I was reading a diary from ladijules titled Pro-Birth is not Pro-Life!! and decided I wanted to get my thoughts down. I had intended to provide a comment specifically to post but it just got too long. I also don't expect that ladijules will be reading my comments but I've written my thoughts in that format.
I'd also like to note that in reading ladijules diary I find that she sounds like a woman enduring a great deal. It's painful to me that she's suffering in this way. While her pain gives license to vent it doesn't justify the arguments made.
I hope this is helpful to someone. It's been a good exercise for me.
You begin your entry by referencing the Health Care mandate and the Catholic Church. You incorrectly state that issue is about birth control. The issue is religious freedom as stated in the letter from the head of the USCCB Cardinal Dolan.
If you read the letter it references the following...
At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are. So much for “working out the wrinkles.” Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation... The White House...now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers.By suggesting in the meeting that the Bishops listen to the '"enlightened" voices of accommodation' the administrations actions remind me of the Chinese communist government wanting to decide who will be the next Dahli Lama and who get's to be Catholic Bishops.
But let's move on to your points.
Your first argument was that spouses would be "annoyed" at only engaging in the marital act to procreate. If you love someone and commit to them for the rest of your life, why would you be annoyed because there are at the very most 5 or 6 days a month that you can't engage in the marital act if you want to avoid pregnancy? I find that pretty shallow argument of how ones spouse would react. I guess you could make that statement if you believe that your spouses job is to ensure you're not annoyed. I can assure you that all the spouses I've ever met feel that "not annoying" is NOT a requirement during marriage. :-)
Your second argument is inconvenience. You make the representation that it takes two couples (I think you meant two parents) "working their tails off just to afford" two or three children. That is also false. I know lot's of families with "stay at home" moms. Granted, they sacrificed early in their marriages. In our family, we had one car (a 10yo pickup), a single 12" black-and-white" tv and going somewhere for a weekend was our version of a vacation. We purposefully purchased a house in town near the library and stores. At times I took a second job to make ends meet and eventually I made more money. My wife took our son to her college classes and graduated with a BS in Nutrition. We have no debt and our house is almost paid off. Our son attended college out of state. We had no family money, trusts, winnings or other windfalls. No investments in the stock market either. We spend less than we make and save the difference. I guess that makes us part of the 35% that have at least $1000 in savings.
We've had numerous friends through the years that wanted to have one spouse stay at home but they were never willing to make the changes necessary to make it happen. There was always some "thing" they didn't want to give up - two new cars, house in an upscale neighborhood, bigger house, vacations, latest toys, boat, campers, horses, live in a big city. It's always some "thing".
Your third argument is poverty. You discuss poverty as some intrinsic evil. I have friends that choose to live in poverty. They run a Catholic Worker House. They have eight children of their own and take in battered women and their children. He (Dad) chooses to "dumpster dive" for cases of canned food to supplement what they have to offer others. Mom is a professional social worker.
Poverty is not intrinsically evil. It is a state that one lives in, not something you do to someone else.
Your fourth point is the "natural resource" argument. There is plenty of food and water available on this planet. The problem is in other areas. Check out the following two links for some basic information.
This is a report by the UNs Food and Agriculture Organization which focuses on food waste.
Your fifth argument is horrible parenting. Your extreme examples are horrifying and rare (but not rare enough I'll grant). The more likely issue in the United States would be children who are not prepared to be adults; children not prepared to choose a spouse for the vocation of marriage. Your argument is based on the supposition that pain, self doubt, difficulty, challenges, tragedy have no benefit. Knowledge is not wisdom.
Your sixth argument is that adoption doesn't work. I think you're making the same argument as the last one - poor parenting. I'll only make point that the young adult coming out of crappy foster care has an opportunity to participate in life. The crappy foster care is not the end, it is the end of the beginning.
Your seventh argument is that people are "screaming about providing any type of funding for children and families." Why is it necessary for the federal government to provide all these services? I know how we (as a family) participate in providing for families and children in need. If we all gave of our wealth (and time is more important than money here) we would enable many more families to move forward. Our children grew up providing tutoring services to the poor, manning food banks and feeding the homeless lunch on Saturdays. The people in need that we deal with have complex issues and your post doesn't give the people or the problems the respect they deserve.
Your eighth argument is that the lack of artificial birth control in Africa leads to families with 15 children "slowly wasting away in agony because their parents cannot afford to feed 15 kids." The data does not support your claim. The average family size in Africa is 6-8 children. The FAO report references earlier repudiates the "natural resource" part of your statement. Here is a link to a report by the World Bank called Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. It does also provide information about all of Africa.
