Monday, August 20, 2012

An African Woman's Open Letter to Melinda Gates



**UPDATE: I am thrilled to know that the author of this piece, Obianuju Ekeocha, has been following the discussion in the comments. She sent me an email that I have reprinted in part, with her permission, at the end of this post.**



Often, a sorrowing soul cannot express that sorrow in mere words. However, Obianuju Ekeocha, a 32-year-old Nigerian woman, has done so, and beautifully.

For the past six years Ms. Ekeocha has been living and working as a biomedical scientist in Canterbury, England. Most of her family and many friends still live in Nigeria. From Catholic Online: Ekeocha "was inspired to write an open letter to Melinda Gates after learning of Gates' move to inject $4.6 billion worth of contraceptive drugs and devices into her homeland." She is hoping Gates will hear her "as the voice of the African woman." 

(Hat tip to Heidi, for posting the link)


+++++++

Growing up in a remote town in Africa, I have always known that a new life is welcomed with much mirth and joy. In fact we have a special "clarion" call (or song) in our village reserved for births and another special one for marriages.

The first day of every baby's life is celebrated by the entire village with dancing (real dancing!) and clapping and singing - a sort of "Gloria in excelsis Deo."

All I can say with certainty is that we, as a society, LOVE and welcome babies.

With all the challenges and difficulties of Africa, people complain and lament their problems openly. I have grown up in this environment and I have heard women (just as much as men) complain about all sorts of things. But I have NEVER heard a woman complain about her baby (born or unborn).

Even with substandard medical care in most places, women are valiant in pregnancy. And once the baby arrives, they gracefully and heroically rise into the maternal mode.

I trained and worked for almost five years in a medical setting in Africa, yet I never heard of the clinical term "postpartum depression" until I came to live in Europe. I never heard it because I never experienced or witnessed it, even with the relatively high birth rate around me. (I would estimate that I had at least one family member or close friend give birth every single month. So I saw at least 12 babies born in my life every year.)

Amidst all our African afflictions and difficulties, amidst all the socioeconomic and political instabilities, our babies are always a firm symbol of hope, a promise of life, a reason to strive for the legacy of a bright future.

So a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the plan and promise of Melinda Gates to implant the seeds of her "legacy" in 69 of the poorest countries in the world (most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa).

Her pledge is to collect pledges for almost $5 billion in order to ensure that the African woman is less fertile, less encumbered and, yes, she says, more "liberated." With her incredible wealth she wants to replace the legacy of an African woman (which is her child) with the legacy of "child-free sex."

Many of the 69 targeted countries are Catholic countries with millions of Catholic women of child-bearing age. These Catholic women have been rightly taught by the Church that the contraceptive drug and device is inherently divisive.

Unlike what we see in the developed Western world, there is actually very high compliance with Pope Paul VI's "Humanae Vitae." For these African women, in all humility, have heard, understood and accepted the precious words of the prophetic pope. Funny how people with a much lower literacy level could clearly understand that which the average Vogue- and Cosmo-reading-high-class woman has refused to understand. I guess humility makes all the difference.

With most African women faithfully practicing and adhering to a faith (mainly Christian or in some cases Muslim), there is a high regard for sex in society, especially among the women. Sex is sacred and private.

The moment these huge amounts of contraceptive drugs and devices are injected into the roots of our society, they will undoubtedly start to erode and poison the moral sexual ethics that have been woven into our societal DNA by our faith, not unlike the erosion that befell the Western world after the 1930 Lambeth conference! In one fell swoop and one "clean" slice, the faithful could be severed from their professed faith.

Both the frontline healthcare worker dispensing Melinda's legacy gift and the women fettered and shackled by this gift, would be separated from their religious beliefs. They would be put in a precarious position to defy their faith - all for "safe sex."

Even at a glance, anyone could see that the unlimited and easy availability of contraceptives in Africa would surely increase infidelity and sexual promiscuity as sex is presented by this multi-billion dollar project as a casual pleasure sport that can indeed come with no strings - or babies - attached. Think of the exponential spread of HIV and other STDs as men and women with abundant access to contraceptives take up multiple, concurrent sex partners.

And of course there are bound to be inconsistencies and failures in the use of these drugs and devices, so health complications could result; one of which is unintended abortion. Add also other health risks such as cancer, blood clots, etc. Where Europe and America have their well-oiled health care system, a woman in Africa with a contraception-induced blood clot does not have access to 911 or an ambulance or a paramedic. No, she dies.

And what about disposal of the medical waste? Despite advanced sewage disposal in the First-world countries, we hear that aquatic life there is still adversely affected by drugs in the system. In Africa, be rest assured that both in the biggest cities and smaller rural villages, sewage constitutes a real problem. So as $4.6 billion worth of drugs, IUDs and condoms get used, they will need safe disposal. Can someone please show us how and where will that be? On our farm lands where we get all our food? In our streams and rivers from whence comes our drinking water?

I see this $4.6 billion buying us misery. I see it buying us unfaithful husbands. I see it buying us streets devoid of the innocent chatter of children. I see it buying us disease and untimely death. I see it buying us a retirement without the tender loving care of our children.

Please Melinda, listen to the heart-felt cry of an African woman and mercifully channel your funds to pay for what we REALLY need.

We need:

- Good healthcare systems (especially prenatal, neonatal and pediatric care).
Needless to say that postpartum and neonatal deaths are alarmingly high in many Sub-Saharan African countries. This is due to the paucity of specialized medical personnel, equipment and systems. Women are not dying because they are having "too many" babies but because they are not getting even the most basic postpartum care. A childbirth or labor complication can very easily be fatal, for both mother and baby. To alleviate this problem new, well-equipped and well-staffed birthing centers with neonatal units need to be built in easily accessible parts of the poorest communities. And if Melinda Gates really insists on reducing population, she can have highly trained Natural Family Planning (NFP) instructors strategically placed in these women's healthcare facilities.  At least then there would be a natural and holistic approach.

- Food programs for young children.
This would serve a two-fold purpose if it is incorporated into free or highly subsidized nursery school programs. It would nourish and strengthen the growth of these children, who are so, so vulnerable to malnutrition, and it would also serve to encourage parents to bring their youngsters, ages 3 or 4, to nursery school. In so many parts of Africa, children miss out on nursery school education because it is expensive and considered a luxury reserved for the rich and middle class. As a result, the children miss the first few crucial years when basic math and reading are easily learned.  By the time they are considered "ready" for school, at age 7 or 8, they struggle academically. Many of them never quite catch up and so drop out after six or seven years. This is when a lot of young girls are married off as mid- to late-teenage wives who unfortunately would become the perfect recipient of the Melinda Gates comprehensive contraceptive care!

- Good higher education opportunities
Not just new school buildings or books, but carefully laid out educational programs that work - scholarships, internships at higher levels, etc. - are needed. Despite the problems and obstacles to primary and secondary education, a significant number of young girls make it into universities, polytechnics or colleges. The problem however is that, most of the schools and resources are substandard and outdated. As such, the quality of higher education is low and cannot compare to that of more privileged countries. Even though the teachers put in their very best and the students work hard, the system is inadequate and will always produce disadvantaged graduates who are not confident enough to stand with their counterparts who have studied in other parts of the world.

- Chastity programs
Such programs in secondary schools, universities and churches would create a solid support system to form, inform and reassure our young girls and women that real love is that which is healthy and holy. Many African girls are no longer sure about moral sexual ethics thanks to the widespread influence of Western media, movies and magazines. More support should be given to programs that encourage abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage. This approach would go a long way to combating the spread of HIV and other STDs through the continent. And it would certainly lead to happier marriages!

- Support for micro-business opportunities for women
The average African women is incredibly happy, hard-working and resilient. Any support both economic and through training would most probably be used well and wisely.

- Fortify already established NGOs that are aimed at protecting women from sex-trafficking, prostitution, forced marriage, child labor, domestic violence, sex crimes, etc.
Many of these NGOs do not have much success because they are not well-funded. Though most of them have good intentions, they lack professional input from those such as psychologists, logisticians or medical personnel needed to tackle various problems.

$4.6 billion dollars can indeed be your legacy to Africa and other poor parts of the world. But let it be a legacy that leads life, love and laughter into the world in need.

+++++++


Please be sure to read Obianuju Ekeocha's follow-up post: "Do you intend to speak for every African Woman?"



**Here is the gracious and eloquent email that I received from Ms. Ekeocha:


Dear Leila,

My name is Obianuju Ekeocha (my friends call me Uju , so please feel free to do the same). 
I just want to thank you personally for carrying on this amazing conversation (about my article) on your blog.

I still cannot believe how my simple words from the heart became as the pebble thrown into a river to cause so many ripples in the blogosphere.


In the last week I have seen some really bitter responses (understandably so considering how integral contraceptives have become in the western world). But I have also seen so many many positive and encouraging responses (yours being one of them). I really wish I could answer the questions that I see people asking, I really wish I could get many of my cousins and sisters and friends and aunties from home (Nigeria) to speak for themselves. I mean my article only lifts a tiny edge of the curtain to our culture of life and our perception of love and life. There is so much more that I wish I could communicate. I was thinking of making a photo album next time I go home of just women and their babies. Amidst the dust and dirt ... but happy.


For now I just sort of feel powerless because of the inadequacy of my little article. 
However, you may be interested to know that I will be a guest on Teresa Tomeo's radio show (catholic connections) on Monday 27th from 9:39 Eastern time -Ave Maria radio.
{…}
We don't have any good pro-life advocacy in place in most African countries and so we really are not prepared at all for this move by Melinda to plant the seeds of the culture of death. So maybe the time has come for me to try and reach out to people (like yourself) who are clearly pro-life for your thoughts and wisdom.

Once again thank you so much for rising in defence of the dignity of the African woman.


God bless you.


Kindest regards

Uju



Follow-up post: "Do you intend to speak for every African woman?"

Related post:  No food or medicine, but plenty of contraception and coercion

.

300 comments:

  1. How very beautiful and very true! Thank you Ms. Ekeocha, and thank you Leila for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sebastian, it makes me wish that Ms. Ekeocha were the one with the $4.6 billion...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Reading this made me cry. How awful to think of the effect that Melinda Gates's ill-intentioned funding will have on the women of Africa. So many wonderful things could be done with that money. I pray that Mrs. Gates hears and is touched by this message.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sharon, I had the same feeling of deep sorrow. Gates "knows not what she does". The thinking is so impoverished, and yet they really believe they are helping. But really, they are tearing down peoples, cultures, families. They just do not see.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There's something about the African people that has always drawn me into them. They're incredibly honest and humble people. They will tell you honestly what they think in a kind and gentle way, and they're naturally charitable. At least, this has always been my experience when I've met some of the people who originated from Africa.

    Africa may be poor in a financial way; but we tend to be poor in the heart. It seems that they understand things and appreciate the natural gifts that God has given to each person, while so many of us Americans try to get rid of it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very powerful letter and I hope Ms. Gates takes it to heart. I never understood how we became a world where contraceptives became a "good" that was more important than basic health care and education.

    A thought struck me as I was reading the first part of her beautiful letter. You would never give alcohol to an alcoholic...why are you giving contraceptives to Catholics?

    I'm sure some of the more liberal posters will get upset by that analogy but it just struck me dumb so I thought I should share it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So much GOOD can come from so much material wealth. We can learn from our brothers and sisters around the world. I truly pray that Mrs. Gates will read this letter and change the direction of her money towards GOOD!

    ReplyDelete
  8. A powerful witness to the beauty of life and children, from a woman who defies the liberal notion that women must have access to (and use) "free" birth control in order to be successful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I read this yesterday and thought it was EXCELLENT! As a friend I linked the article to replied, "Go figure... if a country celebrates life, then they must be stupid and "saved" from themselves!" If they love their babies and respect sex as more than a casual form of entertainment, clearly we must "enlighten" them and get them out of the Dark Ages!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Is there any real chance of this getting to Melinda Gates? Any real chance of her reading it? And any real chance of her backing off from her "legacy", which would earn her the wrath of those pharmaceutical companies and other who stand to make billions off this?

    ReplyDelete
  11. GFNY, I wondered that too… Sigh. I doubt she would ever back off now. That's what makes it all so sorrowful. I wonder what the feminists reading this letter think about this woman's voice, and her plea for the Westerners to leave her culture alone.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wonderful article. Reading the what is needed section, it's easy to see how western population imperialists like Melinda Gates would find it so much easier just to pour billions into contraceptives rather than do what the people truly require.All those good programmes which would benefit African women while leaving the faith and moral structure intact are simply too much work for them!!! What an expose of the hypocrisy of Melinda and others like her.

    ReplyDelete
  13. OK....there is some substance and kernels of truth in this letter, but when she said this "With most African women faithfully practicing and adhering to a faith (mainly Christian or in some cases Muslim), there is a high regard for sex in society, especially among the women. Sex is sacred and private." I raised an eyebrow.

    I have been in Zimbabwe, my husband to Kenya and have many South African friends, and I can tell you with total certainty that many African societies are wildly promiscuous. Polygyny is also enmeshed in the cultures. With a wink and a smile many of the married men we met confirmed to my husband that they had girlfriends on the side. To say that contraception is going to CAUSE this is just false...it might worsen it, but it certainly is not causing it...

    Read this: http://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/19/world/aids-in-africa-experts-study-role-of-promiscuous-sex-in-the-epidemic.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mary, I read the article. First, it's from the NYTimes (which is always just a tad skewed and doesn't give the most well-rounded picture [although it hinted a few times that others disagree with their main premises], and the article is 22 years old (which may or may not be an issue, but man that is an old article. I was a newly married 23-year-old woman on the Pill with no kids back then! That was a LONG time ago, ha ha!

    Anyway, your statement "it might worsen it" is key. Yes, it not only "might" but will. Contraception facilitates illicit sex and severs the natural connection (mental/emotional/physical) between sex and children.

    And if many men are promiscuous (there is no new sin), why would Americans think it a good thing to make the women of their nations more objectified? Nothing a cheating man likes more than to know his mistress is sterile. Makes it easier to use her (or his wife) with impunity. And she's available to him 24/7.

    I guess I am just not going to discount this woman's voice and her experience, as I have never lived in Africa. Nor can I discount what we already know happens when widespread contraception is introduced into a culture (predicted long ago by Pope Paul VI, who was neither American nor African). I will say that this paragraph from your article says a lot (though I do not agree with the author's loaded term, "puritanical"):

    Researchers are also wary of generalizations about a continent with 2,000 tribal traditions and many varieties of Christianity and Islam. This mix includes plenty of people who are puritanical about sex. African academics attending conferences abroad have been stunned at the casual liaisons of their Western colleagues.

    As you alluded to, and as Obianuju Ekeocha knows, this massive influx of contraceptives will worsen whatever promiscuity [and disregard for human life and married love] there is in Africa. It is truly sorrowful to me that an American Catholic woman is the one pushing the Culture of Death onto the people of that continent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man where are all my close parentheses? Sorry! Off to eat breakfast and get kiddies to school. Daily mass now… yay!

