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October 20, 2016


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Beautifully said.

I think what people also need to understand is that the YES, in reality, is hard. Of course they know that, but it's quite another thing to live it.

I didn't feel embraced by the Catholic Church as a young, single mother (or the outside community for that matter...this is certainly not the Churches issue alone), instead, at points, I felt shamed.

Support would have felt like unconditional love and acceptance. And although adoption is an amazing option, it is not an option I felt called to choose. I wish I didn't get so many calls from "concerned neighbors and parishioners" regarding "how I was going to feed my baby". I wish I didn't have to sit and have someone watch me write a thank you note when someone donated their used travel crib to me. (The woman thought I would have forgotten to write one afterward because I had "so many things going on", so she had thank you note and pen all ready for me). I just wish, at the time, I didn't feel so judged.

To be truly pro life, I believe, is to unconditionally love and accept. The choice, the baby, the financial need, etc...

And when we are talking "all of life", the list gets longer...the choice, the suffering, the sickness, the financial expense, etc...

Oh, Gina, I am so grateful for your YES, and so sorry about the judgment you experienced. xoxo

This is so excellent, thank you, Jamie. I'm from Ireland, where abortion is still illegal, and those "hard cases" are the ones that make headlines far more often than your friends might expect. When I moved to the US I felt it was a step backwards as far as maternity leave rights were concerned, but at least a step forward for some other women's rights. I'm afraid I'm starting to lose that opinion.


This line: "The pro-life movement has wrecked its credibility with folks outside the movement; they do not see us as allies in a quest to support women in making good decisions." Absolutely correct.

Thanks for posting this, Jamie.

Jamie, I just really applaud you for talking about pregnant women who want the baby, but feel that they cannot take care of it properly due to the myriad ways our culture sets up barriers. I've read that 70% of abortions performed are on women who are already mothers.

The typical political rhetoric is that it's the woman's fault she has an unwanted pregnancy, she should have thought of things first, and she doesn't get a pass because this is all too haaaaaaaaard. Babies are not supposed to be a means of punishment.

Reading this was wonderful as it echoes many of my thoughts about the pro-life movement. Even though I am pro-choice, but I am also very much in favor of reducing the number of abortions by providing better care and support for expectant mothers. Although I do not think it is possible to get to zero abortions for a variety of reasons, I think it is possible to reduce the numbers significantly from where they stand now.

From an outsider's perspective (both religiously and from a policy standpoint), I really hate to see women shamed for having gotten pregnant accidentally and then being forced into a terrible decision. When I see people picketing outside Planned Parenthood with their revolting photos and screaming obscenities at young women, I have to wonder what effect they think they're going to have. If I was unsure about getting an abortion, nothing about that experience would lead me to believe that the community around me would support me if I kept the pregnancy.

You also bring up a really critical point, which is that pro-life groups support a woman keeping the pregnancy, but do nothing (or very little) once the baby is born. If someone is seeking an abortion for financial reasons, then maternity leave, child care, health care, etc., are going to be extraordinarily difficult. So giving someone some formula and some diapers and saying that they "support life" is fairly laughable.

Thank you for writing this.

YES. So beautifully put. I am staunchly pro-choice and in fact volunteered at a local Planned Parenthood carrying messages between women who were there for abortions and the folks in the waiting room who came with them (for obvious reasons, sadly, non-patients were not allowed back in the patient care areas, and you had to pass through a metal detector and a bulletproof door just to get into the waiting room). But I have always felt that there is so much potential common ground between pro-life conservatives and social justice progressives. Let's support not just birth, but the whole lives and well-being of children and mothers.

That was amazing. Thank you for writing it.
Now I need to figure out what to do to help.

Thank you for writing and posting this: I had never considered the debate from this perspective, had never thought of the effects of health care on abortion rates. I do keep seeing pro-life friends talk about helping out in crisis pregnancies - and had not thought of the connection between the decision to have a child to available health care and child care. a
One thing though: having had a child and raised a toddler in the US, and then having children and raising them in a welfare state (with free health care and maternity leave and an assumption that sick children always come before work) - I will say that the difference is unfathomable. Honestly, if you haven't had and raised kids in a formally supportive society, you can't imagine how much of a difference it makes, to men and women.


Thank you for this.

I'm so grateful too....I have this amazing person that I had the privilege to raise. He is, and will always be, my whole entire world.

However, the "pro life" stance is just so much more than "pro life". If you really want to be pro life...you need to find ways to unconditionally accept the life...the whole life...and this includes how different people choose to live it...Not just parts of it that are politically or personally convenient.

I love your comments about Dobson. Unfortunately, I was given a bunch of his books early in my motherhood and did not realize the problems with his philosophy until much too late. If you do things his way, you'll be whacking your 2 year old all day long.

I disagree with your summation on why your friends are voting Trump. I think many of the things he has said are beyond the pale. However, to not vote for him is a vote for Hillary. She is rabidly pro-abortion. She will not even say that an abortion should be "safe, legal and rare" which has been the Democratic Party's mantra on abortion. She wants abortion on demand. Trump will surround himself with a conservative administration. Can you imagine those in Hillary's?

I really appreciate your approach to this difficult issue. It's so easy for humans to rail about problems, rather than make the effort to offer real, needed help.

Would you mind if I shared this on Facebook? I think I know some people who would also appreciate this post, but I don't want to send you unwanted traffic :).

