Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Trying to Disabuse Anonymous Poster of a Belief that Fundamentalist Christians Love Broken Women More

Anonymous said...

Part of the issue is that the proabortion crowd cares more about the actual abortion than the woman or girl having it. You all illustrate this point very nicely by admitting that the proabortion groups do nothing to support these women after they have their abortions and then you say that it's "unfortunate" (a point you made in a previous posting as well) that religious groups are helping them to cope with their loss or sense of guilt about the decision they may have made recently or years ago. "IF" women actually receive any counseling before having an abortion does someone tell them in detail about what they are carrying? Do they see an ultrasound or given any idea about the development stage of the child within? Are they counseled that someday the pain and regret of their decision may be overwhelmeing?... or are they told just relax it'll be all over soon, you're doing the right thing and you'll be able to get on with your life? The answer appears to be more in tune with the latter. Everytime "informed consent" laws or "24 hour waiting period" laws are proposed the pro abortion groups go nuts. If they really cared about the woman they would want her to make as informed a decision as is possible. Do any of these abortion advocacy organizations offer post abortion counselling? Would any of these "prochoice" groups do anything to help a woman who might want to keep her baby instead of aborting it? That would be a prochoice decision. The answers are "no" because it's not about the person it's about the procedure.

So you act like these religious groups are exploiting these women in their attempts to aid them in their emotional, physical, and yes spiritual healing. I guess many people on your side of the issue don't see any need for healing since as far as they're concerned the women were cured when they had their abortions. The real exploiters are those who facilitated those abortions for their own gain leaving the women to work out the after effects on their own.

"i" said,
"How do we provide the support without demanding an identity of values and truths? I've got no answer,..."

"i" has no answer because the answer is you can't.

Aspazia, I will give you credit for acknowledging that this is a problem but the way you put it now and prevously, it's a problem because it reflects poorly on the "prochoice" movement.

4:17 PM

aspazia said...

Dear Anonymous (Warning, this is long):

First of all, let me thank you for posting and engaging me in dialogue about this issue.

Now, let me tackle two points you make.

First of all, you suggest that family planning clinics do not offer pre and post-abortion counseling. Unfortunately, that is simply not true. You might find reading about the history of clinics interesting on this subject, as well as visiting a clinic or speaking with a clinic worker. I can't say for certain that hospitals provide the counseling you describe, but low-income women are less likely to seek out hospital abortions anyway.

You might also find it interesting to know that before the repeal of the anti-abortion laws in place in this country, one of the most prominent referral and counseling services for women desperate to get abortions was provided by Clergy. Look up information on Rev. Moody. Not all churches and religious leaders agree with your anti-abortion views. Predominantly the Catholic church and fundamentalists Jews and Christians do. The Catholic Church, however, is one of the large tax-exempt lobbyist organizations and uses its money and pulpits to organize parishoners to fight legal abortion.

Now, to my second point. I will give you one reason why I fear that certain religious organizations are best suited to counsel women after abortions. The early fathers of the Catholic Church (Augustine, Tertullian and Aquinas) authored treatises that claimed that women were "guilty" upon birth. They were responsible for tempting men away from more noble pursuits, they were less-perfect men, less capable than men, and essentially made in the wicked image of Eve. With these sorts of foundational texts, why would any woman find comfort from traditional Catholics? The Protestant church fathers--Calvin or Luther--for example, had no higher opinion of women either.

If you want an example of what I am talking about, consider St. Thomas Aquinas' treatise "The Production of Woman" (From the Summa Theologica) The Production of Woman. Here is a sample of what he wrote:

Whether the woman should have been made in the first production of things?
Objection 1. It would seem that the woman should not have been made in the first production of things. For the Philosopher says (De Gener. ii, 3), that "the female is a misbegotten male." But nothing misbegotten or defective should have been in the first production of things. Therefore woman should not have been made at that first production.

Objection 2. Further, subjection and limitation were a result of sin, for to the woman was it said after sin (Gn. 3:16): "Thou shalt be under the man's power"; and Gregory says that, "Where there is no sin, there is no inequality." But woman is naturally of less strength and dignity than man; "for the agent is always more honorable than the patient," as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 16). Therefore woman should not have been made in the first production of things before sin.

Objection 3. Further, occasions of sin should be cut off. But God foresaw that the woman would be an occasion of sin to man. Therefore He should not have made woman.

On the contrary, It is written (Gn. 2:18): "It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a helper like to himself."

I answer that, It was necessary for woman to be made, as the Scripture says, as a "helper" to man; not, indeed, as a helpmate in other works, as some say, since man can be more efficiently helped by another man in other works; but as a helper in the work of generation. This can be made clear if we observe the mode of generation carried out in various living things. Some living things do not possess in themselves the power of generation, but are generated by some other specific agent, such as some plants and animals by the influence of the heavenly bodies, from some fitting matter and not from seed: others possess the active and passive generative power together; as we see in plants which are generated from seed; for the noblest vital function in plants is generation. Wherefore we observe that in these the active power of generation invariably accompanies the passive power. Among perfect animals the active power of generation belongs to the male sex, and the passive power to the female. And as among animals there is a vital operation nobler than generation, to which their life is principally directed; therefore the male sex is not found in continual union with the female in perfect animals, but only at the time of coition; so that we may consider that by this means the male and female are one, as in plants they are always united; although in some cases one of them preponderates, and in some the other. But man is yet further ordered to a still nobler vital action, and that is intellectual operation. Therefore there was greater reason for the distinction of these two forces in man; so that the female should be produced separately from the male; although they are carnally united for generation. Therefore directly after the formation of woman, it was said: "And they shall be two in one flesh" (Gn. 2:24).

Reply to Objection 1. As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist, as the Philosopher observes (De Gener. Animal. iv, 2). On the other hand, as regards human nature in general, woman is not misbegotten, but is included in nature's intention as directed to the work of generation. Now the general intention of nature depends on God, Who is the universal Author of nature. Therefore, in producing nature, God formed not only the male but also the female.

Reply to Objection 2. Subjection is twofold. One is servile, by virtue of which a superior makes use of a subject for his own benefit; and this kind of subjection began after sin. There is another kind of subjection which is called economic or civil, whereby the superior makes use of his subjects for their own benefit and good; and this kind of subjection existed even before sin. For good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates. Nor is inequality among men excluded by the state of innocence, as we shall prove (96, 3).

Reply to Objection 3. If God had deprived the world of all those things which proved an occasion of sin, the universe would have been imperfect. Nor was it fitting for the common good to be destroyed in order that individual evil might be avoided; especially as God is so powerful that He can direct any evil to a good end.


So, Anonymous, we simply disagree that fundamentalists are the answer, the healing balm for broken and bruised women. In fact, I would go further and argue that we should consider them responsible, in part, for an ideology that teaches women to hate themselves.

5:19 PM