      Delete
  15. Just to add onto Girl from NY's comment, I also was wondering the same thing, will Melinda Gates see this article, and would it really make an impact on her? I think the article is moving but it's also because I agree with everything it says. But this is not Melinda's same passion.

    I guess I think even if it doesn't move Melinda, it still does a powerful work in educating people and moving their hearts. As much as I love the African culture and the people, I didn't know any of this until I read this article. Maybe it won't do much to the person you were hoping to move (or maybe it will, only God knows), but there are a ton of people reading this article who can help stand up for what is right. So yes, I think it was definitely worth it! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I need to make a few comments here.

    First of all Ms. Ekeocha does not represent "Africa" as so many of your comments suggest. Africa has over one billion people, more than three times that of the United States. Secondly, Ms Ekeocha is Catholic, and Africa is not a Catholic continent. She is from Nigeria, which is not a Catholic country. So why do you assume she speaks for "African women?" If she is Catholic, what else is she going to say?

    If any of you (Catholics) were to comment on the availability of contraceptives in United States, wouldn't you make similar comments--about how contraceptives are ruining our culture and ruining women's lives? So isn't this just a reflection of Catholic theology?

    Also, it is interesting that this letter was "edited" by Teresa Tomeo, a Catholic activist. If I were to post a letter "edited" by the president of NARAL wouldn't you be wary of it? Leila--you think the NY Times is a bit skewed--but don't you think the blog of a Catholic activist--held up to no journalist standards other than her own--is tremendously more "skewed" and gives a tremendously less "well-rounded" picture?

    Do your own views on contraception represent the views of North American women (our entire continent has few people than Africa)? Of course not.

    Ms. Ekeocha is just one more Catholic saying what Catholics say. Perhaps she says it well, and perhaps there is some truth in it, but I don't think it represents anything larger than what we already know: Catholics, no matter where they live, oppose contraception.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And she doesn't even live in Nigeria; she lives in England.

      Delete
  17. "Catholics, no matter where they live, oppose contraception." If only that were true! LOL! And, yes, I said at the beginning that she has lived and worked in England for the past six years, but she is from Nigeria.

    Yes, I would absolutely say that what happened here in America was just as Paul Paul VI predicted in Humane Vitae. Have you read it (link is above; check paragraph 17 specifically)? There is no reason to believe that it wouldn't happen in Africa the same way.

    Actually, I might not be wary of anything NARAL writes, because they are very honest about their extreme stance on abortion. I appreciate their honesty and wish more folks would read their materials! I am not wary of any organization which states its position truthfully. It's the organizations that lie and obfuscate that worry me….



    ReplyDelete
  18. And really, don't you think there is better use of $4.6 billion then to bring in human pesticides to a life-loving continent? Maybe some of the real help that this African woman suggested, instead?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Human pesticides!!!!! Bravo!!!!! Best comment ever!!!!

      Delete
  19. "Ms. Ekeocha does not represent "Africa" as so many of your comments suggest. Africa has over one billion people, more than three times that of the United States. "

    Actually, because she IS from Africa (originated from there) yes, she does represent Africa. Just like if I went to Africa, I would represent America, because I'm an American. Just like the Olympians that compete for their country, are proud to represent their own countries. Mrs. Ekeocha is the voice for Africans.

    ReplyDelete
  20. At any rate, she speaks for Africa much more than does Mrs. Gates. Johanne, many in the developing nations have long resented the west importing their (questionable) values. Especially if it's unwanted and unasked for. I'm pretty sure the poorer nations would prefer food, proper medicines, health care and clean water to condoms, IUDs, Pills and abortions. But we are so condescending to the "unwashed, uneducated masses" that we just know best, apparently. I will never forget reading an African doctors heartsick lament that there were no essential, life-saving (and cheap) medicines in his village's local health clinic, but there was contraception on the shelves from floor to ceiling. Nice. Now they'll have $4.6 billion of their unwanted "services" instead of what the nation truly needs.

    So many on the left talk of the ugliness of western imperialism, and this move by Gates is that height of that, it seems to me, even if she cannot see it. There have been many U.N. fights over this kind of stuff, too (abortion, contraception and sterilization [often forced or coerced], the homosexual agenda). No one wants the anti-life agenda that is shoved at them by the west (reeks of racism to them…i.e., why do they so badly want fewer brown and black people?).

    Anyway, the whole thing is just a tragic misapplication of what could have been a powerful gift to the continent and its peoples.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ""I'm pretty sure the poorer nations would prefer food, proper medicines, health care and clean water to condoms, IUDs, Pills and abortions. "
      Yes! I agree with this...education and this type of aid is primary. I have spent time in regions that did not have any....SOAP...the government was doing a study to see if they should fund soap distribution or increase food aid to one area...can you imagine the poverty?

      Delete
    2. Leave it to the government to spend money on a study to decide whether to provide soap or food to the poor. How about this: 1/8 of the money spent on the study should be spent on soap, 7/8 should be spent on food. Even if I'm a little light on the soap it would help the poor more than paying for a study would!

      I know we're not supposed to use the reply button but this kind of thing is just another example of the craziness of everything, esp. since I live in a city that is constantly STUDYING everything and changing nothing.

      Delete
  21. It's more a question of whether someone's a good representation of their country. I suspect that Johanne is right here. If you sent me to the Olympics, I would represent the US, but I wouldn't be a good representation of the caliber of US athletics. I doubt that a well-educated, probably middle-class Catholic is the best representation in this case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Particularly because the subset of Africans who are well-educated, middle-class Catholics not living in Africa are, I think it's safe to say, not the target of the program.

      Delete
  22. Particularly because the subset of Africans who are well-educated, middle-class Catholics not living in Africa are, I think it's safe to say, not the target of the program.

    Because the unwashed, uneducated masses are the ones who need to be targeted to stop having babies?

    Do you know how that sounds, Michelle?

    Now that I think about it, it sounds exactly like Margaret Sanger's plans to make sure that black people, the poor, the "unfit" and the "imbeciles" stop reproducing.

    I am sure you didn't mean it that way, or at least I hope not. Clarify?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Of course not. The resources to make decisions about reproduction are typically less available to people living in poverty. Keep in mind, too, that family planning does not equal "stop having babies" but "control over when you have babies." Access to contraceptives doesn't mean that everyone is being forced to stop having children, but that they'll have a better opportunity to make that decision for themselves.

    My point, though, was more that we probably shouldn't consider Ms. Ekeocha the voice of African women if she isn't really representative of the majority of African women.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Who would be representative of the majority of African women?

    ReplyDelete
  25. PS: I haven't used contraceptives for 15 years, and I am in "control over when [I] have babies."

    ReplyDelete
  26. Michelle, do you see any validity in what this woman says? Because I'm wondering if $4.6 billions couldn't be used in a more productive way, such as her suggestions about what African women really need?

    The idea that we help poor people by reducing their numbers or eliminating them (culling the herd?) does not seem to me in keeping with human dignity.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I hope and pray that Catholics and secularists could agree at least on this part of the problem:

    The crux of the matter is that to the eyes of a certain portion of the world, the BOM [Billings Ovulation Method of NFP] is doubly inconvenient. First of all, it is a method that is simple to understand and easy to adopt. It can be managed in the autonomy and consciousness of women themselves, even those that are illiterate, and without any form of mediation. But secondly, and above all, its original and unpardonable sin resides in the fact that it is completely free, an aspect that, evidently, makes it very unpopular with the pharmaceutical industry, which, through chemical contraceptives, obtains enormous profits, as will others thanks to the philanthropy of Mrs. Gates.

    Everyone is free to engage in charity as they choose. Not, however, to persist in disinformation, presenting things in a false manner. Otherwise, one runs the risk of engaging (perhaps sometimes naively) in politics of the Nestlé type. As is sadly well-known, that multinational has, in a clever and unjust way, furnished powdered milk to African women for their newborns, using free packages that last long enough to cause the mother’s natural milk to go away. At which point, the mother is obligated to purchase [the powdered milk] though publicity campaigns that present breastfeeding as barbaric, and the artificial means as modern and civilized, thanks also to psychological pressures of various types on the part of elusive doctors and nurses. Thus, they create a need, in the name of charity and for the purpose of profit. Not that this would be the intention of the 450 million Euros. However, in addition to the plans that have been announced, a little correct information would truly be beneficial. For everyone.


    Published in L’Osservatore Romano, July 29, 2012.

    The entire article, here:
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/resources/birth-control-and-disinformation-the-risks-of-philanthropy

    ReplyDelete
  28. Johanne and Michelle, just two observations:

    1) I have lived and traveled extensively in Africa. What the lady writes does in fact reflect pretty well what I have experienced there as well. Certainly more of a majority culture than that of a well-educated African middle class. That is pretty small compared to the West.

    2) Can you see the beauty and truth if what she writes? Does it touch you? Or do you mainly see propaganda that needs to be fought and argued with? I'm honestly curious, because for me (previously lapsed Catholic, finding my way back), what I read is pure beauty and truth

    ReplyDelete
  29. No doubt she does not represent all African women, I don't think she or anyone else makes that claim. Africa is a very heterogeneous continent with many cultures and religions. But Christianity no doubt is in a relative majority, and the values she expresses in the article are shared by many Africans, Christian or otherwise. This may be a result of Christian heritage, but perhaps equally so of a life-affirming attitude that people are naturally born with, and only certain modern developments have managed to destroy.

    ReplyDelete
  30. There are two facts, which greatly undermine the ethos of this argument. The first is that this woman doesn’t live in Nigeria. The second is that at 32, an age when even most American women have children, this woman is childless.

    If there is an argument to be made that a woman can have as many children as she likes and these children pose no threat to her education, or livelihood, or life--this woman by virtue of being a childless extremely educated expatriate, proves the antithesis.

    The line between advancing imperialism and aiding a fundamentally oppressive culture is a thin one. There are African women who truly believe in female circumcision as a culturally beautiful ritual, which protects chastity and marriage—yet I have no qualm saying these women are wrong.

    Nor do I have a problem critiquing a woman e or a country or a continent that believes women can have limitless children with limited resources and thrive.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  31. Be as disdainful of the pill as you wish. But no American sociologist has argued that women would have left the home without the pill. That is a damn accomplishment. That is a damn big deal.


    We need to stop the bleeding. This isn’t about wanting less brown people its about common sense. Do you admire young American women hell bent on having back-to-back children she can’t provide for? Certainly not. There is nothing admirable about it.


    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  32. Can you see the beauty and truth if what she writes? Does it touch you?

    That's always the question I have too, Sebastian. Can they see the beauty and truth there? For me, it takes my breath away.

    ReplyDelete
  33. CS, again, your comments make me incredibly sad. I see the effects of a leftist college education there (Women's Studies?).

    Everything you say reflects a worldview centered around economics, and that a woman must essentially be childless (or close to it) and man-like to be "successful" materially. I only wish you knew the women I know. Very successful, quite educated, and nobody's victim. Many with wonderful professional careers.

    You discount that this woman understands her own people, and her own upbringing and experience as an African woman. I thought feminists were not supposed to "silence women's voices", but I find the opposite is true, if they do not go along with the groupthink. This woman is summarily discounted.

    Mother Teresa always said that the west was much more impoverished than the Third World, as ours is a spiritual poverty, which is infinitely worse.

    ReplyDelete
  34. CS, are you saying that a woman cannot have a successful career without the Pill?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Joanna,

    Not at all. But I am saying the pill was a fundamental catalyst for women leaving the home for the workplace. Or rather i am reiterating what is established fact. I don't believe individual American women need bc to be successful but we do need to acknowledge that without bc women's lib would have never occurred in the US.

    ~CS


    ReplyDelete
  36. Leila,

    Please stop it. I am always baffled by conservatives who want to pay 3% in income taxes poohing and pahing about material wealth when it comes to disenfranchised communities. We are not talking about iphones, we are talking about food, medicine, the option to provide for oneself. It is a universal axiom that education is the way out of poverty and another that having children young impedes education and exhilarates poverty. Goodness gracious, How does a 16 year old American girl having two young children affect her opportunity? her education? Exactly...and it's a hell of a lot worse in Nigeria.

    Do not hate what feminism has become so much that your forget the options it has given you?

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  37. I don't think any one person can be the spokeswoman for an entire continent, but "she is hoping Gates will hear her 'as the voice of the African woman'" sounds a lot like she intends to be just that. Saying that she speaks for all African women is like a Nigerian woman saying that my opinion is representative of all North American women because "this woman understands her own people, and her own upbringing and experience as an [American] woman". Totally ridiculous, right?

    And, yes, sure. NFP is fine, and I'm glad it's working for you. But I'm not sure that your situation (you have time to do it right and a husband who's on board with it) is comparable to the situation of women who may not have the time, or more importantly, a husband/sexual partner who's going to take "no, I'm fertile" for an answer.

    The general consensus, as far as I'm aware, is that helping women gain control over family planning is one of the best ways to help them work their way out of poverty. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/03/opinion/kristof-the-birth-control-solution.html (I know it's a NYT link that you'll dismiss out of hand, but it does contain links to sources that back up its points.) I don't think the $4.6 billion are being poorly spent.

    ReplyDelete
  38. CS - Please explain how Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, et al participated in women''s suffrage without use of birth control.

    Michelle - "the time it takes" to use NFP? What are you talking about? It takes just as long to take a temp, check cervical fluid, or pee on a ovulation test stick as it does to pop a pill.

    And seriously, if a woman had a husband who would RAPE her if she says, "I'm fertile" -- do you think contraception is the key to a good relationship in that case?? You'd rather a woman stay in that sort of situation??

    ReplyDelete
  39. Existence and essence,

    I hope this isn't too personal, but what large midwestern research university are you attending?

    I just graduated from one myself and as there aren't that many, I was curious


    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  40. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was assuming that learning NFP and always charting and always remembering to check whatever you're checking is a bit more time consuming and difficult than taking a pill or putting on a condom. I don't think I'm crazy here.

    And of course men should always listen when women say no, and of course I want the best possible marital situation for everyone. But I'm not going to assume a rosy, idealistic vision of married life when I can't know if that's the case. What if a woman is in a situation where NFP simply isn't an option, but she relies on her husband to survive? What if a woman relies on prostitution to make a living? What if...?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Michelle, but we need to spend $4.6 BILLION in order to cover the "what ifs" that you just mentioned? Even if I held your view, isn't that like killing a fly with a canon rather than a fly swatter?

    Do you think if you asked the average African woman what she most needed or wanted to help strengthen her family and help her children and her village, she would say, "Contraception"? I'm thinking she would say, food, medicince, clean water, jobs and education. I'm pretty sure contraception is not high on that list for spending $4.6 Billion.

    What do you think of her vision of her life and her continent, even if you don't agree? Good vision, bad vision? Beautiful?

