Yesterday

Overnight, I woke up thinking of the Beatle’s and their song “Yesterday”.  Here’s the 1965 version.

Of course, yesterday everything was about the infamous Supreme Court draft killing Roe v. Wade.  More below on that.

But there was more, yesterday, as there is, every day….  My friend, Jim, long-time resident of the beautiful but purposely sparsely populated Molokai, Hawaii, wrote “We just got over Covid-19’s. I had all my shots plus two boosters and was sick for 2 weeks. I hate to think what might have happened without those shots. It just seems to me that most everyone will end up with Covid at some time.   Aloha.”  Say it ain’t so, Jim.  At the same time, “yesterday” the one millionth Covid-19 death in the United States since the Pandemic began…

My list about yesterday is much longer, but so is everyone else’s.  Ukraine, etc.  Life is more than one thing.  Tomorrow, today will be yesterday.  History continues on, and we’re part of it.  All we have is today….

*

Now the issue du jour yesterday at the Supreme Court, likely continuing in the news today.  Abortion.  We don’t know by who, nor why, the draft was leaked.  In this day of false flags and shameless lies, passed on as “truth”, most any reality is possible.

I’ve followed the abortion issue personally for over 50 years largely because of a single direct personal experience.  If you wish, here is my most recent writing about the issue, from 2019, which links to an earlier blog I wrote in 2009, reflecting back to what happened in 1965.  I am outspokenly pro-choice for women.  I have never been anything else.  I have reasons.

This is the 50th year of the Roe v. Wade decision.  Cynically, what better way, what better time to slay, the “babykiller” dragon (an epithet Ive heard more than once from “Christians” who think they’re doing the Lord’s work of attempting to kill abortion).  They have been subject of a lot of, shall we say, “grooming”, going on for a long time by leaders of the Evangelical right wing, including, especially, the hierarchy of my own Roman Catholic Church in the United States.

*

“Right to Life” has such a nice ring to it.  “Abortion” even sounds evil…as does “babykiller”.  Some of the “Christian Soldiers” I experience are modern day Crusaders, slaying others rights in the name of Jesus.  In their telling, there is no other side of the story…no room for different opinions.

Absurdity abounds.  I don’t think someone can provide any proof that there has ever been, anywhere, an actual law enacted, declaring abortion to be murder or similar.  If there is such, I’d like to see the evidence.  The dodge is to prohibit the act, not the act itself.

Neither is there any evidence that an unborn baby is a person in a temporal sense.  One example, in my own case: in 1940 I was born about two months after the census taker came around to enumerate my parents in  North Dakota.  So I’m not listed in the 1940 census (which has been public for some years.)  I looked.  Mom and Dad were there; not the pending me, who by then would have been very obvious.

The day of my birth I was baptized.

Being baptized the day of or shortly after birth was not uncommon.  For most of my churches history, church teaching said that unbaptized babies could not go to heaven, nor to hell.  Baptism was not put off. Unbaptized babies who died were stuck in a place called Limbo, by church policy.  This changed, apparently about 2007.  This is how ridiculous this becomes.

Neither is abortion a legitimate theological issue.  It is strictly a power and control issue.  Different denominations, Christian and otherwise, have different beliefs about this issue, including among their own members.

My own church, in the person of a Pope, even came out against birth control when it came available in the 1960s.  Being the Pope, his pronouncement was in effect Church Law.  “Thou shalt not…”

You ask “Why? And why do you stay Catholic?”  Let’s talk abut that, sometime.

*

The final Supreme Court judgement on abortion (the actual final words) is not likely until this summer.  It may be different, slightly or a great deal, from what was leaked tonight, but it is a seismic event, particularly given the absolutely ham-handed approach of the radical right to seize power in the United States. I’m glad the leak happened, and light was shown on the thought process in progress.

50 years of precedent appears on the doorstep of being discarded.

Beware.  Be on the Court.

POSTNOTE: When I woke up I wanted to include a recording of “Yesterday” within this post.  Much to my surprise, the song was first published about a week after my wife’s funeral in 1965.  In the same month, the Beatle’s were in Minneapolis for a concert.

POSTNOTE 2 May 5:  A reader sent a link to Heather Cox Richardsons commentary in her blog about the situation.  Heathers “Letters from an American” are always well informed.  

COMMENTS (more at end of post as well):

from Jeff: I see it as 150 years of precedent based on the passage of the 14th Amendment. in striking down Roe, the court is enshrined states rights over federal guarantees of civil rights granted by the 14th Amendment. The parade of horrible extends toward racism and authoritarianism state by state.

from Carol: I don’t even know what to say about this.  As some have said, the dog that chased the car has finally caught it.  And I have a feeling that car is going to run right over that dog.  I predict this will make a big difference in November.  Maybe Congress will finally pass that law they’ve been talking about for – how long?

I’ve had friends/acquaintances who’ve had abortions for serious medical reasons which wouldn’t be covered under many of those pending state laws.  We all have examples.  I really hope this will discourage companies from locating in those states in the future.  (In the meantime, Canada has said it welcomes our abortion business…)
I also have some cousins who I know are rejoicing today.  They’re blindered, one-issue voters who are doing God’s work, ya know…
Here is a comment in The Washington Post, so if you use it, please give credit: My former husband is an ob-gyn. Anti-abortion church people picketed his women and children’s hospital and all the offices of the doctors next to the hospital. After five months of picketing against abortion, my ex did four abortions on women who had been picketing. One woman had gotten pregnant by one of the picketers, and the other three with varying other people. They were still all-in on opposing abortion for other women, but each justified it as necessary in her own case.

from Norm:  Thanks for sharing your comments with me and a few others, Dick.

