The largest and loudest pro-life group has been the Catholic Church. The Conference of Catholic Bishops has ensured that in the recently passed universal health care reform bill, abortion is not covered. If a woman or a couple wants to abort a child, they will have to pay out of pocket or obtain separate abortion coverage.
I had our first child in 1988, the same year I became president of our local Right to Life chapter. The issue we were dealing with in that 1988 Michigan ballot proposal election year was Medicaid funded abortion. Proposal A was one of those oddly worded election proposals in which no meant yes. You know the kind. At any rate we marched, rallied and campaigned to encourage voters to vote no on Proposal A, saying that we did not want to continue to publicly fund abortions via the Medicaid system. Which it had been doing without the knowledge of the average citizen for quite some time. Whether people voted from their pocket book or from a conviction to end abortion one step at a time, Proposal A failed and Medicaid funded abortions were stopped. Over the next few years, we saw a conservative estimate decline or 25% in the overall abortion rate.
I just pulled up the documentation from December 1988 online. Under the search, came a site saying that women were being ‘forced by this legislation to carry unwanted pregnancies to term’. I remember well that rhetoric in 1988. No one is forcing mothers to carry unwanted babies. We are trying to put our money where our mouth is and refuse to pay for it. I would be willing to pay for any procedure on Medicaid or Universal health care that helps a person. I will not pay to hurt someone.
I remember it to when we worked to pass a Parental Consent for abortion bill in 1990, too. I remember the article I wrote to our local paper, reminding voters that girls are required to have parental consent for ear piercing, tattoos and even to be administered a Tylenol tablet in school As a public educator, I would surely lose my job if I administered something so simple as a Tylenol to a student with a headache. Even if she is 18 years age. I can however perform an abortion on a girl of any age without her parents consent.
A few years later we were working on legislation to require a 24 hour waiting period between request for an abortion and having the actual procedure. 24 hours. Not a lot of time. But often long enough to help a pregnant woman find the resources she needs to be able to keep her baby or adopt him out. And those are just a few of the ballot issues I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. I might add that our protests and vigils were peaceful. I’ve stood on the Lansing capital lawn a number of times. We sang. We prayed. We held our precious children and our candles. We did not participate in any hate protests. Even when we were hassled and taunted at U of M and St. Mark’s or outside an abortion clinic in downtown Muskegon. We did not respond or engage. I’m not asking for accolades. I’m just pointing out that the agenda of the pro-life movement as I experienced it through St. Patrick’s church and other local Catholic churches was one of mercy and love. It couldn’t be any other way if we were to call ourselves followers of Our Lord.
This will sound like a cop-out, at least it does to me. Since the loss of our two stillborn daughters, since I have held and kissed a baby born before her time. I’ve been unable to take a more active role in marches and protests. It hurts too much. I am so thankful for those who have carried on. I wish to publicly thank the Council of Catholic Bishops in America for working to prevent abortion from being a procedure covered by the Universal Health Care reform bill.