    I lost a huge comment to this stupid computer, so I will keep it short. CS, modern feminists are not the same as classical feminists (whom I love). The biggest indicator of poverty in America is something that modern feminists do not work to rectify, and in fact they work to entrench it. The biggest single indicator of poverty in America is not race, and is not "having babies young". It's having babies before marriage and outside of marriage. It's single motherhood.

    As for African poverty, it's not caused by children. That is a whole other issue.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ummmm.....maybe I had a conservative, Catholic education but I am pretty sure I remember the major breakthrough in women leaving them home and working outside the home was....the world wars.

    Remember Rosie?

    The pill was not FDA approved until around the 1960 long after women entered the workplace.

    Frankly, the argument women are in the workplace because of the pill is deeply insulting to the trailblazing women who have worked so hard and gave up so much to help give us the equality in education and work opportunities we have today.

    We have what we have because of PEOPLE- not because of a pill.

    ReplyDelete
  43. CS, congrats on graduating! I'm big on internet anonymity, considering that things I've said here have inexplicably ended up being mentioned on other sites. I won't say it directly here, but I do pretty much give it away somewhere in my last few most recent blog posts (and give it away completely somewhere in my 2010 archives). :)

    What about you, if you don't mind me asking?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Michelle, I charted for about ten years with no temp checks at all (Billings Ovulation Method). And a temp takes about a minute a day, if that, if one uses the other methods. As for checking cervical mucus, you check when you go to use the bathroom. It takes no time out of one's day, and it becomes a habit quickly. Not complicated, not time-consuming. That is why Mother Teresa and her nuns and missionaries everywhere can teach it so easily and successfully.

    ReplyDelete
  45. We could look on the Internet and find the mailing address for the Gates Foundation. Then we can print out this open letter and mail it to Melinda Gates at the Gates Foundation. It could be an old-fashion letter writing campaign.

    ReplyDelete
  46. StarFireKK, exactly! To think that women can only be successful if they are neutered? It really is insulting.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Lena, I would welcome that. I still hold out hope that Melinda's Catholic conscience will start to stir.... Not much hope, mind you. But a spark.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I am pretty sure I remember the major breakthrough in women leaving them home and working outside the home was....the world wars.

    Remember Rosie?


    Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  49. CS, I can participate equally in society while retaining both my femininity and my fertility. You would do women a much greater service if you helped them realize their potential to do likewise instead of telling them that they can't possibly participate equally in society unless they pretend to be men.

    Michelle, I use the Marquette Method of NFP. I pee on a stick every other day or so, stick it in a fertility monitor, and record the results on my iPhone app. Takes less than a minute. I used the Pill for two years prior to switching to NFP so I do have a valid basis for comparison.

    Will using contraception stop marital rape or allow a woman to escape prostitution? Seems to me contraception would just allow the abuse to continue unchecked and unabated. I'd prefer that Gates use her billions to help women escape their abusers, not enable them.

    ReplyDelete
  50. “The biggest single indicator of poverty in America is not race, and is not "having babies young". It's having babies before marriage and outside of marriage. It's single motherhood.”

    Leila

    how are having baby’s too young and single motherhood not virtually the same thing?

    I have a cousin who is slightly younger than me who just realized she is pregnant. As least we are agreeing that as a single woman, having the baby increases her chances of descending into poverty.

    And African poverty is exacerbated by multiple childbirths. As E & E pointed out there is a near universal consensus that the best thing women can do for themselves and their communities is to get educated and the best way to do that is to limit their family size.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  51. how are having baby’s too young and single motherhood not virtually the same thing?

    Because married young women who then have babies with their husbands are many times less likely to live in poverty as their single mother counterparts, that's how.

    What is "too young" in your mind, by the way? Because I had my first baby at 23. Was that "too young"?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Please look at raw data:

    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/196

    Do you see any good news there, or any indication that our nation is headed for stability? I don't. And so I ask, why do modern feminists, and Hollywood, and the media, all continue to pooh-pooh marriage and family and why do they make it seem that having babies out of wedlock is no big deal, and even good for women and children?

    ReplyDelete
  53. I agree women should get educated but I don't understand why you think education requires women to be sterile.

    I know plenty of mothers who took their college education very seriously (probably because they had kids) and plenty of college girls that acted like "Girls gone Wild" for four years and barely graduated with a degree.

    If you really feel kids aren't a good match with education there are ways to limit your children. You can used NFP or you can......not have sex.

    I know, I know....it is just a crazy idea but work with me here. If you don't have sex....you won't get pregnant. Amazing isn't it! Isn't it nice there is a way to control having children without having to fork over all that money for BC? Little extra room in the budget.

    Who would've thought......

    ReplyDelete
  54. I have a cousin who is slightly younger than me who just realized she is pregnant. As least we are agreeing that as a single woman, having the baby increases her chances of descending into poverty.

    This is very sad. Has she considered placing the baby for adoption?

    ReplyDelete
  55. StarFire, I wish there were more women who realized that by not having sex until they are married (and thus ready for children), they can pursue their educations without fear, have wonderful, carefree lives, not worry about men using them and throwing them out, and when the time is right, giving their children a mother and a father, which is the best way to ensure their stability and happiness and prosperity.

    Yes, imagine that: If one doesn't want a baby, one can choose to not have sex. It's a revolutionary idea, but it's been tried, and it works. 100% of the time.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Leila, neither of us is an African woman living in poverty, so what either of us thinks is not really of any consequence. I'm more inclined to listen to the UN: http://www.unfpa.org/rh/planning.htm From another page on the same site:

    The ability of women to control their own fertility is absolutely fundamental to women’s empowerment and equality. When a woman can plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. When she is healthy, she can be more productive. And when her reproductive rights—including the right to decide the number, timing and spacing of her children, and to make decisions regarding reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence—are promoted and protected, she has freedom to participate more fully and equally in society.

    I think this discussion is fundamentally confused. As a Catholic, I know you wouldn't send contraceptives anywhere, but I hope we can agree that family planning does empower women. Contraceptives help women plan their families in a way that's morally licit for non-Catholics, which in turn helps them become more equal in society. Really, I don't see any problem here. Sure, money needs to be spent on water and education and infectious diseases, etc., but that doesn't mean that family planning should be neglected.

    Anyway, really, my whole point commenting here was that we shouldn't be so naïve as to think Ms. Ekeocha can speak for millions of women whose situations don't remotely resemble hers. Melinda Gates is going to spend her money how she wants, and I support her evidence-backed decision.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I was married at 20 and had my first baby at 24. :)

    ReplyDelete
  58. Sorry CS, your claims just don't match up with experience. I remember college well. The pill didn't turn my friends into wonderful students- it helped them party more.

    In fact it hurt a lot of their studies because it is hard to get to class when you party all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  59. JoAnna,

    You are implying that I believe in hormonal contraception over NFP or abstinence or pulling out or whatever. I am not drawing any distinction between them. I am saying and will continue to say that when women start having too many children too young it is a problem and it impedes their access to education and opportunity. I don't care at all how girls and women avoid having children.

    "I can participate equally in society while retaining both my femininity and my fertility. You would do women a much greater service if you helped them realize their potential to do likewise instead of telling them that they can't possibly participate equally in society unless they pretend to be men."

    What is it that Leila says? womanhood is not in her genitals its in her essence. Femininity is in my essence not my womb. If doesnt matter if I am dry as a bone or fertile as a river I am just as much a woman. I don't want to die in childbirth and I don't like children nor do I want to get pregnant as a single 23 year old. None of these things mean even in the slightest I want to be a man. Not in the slightest.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  60. Ok.....odd question to the Catholic ladies out there. Can NFP help you get pregnant? How did you learn? Any way to kinda learn on your own or not having to go to a class......

    I know......I'm such an introvert.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Please don't misunderstand, CS. I said that we are women in essence as well as biology. I don't need to suppress what makes me biologically a woman (healthy periods, the ability to bear life, the health and functioning of my female reproductive organs) in order to have a productive life and/or a fabulous career.

    You were the one who once said this:

    "I have a big issue with gender roles. I have a big issue with all of your assumptions about women, that their bodies were made to breed and sustain other people…."

    When in fact, what is so breathtakingly amazing about us is that biologically our bodies ARE designed to make, carry and sustain other human beings. It's absolutely incredible.

    For those who weren't reading back then, CS's comments prompted me to write a whole post, by the way: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/04/are-feminists-at-war-with-their-own.html

    ReplyDelete
  62. StarFireKK, absolutely, NFP is as helpful in achieving pregnancy as avoiding it! In fact, that is a great blessing of NFP. You don't have to physically attend a class, no. That is most helpful, as the teacher is right there, but I know folks who have studied in their homes, read books, and even had Skype lessons with a teacher who was out of state. :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Ms. Ekeocha can speak for millions of women whose situations don't remotely resemble hers

    You actually don't know if she came from poverty, and you also don't know that millions of women in poverty in Africa don't agree with her.

    ReplyDelete
  64. What is "too young" in your mind, by the way? Because I had my first baby at 23. Was that "too young"?

    I meant the onset of puberty 12-14 in Africa. And Teens in America.

    “I agree women should get educated but I don't understand why you think education requires women to be sterile”

    You don’t understand the facts that having a baby makes it harder to finish high school or go to college> I am not even going to look for the evidence that supports this I think the rest of us can assume its pretty well substantiated.


    How interesting that you and Joanna both got married so young. Abstinence till marriage takes on an entirely different meaning when you do it in college.


    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  65. Leila, and neither do you. It's still utterly ridiculous to speculate on global health issues based on one individual's account.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I was married between my sophomore and junior years of college. I stayed abstinent until marriage - and I wasn't even Catholic at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  67. It's still utterly ridiculous to speculate on global health issues based on one individual's account.

    And I will continue to believe that an African woman knows the mind and hearts of African women better than you or Melinda Gates. Utterly ridiculous, I know...

    ReplyDelete
  68. You don’t understand the facts that having a baby makes it harder to finish high school or go to college

    Yes, indeed, that's why it's important that women not perform the baby-making act before they are married. Problem solved.

    I had been out of college for a full year before I got married, and so my education was complete (tried grad school, wasn't for me). I did not practice abstinence in college, by a longshot. JoAnna and I did opposite things, and yet we both say the same thing now. I knew even when I was not abstinent in college that it would have been much better if I had been. I knew it then and I still know it now.

    ReplyDelete
  69. “Do you see any good news there, or any indication that our nation is headed for stability? I don't”


    Leila can you give me the name of a nation that you feel American’s should emulate sexually.

    And so I ask, why do modern feminists, and Hollywood, and the media, all continue to pooh-pooh marriage and family and why do they make it seem that having babies out of wedlock is no big deal, and even good for women and children?

    When did liberals encourage college student’s to keep their babies and be single mothers. According to you we are always telling women the opposite. Marriage isn’t a puppy or an ice cream sundae; marriages especially young marriages don’t necessarily last forever.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  70. This is very sad. Has she considered placing the baby for adoption?”

    No of course she has not considered giving the baby up for adoption. Like 99% of American women she’ll raise the baby alone or have an abortion.


    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  71. "You don’t understand the facts that having a baby makes it harder to finish high school or go to college> I am not even going to look for the evidence that supports this I think the rest of us can assume its pretty well substantiated."

    Where did I say I didn't understand that? I never said I thought it would be EASIER to have a kid and go to school. I never said it wouldn't be harder.

    I said from my experience I found that young parents tended to take their education more seriously than my contraceptive friends did.

    But then we need to get into a debate about whether or not my social-economical background makes me a good enough Representative to deign share my observations and whether or not what I report is "typical" enough of college environments to be worth paying attention too.

    (The last was suppose to be funny- not catty. But I am on some major painkillers so my "would people think I'm being mean" radar might be a bit off. So if anyone is offended I apologize!)

    ReplyDelete
  72. Leila can you give me the name of a nation that you feel American’s should emulate sexually.

    No, I can't, because I have not investigated the sexual practices of the nations. But I can definitely tell you what would be sexually healthy and how to have healthy relationships and marriages. Then, let's have the whole nation do that! :)

    Now, if you could answer my question:

    “Do you see any good news there, or any indication that our nation is headed for stability?" (Remember, the stats were being compared to earlier decades in America, to showcase the dramatic decline.)

    Like 99% of American women she’ll raise the baby alone or have an abortion.

    And that is a huge part of the problem we have now. Why do you think placing the child in an adoptive, two-parent family would not be an option for her or her child?

    ReplyDelete
  73. StarFireKK, that last part was funny!

    And, I am sorry you are in pain!!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Thanks Leila! I'm getting my wisdom teeth out on Thursday so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But if you get a lot of strange comments from me on Thursday and Friday you'll know why!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Joanna,

    You lost your virginity before I did. Before many of my friends did. It is thus hilarious to have to speak to me about abstinence when I held out longer than you.

    Leila

    I am well aware that from a biological perspective women like men exist to reproduce. I am aware that the entire purpose of my vagina is to provide a comfortable environment to make men climax and turn that result into a baby, which naturally may or may not kill me during birth. I am aware that my reproductive biological function could be carried if I never felt a pleasurable sensation in my life. But if its okay with you I’m going to think about my body as differently than semen recycle. My body IS magic because It orchestrates pleasure and life. MINE.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  76. Leila,

    And that is a huge part of the problem we have now. Why do you think placing the child in an adoptive, two-parent family would not be an option for her or her child?

    O You know the answer to this. She's not going to go through 9 MONTHS of pregnancy if shes not even going to keep the prize inside. The father who is not a bf has another child ( drama). So if she decides not to keep it I am sure she will have an abortion

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  77. Oh please..... let's not start the whole female version of a ********* contest.

    We all have a past. If someone didn't have sex before marriage then they probably stole some gum or tattled on their brother.

    Moving on....

    ReplyDelete
  78. So, CS... in your view, making a permanent, lasting commitment (11 years as of September 1!) with a man before engaging in sex is exactly the same as irresponsible fornication.

    Okay then.

    As for your cousin, it's so sad that she'd rather condemn her baby to death than let someone else raise him/her.

    Starfire, I've used NFP to achieve pregnancy 5 times. :)


    ReplyDelete
  79. CS, how would you define selfishness? Do you think it is morally acceptable to be selfish? Can you see how sex outside of marriage is selfish?

    ReplyDelete
  80. Wow - five? That's awesome!

    I'm over on Amazon looking at the various books. I LOVE my kindle- no more waiting for the book to ship. Our library is the pits here.

    Any recommendations on the books?

    Happy Early Anniversary, JoAnna!

    ReplyDelete
  81. Leila, honestly, I worry about your standards of evidence. Like I said, I don't think you'd want me speaking for millions of North American women, so why are you so eager to accept one African woman's account (which you conveniently agree with) as speaking for millions of African women? Good thing Melinda Gates didn't do a survey of one before planning her program...

