Wednesday, June 03, 2009

My Thoughts on This Week

The death of an important doctor this last weekend has been weighing very heavily on my mind. First, it is just the image of a man ushering at church just as he would every Sunday and seeing a man come toward him with a gun. I can imagine the congregation hearing the shots fire and echo through the sanctuary. "What could that be?" Next, a sweating and anxious young man coming to get his wife in as quiet a way he can. The sound that echoes through the sanctuary next is the terrified and disbeliefing scream. Just thinking about this scene now brings tears to my eyes. Quite frankly hearing about the details of any human being killed is a frightening tale that aches my heart.

I know that this doctor was a controversial person in this country. I know that many people may see his name and think that he was also a murderer and that what he got was what he deserved. It is hard for me to believe that.

He stood by the side of frightened women who were carrying babies they wanted (hence carrying to a late term), but had to terminate the birth because of the risk to their own health. He cared for them and their families to ensure that not only was the woman's health taken into account, but that the family was able to cope with the pain of the loss - at a time when no one else would be there for them. Who can ever really cope with the loss of a child -- born or unborn? No one. It is a scar that a woman must always live with; a deep pain that may never heal. Nonetheless, some instances of health make it a necessity. But, politicians have stepped in where they don't belong. It is a woman's body; it is a decision she needs to only confide in her family and doctor to make.

Everyone's personal feelings on the matter of abortion are different -- personal. Personal. Where are we missing this? Just as religion is personal so are everyone's thoughts on health care. It may not be the choice I would make for myself, but I am not the one who dictates to others. I also don't condone war, but there are certainly a lot of them going on around the world. Our beliefs don't dictate to the environment; it doesn't work that way.

Sorry, I digress. What I choose for myself doesn't mean that I am better at making decisions for others. And, certainly what I believe doesn't mean that it should be so for others. Can I make the choice for a woman with an abusive husband, drug addiction and no home to live in? Can I make the decision for a family that already has five children and the main bread-winner in the household has lost his job? Can I make the decision for the woman who finds herself alone, pregnant and carrying a child with Downs Syndrome? I can't. I hope I never have to face the decision. It takes an amazing amount of courage and determination.

And, where does terrorism and striking fear into women who have to make this choice actually help? Where does it actually make a difference? Where does it make impact? It doesn't. It only creates fear. Not rationale. Not educated adults. Not women who feel they have worth.

The doctor's death was sad and unnecessary in and of itself. But, to hear the commentating on his death like it was God inflicting his wrath on an evil person is just so ignorant. I don't remember God giving us the right to judge others on this planet. When did that happen? This doctor was a respected man who fought for woman's rights to make their own decisions when it came to their reproductive health care. He continued to do what he believed was right and provide a service to women that thousands in the country refused to at the risk of his own life. Courage. Fighting for what he believed in. Standing up with women when politicians didn't think the voices of millions of women just weren't loud enough.

The point? This is bigger than just making my own decisions about the birth control pills I would like to take to keep from becoming pregnant until I am ready to have a family. This is about being a woman and being able to make my own decisions. Period. I have a voice, dammit. And, I don't want a politician to look at me and say, "Well, you are in your thirties, a career-minded woman and, oh, a blond. You can't make your own choices. Let me do it for you. Keep being the fragile, hopeless creature you have always been. It's for your own good."

No, thank you. Women have gotten much too far to just sit down and allow politicians to do this to us. To objectify us. Did the women before us fight in vain? I hope not. In a time when women are doing everything that men do...why aren't we given the same rights in every way that men are?

I pray for our country every day. I pray for people who are on both sides of this fence every day. I pray that God will truly come back into the picture again - a loving God where we embrace our fellow human beings and come up with solutions through dialogue together instead of yelling at one another. Instead of shooting one another.

I am sad today and will be for a long time. We are destroying the world and the people God has created just to get our way; just to impose our thoughts and beliefs on others. Is it worth it? Is the anger and dissidence worth it? Is the fear worth it?

I don't think it is.

What is? A woman who is smiling with the light of hope on her face because she has freedom, knowledge, and a future. Precisely what this doctor fought for.

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