View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Genny C. loses a product of conception

Genny C, an elephant at Rochester’s Seneca Park Zoo, went into labor Tuesday.

The community had been eagerly waiting for this delivery for years.

But it soon became clear there were problems.

Animal doctors flew in from across the country.

But the baby became stuck in the womb, and died.

Our County Executive made the announcement. She had to struggle with tears to get the words out.

Several people at the press conference did openly cry.

The local newspaper had an article about how to tell children about the death.

The zoo has announced that it will have free admission today and tomorrow to give people a chance to “deliver expressions of sympathy.”

I don’t want to dismiss the sadness of the death. All unnecessary loss of life is to be lamented.

Nor do I want to mock the genuine feelings of grief people are experiencing.

But something struck me.

Tuesday, the day this drama began, is one of the days our local Planned Parenthood office performs abortions.

Even as doctors were going to the zoo to save a baby, doctors were heading to Planned Parenthood to kill babies.

As I saw and read about people crying over the elephant baby’s death, I wondered if anyone cried for the dead babies at Planned Parenthood.

Perhaps some of the mothers did as they left or when they got home and felt the loss, the sorrow, the anger. Maybe they will later in life when they think back to that day. Or when they discover that they can no longer have children. Or when they look at their future children and realize there could have been one more.

I view these women as victims, not pro-choicers, by the way. I think in many cases they felt they had no choice. Many of them have been sold a bill of goods by radical pro-choicers.

And maybe some of the pro-lifers who gather across from Planned Parenthood to pray also cried. (Well, maybe not the woman with the bull horn. She’s too busy making pro-lifers look bad.)

I long for the day when we will see an elected official choke back tears as he or she talks about the aborted lives.

And did anyone explain to the women how they might explain what they did to their children (if they have any)? Or how to explain it to future children (if any)?

Will anyone get to show them “expressions of sympathy”?

I also thought of the irony of the pro-choice position.

The infant died in Genny’s uterus, so by the pro-choice version of the English language, it was not a baby.

It was a product of conception.

In fact, the pro-choicers could even have a gripe in this case.

Genny was pregnant by artificial insemination.

Genny had no choice in the matter. No one asked her if she wanted to be pregnant. She did not “want” the baby.

So no need for tears.

At least not openly and publicly. Not in a radical pro-choice world.

As for me – I wish Genny well. I mourn her loss.

I sympathize with those who weep for her.

And I cry for the women who entered Planned Parenthood that night as mothers and left empty, and for the children who will never be able to go to a zoo to see wondrous creations like elephants.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You obviously do not understand the pro-chooice position. Let me try to explain it to you:

1. "Life begins at conception" is a faith statement, not a scientific fact. Medical doctors, theologins, philosophers and scientist cannot agree on when life begins. There is no consensus.
2. Not everyone shares your beliefs.
3. In a free country (a non-theocracy as we are purported to be) adults should be allowed to make their own moral desicions whether you agree with those decisions or not. Murder is murder because we can all agree that a life has been lost. If we cannot agree that a life exists, we are in a grey area. Life is not black and white.
4. People of good conscience can disagree and still remain people of good conscience.
5. The RC Chuch, contrary to its own press, has not had a clear and consistent teaching on when life begins and has changed its mind several times.

I think you would find few, if any, pro-choice advocates who would not mourn the loss of a near-term baby. That's just your propoganda to make the other side look bad. How illogical and tacky.

For a person whose ex-Mother-in-law had an abortion, I find your diatribes on this subject distasteful and completely lacking in compassion.

I never thought "lacking in comapssion" would be a term I would use for you. How disappointing.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I understand the pro-choice position quite well. I have read about it, written about it, discussed it for years.

1. Life begins at conception is a faith statement - true - but it is also a medical and scientific one. A number of doctors and scientists accept this - even ones who are not religious. There may be some who don't - but even medical journals and texts stated this up until the abortion movement helped to get them changed.

Even where there is debate, when it comes to health and safety I think it’s better to err on the side of caution.

2. True, but what does that have to do with anything?

3. In a free country, adults are free to make decisions that do not harm others. Abortion harms others.

In some societies, even murder has been accepted. Just because we do not agree on it, that does not make it right. There have been any number of other beliefs about life - and people - that have been held as true (certain ethnic groups are inferior, women are inferior, etc.) and so they were treated as lesser humans subject to male/superior races' whims, but that does not make those beliefs right or true.

In ancient Sparta, sickly children were left on hillsides to die even if they could survive with care. That was considered the right thing to do.

4. I agree. I've never said anything different.

5. Yes, thinking and understanding evolves. 30 years ago, the Church supported the death penalty. It does so now only under very limited circumstances.

Partial birth abortion can involve the killing of a near term baby - and pro-choicers battled vehemently for that. The abortion decisions (Roe and Doe) essentially legalized abortion up to the moment of delivery - something pro-choicers fought to gain and to retain. The only difference between a "child" and "a product of conception" is the woman's attitude toward it - whether it was wanted or unwanted. That was one of the points I was making with the observations about Genny C's "choice" about getting pregnant and "wanting" the child.

I suspect nearly all reasonable pro-choicers would mourn the loss of a late-term wanted child. I suspect most would mourn the loss of a late-term-unwanted child. But there are some who would never admit it even if they did, because that would mean suggesting that something was not right.

In admitting the feeling they would have to admit that a child died.

And if you admit it’s a child, then that brings down the whole house of cards.

The next part is unclear. Do you mean my former mother-in-law had an abortion? If that's true, that's news to me. If she did, I’d feel deeply saddened for her - and the child. Or did you mean your ex mother in law? If so, I feel sorry for her, you and the child.

I have compassion for people who have suffered an abortion - the women - the men - the children. It's rather presumptuous to assume that I don't.

I have had long conversations with women who've had abortions. I've also talked with men who were part of an abortion. I have offered them sympathy, an ear, help.

I remember spending several hours basically holding one woman as she sobbed. I cried too. I don't think she felt any lack of compassion or any judgment on my part.

By the way, do I know you? It's easy to hide behind "anonymous."

6:49 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

I hope others do understand the value of life. Life begins at conception; abortion is murder.

Your post made me quite sad. Thinking about the elephant baby and abortions. But I have hope in Christ.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Lee - Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. At the crisis pregnancy center I volunteer at we have a post-abortion support group, and it is growing. I think that is a very important and needed part of our mission because it has a positive impact on the people who attend. It's a way of encouraging and healing.

We do all we can to convince folks not to have an abortion, but if they do we all ought to still there with open arms for them. That's much better than a bullhorn.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee your last paragraph says it all...
God Bless you

12:47 AM  

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