Northerners love the month of May which is technically the last month of Spring. We appreciate her sunny days and May flowers especially after enduring long, cold winters. The month was named after the Greek goddess Maia; the goddess of growth; however, Catholics dedicate this month to our Blessed Lady, Mary, the mother of Jesus. This month is a natural harbinger of renewal and growth; new life and fertility; motherhood and babies. More recently, May has devolved into a battleground against new life and motherhood. Some of us have been around since the start of this battle. No silly, not since Eve’s ejection from the Garden of Eden; but, since the start of the fight for abortion and women’s rights. Granted, that’s why some of our grandchildren may be tempted to consider us as old as dirt! Kidding aside, these two issues [and the Vietnam War] became front and center for me during late adolescence and extending into my whole adult life. I would like to tell you about my views and perspectives regarding this battle. In essence, the issues over life vs death [as exemplified by war, mistreatment of women, abortion and infanticide] are really ancient — they arose after the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden; but today’s battles hit close to home. Today, abortion rights and women’s rights appear to be conjoined; we can’t be for one and against the other. Or can we?
The arguments for abortion rights are flawed, in my opinion; although, I fully get how an unexpected pregnancy could shake a woman to her core. It’s also true that not one of us has ever been able to ask for life. And that fact should translate into the realization that human life [expected or not] is a Gift that needs to be treasured, reverenced, and appreciated. This philosophy should be easily explained and understood; however, opponents are easily overwhelmed by raw emotion; misinformation rather than facts; distortions and exaggerations over rational explanations; and untruthfulness vs. fundamental truth and a lack of understanding about God’s Natural Laws. As already stated, the abortion question and the women’s rights issues grew up together — so to speak. While it’s easier to rationally explain why women should have the same basic rights as men; the fact that the two issues have fused into one makes it difficult to talk about both sexes being made in the image and likeness of God; and by extension; all human life [born and unborn]. I recall debating the legalization of abortion while attending Girls State - a summer leadership and citizenship program for high school juniors, sponsored by the American Legion. Girls State was a great experience for me because I loved exploring, thinking about and debating American government policies and politics even way back in high school. This was spurred on by extended family debates about everything [they loved to debate politics] and my active participation in debate and student council. The 1970 Girl Staters debated the pros and cons of abortion; the Vietnam War, and women’s rights! Emotion ruled the day over most rational arguments [in my opinion] especially when proponents argued the need for legal abortion due to rape; incest and botched back street abortions. These exceptions should not have been used to argue for abortion in general. The pro-life arguments were quickly squashed by these emotions; most pro-lifers felt cancelled — 70’s style. It’s interesting to me that the abortion rights fight coincided with the call for free sex and ban the bra; regardless of the fact that contraceptives were not as infallible as they are today. Consequently, unexpected pregnancies occurred along with the need to have an abortion. Previously held moral beliefs were largely cast aside; freedom of expression ruled the roost; and many women were left stranded without a rudder or a sail or a man who truly loved them. Consequently, over 65 million unborn babies and 350,000 young mothers-to-be have died due to legal abortions since 1973. This data is provided by the NIH; and The Comparative Safety of Legal Induced Abortion and Childbirth in the United States by Elizabeth G. Raymond; David A Grimes; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Feb. 2012. The estimated mortality rates related to induced abortion is calculated at 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions or sixteen times less fatal than delivery of a live newborn. This last factoid should be contested; however, it won’t be because of privacy laws. In 1990, more than 1.9 million abortions were performed; the abortion rate stayed above one million abortions/year for nearly two decades. The abortion rates stayed well above 800 thousand abortions/year for the next ten years. Since 1998, the number of abortions performed each year range between 780 thousand to 630 thousand abortions per year.[https://www.statista.com/statistics/185274/number-of-legal-abortions-in-the-us-since-2000]. The numbers of abortions eerily resemble the numbers of Jews and non Jews killed during WW2 [total of 11 million people]; and the numbers of individuals murdered during the Rwanda genocide [800,000 killed in 100 days]. All of these incidents represent a tremendous loss of life for each of these nations. The future Americans could have, would have and should be contributing right now to the growth and development of US manufacturing, growth, and the social fabric of our lives. The US wouldn’t have the below zero growth population growth rates for as many decades as it has. The long term consequences weren’t considered decades ago when the experts were focused on [since proven to be false] over-population projections. That argument helped foment the need for legal abortion and limiting the number of live births in this country.
What about women’s rights? I was a card carrying member of SWE: the Society of Women’s Engineering after majoring in Chemical Engineering in college. I was the only female in my freshman class of chemical engineers; and the third woman to graduate with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of North Dakota. Since then, hundreds of thousands [maybe millions] more young women have majored and graduated from universities across the country in the fields of medicine, the sciences, and engineering. These were formerly all-male bastions. I feel that my generation did its part to help women realize they can compete with anyone in any field of study or employment; its their choice. My generation helped to break many glass ceilings. Back then only about half of my graduating high school class attended college; today, more females than males attend college. Unfortunately, many young women [today] would label me as a traitor because I defend the life of the unborn. They equate freedom with abortion rights. Too many have adopted the belief that they can use their bodies just like men; even though many of the men who use or hurt other people are often identified as sex offenders, rapists, sexual pedophiles and harassers, and murderers.
Mother’s Day has just come and gone; it celebrates the fact that “motherhood allows women to become a double benefactress to the world; she is capable of preserving humanity from one generation to the next, but she is also the principle moral provider of humanity.” [according to Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, Three to Get Married]. St. Luke [23: 30 - 32] warned us about today. “Look, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore, and breasts that never nursed!’At that time ‘ they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us. For if men do these things while the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
The social war rages on because many of us failed to evangelize in all the right ways about God and our faith through personal example, good works and getting/staying involved. That’s on us; but, its never to late to take up arms against our own past. We have time to do what’s right in very positive ways and to make sure our words are fair; considerate and loving. It is possible to state the truth without attacking the personal integrity of another person. Did you know that you have been called to be lay priest, prophet and king for the sake of your families and for the whole world? May God bless us with wisdom and grace sufficient to fight the good fight all the way to the finish line for life, fertility, and motherhood.