Don't stereotype abortion opponents

Opinion: Columns

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Ascension Respect Life Committee

As members of the Ascension Respect Life Committee, we were quite surprised by the tenor and reasoning of Ken Trainor's recent "Friendly Advice" column [Some friendly advice from the other side, Viewpoints, Jan. 23]. Initially, it seemed odd that Mr. Trainor seemed to imply that those who oppose abortion do little or nothing related to the issues of war, pollution, gun ownership, violent video games, and the death penalty. This intolerant stereotyping seems almost cliché and certainly disingenuous in an article that purports to advocate serious dialogue.

It remains unclear as to why Mr. Trainor is able to "wrap his head" around the concept of being pro-choice and anti-abortion and yet he is unable to understand that someone can enjoy hunting on a family farm but not support the slaughter of children by a psychopath.

The abortion issue is a hot-button topic for several reasons:

The statistics published by the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates abortion on demand, suggests that since 1980 over 1.2 billion abortions have taken place worldwide. This number exceeds estimated deaths during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the Black Plague in Europe combined.

Further, advances in science over these past decades show that a fetus holds far more that some abstract potential for human life, as described in Roe v. Wade. As science develops, it becomes more likely that "personhood" may be established earlier than previously thought and a fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed full legal protection and abortion would necessarily be murder and punishable as such. Understandably, this is disconcerting to some.

Here is the good news: the Respect Life Committee at our parish — Ken's parish — is trying to win the hearts and minds of people through education, prayer, and yes, even charm. We do not have a "single issue obsession." Considering Ken has never attended one of our presentations, events, or meetings, we were wondering who all these arrogant and surly pro-lifers are who influenced his column. We have put on presentations that have tried to enlighten others regarding Respect Life Issues: abortion, end of life (from a legal, medical and spiritual perspective), mental disease and suicide, autism in children, violence, ending the death penalty, etc. We are pleased that others in our parish have found our approach gently informative, not bombastic.

We end with this comment, almost serendipitous to Mr. Trainor's seemingly sincere concern that the pro-lifers not end up on the wrong side of this issue 10 years from now. Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) spoke, on the 40th anniversary, these prophetic words, "Someday future generations will look back on America and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with education, advanced science, information, wealth and opportunity could have failed to protect the innocent and inconvenient."

In an effort to help prevent this from becoming America's legacy, we will continue our efforts to protect the weakest in our society, even at the risk of high negatives in the court of public opinion, because certain things are that important.

Reader Comments

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Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 9th, 2013 10:23 AM

I thought that's what men already do!


Posted: February 9th, 2013 9:31 AM

Since there is pro-choice which the woman solely decides, the man should be able to choose not to pay child support if he doesn't want the child - fair is fair.

BC from Oak Park  

Posted: February 9th, 2013 8:42 AM

How about both men and women take preventative measures before having sex so there is no pregnancy in the first place - come on, in this day in age the majority of people know how babies are made so if you are having sex use some method of birth control - then we can stop having this ridiculous argument.

jed from Oak Park  

Posted: February 9th, 2013 8:31 AM

I have found that Pro-Life is not accurate-it's more Anti-Choice. If Pro-Lifers were truly that, we would have pre and post natal classes/services for women who may not be able to afford these services, as well as well baby care and other services for these same new families. In the main, pro-life advocates don't care once the fetus becomes a living baby, shown by the disinterest in adding on to well baby and pre and post natal services to the women who decide to have the baby.


Posted: February 9th, 2013 7:42 AM

I find it very interesting that the "pro-life" people are the same ones that support the death penalty and wars. AND if you want to take it a step further, eat meat, wear fur, hunt, etc. If you are "pro-life" then you should be against any killing. But the hypocrites believe in protecting a fetus. Once it is born, then it's YOUR problem. Then these same "pro-life" hypocrites want to deny health coverage, food, government assistance to the very same women that need help for their baby.

Mr. Borderman from Oak Park   

Posted: February 9th, 2013 7:13 AM

The pro-life movement in OP needs to step up its game. Why don't they take a cue from North Dakota, whose state senate just passed a bill that asserts the state's sovereignty over every fertilized egg within their borders. You're going to have your work cut out for you, of course, monitoring the intimate regions of the 20,000 or so women in Oak Park, but as long as you foot the bill for the gynecologists and forensic scientists you'll need to track those bloomin' eggs, you should be in clover


Posted: February 8th, 2013 10:50 AM

Imagine, stereotypes as part of the abortion debate. Did you mention how the anit-abortion rights people stereotype pro-choice folks as baby-killers, godless, and worse? How about really respecting life - as in respecting each person and his/her right to make their own decisions about religion and health?

KR from River Forest  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 10:11 AM

"Here is the good news: the Respect Life Committee at our parish ... is trying to win the hearts and minds of people through education, prayer, and yes, even charm." Really? Charm people out of their own opinions? And you aren't stereotypical? Not everyone shares a belief in God. Frankly, the Catholic church is the biggest gang in the world. The audacity of claiming otherwise is laughable. You really want to respect life? SCREEN YOUR PRIESTS!!! And stop judging everyone. God has that covered.

Keep it Civil  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:37 AM

And choice. If the woman has the sole choice in whether or not to stay pregnant, why can't the man choose not to pay support if he doesn't want the child?

Keep it Civil  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:32 AM

@tom - Laws don't necessarily need to be about compromise or consensus but I get your drift. Personally laws against prostitution is a bigger violation of human rights than any other law on the books. What other act is otherwise legal but becomes illegal once money is exchanged?

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:25 AM

Civil - I think that the decision in Roe v. Wade struck the right balance toward respecting both viewpoints.

Keep it Civil  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:00 AM

The law says murder is illegal. The law says murder is justified in certain circumstances. Pro life people believe life starts at conception, thus murder. Pro choice believe life starts later, thus not murder. There are shades of gray on justified murder, like self defense (danger to mother's life). There are many laws telling adults what they can do with their bodies such as drinking alcohol before age 21 and sex between adults who exchange money. Bottom line, we should respects all views

Keep It Legal  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 7:11 AM

ARLC I respect your view. But we'll have to agree to disagree. Abortion is currently not only legal, but public opinion is strongly in favor of keeping it legal. We'll have to disagree about "personhood" and whether that trumps the rights and needs of a woman. The problem with our disagreement is that some are working to make their view the law of the land. If you want to simply advocate your religious position, you'll get no argument from me. It has to be left up to the individual though.

Franklin from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 11:53 PM

I concur that many liberals do a disservice when they demonize pro-life individual. Though Ken did not do so, there is also demonization of religious folks. Unfortunately, America's legacy IS violence and death. It started with genocide and slavery. It continues with war and the killing of innocent people. Chris Smith seems to be a somewhat reasonable Representative. Unfortunately, he voted for Paul Ryan's budget. A budget deemed unacceptable by many Catholic Organizations.

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