The tools were different, however.
Instruments, such as darning needles, cut-glass salt shakers, crochet hooks, and soda bottles – often with the tops broken off – were "tools of the trade” back then. A common side effect of abortions back then was injured – and sometimes dead – women.
Indeed, Roe V. Wade changed all that. In my opinion, that decision swung a bit too far. As with most elements of social change, we have to swing back and forth a little – slowly approaching a sane position near the middle.
But the abortion issue is so polarized that the discussions necessary to arrive at a solution are not taking place.
Even after over 30 years.
Pro life people insist that,”life begins at conception.” Strangely, we can arrive at an agreement as to when life ends – with the cessation of brain activity – but we cannot apply this same principle to the beginning.
Pro-life people insist that the fetus is a living human being – as soon as it consists of one fertilized cell.
At the other end of the spectrum are the pro-choice people. They insist that the fetus is not a “baby” until it is born. Well, that is not exactly what they say. Their insistence that partial birth abortions are also a right of pro-choice women means that they are really asserting the following:
Whether a “baby” is a human or merely a fetus depends upon the intent of the mother. If the intent is to give birth, the end result is
a baby. If the intent is to abort the pregnancy, the end result is an aborted fetus.
Both extremes in this argument represent reprehensible positions that cannot be supported by either science or logic. It’s time that
pro-life and pro-choice people sat down and talked WITH each other - instead of shouting AT each other.
In the case of the current issue in Winona – the Catholic Church’s anti-abortion demonstration in front of SEMCAC – a bunch of single men dressed in black, joined by a few lay people and their bishop, collected at a place where healthcare is provided to poor families. They were exercising their rights of assembly and speech. Strangely, they did not allow those same rights to one or more individuals that did not agree with them. Instead, they called the police.
The Catholic Church is great for insisting on its freedom of religion rights. But, again, this is an instance where it does not practice what it preaches.
The Catholic Church is adamant about the right to life, but its social justice record in providing support to poor single mothers that don’t abort is rather dismal. Unless they choose to let their babies out for adoption, they are pretty much ignored by the Catholic Church in our and other communities. The Church’s record in Ireland, for instance, is particularly appalling.
In affect, the Church seems willing to throw those newly-born babies out with the birthing water.
How is this any better than allowing abortions in the first trimester?
This commentary was first published January 17, 2013 by the Winona Daily News