    ReplyDelete
  82. Michelle, I'm certain that you do speak for many women (perhaps even millions) depending on what the subject is. Why would you deny that Obianuju Ekeocha speaks for millions? How would you know? Is this woman lying? And, doesn't it bother you that rich white women from America is coming in to socially engineer the Africans and tell them just what she thinks they need (which is to have less of them)? I find that terribly troubling, and usually it would be the left who is decrying western imperialism, etc. Maybe Miss Gwen is the one I am thinking of. She respects different cultures and their values, esp. in the developing nations. I wonder if she respects that the African culture is very pro-life, and pro-family and pro-child. Their children are their greatest resources and joy, and yet a very rich, western woman is imposing her will on millions, altering their cultural values. Feeding them and healing their sicknesses and giving them water would not impose upon their cultural values.

    So, when you hear this woman's sorrowful plea for her continent, your reaction is sort of a "yawn", sorry….?

    I don't get it.

    ReplyDelete
  83. O You know the answer to this. She's not going to go through 9 MONTHS of pregnancy if shes not even going to keep the prize inside. The father who is not a bf has another child ( drama). So if she decides not to keep it I am sure she will have an abortion

    So, it's all about her. It does seem incredibly selfish. Do you agree? Is that how we should be, morally? And, why was this young woman involved (at all, much less to the point of having sex) with such a horrible "man" (if he can be called that). Something is very wrong with how our young women pick men, or is it a self-esteem issue? I don't understand why you ladies don't think more highly of yourselves and hold men to higher standards by not giving losers and cads the time of day. (For those who don't know, CS has said she has never dated a gentleman. They have all been losers who have used her.)

    I don't get it.

    And, I've sensed over the years that you have a real fear of giving birth, and you believe you might likely die from it. Is that true?

    ReplyDelete
  84. My body IS magic because It orchestrates pleasure and life. MINE.

    This reminds me of the contrast between the "This is My Body" spoken by Jesus Christ, and the "This is MY body!" spoken by abortion advocates. Same phrase, opposite meanings:

    This Is My Body

    By Fr. Frank A. Pavone

    Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord Jesus to save the world are also used by some to promote abortion? "This is my body." The same simple words are spoken from opposite ends of the universe, with meanings that are directly contrary to each other.

    Scripture tells us that on the night before He died to save all people, the Lord Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, "This is My Body, which is given up for you." He was pointing to what would happen the next day, when He would give that same Body on the cross. He sacrifices Himself so that we may live. He gives up His Body so that He can destroy the power of sin and death. As a result, He welcomes us into His life, into His Kingdom. He makes us members of His Body!

    On the other hand, abortion supporters say, "This is my body. So don't interfere with it! It's mine, so I can do what I want, even to the point of killing the life within it. All is secondary to my dominion over my body." In fact one abortion supporter has written, "I say their (pro-lifers') God is worth nothing compared to my body" (Michelle Goldberg, "Rant for Choice," in University of Buffalo student newspaper, 1995).

    "This is my body." Same words, different results. Christ gives His body away so others might live; abortion supporters cling to their own bodies so others might die. In giving His Body, Christ teaches the meaning of love: I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person. Abortion teaches the opposite of love: I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself!

    "This is my body." If, indeed, our body is ours, then let's ask the next question: Why? The answer is so that we can give our body, our life, ourself, away in love to one another and to God. Christ declares, "Do this in memory of me." He calls us to do what He did, and that is precisely how we reverse the dynamic of abortion. Mom and Dad must say to their child, "This is my body, my life, given for you," rather than, "This is my body, my life, so go away!"

    Human happiness and fulfillment are never found by pushing other people out of the way. They are found when we push ourselves out of the way. Pope John Paul II says as much in Evangelium Vitae #51: He who had come "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45), attains on the cross the heights of love: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:13). And he died for us while we were yet sinners (cf. Rom. 5:8).

    In this way Jesus proclaims that life finds its center, its meaning and its fulfillment when it is given up.

    At this point our meditation becomes praise and thanksgiving, and at the same time urges us to imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps (cf. 1 Pt. 2:21).

    We too are called to give our lives for our brothers and sisters, and thus to realize in the fullness of truth the meaning and destiny of our existence.

    "This is my body." It is no accident that the same words are used for such different purposes. A spiritual conflict rages here. We win, in our own lives and in the world, by living these words in self-giving, life-giving love.


    [emphases mine]

    ReplyDelete
  85. Starfire - I've had six pregnancies, four kids here on earth and two in heaven. Five were conceived using NFP, the other was conceived when we were technically avoiding but being rather lax and lazy about charting.

    Books - I taught myself to use NFP with "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler. It's a secular source, though, so I'd recommend "The Art of Natural Family Planning" by John & Sheila Kipley for a Catholic resource. Also "Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition" by Marilyn Shannon. And of course I can't recommend enough the new website iusenfp.com.

    ReplyDelete
  86. existenceandessence (Michelle?) wrote: "my whole point commenting here was that we shouldn't be so naïve as to think Ms. Ekeocha can speak for millions of women whose situations don't remotely resemble hers." Ms. Ekeocha was not speaking about women in her "situation", but about a culture she is intimately familiar with. And it is legitimate to speak for millions of women, though not for all, in that culture. I cannot even see any misrepresentation in what she writes. She is making a very important and valid point about the culture she comes from and therefore knows, and one that I believe Melinda Gates, and all the rest of us, can enormously benefit from listening to. Michelle, would you agree with that?

    On another issue, it has been shown (I don't have the studies at my fingertips, but it's well accepted) that once education and material well-being increase (on a societal, not necessarily individual level), the number of children tends to decrease. Not the other way around. Would you then agree that Melinda Gates could usefully reorder her charitable giving priorities? She could achieve her goals, and do it without destroying unborn children, and local life-affirming culture. Now that would be truly amazing.

    May God bless you, Michelle. Thank you for sticking around here and sharing your contributions. I learn a lot here, and hopefully you do too.

    ReplyDelete
  87. I never said Ms. Ekeocha's view wasn't valid or that she should be ignored. It's just stupid (yes, I do think it's stupid) to say that one person can speak for an entire continent. It's as if you said "I want to know what American women think about an important issue" and then you ask one person? Seriously? It's not a matter of what her opinion is, it's a matter of bad statistics. It's like saying "100% of doctors recommend this toothpaste" but you only asked one doctor. Do you see what I mean?

    Surveys conducted by the CDC, UNICEF, WHO and other reputable organizations have estimated that there are 222 million women worldwide who have an unmet need for family planning resources. They suggest that improved access to contraceptives will reduce the numbers of unsafe abortions. One of the 8 UN Millenium Development Goals is to improve maternal health, and contraception is part of that (and interestingly, abortion is not mentioned). I don't think I'm crazy to suggest that maybe international surveys are more representative of women's situations than one person's story...

    Sebastian, I would like to see those studies if you can find them, because as I understand it, it is the other way around. It's not at all implausible that education would decrease childbearing, but I do think that it's well accepted that it's easier to get an education and increase material well-being if one has control over one's reproductive health.

    Keep in mind, all of you, that access to contraceptives is just that - access. If people don't want to use them, they don't have to. Given the general consensus (based on studies, not one person's opinion) that contraception is welcomed as a means of family planning and leads to decreased poverty, I simply don't see anything wrong with - and would support - putting money towards increasing access to contraceptives.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Michelle, so there won't be any coercion tied to the use of contraceptions, like this missionary explains, and as I've seen reported countless times?

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/06/no-food-or-medicine-but-plenty-of.html

    What do you think of what this woman's report? True? Lies? She's simply mistaken?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because remember, in all these areas, the westerners always say they are just giving women "access", not coercing anyone.

      Delete
  89. Sorry, did Ms. Ekeocha or I suggest that she speaks for the entire continent? If so, where - I must have missed it.

    One study by someone obviously sympathetic to the contraception approach can be found here http://www.popcouncil.org/pdfs/wp/177.pdf

    Key quotes: "...there is no agreement on the socioeconomic factors responsible for the inverse relationship between education and fertility. A variety of plausible explanations have been proposed, including the effect of schooling on women’s autonomy, the opportunity costs of childbearing, and exposure to Western values (...). A review of this literature by Cleland (2002) suggests that, given the complexity of these issues, researchers may never reach consensus", and later "The fertility declines now underway in many less developed countries are almost invariably associated with substantial fertility differences among socioeconomic subgroups.
    Women with primary education tend to have higher fertility than women with secondary-plus education, and women with no schooling tend to have higher fertility than women with primary education."

    These conclusions simply show that higher education correlates with lower fertility, without establishing a causal relationship between use of contraception and education, or even lower fertility. Mind you, I am in no way opposed to fertility (each child a gift of God), but justed wanted to establish that contraception does not appear to be a key requirement for education, increase of material well-being or control of fertility.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Sorry for typos and typesetting, I am too incompetent to even properly proofread. And for once I do not even have the excuse of using the new Samsung pad, which is more difficult to handle still than the computer ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  91. I'm not really even sure what you're asking. How could I possibly answer whether there'd be coercion or not?

    It sounds to me as though you're saying that the possibility that unethical practices could occur means that no contraceptive access should be introduced anywhere. Is that what you're saying? I understand that you don't think it should be introduced at all, but this is not sound reasoning because I could make the exact same argument against introducing healthcare facilities to poor regions of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Sebastian, thank you!!

    Michelle, I thought that my reference to the other article (the link I supplied) would help you see that coercion has routinely been part of the west's imposition of "family planning" (contraception/sterilization/abortion) on the developing world. That link showed you what goes on in South America and Central America (routinely), and this article speaks of the unwanted imposition of western "values" on the continent of Africa. This is nothing new, as this old article describes (this time with women in the Middle East):

    http://pop.org/content/anti-life-agenda-forced-on-afghan-women-1445

    Coercion and social engineering is going on all over the developing world, and it's unwanted. Real help, though? Food, medicine, health care, education, clean water? Not so much. Again, where are the shouts of "imperialism" when it's the Planned Parenthood agenda being pushed on nations and continents (and women) that don't want it?

    "I could make the exact same argument against introducing healthcare facilities to poor regions of the world."

    How so? What kinds of coercion could be taking place in offering food and clean water and sound healthcare? Everyone wants and needs that. Who has to be coerced into accepting it?

    ReplyDelete
  93. You know, I went back and read the first part of this post. I wonder if some of the commenters actually even read it, or "heard" it? Michelle, CS, and others: You see babies as a burden in these women's lives, as an obstacle to a good life. But they don't see their children as burdens but as causes for rejoicing. They don't see their children as obstacles, but as their greatest treasures.

    There is projection going on here.

    Please, re-read the first few paragraphs of this post. It's a mindset totally foreign to the modern American liberal/feminist, but it's valid and real. Can't you hear her?

    ReplyDelete
  94. Sebastian, family planning is an important part of the UN's Millenium Development goals. Just logically, if you don't have control over when and how many children you have, it's hard to imagine how you could even have the option to pursue a career and equality in society. I think education certainly would be helpful, but without the resources to gain control over reproduction, I'm not sure education could be enough.

    Leila, coercion shouldn't be happening. It's not an official part of any of the initiatives we've been talking about, so if it does happen, that's a problem. The problem is the coercion, in that case, and not the existence of contraceptives.

    And really, I think I'm just going to call it quits here, because you're still talking about Ms. Ekeocha as if she's the only woman in Africa and it's driving me nuts. I seriously worry about your critical thinking skills if you're so eager to project Ms. Ekeocha's views on all of Africa just because they happen to match what you already believe. And you also haven't been reading what I've been saying, because "You see babies as a burden in these women's lives, as an obstacle to a good life" is not something I've ever said. Having the ability to choose when and how many children to have is the focus. People can go on having as many children as they like; just because you chose when and how many children to have doesn't mean you love and cherish them any less.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Michelle, and I think you keep missing the point that the $4.6 billion initiative and all the UNFPA stuff is based on the premise that women are in poverty because they are having "too many" babies. It's a mindset that I don't think you are acknowledging. If the having of the babies were not the burden, if the having of the babies were not the obstacle, then why on earth would they be spending more than an earthly fortune to limit or stop the having of the babies?

    Children are not the source of poverty! Children are the greatest resource of the poor!

    There is really a disconnect here. I want you to think critically.

    These programs are based on the premise that these women are having too many babies! The babies are the "problem" to be solved.

    How can you not see this?

    If it were not so, they would not spend $4.6 billion to give so many pills and devices to women who could learn about their fertility and practice NFP and child spacing for free!

    ReplyDelete
  96. … and NFP would not undermine the people's values, nor their souls, nor undermine marriages, nor undermine the environment, nor undermine anything. And then $4.6 billion could be used to actually ADDRESS the issues of poverty, such as clean water, food, malaria, education, etc. Non-controversial, non-imperialistic, non-Big Pharma profits, and non-Hollywood values.

    Imagine that.

    ReplyDelete
  97. and yet, if NFP were truly the ideal answer for women everywhere and it was a completely simple way of managing fertility, there would be no need for the forums over at Faith and Family Live that detail all sorts of complex questions and situations about the realities of NFP?

    http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/blog/let21/#blogComments

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And depo-provera, Gate's favored contraceptive method, triples the STD and AIDS risk: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2004-08-22-std-risk_x.htm

      I'll take a little complexity over an increased risk of contracting AIDS any day - especially if I'm an African woman.

      By the way, Miss G, what are your thoughts on the shooting at the FRC? Do you think the SPLC is complicit in the crime?

      Delete
    2. I haven't read anything to lead me to believe the SPLC is complicit in any crime. I do think the person who shot people at FRC is perhaps mentally unstable and his actions completely inappropriate. I still think the FRC is a fuel-tank for hate speech (a term I know you just *love*) but I certainly don't condone violence. You don't like abortion clinics but I'd also hazard a guess you don't condone violence and shooting of abortion doctors?

      Delete
    3. Hm, this columnist at the Washington Post disagrees with you: "...the Southern Poverty Law Center should stop listing a mainstream Christian advocacy group alongside neo-Nazis and Klansmen."

      Glad to hear you don't condone the shooting. You're absolutely right that I don't condone violence against abortionists or pro-abortion folk (although that doesn't stop the left-wing from claiming that all pro-lifers are violent, or Janet Napalitano from labeling pro-lifers as domestic terrorists).

      Still, don't you think that the SLPC's hateful rhetoric fueled the fires of mental instability in this instance? I recall Sarah Palin was nearly crucified over some election materials that had a crosshairs graphic in proximity to Gabby Gifford's district. The left claimed that Sarah Palin was directly responsible for Jared Loughner's actions. By their own standard, then, it seems to me that the SPLC is directly responsible for the FRC shooting.

      Delete
  98. and yet, if NFP were truly the ideal answer for women everywhere and it was a completely simple way of managing fertility, there would be no need for the forums over at Faith and Family Live that detail all sorts of complex questions and situations

    Simple concept doesn't = without questions of application. NFP is organic and natural. That's what is simple about it. There are "complex questions and situations" because people are complex and deal with any number of biological or medical situations, as one glace at those comments would tell you.

