban an abortion except when in the medical judgement of the physician the health or the life of the mother is in danger. Like it or nor, this is the law of the land.

Finally, and this not directed to the my way or the highway fundamentalists who are a lost cause when it comes to reason, objectivity or compromise, but to the moderate/liberal religious community. There is no reason that we, the religious and the secular community cannot come together to make abortion safe, legal and most importantly rare.

YES, Dan, P L E A S E. P L E A S E, P L E A S E tell women about how "Catholics have this quaint notion that Christ dictated morality to us." Having the 'notion' and implementing the 'notion' at odds with the Church!

Father Murphy was a priest at a school for the deaf and dumb in Wisconsin in the mid-70s. Father Murphy was also a child molester and his crimes include the molestation of over 200 children at the school he worked in. Yes, over 200 confirmed cases of sexual abuse on deaf and mute children. These boys eventually grew up into men and despite being unable to talk, they voiced quite clearly the abuses that had been done to them by the priest that was supposed to be guiding them through their daily activities. They used sign language and written affidavits to tell of the rape and torture they were put through by Father Murphy, but their stories went unnoticed. Well, unnoticed isn't entirely the right word, ignored is much more fitting. The letters went directly to Joseph Ratzinger because the local Bishops did not know how to handle such a massive scandal and he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the organization that was supposed to be preventing and punishing such crimes. Fathers Murphy lived out his life at the home of his mother and died in 1998; he was never defrocked and his relatives buried him in his cassock.

Father O'Grady was ordained into the priesthood at a seminary in Thurles during the late 1960s. He emigrated to the United States in 1971. In 1993 he was convicted on four counts of "lewd and lascivious acts" on two minors and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Attorney Jeff Anderson said O'Grady repeatedly molested the children between 1978 and 1991, from age three to 13. Anderson claimed church officials knew that O'Grady had abused children as early as 1976(sic) and 1984 but had done nothing. Police had been informed of earlier charges and had declined to prosecute.[3] In 1998 a civil jury ordered the Catholic Diocese of Stockton to pay US$30 million in damages to the brothers. A judge later reduced the amount to $7 million.[4] O'Grady was paroled from prison in 2000 after serving only seven years, and went to Ireland after being deported from the United States.

Shall I cite you some more examples of how "Catholics have this quaint notion that Christ dictated morality to us." Because I have plenty!!!! Sit on your throne and explain to women how to live their lives while this is STILL continuing. INSANE! What gall!

Well said Jane! Until the Vatican places the responsibility for the biggest crisis in modern church history were in belongs and that is squarely on the shoulders of John Paul11 and his enforcer Cardinal Ratzinger now Benedict V1, it has lost its authority to dictate morality. The Pope failed, time and again, to take decisive action in response to clear evidence of a criminal underground in the priesthood, a subculture that sexually traumatized tens of thousands of youngsters. Despite a 1984 warning from Rev Thomas Doyle, then a cannon lawyer in the Vatican Embassy in Washington, and a ninety page report on the problem in 1985, which was sent to every American Bishop, John Paul ordered no outreach to victims, no binding policy to rid the Priesthood of deviants. The situation calls for a healing-that of truth brought to bare on the Church hierarchy, robbed in shame and hypocrisy!

Thanks, Jane, for putting it so well. These people who act as though the Catholic Church is "being bashed" when we bring up these facts of the extensiveness and number of years of the abuse and cover-up, do not seem to understand that when some so smugly say "Catholics have that quaint notion that Christ dictates morality to us" their words almost seem to be a sacrilege. The extensiveness of abuse and the cover-up by high church officials, gives the church little credibility in the eyes of many people. I believe in Christ and I also still believe that there are some in the Catholic Church who are truly holy and sincere, but "The Catholic Church" itself? Not so much, to put it mildly! I think the church needs to completely clean up it's own problems first in order to be taken serious on anything they say.

I stand by what I said many times before, it is and always should be a woman's choice whether it is for her reproductive healthcare regarding birth control or decisions about pregnancy or whether she can or will breastfeed as Mayor Bloomberg has now decided he is an authority on the matter and wants to force women to breastfeed by having hospital doctors lock formula up under lock and key! Locking up formula Mayor Bloomberg? Really? You're serious? The mother doesn't get a say? Who the heck are you to even attempt something like that?? Have you ever breastfed Mayor Bloomberg? Didn't think so, so you don't know squat about what you are suggesting to do, so stay out of it!

Women, I implore you to get informed and stay informed about all the news surrounding women's issues and how MEN are trying to dictate what you do and how you do it! This isn't just some crack pot post fresh off of crazy like a Fox News! This is in the news all the time and a dangerous pattern is forming! We are not second class citizens! We are not mindless and stupid that we need a man's guidance and dictatorship to take away our freedom of choice on any women's issues....ever!

Make your voices loud and clear before it's too late and the choice is no longer yours to make! If that happens it will help set women back 100 years! We are much much better than that! As far as the Catholic church goes, I agree with previous posts! Until they have their own house in order, don't tell others how to run their house! One question though...since so many priests molested so many young boys through the years, does that make them gay? Isn't "being gay" supposed to be an abomination in and of itself according to the church? Another hypocrisy perhaps?

Tstar, I thought the British newspaper 'The Guardian' summed it up pretty well in their first paragraph.

The attitude that New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg takes toward his constituents is remarkably similar to my feelings about four-year-olds: the cute little dears might mean well, but even the smartest among them can't really be trusted to make their own decisions. Someone older and wiser (or, in this case, wealthier) must do so on their behalf. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/02/bloomberg-breastfeeding-initiative-jennifer-abel?newsfeed=true

grigelon and Song98, When my husband and I were visiting grandchildren, the little eight year old male did something he shouldn't have, and mom told him he would have to confess to Father....I wanted to yell do NOT leave that adorable little boy alone with him. I do realize there are many sincere, honorable priests in the Church BUT how is one to know?

I know how you feel Jane. That’s what is so sad about this situation. It has placed a stigma on all priests, the vast majority of whom are dedicated to their profession. Until the Vatican comes clean and cleans house it will not go away. As a matter of fact it threatens the very existence of the church itself. There is a need for another Pope to carry out the reforms started by John XX111 and rejected by PaulvV1 and John Paul11 if the church is to survive.

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