Sunday, January 25, 2009

If This Is Hope, What Does Despair Look Like?

Infamously pro-abortion Catholic, and former New York govern Mario Cuomo, was quoted in Newsday this past week discussing the importance of President Obama’s success:

Obama's failure would heighten the threat of unprecedented global damage, but his success could help lead our great nation and this entire threatened world into a new period of enlightenment and progress. Obama's moment in history is a unique one.

There has never been more to worry about, but neither has there ever been more to hope for.

We should choose hope.

Cuomo’s “choose hope” tag isn’t a bad one. I can’t help but noticing its similar ring to the Right-to-Life motto (and biblical command in Deuteronomy 30.19) to “choose life.”

Which raises the question for me of why, if Obama is the very embodiment of all human hope, (or does that sell him short?), then why is he so closed to any possibility of hope for women who find themselves with problem or unwanted pregnancies--except the solution of homicide? Why can't he imagine hope for a world to solve its (real or imaginary) population problems or women's health problems without resorting to the mass homicide of abortion-as-population control?

Is there really so little hope for a good outcome for both mother and child that abortion has to predominate as the solution that represents hope, rather than despair?

If you want to read something really hopeless, read this portion of the dissenting opinion in a Supreme Court opinion from the late 1980s, Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services. The majority had found that a Missouri statute regulating the performance of abortions was Constitutional. Not outlawing, just regulating.

The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Blackmun, and joined by civil rights icon Justice Thurgood Marshall, includes one of the bleakest visions of women’s lives I have ever read. In their view, the only thing between American women and lives of poverty, social exclusion, illness, and death, is the saving “hope” of being able to terminate their unborn children. Reading it you'd think that education, nutrition, and health care are a distant second to the most necessary thing to lift a poor woman out of poverty--abortion-on-demand. If you want to know what the opposite of “choose hope” is, it will sound something like this:

The plurality [is] either oblivious or insensitive to the fact that millions of women, and their families, have ordered their lives around the right to reproductive choice, and that this right has become vital to the full participation of women in the economic and political walks of American life. The plurality would clear the way once again for government to force upon women the physical labor and specific and direct medical and psychological harms that may accompany carrying a fetus to term. The plurality would clear the way again for the State to conscript a woman's body and to force upon her a "distressful life and future."

The result, as we know from experience, would be that, every year, hundreds of thousands of women, in desperation, would defy the law and place their health and safety in the unclean and unsympathetic hands of back-alley abortionists, or they would attempt to perform abortions upon themselves, with disastrous results. Every year, many women, especially poor and minority women, would die or suffer debilitating physical trauma, all in the name of enforced morality or religious dictates or lack of compassion, as it may be.

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