    This has no bearing on NFP's simplicity of principle and reliability.

    ReplyDelete
  99. How simple is a blod clot in the Third World? (Sorry, developing nation.) You realize, Miss G, that Mother Teresa and her nuns taught and do teach it very effectively to the poor? And Family of the Americas?

    We Americans love the more high-tech version of NFP, but that doesn't mean there are not simpler ways. And, with more NFP teachers in those nations (why not pay to train them, for cheap?), there would be a lot more opportunity to use NFP and use it effectively.

    One last thought: People don't like the thought of NFP because it's the one form of family planning that requires some self-control, self-mastery, and sacrifice. But the payouts are out-of-this world (remember, I've lived both lives... the PP way and the way my body was made to do things -- not even a contest).

    ReplyDelete
  100. Gwen, does the Big Pharma profits angle bother you even a bit? Or the western imperialism angle?

    ReplyDelete
  101. God gracious, she's pushing depro-provera? That is unconscionable.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Hi Margo,

    Without giving it much thought, I would say selfishness is putting the interests of oneself above the interests of others.

    Do you think it is morally acceptable to be selfish? Are you a capitalist Margo? Because capitalism is based on selfishness. The world runs on selfishness, concepts like marriage and parenting depend on it. And no I don’t see how sex outside of marriage is fundamentally selfish or magically different than sex inside marriage.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  103. Somehow I see a difference between having no control over when I get pregnant and having control over when and how many times I do. You are in the latter camp - you do family planning. All I'm saying is that you're probably not going to be all that prosperous or have much control over your circumstances if you have no access to any methods of family planning. Forget contraception or NFP or whatever, I think it should be obvious that being able to plan when and how many children you have is beneficial to women's well-being and standing in society.

    Really, I think you're just arguing with me because I'm pro-contraception, because if you're pushing NFP you're pushing exactly the same thing Melinda Gates is: the ability to plan your family. We're saying exactly the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
  104. My point was simply that I think it's misleading to propose that NFP is a "perfect" part of family planning for every woman and every family.

    "Gwen, does the Big Pharma profits angle bother you even a bit? Or the western imperialism angle?"

    It does bother me, Leila, as does Christian evangelization mission efforts all over the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle - the difference is that we think that providing food, shelter, adequate prenatal and postpartum medical care, etc. should take precedence over throwing contraception at the Africans and declaring yourself their savior as a result. Too bad Melinda Gates doesn't agree.

      Delete
  105. What part of Christian evangelization bothers you, Miss G? We don't stand to gain $4.6 billion by evangelizing the African continent. But on one point I'm with you: It makes me sad when Protestant missionaries try to "convert" Catholic nations and peoples.

    CS, unfettered capitalism is not something that the Church promotes at all. However, the free enterprise system has resulted in the highest standard of living in the world, even for the poor of that nation. How can backing that, rather than socialism or communism (which spreads misery to all, and whose poor are much worse off then ours) be considered "selfish"? Aren't we allowed to provide for our families, and see the fruit of many years of hard work? I don't think providing for families and employing people so that others can have work is "selfish".

    But stop talking macro and let's talk micro (personal behavior). If having casual sex with jerks and making babies and then killing them is not selfish, can you name something that would be a selfish behavior? And, do you think selfish behavior is wrong? Or is "looking out for number one" a good way to live?

    ReplyDelete
  106. “You see babies as a burden in these women's lives, as an obstacle to a good life. But they don't see their children as burdens but as causes for rejoicing.”

    No, I don’t see anything. The UN, the World Bank, essentially every international organization, and common sense dictates that when you start having babies at 13 and have more than you can feed or clothe it is objectively not a good thing. Goodness gracious EVERYONE agrees that education is a major way to get out of poverty and child marriages are bad and detrimental to young girls.

    Leila if these girls at 12 and 13 were begging to get married and start a family it wouldn’t surprise me. It wouldn’t surprise me if they signed up for female circumcision either. When you are bought up to think the apex of existence is virginity and marriage and family, of course you would rejoice over it.

    I have tutored young girls before. I have spoken with teenage girls who wanted to get pregnant. Often it was because of a self-esteem issue, but I’ll pretend for a minute they just love children and wanted to be mothers. Do you know what I told them? To get over themselves. Having a baby because they make you happy is as stupid as doing anything else only because it makes you happen. The question isn’t do I want a baby its can I provide for one? Having a baby because you want one is a stupid reason that garners no sympathy in my book.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  107. We're saying exactly the same thing.

    On one level, yes. You are right. But the problem comes in with the effect. The effect of NFP on a society is not detrimental. It does not ruin marriages (the divorce rate for those who use NFP is in the single digits), it does not ruin the environment, it does not ruin a woman's body (depro-provera?! These women may have screwed up systems and infertility for years after!), and it does not lead to anti-child mentality. It would not alter the very heart of what Obianuju Ekeocha is saying here, which is the beauty of her culture.

    I promise, I don't argue just to argue. I have eight kids and I learned long ago not to do that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  108. CS, not sure what that last paragraph, about dysfunctional teens in America desperate to have babies, has to do with married women in Africa who love their children?

    And I'm glad you are there to straighten out any African woman who might find joy in her virtue, her marriage and her children! My goodness if it brings her joy, you'd better straighten out her thinking and let her know how miserable she really is! She could be as miserable as the modern American feminist if she only knew the right way to think! ;)

    You know I'm (sort of) teasing you. But really, I was not thinking of every married women in Africa as being a 12-year-old girl. Is that what you think of when you think of African families? Obviously, I would not condone girls that young getting married.

    And, you never actually answered this, from way above:

    Please look at raw data:

    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/196

    Do you see any good news there, or any indication that our nation is headed for stability? I don't. And so I ask, why do modern feminists, and Hollywood, and the media, all continue to pooh-pooh marriage and family and why do they make it seem that having babies out of wedlock is no big deal, and even good for women and children?


    I can see why Africans would not want any part of our culture, which is crashing and burning as we speak….


    ReplyDelete
  109. “And, why was this young woman involved (at all, much less to the point of having sex) with such a horrible "man" (if he can be called that). Something is very wrong with how our young women pick men, or is it a self-esteem issue?”

    Leila,

    I understand that you don’t agree with it, but are you saying you don’t comprehend why people (women) have sex with people they don’t want to get married to or have babies with.

    Obviously you don’t agree with this approach but does it genuinely baffle you?


    “For those who don't know, CS has said she has never dated a gentleman. They have all been losers who have used her.”

    Ohhh c’mooonnnnn Leila. Can you stop the character assassination please?

    I said I have never had sex with a man who would have been supportive in a pregnancy situation because I assume that’s what you were talking about by gentlemen given the conversation at hand.

    I at no point said the guys I slept with (all of whom I did not date which apparently embarrasses you more than it does me) were losers. There is a loser in there, but not all losers. Not wanting to marry me (when I don’t want to marry you) or wanting to have a baby with me (likewise) does not make a man a loser nor does it make a woman ‘used’

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  110. "...the Southern Poverty Law Center should stop listing a mainstream Christian advocacy group alongside neo-Nazis and Klansmen."

    You know what's even crazier? The SPLC actually labeled a parent organization as a "hate group", too!! Because they didn't want the normalization of homosexual acts taught in the schools. I think they have lost all credibility.

    I recall Sarah Palin was nearly crucified over some election materials that had a crosshairs graphic in proximity to Gabby Gifford's district. The left claimed that Sarah Palin was directly responsible for Jared Loughner's actions.

    Yes, and the Dems had routinely used the "crosshairs" imagery, too, which is quite common. No one thought a thing of it then. And, Loughner's actions, by his own admission, had nothing to do with being a conservative or a Christian, or a follower of Sarah Palin (he was none of those). With this FRC shooter? He explicitly stated that he shot them up because he didn't like their politics, and came in with some Chick-Fil-A bags.

    So, the press (and Democrats) make a connection where there was none in the former, and then they refuse to make any connection in the latter.

    Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This goes both ways and you know it. Do you think the forceful and always visible pro-life protests outside abortion clinics contributes to violence towards doctors and providers?

      And the FRC is far more sinister than just a "mainstream Christian group" but you refuse to see that don't you?

      Delete
  111. I understand that you don’t agree with it, but are you saying you don’t comprehend why people (women) have sex with people they don’t want to get married to or have babies with.

    Obviously you don’t agree with this approach but does it genuinely baffle you?


    Yes, because no good can come of it, and there is no good to society in it. So much bad comes from promiscuous and non-committed sex. Did you read those stats? Do you see any good there? Do you think we are on the right track? Really?

    I called the men you dated losers. That was my characterization.

    Here is how I asked the question about gentlemen:

    One more question that I'm asking as a mom: Have you ever dated a true gentleman?

    Here was your response:

    But granted many men rely on abortion. Two of my three would have found a way to legitimately throw me down stairs. And the third, would have been very excited to play with a baby but would have likely led the raising up to me..... does that answer your gentleman question? ;) haha.

    I stand by my characterization. Losers. Very, very sad.

    This activity is good for our nation? I worry for the future.

    ReplyDelete
  112. So wait, the guys weren't using you? They were loving you? That was love?

    Look, I'm not stupid nor am I naive. People use each other, I get it. You were using them, too. But that doesn't make it right.

    ReplyDelete
  113. I understand that you don’t agree with it, but are you saying you don’t comprehend why people (women) have sex with people they don’t want to get married to or have babies with.

    Let me restate and clarify. I do understand why people have sex casually. There are a million reasons why people do that. Pleasure-seeking, lust, revenge, sentimentality, searching for love, a need to be affirmed, looking for male approval, youth and immaturity, pressure from the guy, pressure from friends, fun and excitement, self-medication, escapism, fantasy, experimentation, a belief that "everyone does it", wanting to be cool, wanting to make him love you, wanting to make her jealous, recreation, boredom, etc.

    But that does not make it right. And society should never say, "This is good." Because it's not. And the fact that we have college girls "constantly sobbing", and broken hearts and diseased bodies everywhere, and a stack of 54 million dead babies, shows that something is terribly wrong with our view of human sexuality. No?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so confused why CS is being defensive about the men she sleeps with. Gentlemen would NOT throw a pregnant woman down the stairs with the intent to kill the unborn baby. I remember reading that on a different post and I thought how sad...not oh that's the way life is so let's all just go along with it. CS, how can you not see you deserve more than that?

      Delete
  114. "Do you see any good news there, or any indication that our nation is headed for stability? I don't. And so I ask, why do modern feminists, and Hollywood, and the media, all continue to pooh-pooh marriage and family and why do they make it seem that having babies out of wedlock is no big deal, and even good for women and children?

"

    Couple things. I did know that out of wedlock births are high. I would like them to be lower. You need to make up your minds about liberals and babies, are we encouraging everyone to have abortions or be single mothers because you accuse us as both.

    Even being in an uber liberal environment, I have never ever had an adult or professor so much as imply that having babies out of wedlock is no big deal.

    The idea of having out of wedlock babies is not held in high esteem by wealthy liberals or the academic left.

    “I can see why Africans would not want any part of our culture, which is crashing and burning as we speak…. 
”

    Are you saying with a straight face that Africa has a better sexual culture than America…really now.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  115. You need to make up your minds about liberals and babies, are we encouraging everyone to have abortions or be single mothers because you accuse us as both.

    The choice is not between abortions or single motherhood. You forgot a couple of other options, namely a return to virtuous behavior (a recognition that sex before marriage is wrong) and the option of placing a child for adoption if you have sex and make a baby out of wedlock. These are the options that the left does not seem to champion. Correct me if I am wrong.

    I am glad that you agree that it's best for out-of-wedlock births to be discouraged and low in numbers. But I also remember that you said that stable, married folks having babies (at least in my case or JoAnna's?) is irresponsible. So, what gives? And why, in your opinion, is it best for only married couples to have babies. And what are you doing or saying to hold up marriage as the ideal?

    You confuse me, CS, and I am not being snarky.

    As for the question about Africa, I defer to the African:

    With most African women faithfully practicing and adhering to a faith (mainly Christian or in some cases Muslim), there is a high regard for sex in society, especially among the women. Sex is sacred and private.

    Sex should be regarded highly here (it is not) and should be sacred and private here (it is not).



    ReplyDelete
  116. Okay. At least we do agree that family planning is important to development. Beyond that, it's simply a disagreement about methods that I think we've been over before.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Wow - this is incredible. Thank you so much for sharing it! Wow...

    ReplyDelete
  118. Do you think the forceful and always visible pro-life protests outside abortion clinics contributes to violence towards doctors and providers?

    Forceful? Could you define that?

    My friends (the ones who are more brave than I) are there praying, counseling, etc. Usually with their children there. Lots of seniors and soccer moms during the day. As our bishop has said, the abortion clinics are a modern day Calvary, so we need to be there, as witnesses, as pray-ers. My friends and others stand there and pray where the killings occur, and try to help the women or girls, 80% of whom are under pressure or coercion. Then, when they leave the clinic, there is information given to help them heal when the force of the abortion hits, whenever that may be.

    I have known many of my friends to be subject to abuse and violence while praying there. Things thrown at them, people screaming out of their cars as they pass, using the worst vulgarities, flipping the bird, mocking. One of my friends, a beautiful young woman who headed up our local right to life group, had a young man in her face, for days on end, and he would show her his gun (this is AZ, he can do that). But it was very threatening. He said his girlfriend had aborted his child (which he supported), and he was very scary, even getting the young lady's cell phone number somehow. The police had to come and stay near for a few days, but she was so scared she did not come back after a few days of harassment. Another of my dear friends tried to talk to the man with the gun. She is a gutsy lady, but she admitted being afraid.

    One abortionist in town used to brandish a gun towards the Christians who were praying there. He was notorious for stuff like that. Scary guy.

    And, I know the whole world heard of the Tiller killing loud and clear, but did you all hear about the elderly pro-life protester (who was on oxygen… he was no threat to anyone) who was gunned down in '09? Most people probably never knew. That sort of thing does not get much airplay.

    http://articles.cnn.com/2009-09-11/justice/michigan.shooting_1_anti-abortion-harlan-james-drake-shooting-deaths?_s=PM:CRIME

    Similarly, MSNBC had three talking heads go on for twenty minutes straight about the "known hate group" that is FRC (the day of the CFA thing; I watched with my own eyes, they said it like it was a fact… it was unreal), with no one to rebut. But when the FRC was shot up by a gay rights activist soon after, guess how much time MSNBC dedicated to the story? 17 seconds. Documented. Some of the other "mainstream" networks did not report it at all.

    How can you not see the double standard?

    And, do you think that the SLPC is right to brand a parents organization as a known hate group?

