Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

January 2, 2009

Some Reflections on the 'Changes' Promised from Obama

As inauguration day quickly approaches, I want to take some time to consider the future of our country under Barack Obama's leadership. I admit, it is pretty awesome that an African-American was so overwhelmingly chosen as this nation's leader. But, I am really, well, not excited about the 'change' our new president seeks to implement. Let me explain. In his speech given to Planned Parenthood in 2007, President-Elect Barack Obama asks us all to reflect:
"What kind of America will our daughters grow up in? Will our daughters grow up with the same opportunities as our sons? Will our daughters have the same rights, the same dreams, the same freedoms to pursue their own version of happiness? I wonder because there’s a lot at stake in this country today. And there’s a lot at stake in this election, especially for our daughters. To appreciate that all you have to do is review the recent decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. For the first time in Gonzales versus Carhart, the Supreme Court held—upheld a federal ban on abortions with criminal penalties for doctors. For the first time, the Court’s endorsed an abortion restriction without an exception for women’s health. The decision presumed that the health of women is best protected by the Court—not by doctors and not by the woman herself. That presumption is wrong. . . . We know that five men don’t know better than women and their doctors what’s best for a woman’s health. We know that it’s about whether or not women have equal rights under the law. We know that a woman’s right to make a decision about how many children she wants to have and when—without government interference—is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have in this country."
So, I am wondering about this to do about 'women's health.' Now, as a woman, I am clearly concerned with these so-called women's issues. But I want to pose the challenge today to Mr. Obama and all my fellow women. I have to ask the question: is abortion truly a women's health issue? What makes it so? Is abortion really about 'equal rights under the law?' I was under the impression that women were already given equal rights under the law, so when did this become an issue? Is abortion a 'right' in the sense of the Founders of this nation? Do not women already decide how many children they would like without government interference? Indeed, Obama's commitment to the Freedom of Choice Act would accomplish just that: government interference. But I want to ask a deeper question. If we go back to Edith Stein, after whom I am named, and reflect upon her notion that the deepest feminine yearnings are to achieve a "loving union" with others, then what does abortion mean for our femininity? How does abortion accomplish this kind of loving union? Doesn't abortion literally root out that possibility? So, I put the question back to our President-Elect: What kind of American will our daughters grow up in? How will we nurture them? 

1 comment:

Julian said...

Great post, Edith, though I wish you didn't have to post it. I fear that the definition and scope of "women's health" is going to widen to include all stages of abortion, all forms of reproductive interference (and asexual reproduction), genetic manipulation (to be called "therapy"), and other unimaginable perversions of what should be loving unions. I don't know how a baby's developing life has become a health issue, unless the baby's development literally is going to cause a life-threatening situation for the mother (in which the ethical principle of double effect could be used to induce an abortion as long as the abortion is not the desired end, but rather saving the life of the mother is wanted).

Other than this rare circumstance, having her baby is in the best interest of a woman's health. We know from Project Rachel it is for their souls, from psychological studies it is for their minds, and from studies on breast, uterine, and cervical cancer, it is for their bodies.
Maybe I should write to President Obama and tell him that as a feminist, I still don't think women have the capacity to make all of the decisions in the world that pertain to them without male interference, or vice versa.

If women didn't have anything to say about how men acted, well, God help us!

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