You'll note that "the grouping of countries with the highest prevalence of stunting, however, is found in southern and eastern Africa, reflecting a complex set of challenges that include civil conflict, economic downturns due to macroeconomic mismanagement or commodity price shocks, and droughts and floods, or the legacies of such events." Nothing in here about artificial birth control being the problem. The infant (<1) mortality rate for malnutrition is less than 3%. The U5MR mortality rate for malnutrition is around 15%. Too high - yes, but the report notes that "in many of these hunger hotspots, food production is not the limiting factor. One such example is the Iringa region in Tanzania, where over 70 percent of the children are stunted in their growth, even though it is a food basket for Tanzania."
There is great suffering in Africa; civil war, mismanagement and AIDS are the greatest causes, not the lack of artificial birth control.
Your ninth argument is most heart breaking to me. You make a subjective opinion about "quality of life" a judgement about whether to terminate the life of another. You comment on the "financial burden" of these children, on what your son "misses out on." You're spot on, I'll never know the difficulty that you endure with your son. I do know that we as a society benefit from interacting with the disabled. Ask your son's siblings and care-givers what his life has meant to them. Ask them what positive affects knowing him has had on their lives. Your beautiful son is a gift to you, to us all. He is not a burden. Life is not about what you can't do. It's about making the most of what you've been given. And for your son, he's able to give to us experiences that "abled children" can never provide. And we have the opportunity to love him in return.
- OK - pause for crying - As a Dad that last piece just breaks my heart. I can't image feeling about anyones children what ladijules expresses about her son -
Your tenth argument is about a teenaged girl who you suppose has no artificial birth control information (because she has an abstinence only education) and is taken advantage of by a boyfriend.
1. What do you mean by "taken advantage of by a boyfriend?" I'm thinking that you don't mean rape/date rape or other crimes. Crimes would be taken care of through law enforcement. Let's say you mean some fella lied to her, told her he loved her, she's the only girl for him, he wants a committed relationship - you get the picture. She decides that she wants to experience the physical pleasure of the marital act but she doesn't want the responsibility of a natural result of that act - a baby. These two have no covenant between them, they don't even have a contract, just a verbal expression of feeling. They are reacting to their hormones. He wants something she has to give. She's willing to give with no enforceable agreement in place.
What you're advocating is that once artificial birth control training condoms pills/ voluntary sterilization are available that women are then in control. They take full responsibility for their actions. But that's not what you write. The young woman in your example is a victim because she receives an abstinence only education.
If she decides to keep the baby is the "father" financially responsible? If she decides to terminate the baby does the "father" have any rights? The courts response to date has been Yes to the first and No to the second. Karen DeCrow, former president of the National Organization for Women, writes: "If a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring a pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support ... autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice."
It would seem that at least one pro-choice leader is advocating that men do not need to be responsible.
You're teenaged victim of abstinence only education endures alone (of course her family will drop her like a hot potato in your example) the emotional, physical and financial result (abortion or baby-and the baby in your post comes with constant reminder of her embarrassment) of her choice.
2. An alternative to your hypothetical would be a teenage girl that receives abstinence eduction. She is taught, in an age appropriate way, the long-term effects and problems with artificial birth control as well as the difficulties of abstinence. She understands and is taught by her mother about crushes and not giving her heart away to a boy. Her Dad has cultivated a relationship with her working together in the yard, playing hoops before dinner or working on the cars. She is taken out by her Dad on special evenings where he has flowers delivered to the restaurant for their table before they go out on a Daddy /Daughter night. She learns from her Dad the respect and honor with which men treat women by how he helps around the house, ensures the cars are maintained, completes the tasks that Mom and Dad agreed to. They avoid the TV (where most fathers are portrayed as weak, irresponsible, unaccountable seekers of sex). She is given alternatives in her High School youth group for Chivalry Balls and dance lessons with friends to prepare for them. Her parents get to know her friends and her friends parents by helping out in school and creating a dinner-group with the parents of other girls in the youth group. She is not "dropped" off at college. Her parents take the time to help ensure that a Church community is identified. The family has dinner with the pastor. Her senior year in high school there are events with where the seniors in the high school youth group (including our teenaged girl) get to meet and know the youth leaders at the university campus ministry.
My teenaged girl is not a victim of abstinence education. She is empowered by it. She's empowered by the love and support of her family. She knows that no one will ever love her like her father and mother. She's always able to come to them.
So my extreme is in response to your extreme. Most families fall somewhere in between. I still don't get your attitude toward children when you say that the family and church are going to "stick her with raising a baby."
Your eleventh argument is for rape and incest. Whether by prepared parents, fellas looking for baby-mamas, "no consequence" sex for pleasure, back-seat intrigue, rape or incest the child did not choose how it was conceived. That was the responsibility of others. Where do you draw the line? Now there are cases being made for "post-birth abortion" (read infanticide).
As long you make a subjective argument for life then you will run into infanticide and euthanasia.