    I would never use the word "sinister" to describe the FRC. Not at all. Do you also think that the Catholic Church is sinister?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By the way, I do not equate the FRC with the Catholic Church. I am just trying to get a feel for your use of "sinister".

      Delete
  119. Leila
    You are correct waiting until you are married to have sex is not a virtue of the left (or of the right or anyone in America besides devout Christians). Nor is giving up your baby for adoption instead of raising him yourself. These are not ‘lefty ideals.’ ‘The right’ doesn’t make a habit of adopting out their babies either. Lot of single mothers in the South. I do find it disturbing that you would encourage women who wish to parent to give their babies away, I find that ridiculous.

    “I am glad that you agree that it's best for out-of-wedlock births to be discouraged and low in numbers. But I also remember that you said that stable, married folks having babies (at least in my case or Joanna’s?) is irresponsible. So, what gives?”

    I don’t think marriage is ‘magic. I don’t believe that JUST waiting until you are married to have kids means much at all Waiting until you are married AND financially stable is a start.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a friend to two birthmothers and an adoptive mother myself, I find it hard to understand why you would consider the adoption option - ridiculous. Killing a perfectly viable human being that someone else would be eternally grateful to raise is what is TRULY ridiculous.

      Delete
  120. And why, in your opinion, is it best for only married couples to have babies.

    I don’t have a concrete answer for this other than everyone I know has married parents and it seems to work. I am not viscerally against people having children outside of marriage if they are financial stable and can make it work. But it wouldn’t be for me, unless I was must older.

    And what are you doing or saying to hold up marriage as the ideal?

    I don’t entirely know what you mean. I certainly don’t think marriage is the ‘ideal in life’ but can be an ideal situation to have children in. I think marriage is great if you can make it work for you, but I keep in mind that marriage isn’t for nor should it be marketed to everyone and that many marriages fail.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  121. "Sex should be regarded highly here (it is not) and should be sacred and private here (it is not). "

    That is fine that you believe that. But I just want to make sure at the end of the day you understand there is no comparison between our sexual climate and Africa's.

    I need to know that you know there is no comparison between a culture that uses contraception and has sex before marriage and ones that use rape as a weapon with impunity and 'values chastity' so much they mutilate women's bodies to ensure it.

    You said before 'Africa' was more pro-life, pro-family than America. I know we are working on stereotypes but please don't tell me you believe that, that you actually think 'Africa' is more pro-woman that the US


    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  122. "there is a high regard for sex in society" [re: Africa]

    Hello? Female circumcision? Rape in the Congo? South Africa where women have a greater chance of getting raped than learning to read?

    And this is a society where sex is "sacred and private?" I don't think so.


    This is an aside, but I wonder if you have any response to Akin's
    "legitimate rape" comments and the statement that the GOP is officially adopting into their platform the intent to push forward a constitutional amendment banning all abortions, even in the case of rape and incest.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ap-source-gop-platform-draft-keeps-amendment-to-end-abortions-with-no-stated-exceptions/2012/08/21/b45565c0-ebce-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html

    ReplyDelete
  123. Leila
    What parents group were you specifically referring to that was called a hate group?

    ReplyDelete
  124. Now hang on, Johanne, I never said that Africa was a perfect land. I actually prefer America (well, not the left's version of it). Africa has a long way to go in many areas, but you all act as if this women (who wrote the letter to Gates) is lying. In fact, you are saying that she is lying. Do you believe she is? Or do you think she is delusional and has made a up a fantasy that she holds out as her experience? She says that they hold sex as "sacred" which means it is not be be profaned (as it is here). She says it is "private" which means they don't want the porn/free love/in-your-face sexcapades that are here. I get what she's saying, and I don't think it means she's pro-rape and genital mutilation. Do you? Did you get that from what she said?

    As for Akin. I think he said something totally stupid and politically unsavvy, and frankly, I wish he'd drop out only because I don't know that he was the best candidate to begin with. I want us to win that Senate seat. But really, it's a bit overkill, the reaction, don't you think? The media and the Obama camp (and the abortion lobby) know how to make this gaffe into an occasion for utter distraction from the real issues of this disaster of an economy. I would do the same thing if I were a slimy political operative (on either side), so I get it, but it cheapens us all.

    But I will leave you with two things. First, yes, I believe everyone has a right to stay alive, no matter how they were conceived, and here is a very interesting interview on CNN between Rebecca Kiessling (a "product of rape"), and Gloria Allred (who is a bully), moderated by Piers Morgan (who is a wimp and lets Allred get 60% of the words in, to Kiessling's 40%):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nHPo16vNNfE

    And next, a telling comment from our own (non-Catholic) commenter, mary, who responded to something I said on my facebook. I said: "Does all this talk/frenzy over Akin's stupid remark remind you of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? Is anyone paying attention to the disastrous economy? Or the disintegration of the inner cities? Hello?"

    Mary's response (after a few others):
    Yet...nobody in the liberal media ever called out Whoopie Goldberg when she brought up the idea of Polanski's rape not being "rape rape" and then 100 or so media industry bigwigs backed him. How about the seriously confused Eve Ensler who is excoriating Akin from across the world by implying that he condones the rapes of Congolese women somehow, but who was happy to include this in one of her gross V. Monologues: The Vagina Monologues includes a section entitled "The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could" where a woman describes her molestation at age 13 in this way: "If it was rape, it was good rape". WTF

    Can you answer for me, anyone, what a "good rape" is? Or what rape not being "rape rape" is? And can you tell me why those ladies are still darlings in good standing with the left? If non-Catholic mary, who is fairly liberal on some issues, can see that something is very F-ed up about the left's reaction, then surely you can see that, too? Please say you can.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Johanne, here is the general info on that parents' group issue:

    If anyone deserves to be on the national "hate group" list, it's the organization that claims to be in charge of it! Anyone who had doubts about Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) credibility has been proven right after the group named a local parents group to its ridiculous catalog of "haters." According to SPLC, the Anoka-Hennepin Parents Action Team belongs in the same league as white supremacists because they asked a Minnesota school district to keep a policy of neutrality on homosexuality! During a long debate over Anoka-Hennepin's bullying policy, six students sued the district with SPLC's help, demanding that schools void the rule on homosexuality and move from impartiality to full acceptance. When the community opposed the decision, SPLC involved the U.S. Justice Department (which apparently has nothing better to do than team up with SPLC to harass a local school board).

    Ultimately, the district capitulated and agreed to a five-year anti-bullying partnership with DOJ. Now, to punish parents--whose only request is that schools don't undermine the values they teach at home--SPLC is attempting to silence the group. Clearly, SPLC is not the independent arbiter that liberals make it out to be. On one hand, they advocate for homosexuality, and on the other, they try to stigmatize and marginalize the opposition. It's like giving SPLC the chance to referee and play in the same game!

    What's even more disturbing is the DOJ's role in all of this. What authority does it have to barge in and exert pressure on a school district when there is no federal discrimination statute for sexual orientation? On a regulatory level, this seems a little fishy. Could it be that there's collusion between the SPLC and DOJ? Regardless, the parents of Anoka-Hennepin don't seem bothered by their new status. "It is a privilege to be added to the long list of pro-family organizations that have been labeled as 'hate groups.'" Laurie Thompson said. "The SPLC continues their strategy of defaming those whom they disagree with."


    That is from the FRC website, the second story, here:

    http://www.frc.org/washingtonupdate/obamacare-home-of-the-1-abortions

    ReplyDelete
  126. CS, in all honesty, I want to know how the left is going to deal with this disaster:

    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/196

    The handwriting is on the wall. If we keep going in the direction we have been, we are going to crash and burn. It's a free fall right now. How do we stop this? The left does not value waiting till marriage to have sex, as you've said, and does not promote adoption, as you've said, and since we have had copious and cheap contraception and lots of sex ed for generations now, that's hasn't worked (the numbers of out-of-wedlock births are skyrocketing), so what is the solution to this social disaster? What does the left propose? Because the only thing left is widespread abortion, and that does get rid of over a million babies a year, but still the number of single mothers is rising, with no end in sight. So, what do you think can come from the left as a solution to heading off the train wreck?

    You see the stats. You see how dire this is. What is the solution in your opinion, to reverse this trend (and dramatically!)?

    ReplyDelete
  127. " In fact, you are saying that she is lying. Do you believe she is? Or do you think she is delusional and has made a up a fantasy that she holds out as her experience? She says that they hold sex as "sacred" which means it is not be be profaned (as it is here). She says it is "private" which means they don't want the porn/free love/in-your-face sexcapades that are here. I get what she's saying, and I don't think it means she's pro-rape and genital mutilation. Do you? Did you get that from what she said?"

    FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! How on EARTH did you get that from my comments!? of course I don't think she's lying. I'm sure everything she says about her own experience is true. But it's ridiculous for her to generalize her own experience to "most African women." That's over half a billion women she's talking about. I was also responding to the tendency of the people on this blog--not the writer of the letter--to generalize this ONE woman's comments to "Africa"--an entire continent. Why on earth would you interpret my comments to mean she is "pro-rape?" That is the most off-the-wall comment I've seen you make. Geeze.

    It is hard to see the reactions to Akin's comments as "distractions." They cut to the core of any woman who was impregnated because of rape (including myself), and they represent the backward mentality on the right that I can't stand and is ruining our country. There is nothing F-up about the left's reaction to Akin's comment.

    "The View' is my favorite TV show, so I followed the backlash from Whoopi's "rape rape" comment closely. I was shocked when she said it. And she got a lot of flack for it--from many quarters, as she should have.

    I read up on the parent's group you cited. It seems the problem SPLC had with them was that LGBT students were getting bullied on the campus but because staff members weren't allowed to discuss homosexuality they were not able to effectively intervene the bullying or give adequate support to the victims.

    Re: the article you reference above: is the "disaster" you're talking about that so many children are born to unwed parents?

    ReplyDelete
  128. Gloria does act a bit like a bully--which is too bad, because it detracts from her message and experience which are both so important.

    I know Rebecca is coming from her heart but I think the work she's doing is so damaging. I flat out don't believe the statistics that raped women are less likely to get abortions--that is absurd. And what does it matter anyway? It's a moot point but she always has to make it. No one is trying to pass a law to force raped women to get abortions so who cares if some don't want one? They're welcome to carry their pregnancies to term. But the women who DON'T want to continue their pregnancies need access to safe abortions. It is so scary and sad that the point even needs to be argued.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Michelle, just to follow up on our little conversation, here from Wiki:

    "In an article published in Nature, Myrskylä et al. pointed out that “unprecedented increases” in social and economic development in the 20th century had been accompanied by considerable declines in population growth rates and fertility. This negative association between human fertility and socio-economic development has been “one of the most solidly established and generally accepted empirical regularities in the social sciences”. Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertility-development_controversy.

    Note that it does not say declines in fertility have been accompanied by socio-economic development, but the other way around.

    Now, as a Catholic, I do not subscribe to the tenet that socio-economic development takes precedence over fertility. But even if I weren't, I am not aware of evidence that a reduction in fertility through artificial means, as proposed by Melinda Gates, will lead to socio-economic development in Africa. Are there precedents indicating such causal relationship? Because if there aren't, there's a lot to be said, from an atheist's point of view, to focus rather on education and other means of becoming financially self-sufficient (ideally accompanied by encouragement to abstention before marriage and NFP thereafter, for both men and women) than on provision of artificial birth-control, which has all the side effects described in the article AND destroys local values. Why not work to preserve valuable aspects of local culture AND help women and families attain economic self-sufficiency? Which will all by itself reduce the number of children these women will have, on average, whether we desire that or not.

    I appreciate any views, but may not be able to respond for a while as I will be traveling.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Johanne, I'm curious. Do you support the execution of innocent human beings for the crime of their bio parent in any other context, or just this one?

    So sad that you think Rebecca Keisseling should be dead. Her birth mother, who says she WOULD have had an abortion if it'd been legal to do so, is now profoundly grateful she did not.

    As for Whoopi, you are delusional. There was little backlash against her comment - and what little there was does not compare to the backlash Akin has received.

    For the record, Akin's comments were disgusting. While it's true that stress may delay ovulation, and it'a true that pregnancies resulting from rape are not common, he was foolish to try to make a case against abortion using those facts. Abortion is wrong because it violates the human rights of an unborn child - period.

    ReplyDelete
  131. I know Rebecca is coming from her heart but I think the work she's doing is so damaging.

    Johanne, it's life and death for people like her (there are many "products of rape" walking this earth who are people just like you and me, and they are of the same inherent value). She doesn't see that as damaging, she sees it as life saving.

    It goes without saying that rape is an evil act, and I sorrow with you about what happened to you. But the issue of rape and the issue of human abortion are two different issues completely. Rebecca is a human being and has always been one, since her conception. She has a right to speak and defend her own humanity, which is as real as anyone's else's.

    And, as JoAnna said, Whoopi did not get any real backlash or she would have been fired and shunned. She is in good standing with Hollywood and the left from what I can tell, and I doubt many people even remember or care about her comments (heck, I even forgot until Mary brought it up!). Do you really think the response has been the same as with Akin? The press has talked of little else with Akin, and the Democratic National Convention is going to use it as a centerpiece, to try to bring down Romney. This is the same sort of response that Whoopi got? Or the VM lady?

    I see by the all caps that I have exasperated you. I will try to clarify. You wrote this:


    "there is a high regard for sex in society" [re: Africa]

    Hello? Female circumcision? Rape in the Congo? South Africa where women have a greater chance of getting raped than learning to read?

    And this is a society where sex is "sacred and private?" I don't think so.


    Obianuju Ekeocha said one thing. You said, "I don't think so." Meaning she was wrong. So, I asked, is she lying, then? Or is she delusional? Does she think that being raped is just part of the "sacred and private" (i.e., is she okay with rape)?

    I guess I'm trying to get at why each of you has denied what this woman has said time and again. You all keep saying that what she is saying is not true. So, I'm trying to get at why you think she could get this so wrong. Is she lying, delusional, manipulative? Obviously she doesn't speak for all women on the continent. Just like neither of us speak for all Americans. But I could say something like "We American women don't want the spirit of communism [or fill in some other movement antithetical or foreign to our culture and mindset] to come to our shores" and I think it would be a fair statement, however, there are folks who would say that they do want our nation's culture to change in that way.

    I'm just trying to figure out why you all think her perception of Africa is so off base? And, which part of what she said you specifically think she is wrong about? She said "sex is private and sacred" to women there, you said "I don't think so."

    Yes, I am confused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, except you just blundered in you example, because I would welcome communism and I live in this country..so..

      Delete
    2. Except that I didn't blunder. You apparently missed the entire comment:

      But I could say something like "We American women don't want the spirit of communism [or fill in some other movement antithetical or foreign to our culture and mindset] to come to our shores" and I think it would be a fair statement,however, there are folks who would say that they do want our nation's culture to change in that way.

      That last part would apply to people like you.

