Suffer the poor
We are part of the great majority of the faithful in the Catholic church who disagrees with the dictates of the Vatican on matters related to sex, marriage, family life and motherhood. We are part of the great majority who believes that Catholic teachings on conscience mean that every individual must follow his or her own conscience ― and respect others' right to do the same.
Here are some very thoughtful words from one man of the cloth who understands that, if you deprive women of access to public funding for abortions -- as looks to be the case right now in the US with the ''Stupak amendment'' and other measures and, given the anti-choice crowd's druthers, might eventually be the same in Canada -- wealthier women will get by.
We know how to reduce the actual number of abortions. The most effective means is to reduce poverty among young women and children. When having a child does not present such an insurmountable economic crisis the decision to abort a pregnancy becomes much less attractive. However, actually reducing the number of abortions is a matter of substance and that is almost never discussed.
Most commonly we talk about making choice illegal. With the Stupak amendment added to the health care reform bill, anti-abortion Democrats have once again chosen symbolism over substance. So, if we restrict insurance coverage of abortion services then which abortions are being stopped? Obviously, the only women who lose choice are the poor who cannot pay for an abortion. Stupak returns us to the days before Roe v. Wade when the daughters of the rich and the middle class were forced to take a three-day trip to Europe when they wanted to terminate a pregnancy.
Catholic bishops join arms with conservative politicians and force upon the public legislation which, and don't kid yourself about it, it only means, "We impose a burden upon poor women which we would not dream of imposing on the middle and upper class." Otherwise, why wouldn't they be discussing making it illegal to get an abortion at all, arresting women of means in the airport when they returned from France or Spain after exercising their "choice?" Because, if they impose these standards on their own members you would find a lot of politicians, Catholic bishops and evangelical preachers working the drive-through windows at local fast food restaurants. They can be high and mighty forcing the poor to be ethical for them but they would never accept such regulation of their own family or constituency. This is the hypocrisy of choosing symbolic action over substance.
The politicians and religious leaders who are offering us the Stupak amendment are the same ones who have failed to act substantively to improve the plight of poor children in our nation by actually making health care, education and housing available so that the real abortion numbers would go down. Poor women are already the most vulnerable people in our society.
It's the poor who will bear the brunt of these punishing acts.
Ah yes. The poor, the meek, the defenceless, the voiceless.
Because, Lord knows, as they continue to maintain their glorious, gilded churches without paying taxes, they should keep their noses out of state affairs -- and women's crotches. You can't be a charity and a lobby group.