I really like this, it's precisely because of all these reasons that I am so critical of people's blind support for "pro-life" politicians who don't support policies that help women not to have to make this sad choice.
I cannot believe that so many people will vote for a despicable creature only because of this one issue (as someone just shared above). An issue that has been emphasized over the years to literally "hijack" the vote of Christians. And historically, it was not because of abortion at all, but about racial discrimination as this article explains: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133

I'm truly happy you wrote this.

I haven't commented before, but I read your blog regularly and love both your insights and your amazing writing style. I, too, dream of a world without abortion and I love the way you articulated the need to foster a "culture in which women are free to say a fearless and joyful YES." YES!!!
I couldn't agree more and am dismayed by the choices before us this election. Out of around 330 million people, you would think we could have done a lot better! But we still have to choose, and if we want to be able to continue to be the "gentlest, joyfullest wackadoodles" we can be and invite others into this joy with us, we have to have the religious freedom to do so, and pick the party with the policies that will defend that freedom.

Maybe Obama didn't force Catholic hospitals to perform late-term abortions. Instead, he forced every single employer to provide access to abortafacients through the HHS Contraception Mandate - including colleges and hospitals and even the Little Sisters of the Poor. To me, it is quite telling that the Democrats, the "pro-choice" party, wouldn't respect the Sisters' choice - preferring to drive them out of their culture of life work of caring for the elderly poor. (And its not the first time. How many Catholic agencies are still placing children up for adoption? Zero, because they couldn't in clear conscience give into the government's demands. )The Sisters and others who refused to violate their consciences deserve our gratitude and respect for revealing the extent the Democrats are willing to go to deny our religious liberties. Apparently any choice can be condoned, except the refusal to be complicit in intrinsically evil acts mandated by the government. The dissent of the 1% needed to be made an example of to the tune of $70 million a year in fines. The Supreme Court recently gave a temporary ruling in the Sisters' favor, and in so doing revealed that, of course, the government could have found a way to accommodate the Sisters' religious objections (like they did for Pepsi, Visa, and Chevron - and a family insurance plan offered by the U.S. Military), but they chose not to. Why not? Because they want people to believe that our religious liberties are rights granted to us by the government, rather than inalienably endowed by our Creator.

In the Vice Presidential debate, Tim Kaine said,"That's what we ought to be doing in public life. Living our lives with enthusiasm and excitement...dialoguing with each other about important moral issues of the day...but on fundamental issues of morality, we should let women make their own decisions." Nice words, but is that what the Democrats actually did with the Little Sisters of the Poor? Did they respect their decision on the moral issue of birth control and abortion and let them live their faith with enthusiasm?

I understand and share your disgust with the things Donald Trump has said and done. I also have come to realize that the reprehensible things he has said are opinions either shared by the Democrats, or even codified into law. For example, he made comments about pregnancy being inconvenient for businesses, but the HHS contraception mandate is that sentiment translated into the law of the land. Rather than support maternity leave or other programs encouraging pregnancy and motherhood, the HHS mandate was accepted by insurance companies because the cost of providing contraception is offset by the savings of preventing pregnancies. The HHS itself states:"When medical costs associated with unintended pregnancies are taken into account, including costs of prenatal care, pregnancy complications, and deliveries, the net effect on premiums is close to zero." The Rewire article goes on to say,"counting indirect costs - such as time away from work and productivity losses -- further reduces the total cost to an employer. Clearly, the goal was never to remove barriers to motherhood, since preventing a life will ALWAYS be cheaper than caring for one.

You want there to be a culture of life where there is space for disability, and are rightfully repulsed by Trump's mocking of a disabled person. However, Hillary Clinton champions a woman's right to kill her unborn child because of its disability. Of course the Democrats support abortion for any reason - but it's oft repeated that it is especially justifiable if the baby is suspected of having a disability. In a 2012 publication of Prenatal Diagnosis, a study estimates a 67% termination rate for children diagnosed with Downs Syndrome in utero. There has been an overall reduction in the population of individuals in our society with Downs Syndrome of 25%-40% overall. Rick Santorum once stated,"Free prenatal testing saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society." I cringe whenever I hear news stories regarding trying to find the genetic cause of autism, and then other stories reporting the (truthfully) astronomically high costs (that are often not covered by insurance) of providing education, care and support for individuals with autism. Based on the history of the decimation perpetrated against individuals with Downs, I fear the writing is on the wall. I fear that one day, the free prenatal testing will turn into mandated testing, and if you choose to continue to bring the disabled baby to term, it will be considered in the same way as an "elective surgery" and not covered. Perhaps that day is not far off, depending on the veracity of recent news about people being turned down by insurance companies for chemotherapy drugs, but covered for assisted suicide drugs.

You recommend that Catholics move on from the Republican party if Trump is the best it can do. But move on to what? The Democratic platform states they will "continue to oppose-- and seek to overturn -- federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman's access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment." Based on the HHS mandate and Little Sisters of the Poor, I believe them. They are not hiding their agenda or their priorities. Because of the email leaks, we also know what Hillary and her team think of Catholics.

The Republican platform states, "we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed." In a troubled world entrapped in the culture of death, it is a sliver of hope, and may explain why a pro-life person would overlook a troubling persona in favor of a chance to use our religious liberty to continue to pray for universal metanoia and work to bring about a culture of life that will stop the slaughter of over 1 million innocent lives every year.

The richness of your blog post brings up so many other interesting points, but I have gone on WAY too long already. I'm sorry. I miss you and would love to talk sometime.

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