Sunday, February 26, 2006

I had a long talk with my friend Peter yesterday. Peter is an ob/gyn in Minnesota, and for years now, he has flown to South Dakota once a week in a small plane to offer abortion services at the Planned Parenthood clinic there. A few days ago, the South Dakota legislature passed a ban against abortion, and it is expected that the governor will sign it. The law is almost certain to, in the words of the New York Times, "reach a remade, more receptive United States Supreme Court."

If implemented, the law will make Peter a criminal if he continues to provide women with medical services. His young adult son calls it the "return of the coat hanger law."

You've heard people say that we need to work to reduce the numbers of abortions. As Rabbi Arthur Waskow reminded me, South Dakota's strategy will only limit the number of legal abortions, because surely women will continue to seek out illegal ones. In his words, "like the one that killed my grandmother in 1914. She had already birthed five young boys, including my father, and evidently hoped to be able to concentrate her energy on raising them. Because abortions were illegal, instead she was unable to raise any of them — and her absence shadowed my father’s life till his dying day."

Actually, the only moral response is to work to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. It is precisely because life is sacred that we need to make sure it isn't created carelessly. Rather than implementing draconian laws and restrictions, shouldn't we all be working to assure that men and women have the sexuality information and contraceptive services they need so that all pregnancies are created with intention and love?

On a lighter note, I asked my 12 year old son if he had started reading my blogs to know what I am thinking about things. He answered, "Mom, that's what dinner is for!" I'm off to join my family for Sunday dinner now.

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