      Delete
  132. I read up on the parent's group you cited. It seems the problem SPLC had with them was that LGBT students were getting bullied on the campus but because staff members weren't allowed to discuss homosexuality they were not able to effectively intervene the bullying or give adequate support to the victims.

    Johanne, that may be the problem that SPLC had with it, but they labelled this parent organization as a known "hate group"!

    Do you not see any problems with that sort of thing? That is incredibly dangerous, not to mention ludicrous. And, it destroys SPLC's credibility. A parent group is on par with neo-Nazis and the KKK? That is the point… they need to get over the fact that some people don't think like they do.

    ReplyDelete
  133. http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/196

    Yes, this disaster. Fatherless homes and broken homes and children living without both parents are an unmitigated disaster for this nation. The stats speak for themselves, and they are not getting better. A society cannot stand without the vast majority of children being raised in stable families, and that stability includes married parents. Do you look at those stats and see something other than disaster?

    ReplyDelete
  134. Leila, you just kicked March Hare out for critically questioning the truth of your statements and here you are calling everyone who has pointed out that this woman's letter expresses one viewpoint (not an entire continent's consensus) as a condemnation that she is lying (a word no one ever used except for you). Talk about false accusations! And now, JoAnna has directly called Joanne "delusional"

    I suggest you and JoAnna write some apologies pretty quickly if you want to continue debate here.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Or actually, I'll just make it easy for myself and leave since it is, afterall, your blog.

    Your hatred for any critical thinking or opinions that are different to your own really shines through on this post's comments.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Miss G, March Hare was not "kicked out." What are you talking about?

    As for Johanne being delusional about Whoopi Goldberg's non-consequences, I stand by it. Whoopi was not asked to resign from her job. She has not been blackballed by Hollywood society. Akin, on the other hand, has been asked to resign and is persona non grata in the GOP.

    If Johanne can demonstrate that Whoopi's consequences were in fact equal to Akin's, then I will apologize.

    I see you are looking for an excuse to cease commenting on Leila's blog, no doubt because you are frustrated at being so thoroughly rebutted time and time again. I don't blame you for wanting to leave.

    However, you are making a fool of yourself with your accusations because they are so demonstrably false.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, that's really snarky and really rude JoAnna and you definitely owe me an apology now-but since that sort of thing is too much to ask of you, I won't expect it anytime soon.

      When you grow up and put on your big girl pants, then we can have a debate.

      Clearly I wouldn't have been coming back here to comment if rebuttals bothered me-but your rudeness does bother me.



      Delete
    2. How about we all call a truce? We think you're rude and snarky, you think we're rude and snarky, but we used to be fairly friendly with each other. You even wrote a guest post for LCB once. And we encouraged you on your (now-defunct) blog. So, what happened in these ensuing months/years? I really don't understand, but you seem to have gotten increasingly nasty and sarcastic, Miss G.

      I am happy to go back to friendly debate. Just let me know when you are.

      Delete
    3. Miss G, I don't think anything I said was rude. Brutually honest, yes, but not rude. However, I apologize for inadvertently hurting your feelings.

      Delete
    4. This is way better than reality tv. Really, Miss G, if you cannot handle the brutal honesty that JoAnna is always right about everything, you're a fool. And thin-skinned. (that was snarky, BTW)

      It actually makes me want to actually become a troll around these parts just to lead this group to talk about everything with 100% certainly that they are absolutely, no questions asked (so please don't ask any) right.

      Delete
    5. And see, MaiZeke, I'd prefer you just answer a direct question. That would satisfy me.

      Delete
  137. Leila, you just kicked March Hare out for critically questioning the truth of your statements

    No. I don't tolerate someone blatantly calling me a liar.

    Sorry, but that's rude. I wouldn't allow it in my home, and I won't allow it on my blog. He was welcome to stay, but since he would not agree to mind his manners and stop accusing me of sin (which is calumny), I didn't stop him from leaving.

    If I had "hatred" for critical thinking or opinions different from my own, I would use comment moderation and/or I would not give you a forum to speak, nor engage you. You have always been free to make your case. Readers are smart enough to make up their own minds when two opposing views are presented. You have never been censored here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I don't tolerate JoAnna's rude comments above so glad we know where each other stand on blog commenting etiquette.

      Delete
  138. And you never answered if you were as familiar with the name Jim Pouillon as you are George Tiller?

    ReplyDelete
  139. Leila
    I think she is generalizing which is not nearly the same as being delusional. What bothers me about it is not so much that she is speaking her mind but that Catholics everywhere (I see from a simple google search) are making so much out of it--they are agreeing with what she is saying AS A GENERALIZATION FOR AN ENTIRE CONTINENT. How can you, who loves logic, not be bothered by that? And maybe you could tell me how to make italics on here so I don't have to yell with all caps. :)

    Whoopi has an extensive history of speaking up for the rights of women, and conservatives of a certain ilk (mostly those supported by Christians) are trying to squash the rights of women. Context matters.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/23/conservative-christians-rally-around-akin-in-face-of-gop-criticism/

    The above article supports the statement I made much earlier (on a different thread) that religion is taking over conservative
    politics.

    After having met SO many people whose lives were destroyed by living in two-parent households, no, I don't think it's a disaster that some people are not raised in this way. Sometimes living with a mother and a father is the least stable alternative. I speak from personal experience. However, I do see it as a problem that men take so little responsibility for themselves. That is why abortion needs to be an option--because women are left in the lurch by jerks.

    Re: SPLC--You keep calling this group a "parents' group," which so white washes the situation. They are not called a hate group because they're a parents group (you could call the KKK a community group)--they are called that because they favor policies (forbidding school officials to talk about homosexuality) that fosters hate for a particular group. Yes, fear leads to hatred.

    And no one can tell me that rape and abortion are two different issues. They are intimately connected. I know this as well as anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Johanne, this discussion of "fear leads to hatred" always baffles me. I am against adultery. I don't fear nor do I hate adulterers. Can you see that as possible?

    Do secularists fear Christians? If so, does that lead to hatred of Christians?

    Wait, you did not address the issue of Whoopi. So, because she is a fierce champion of women being able to kill their unborn offspring (even females who reside in the womb), then she gets a pass when she says that rape of a child is not "rape rape"? I am sorry, I truly am not understanding that reasoning.

    This is how you do italics: < i > text here < /i > But, no spaces between the < > 's.

    Rebecca's mother and Rebecca also intimately know that abortion and rape are connected on one level (rape can lead to conception, which can lead to abortion), but they are not organically connected at all. Rape is one thing (a horrible offense against a woman) and abortion is another (a lethal offense against an innocent unborn child).

    I will never deny the value of anyone's life, including Rebecca's. Everyone's life is sacred and inviolable.

    How can you, who loves logic, not be bothered by that?

    Again, you miss the point. She is not out of line to say that millions and millions of African women do not want Hollywood/Planned Parenthood sexual values injected into their culture. Do you really think that they do? I am going to trust that she knows more about the heart of the African woman than you or I do.

    With this comment:

    "there is a high regard for sex in society" [re: Africa]

    Hello? Female circumcision? Rape in the Congo? South Africa where women have a greater chance of getting raped than learning to read?

    And this is a society where sex is "sacred and private?" I don't think so.


    …how am I to conclude anything other than that you think she's either lying or delusional. You said that what she said is untrue.

    Help me reconcile your words.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Generalizing is not same as lying as not the same as delusional. It means there is some truth in what you're saying but it's being generalized more than is appropriate. I'm not sure why that is hard to understand. And she doesn't know millions of women so it's hard to believe she knows what millions of women think. Africa does not have the same access to social media, press, etc, to be as able to generalize what millions of people think.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Yes, you are right, she is generalizing that most African women do not want the Hollywood/Planned Parenthood sexual values injected into their child-loving culture. I think that is a safe generalization, and I think that she has more of a case to be able to generalize that than does Melinda Gates.

    After having met SO many people whose lives were destroyed by living in two-parent households

    It's not that the two-parent household (as a model/ideal) is the culprit; it's that a parent in that household was a grave sinner and either abused or betrayed his/her children.

    We don't say "families are bad" because some fathers or mothers are horrid/evil. That is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Again, did you check the stats? The dramatic rise in out-of-wedlock births is a societal disaster, and it's getting worse. Did you see any hope here:

    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/196

    How do people on the left want to fix this? It's like the elephant in the room. Should we keep ignoring it?

    Children born to unmarried mothers are more likely to grow up in a single-parent household, experience instability in living arrangements, live in poverty, and have socio-emotional problems.1 As these children reach adolescence, they are more likely to have low educational attainment, engage in sex at younger ages, and have a premarital birth.2,3 As young adults, children born outside of marriage are more likely to be idle (neither in school nor employed), have lower occupational status and income, and have more troubled marriages and divorces than those born to married parents.4

    Women who give birth outside of marriage tend to be more disadvantaged than their married counterparts, both before and after having a nonmarital birth. Unmarried mothers generally have lower incomes, lower education levels, and greater dependence on welfare assistance than do married mothers.5 Women who have a nonmarital birth also tend to fare worse than single women; for example, they have reduced marriage prospects compared to single women without children.6,7

    An increasing proportion of unmarried births occur to cohabiting parents.8 Although children born to cohabiting parents are more likely to see their parents eventually marry than are those born to non-coresidential parents,9 nevertheless children born to cohabiting parents experience higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage and fare worse across a range of behavioral and emotional outcomes than those born to married parents.10


    Much more on that site.


    ReplyDelete
  143. If anyone's still counting or still cares, here's another darling of the left who seems to get a big pass when joking about raping women:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/senator-famous-joking-about-rape-campaigns-obama-biden_650609.html

    Obama/Biden are happy to have him on the team, though. And I'm not hearing a big outcry from the feminists who've been on TV all week re: Akin.

    ReplyDelete
  144. re: children out of wedlock

    How does the right want to fix this?

    ReplyDelete
  145. How does the right want to fix this?

    Coupla quick thoughts:

    -- Upholding the societal ideal that sex is a privilege of marriage

    -- Promoting adoption as a beautiful, viable option for women in a crisis pregnancy.

    Will you answer my question?

    ReplyDelete
  146. FYI to whomever is interested: Many women who were victims of rape and impregnated (some whom aborted their child, some who did not) are tired of their situations being exploited for the political cause of abortion "rights". To hear other women's voices who have been through the trauma of a rape and become pregnant, go here:

    http://afterabortion.org/2011/women-who-became-pregnant-through-sexual-assault-say-ask-us/

    ReplyDelete
  147. Speaking of generalizing, I can't speak for "the left." I can only speak for myself, and I don't think that children living in homes without a mother and a father is a crisis. I think children need to be in homes where they are secure and loved. But there is no reason that can't happen with same sex couples or cohabitating couples. Single motherhood is a problem. I think that contraceptive education and the availability of safe abortions is important. Generally the social and political agendas of the left and feminism (social programs, raising the status of females, etc) do a FAR better job of addressing the problem than the Republican party that seems not to care at all about "born" children but is obsessed with "unborn" children.

    And the voices of women who became pregnant through rape and kept the children are not being exploited. It's the ones who would NOT WANT to carry a baby conceived in rape that matter. It is the rights of those women and girls (and their number is legion) that need protecting. As I said, no one is suggesting these women not be allowed to carry their babies so their points are moot.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Johanne, ever since the explosion of "contraceptive education and the availability of safe abortions" the number of single mothers has SKYROCKETED.

    How do you account for that?

    Also, why is "couplehood" the key to raising kids to avoid all those horrible stats? Why is the number "2" important in your view? Many children in single parent, poverty-striken homes are "secure and loved" by their single mom, and yet the stats are so clear that their prognosis is the worst. Why, in your opinion, is "single motherhood a problem" (we agree).

    Also, would it be true to say that you don't believe that a child has an inherent right to his mother and father?

    ReplyDelete
  149. I think it's obvious why couples are important. That's how adult relationships organize--as pairs (well, almost always, there are the polygamists). And I think single motherhood is a problem because it causes financial hardship and there's not enough resources for a child with only one parent, (unless they're very wealthy). I think these answers are obvious. Also it's a problem because it increases the difficulty of women thriving in our society. It should be a single "parenthood" issue, but it's single "motherhood" issue because so many men are skanks.

    I don't know that teenage births has increased--Ive seen different statistics. I think of the reasons the number has increased is that abortion is not as accepted as it used to be.

    I think the rise of alternative family lifestyles is a good thing, so without more specific understanding of the kinds of families you're referring to I can't comment very well.

    ReplyDelete
  150. And I don't know exactly how to interpret "inherent" right. Certainly a child is better off having good relationships with both her/his mother and father IF (big if) they are both able to treat the child well. Often they aren't.

    ReplyDelete
  151. Single motherhood is a problem. I think that contraceptive education and the availability of safe abortions is important.

    Johanne, contraception began its transformation from a millenia-long rejected concept to nearly universal acceptance in 1930.

    Abortion has been legal since 1973.

    When will "the left" - or, more to the point, you, since you speak only for yourself and you are the one I am quoting - admit that contraception and abortion do NOT reduce the incidence of single parenthood and have NOT made the world a safer place for children? I have a friend who said that contraception and abortion are needed because she sees so many children suffering. Hello? Contraception and abortion - got 'em. Reduction of suffering - not by a long shot, especially if you accept that children are more likely to suffer in so many areas when they are raised by single parents.

    It really, really needs to be admitted that if contraception and abortion were to be the panaceas for the suffering of women and children, they have been a terrible, terrible failure.

    I will add one more statistic. The Anglican Church accepted contraception because they thought it would be helpful to married couples. 80 centuries later, and marriage is in a terrible mess. And as for the effect of divorce on children, there is a long-term study that indicated that the number one life event that is connected with a shortened life span is divorce - not the lifespan of the adults, but lifespan of the children. That is so, so sad. Contraception as a source of stronger marriages has been tried. Contraception as a source of stronger marriages has failed.

    Time to try something else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, I didn't even catch that typo, because I knew she meant 80 years.

      Delete
  152. It really, really needs to be admitted that if contraception and abortion were to be the panaceas for the suffering of women and children, they have been a terrible, terrible failure.

    Sharon, a million times "thank you". This seems the most obvious of truths. The stats have gotten worse and worse over the past decades, as contraception becomes as free and easy as the sex it facilitates, and abortion may have dipped in numbers in the past few years, but there are still well over a million a year, and 54 million since 1973 (not that long ago). I just don't know how someone could say that we just have not gone far enough. The statistics get worse every year….

    Shaking my head in confusion and disbelief.

    ReplyDelete
  153. I think it's obvious why couples are important. That's how adult relationships organize--as pairs

    That's because of the biological imperative of mother/father. We instinctively know this is what the child needs, because biology dictates that each child has TWO parents. Mother. Father.

    But on to something that just really bothers me. This just must be corrected:

    the Republican party... seems not to care at all about "born" children but is obsessed with "unborn" children.

