Friday, June 08, 2007

A bag of emotions--updated

**This may be a rambling piece. If it is, I apologize.

One of my job responsibilities is reading and cutting the daily papers from around the state every morning. Two of our interns help me out, but since I've been doing this for almost four years now I'm extremely adept at cutting and clipping, so I usually do about 3-5 papers a day. This means I get to read many, many editorials and op-eds, which can have the unfortunate tendency of "getting my dander up." It hasn't happened for awhile though, and on some topics I've almost become immune to the idiocy that's spouted off like gospel.

But today that didn't happen.

The Cincy Enquirer runs a regular feature called "Your Voice" where readers can write their own op-ed columns. Generally this is a pretty cool idea and it's nice to read what "ordinary" people are thinking about current issues.

Today, however, not so cool.

The author of today's piece is an "environmental activist" and was writing about abortion. Now that should've told me everything I needed to know right away. But I am a glutton for punishment, apparently, so I read the thing. Even though I tried to resist.

She wrote about how pro-lifers really don't care about the woman's life. That sometimes abortion is necessary, even though no one wants it. Because it will save a child a life of suffering, or a slow death, or keep it from being abused by its parents because it is unwanted, or ending up in jail because it wasn't raised right. And then she gives us Jocelyn Elders: "every child should be a planned and wanted child."

Then there's the footnote that says she had two brothers that died of CF.

Well that just about did it for me.

I don't even know where to begin. I've covered the whole idea of the selfishness involved in abortion, to some degree--the idea that your life cannot be "interrupted" by a baby. As Mother Teresa said, "It is a poverty that a child must die so you may live as you wish." I've also talked about how you've made the "choice" to possibly hvae a baby the minute you had sex. The Pro-life movement emphasizes responsibility. Once the baby is conceived, once that sperm meets that egg, you've got a person. Deal with it appropriately--by not killing it. Please. If you don't want kids, DON'T HAVE SEX. Thank you.

It's the stuff about the child "suffering" that gets me. Who is SHE--who are any of us?--to say that?! How arrogant! As Charles Dickens wrote in A Christmas Carol:
Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be that, in the sigght of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man's child. Oh, God! To hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!

It is the height of arrogance. How blind we are. So that child doesn't deserve love, even if it is only for a few hours (i.e., as seen in Karen Santorum's elegiac Letters to Gabriel?)? More proof of the softness of our age. Suffering in any form is seen as so horrible that we would rather die. That's crazy talk.

And then the CF reference.

I'm confused by it. Does it serve as some sort of qualification for what she writes? If so she's insulting thousands of people with CF and their families. I certainly have never wished that I had never been born. I certainly never wanted my parents to have killed me. I love my life, always have. Sure, there are some parts that have been less than fun. But I would rather have had my life, with those moments, than no life at all.
CF isn't a cakewalk. There are complications, strange things, multiple hospitalizations, and emotional issues that most people will never go through in a lifetime, let alone as a child/teenager/young adult. You have to grow up fast. Your family's dynamic is forever altered. But the life is still worth living.

I cannot believe that this writer, who had two brothers with CF, could write a piece like this. I don't think she's implying that we should all be killed off. But it's just chilling to think of it. Didn't she see the rewards that come to a family from these situations? The growth? The bonding? The way you have to take care of each other? Either she missed it or it didn't happen.

We can be so selfish. These babies want nothing but to be loved and cared for. And to be given a chance. If you don't want the baby, give it up for adoption. I'll take it. I know many, many people who would take it. Killing the child is not the answer. And, in the long run, it will probably just make things worse. Groups like Project Rachel attest to the damage abortion does to women. So where is the benefit to the practice?

Easy answer: there isn't one.

I realize then that we never have children, we receive them. And sometimes it's not for quite as long as we would have expected or hoped. But it is still far better than never having had those children at all. 'Kate,' I confess. 'I'm so sorry.'
She pushes back from me, until she can look me in the eye. 'Don't be,' she says fiercely. 'Because I'm not.' She tries to smile, tries so damn hard. 'It was a good one, Mom, wasn't it?'
I bite my lip, feel the heaviness of tears. 'It was the best,' I answer."

--Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper


Amber said...

I would say something, but I don't think that woman who wrote that editorial deserves a response. At this point, the only thing I can come up with that sounds rational and not completely emotionally-driven is "how dare she?!". grr..people. Well, now that that is off my chest (sorta), I shall go and read Nicholas Sparks for FUN, considering I have written paper after paper today and have a ton more to do tomorrow! Oh the joys of 4 summer classes!

Emily said...

You know I had the same response. But then I just had to write to get it out of my system. :)
What Nicholas Sparks novel? I love his stuff. :)

Amber said...

"True Believer"'s good thus far.