The poetic, playful and prophetic musings of quintessential voices trying to keep up with life

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Little Pocket of Hope

Sometimes the world sucks.  That’s just a fact of life.  And sometimes the world sucks so much that you are on the verge of losing all hope that there is anything in it that can give you any kind sense that humanity can do better.  You feel an almost bone-crushing despair at the state of the world and start to think, "What's the point?" when it comes to fighting for what you believe is right.  But then, something happens.  It can be a big something, like the Supreme Court finally hearing cases regarding same-sex marriage in the United States, acknowledging that this isn't something that is just going to go away, but is an issue of equality that cannot and should not be ignored.  Or, it can be something little, like the opening of a pregnancy center in a small town in Iowa that is actually trying to practices what it preaches about pro-life.  It’s the second hopeful something that I want to focus one in this post.  But before I actually begin, I have a confession to make.

I’m pro-life. 

Your reaction is probably:

There, it's out there.  Now, before you jump on my case about feminist (which I do consider myself to be one) ideals and choices, let me actually explain what I mean when I say that I am pro-life.  What being pro-life means to me (and what I think it should mean for anyone who claims to be it) is that I am pro-guaranteeing a quality of life for everyone, which includes at least the basic comfort and needs of survival without question, as well as preserving lives.  Pro-life should not only mean anti-abortion, but should include being anti-death penalty and pro-affordable health care for all, whatever that looks like.  For me (personally) it also means being pro-contraception in order to offer a better quality of life for all people (but that is a whole issue in and of itself that I won’t get into here).  It should (for everyone again) also mean having a respect for all the lives around you, no matter the gender, race, religion, sexuality, or class, and working to bring about a world that isn’t going to ignore people when they cry out for help. 

Sadly for many, it seems being pro-life has been reduced to merely meaning anti-abortion.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pro-abortion, but I understand it as an unfortunate solution that has developed because of a much deeper problem within society.  That problem is how our society approaches sex and sexuality, and specifically when attaching it to women and women’s health.   Let’s be honest, when a U.S. Senator, an individual who is educated and in the public forum, makes a claim saying women can’t get pregnant through “legitimate rape”, you know something really fucked-up is going on.  That’s about the time society as a whole should look at itself and say, “Hmmm…this is a problem.  We should fix this.  Do we actually know what we are talking about anymore?”  When people say that women get abortions because they just don’t want the baby, period, they are straight up wrong.  Yes, some abortions happen for that reason, but some happen because of rape or health, and a lot more happen because a woman (usually a young one) makes a mistake.  She and her partner didn’t really understand how much complexity there is in having sex, and then she didn’t have the resources or the support to do anything but terminate the pregnancy because society just decided that, “Your mess, you fix it”.  So while I am not necessarily pro-abortion (and I honestly don’t think many of my strong, independent, pro-choice feminist female friends think that abortion, at its root, is a good thing), I am pro-let’s-actually-look-at-these-issues-bringing-women-fully-into-the-conversation-so-we-can-figure-out-what-really-needs-to-happen-in-our-society-so-that-this-doesn’t-need-to-be-an-option-and-oh-yeah-Jesus.

Oh no, she brought Jesus into it.  Yeah, I did.  I went there.  You want to know why?  Because this is an issue religious people tend to have a lot to say about.  I get it.  I’m religious, I care about the issue, and I have some stuff to say about it.  What often happens, though, is that Churches, religious organizations, and the people who are apart of them focus their pro-life beliefs only on being anti-abortion.  But the actual problem doesn’t go away when the abortion clinic shuts down.  If you’re going to preach it, you have got to be prepared with something else to offer instead.  That is why when I cracked open my paper from back home the other day (yes, I get my hometown paper…shut up), I was pleasantly surprised to find an article about the Cornerstone for Life Pregnancy Resource Center that has just recently opened.

It’s a small operation so far, but hopes to expand its network of care within the near future.  Currently, the center offers pregnancy tests and counseling, and is forming counseling ministry for those women who have had abortions and seek such an outlet for their feelings towards the decision.  They also hope to partner with an adoption center, which gave me a bit of personal happiness.  There are a lot more things this center hopes to accomplish as it grows, but what it is ultimately offering is a support system.  It is a place for women who are unexpectedly pregnant, and don’t necessarily want to have to go the abortion route, to go and be a part of a community of people they can relate to and receive support from.  While I don’t know every detail about the center, just its existence gives me hope.  It shows that there are people in the world who aren’t just looking for a band-aid solution, but recognize a need for much more intentional involvement in solving the bigger problem.  And they are doing it while maintaining their faith, by not just preaching it but by actually going out and acting on it in a way that could be beneficial to society at large.  I pray that more religious people and Churches who preach the message of pro-life can look to this example of active faith.  That through this relatively small thing our world can get just a little bit better…a little more hopeful.  Does it give you a little more hope?  Let me know what you think. 

Bye for now!
Erin B.          

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