    Then how to explain the study after study which shows without exception that red states give more to charity than blue states, even though incomes are lower for those who give more? I can tell you that religious conservatives do not believe that the obligation to give ends with paying taxes to massive social welfare programs. The obligation we have goes much deeper.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79888.html?hp=r5

    That is the most recent study, but they are all the same, very consistent, going back several years. Just google "conservatives give more to charity than liberals" if you are interested.

    A funny irony. An hour or so before I read your comment, I went to pick up my kids at school. One of my closest friends, Danya (hey, she just commented here, and has a blog of her own), came up to me and told me that she had spent the day helping a single mother and her child. Danya gone shopping with her two toddlers, and the woman was sitting outside of Target in the heat, with her three-year-old son. Danya stopped, gave them water, talked to her, and took her and her son into her van (she has a van because she has seven children, four of whom she adopted from international orphanages) and drove the woman and her child to St. Vincent de Paul (a massive charity in Phoenix, headed up by another very close friend with our beliefs) where the woman could get help with rent, food and shelter (she had been evicted from her apartment that day). Danya gave her her number to call her anytime.

    Danya (who will probably kill me for telling of her kindness publicly… she is very humble) is as die hard a conservative and anti-Obama crusader as I am. Votes Republican, totally, utterly pro-life.

    This is not an anomaly among my friends. It's common.

    I am so tired of hearing that we don't care about "born children." It is so wrong. So demonstrably wrong. I wrote a post with more evidence, here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/03/pro-lifers-love-fetus-but-they-dont.html

    Some may choose not to see. Whatever. But for the rest, I am setting the record straight.

    The narrative that conservatives don't care about those who are "born" is an utter canard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The narrative that conservatives don't care about those who are "born" is an utter canard.

      That may be true of you and your friends but not of the Republican party.

      And there are many many many variables in our world that effect the welfare of families other than contraception and abortion. It is not logical to deduce that they are the problem or that they are not working. I believe we would be MUCH worse off without them.

      Gay people form pairs even though they cannot physically reproduce, so I think the pairing goes beyond that biological fact.

      Delete
  154. And there are many many many variables in our world that effect the welfare of families other than contraception and abortion. It is not logical to deduce that they are the problem or that they are not working. I believe we would be MUCH worse off without them.

    And yet, go figure, children were better off and families were more stable before them. I think the "variable" is that we actually believed in the virtues back then. Not everyone lived up to them, but adults in society understood that virtue was the standard, they set the standard for children, and people strove to meet the high bar, not the lowest.

    That may be true of you and your friends but not of the Republican party.

    I'm very politically active, as is my husband. I know a heck of a lot of Republicans. True, not all Republicans care about others, but I've met quite a few Democrats who care only about themselves. Looking out for Number One, "putting their own needs above others" (as CS put it, I think?). Sin abounds in both parties.

    But the worst suffering/poverty and family disintegration comes in our nation's inner cities. These are the same inner cities which have been run by Democrats for many generations, unbroken. Why would anyone continue to think that Democratic/liberal policies truly help people get out of their cycles of poverty and dysfunction? I will never understand. Never.

    We all want to help the truly needy. The question is not whether to help, it's HOW to best help. And yes, you bet your sweet bippie (as my mom used to say), we have very different ideas of how best to help.

    But to imply that Republicans don't "care" as much as Dems…yes, that's an utter canard.

    ReplyDelete
  155. “Whoopi has an extensive history of speaking up for the rights of women, and conservatives of a certain ilk (mostly those supported by Christians) are trying to squash the rights of women. Context matters”

    Thank you Johanne,

    Context DOES matter. If Atkins or republicans in general were championing the rights of women, were talking about domestic violence or curbing rape, were lamenting that women aren’t achieving the same professional gains as men, was talking about female organisms, his comment might have been construed as a gaffe.

    But they are constantly doing the opposite. The republicans are trying to exclude date rape from the legal definition of rape for Christ sake. They are trying to codify that rape isn’t rape. That is why it is relevant. I have seldom heard republicans or Catholics for that matter talk about rape expect to say that women should stop dressing slutty and taking birth control if they don’t expect to be violated. Apples and oranges.


    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  156. Johanne, you are guilty of the lazy slander of the pro-life cause: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/01/2380

    Please read the above. You have a great many misconceptions.

    But you know what? Even if not a single Republican or Democrat lifted a finger to help others, it would STILL be wrong to deny human rights to unborn children. The inherent worth and value of a human being is not contingent upon how much that human is helped by others.

    ReplyDelete
  157. Also, Whoopi doesn't give a damn about women if they're unborn, or if they're the sex toys of middle-aged men, so spare me the rhetoric about her alleged stance for "women's rights."

    ReplyDelete
  158. Even if not a single Republican or Democrat lifted a finger to help others, it would STILL be wrong to deny human rights to unborn children. The inherent worth and value of a human being is not contingent upon how much that human is helped by others.

    Bingo!

    And CS, that comment just leaves me speechless.

    Should I try? Okay, I will try.

    CS: What are the "rights of women"? Because you and I (both women) have very different notions of that. Also, curbing domestic violence…. you dated guys whom you claim would have gladly thrown you down a staircase to induce abortion if you got pregnant. Again, losers who may very well be violent to a woman one day. Why on earth should you give such men the time of day, much less your body to use? See, I am a mother, and I would tell you, if you were my daughter, that you need to wake up and raise your standards by about a mile! I or any other mom out there does not do you any service if we stay silent on that.

    How does one "curb rape" as a Democrat, as opposed to a Republican, politician?

    "lamenting" women's professional lag? You mean like victim stuff? Sorry, nope. Women may make less than men in the cases where they have adjusted for family life, but if you adjust for that sort of variable (which women choose and want!) then they are not lagging. So, stop constantly thinking of yourself as the victim.

    "I have seldom heard republicans or Catholics for that matter talk about rape expect to say that women should stop dressing slutty and taking birth control if they don’t expect to be violated."

    Is there often an occasion for Catholics to start talking about rape? How about this: The Catholic Church thinks that rape is a mortal sin, deserving of an eternity burning in hell. Is that strong enough language for you? Believe me, it's stronger than the penalty any Dems will impose.

    So, now tell me how the "context" makes it okay for Whoopi Goldberg to say that a child who was raped wasn't really "rape raped", or how joking about rape is funny for Dems, or how the VM rape scene is a "good rape" simply because all of them believe that women should be able to shred their own daughters in their wombs?

    Sorry, not getting the "context" there….



    ReplyDelete
  159. “Yes, you are right, she is generalizing that most African women do not want the Hollywood/Planned Parenthood sexual values injected into their child-loving culture. I think that is a safe generalization.”

    I find it greatly disturbing that after all these comments you have said nothing about Africa’s culture of genital mutilation and rape and only of their ‘child loving culture.’ You seem to infer time and time again that you believe Africans have a better view of sex than we do, forgetting or blatantly ignoring their culture of female suppression and disenfranchisement….

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  160. Tell me which groups are mutilating genitals and raping, CS? If it's happening among the Christians, it's a grave and mortal sin… it's not part of any Christian African culture.

    But how does that negate that the women of Africa see their children as blessings, not burdens to be avoided?

    And if sexual horror/mutilation/rape is the actual experience of the African woman, how will Ms. Gates' $4.6 billion dollars of contraception help stop the rape and mutilations?

    I am not getting that connection.

    ReplyDelete
  161. You know what would help stop rape and mutilations? The acceptance of Christianity.

    Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  162. “How do people on the left want to fix this? It's like the elephant in the room. Should we keep ignoring it?”


    I find it bizarre that you say that what liberals have wanted hasn’t worked for decades when what conservatives want to do hasn’t worked for CENTURIES. There is not culture on earth nor has there been an era in time that had lasting marriages and children born exclusively in marriage where women had any semblance of rights and equality. While I know these things aren’t of paramount importance to you, many people are not willing to tolerate subjugation to appease ‘marriage.’

    But anyways…Liberals propose that you have sex when you are ready. Use contraception or nfp or whatever (or be gay and skip to step three). Get married, if you are called to it. Have children when you can provide for them, if you want them. It’s not difficult.

    I need you to seriously consider that the cause of single motherhood in the US is likely traditional conservative values. Think about it, the ‘academic left’ as you call us views young single childbearing as unnecessary. As a result we take steps to avoid pregnancy. You wont see any pregnant girls at an elite college campus. And while some of them must be getting abortions statistically I would bet anything that they just get pregnant less. As you yourself have said the main problem in the effectiveness of contraception is that people do not take them! Whereas girls who have more conservative values or who are generally more indifferent or open to having children don’t avoid having them as actively. If people were actually asking out liberal sensibilities women be guarding more diligently against pregnancy.


    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  163. CS, can you point me to any society which had/has widespread promiscuity but zero rapes or abortions or single mothers?

    I think you need to read this - it points out the flaws in your logic: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2010/the-two-lists

    ReplyDelete
  164. CS, honestly, I don't even know how to respond to something like that.

    One question: How did your cousin end up pregnant with that cad's child? Was she unfamiliar with contraception? Is she a religious conservative?

    ReplyDelete
  165. I need you to seriously consider that the cause of single motherhood in the US is likely traditional conservative values.

    This is going in a post I've been preparing for some time, called "Alice Down the Rabbit Hole Moments".

    Think about it, the ‘academic left’ as you call us views young single childbearing as unnecessary. As a result we take steps to avoid pregnancy.

    Think about it. The traditional conservative values folks views young single childbearing as not only unnecessary but wrong. The step taken to avoid pregnancy is no sex before marriage.

    You see, waiting to have sex until one is married results in no babies born out of wedlock. It's a great standard for any society, CS. Especially for children. But that's only if we believe that adults should be selfless when it comes to doing what's best for helpless children. I do remember what you said about being selfish, though.

    ReplyDelete
  166. But anyways…Liberals propose that you have sex when you are ready. Use contraception or nfp or whatever (or be gay and skip to step three). Get married, if you are called to it. Have children when you can provide for them, if you want them. It’s not difficult.

    If it's not difficult, then why do we have the stats we do? The exploding out of wedlock births (I guess you'd say those are pretty much all conservative women)? The 54 million dead babies? The enormous STD problem? Not to mention all the sobbing.

    Why is all this happening, if it's "not that difficult" just to have all the sex you want when your ready, but just throw on a condom, and there will be no problem?

    ReplyDelete
  167. When I say Republicans don't care as much about post-born children than "pre-born" I am talking about the party platform--not individuals. There are millions of Republicans and obviously some of them will be charitable.

    I know a ton about the pro-life movement, believe me.

    I would never say that abortion and contraception are a panacea for alleviating the suffering of women and children--not at all. Only that in the world in which we live they are necessary. I know all sorts of radical feminists and I don't think any of then would claim that abortion and contraception are panaceas. They're just a critical foundation. In my own view (and I'm only speaking for myself, not representing any larger group) in an ideal world abortion and contraception wouldn't be necessary--but they are.

    When will "the left" - or, more to the point, you, since you speak only for yourself and you are the one I am quoting - admit that contraception and abortion do NOT reduce the incidence of single parenthood and have NOT made the world a safer place for children?

    When I see a shred of evidence that it's true. As it is I see a mountain of irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

    Your friend Danya sounds like a lovely person. And I'll be honest here, and say that I think Catholics stand out amongst pro-lifers as actually caring about born children. But Catholics are much different in this way than strident conservatives, and protestants in general. That is probably why you feel so strongly about pro-lifers actually caring about life--because that is what you are surrounded by. But I think most conservatives are truly just pro-birth.

    You know what would help stop rape and mutilations? The acceptance of Christianity.
    I'm sorry but I don't buy that at all. There is SO much violence and hatred perpetrated in the name of Christianity--and that has always been true. There's good, too, of course. But
    Christianity is no more of a panacea than anything else.

    I can't find it but somewhere you said that it used to be that when children were born to married couples that everything was much better. But I disagree. That's the fantasy of the fifties. That we were all living in these cozy, functional little family units. But that was a lie. Venerating the nuclear family has caused a lot of people a lot of suffering.

    ReplyDelete
  168. If you think that children are better off now…

    http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/196

    … then I just don't know what else to say. Thanks for putting your thoughts out there so clearly.

    ReplyDelete
  169. I do appreciate that you at least do see some consistency and integrity in Catholicism.

    ReplyDelete
  170. There is SO much violence and hatred perpetrated in the name of Christianity--and that has always been true. There's good, too, of course. But Christianity is no more of a panacea than anything else.

    Actually, if followed as it is taught, Christianity would make this world a much better place. Unlike liberalism, however, Christianity does not promise utopia. It promises heaven, and until we get there, there will be suffering, and unfortunately some of the suffering will be caused by Christians. Christians who truly follow Christianity expect to have to answer for the suffering they cause. Hitler, Mao, Lenin and other 20th century atheists did not think they would have to answer to anyone. By now, they know whether they were right.

    I know all sorts of radical feminists and I don't think any of then would claim that abortion and contraception are panaceas. They're just a critical foundation.

    A "critical foundation" to what? Better lives for women and children? Well if we conveniently close our eyes to the suffering caused by abortion (something that you can hardly do and pretend to be more just than the justice taught by Christianity) as well as the suffering that Leila repeatedly links to that is the result of single motherhood, then you can say that women's lives have improved. I believe the law is more just to women than it had been in history, but abortion and birth control are not necessary for women to receive equal pay, for women to own property and have a right to inheritance, for married women to have their own credit history, for women to be able to vote. As far as the ability to have a career, I agree with Mother Teresa - "“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” You will never convince me that abortion is "necessary" for women to have better lives. No woman is better off because her child is dead.

    No one here says that if women did not use artificial birth control, then we could all live as Ozzie and Harriet. But it is sin that has caused a lot of people a lot of suffering, not the nuclear family itself. It is not a lie to say that children in our society would be better off in nuclear families. Study after study shows that outcomes for children are better when the children are raised by their own two parents, and you really can't pretend otherwise. It's not as if those studies only include ideal nuclear families and filter out dysfunctional ones. Even though so many families are dysfunctional, including those families in the study does not bring children's overall outcomes down to the outcome level of single-parent families. I don't mean "including" them by design, but just by the fact that they are included by default, because even dysfunctional nuclear families are still nuclear families. That is NOT to say that children are unaffected by being raised in dysfunctional homes! But even the poor outcomes of such families do not bring the overall outcome down to the single-parent outcome level.

    Thanks for catching my 80 centuries error. I usually reread things before sending them, but still manage to leave obvious typos. :(

    ReplyDelete
  171. MaiZeke, where are you and Miss G getting this bizarre "don't ask questions!" meme? Please do ask questions! Just don't whine when your questions are answered with truth instead of liberal spin.

    ReplyDelete

  172. JoAnna, there'd be no need to "whine" (interesting choice of words) if what you spouted was complete truth.

    So sayeth the "fool"

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest. We often have meaty and long discussions -- trust me, they're worth following!