I sent around my bully pulpit commentary on the pending overturning of Roe v. Wade to many folks including yourself the other day although I am sure that is was not something that you would want to include as a comment to your pending blog.  It is mainly an expression of my extreme disgust with so many of my fellow DFLers, liberals and progressives who did everything that they could just out be to assure the election of the an-child who would be king!

Elections have consequences as those dumb-bottoms supposedly on our side of the aisle who assured the election of the man-child who would be king are finally realizing with the release of that draft.

They will continue to be reminded of the stupidity of what they did every time the current SCOTUS overturns or overrules a public policy that we think is an important part of a civilized society!

The SCOTUS will repeatedly be used to make “those people” behave, act, speak and worship in the “right way”, that is, how that group of paranoic narrow minded self-righteous holier than thou dumb-nuts think that everyone should behave, act, speak and worship…and to sue the SCOTUS to make sure that they do!

As you know, that is a theme that I have hammered on ever since the 6-3 margin in the SCOTUS was confirmed by the US Senate and everyone who was somewhat cognitive of his/her surroundings knew that meant the end of Roe v. Wade and the potential effort to make abortions illegal all across the land.

Per your comment as a Catholic regarding this important issue, I am aware of several Catholics who feel similarly about the issue as do you.

It is just amazing the self-anointed protectors of women in the legislatures and governors offices in the US…mainly white guys…are hell bent on making abortions illegal in their states and even across the land for any reason including rape.  The latter really shows one hell of a lot of disrespect for women who under their view of the world should carry the result of that rape to full-term and???  More importantly, the “trigger laws” that have been adopted in so many red states regarding the matter in anticipation of the repeal of Roe v. Wade show one hell of a lot of disrespect for women in general and their own personal right to make their own decisions regarding their bodies.

Interestingly, most of these “pro-life” legislators/governors have no interest at all in providing support for the children that their actions have been bought into the world.

Just pathetic, Dick!

from Joyce:  This is an excellent essay, Dick, and of course you may include my comments in your blog.

As a L&D nurse I assisted with therapeutic abortions, abortions that were necessary to protect the health and/or the life of the mother. Many of these abortions were performed because the membranes ruptured too early; in the absence of amniotic fluid, the fetal lungs will not develop, rendering the pregnancy non-viable. At the same time, the ruptured membranes leave the woman vulnerable to life threatening infection and sepsis, so the safest, the only reasonable option, is to terminate the pregnancy before an infection starts. Catholic doctrine, Catholic hospitals, do not permit the termination, even of a non-viable pregnancy, until the woman’s life is at risk; that’s why Savita Halappanavar died of sepsis, in Ireland, in 2012. It was outrage over her needless death that spurred a change in Irish abortion laws. Catholic hospitals in this country still do not permit termination in those circumstances; in some parts of the country, the only hospitals are Catholic ones.
I’ve seen pregnant women die needlessly from complications of pregnancy because of personal opposition to abortion. That was their choice, a choice that the right wing would deny others. I remember taking care of a deeply religious couple, back in the early ’90s; the woman very nearly died during her 5th Caesarean delivery. When the OB told the couple that another pregnancy would almost certainly result in death, the husband, and only the husband, answered, “it’s in God’s hands.”
When I was a college student in Massachusetts in the late ’60s, contraception was still illegal for unmarried women in the state. I remember a huge uproar when every copy of Glamour magazine had to be removed from stores all over the state because it contained a one-page ad for Delfen Foam; is this what we are headed toward? One of my classmates was raped; what would she have been able to do if the rape had resulted in pregnancy? She didn’t even report the rape to the authorities because she knew that she would be blamed and shamed.
So many rights are at risk, so many lives are at risk, but apparently, women’s rights and women’s lives don’t count.
Abortion bans trample on the religious freedom of Jewish women, who are required to have abortions if the pregnancy threatens their health or well being, including their emotional well being. Abortion is legal in Israel.
from Florence: Can only say “AMEN!”. Protecting the right to choose is protecting the one who is having to make that choice.

 

from Fred:  As usual I take the long view on almost everything. The early 20th Century produced an abundance of reformers driven to make better the lives of those, particularly new immigrants living in the slums of our largest metropolitan areas. These “do-gooders,” as they were sometimes called, worked to establish child labor laws, pure food and drugs, equal rights for Black citizens, elimination of corrupt local governments, slums and slumlords, corrupt political party bosses, monopolies that crushed competition and wage levels, the existing six-day work week, the little guy (farmers in particular, who suffered from price fixing and extortionate shipping rates), etc.

Among the overlooked reformers was the estimable Margaret Sanger, who worked with poverty-stricken in the slums of New York City. She discovered the trials of the women who cherished their children but were overwhelmed by giving birth to so many. Couples struggled to feed their often hungry and poorly dressed off-spring. Having children that they could not adequately provide for tormented them. And then the mother might learn that she is pregnant again. The health of impoverished women was also compromised and giving birth without proper care markedly increased the death rates of females. Escape routes from poverty were mostly non-existent.
Sanger worked for contraception and family planning education and was jailed in NYC for publicly advocating birth control.
It is interesting to note that the first word out GOP leaders, including Mitch McConnell, was in relationship to the “leaker.” It was all over Fox, too. They don’t want to look “too anti-woman.”
The Far, Far Righters have achieved the goal that, for a half-century folks have been screaming for. No mention of that issue instead it was, “Hey did you hear about the leaker.” McConnell should have returned to the biggest military disaster in US history, Benghazi.

from Mary Ellen: I really have nothing to add to the excellent comments already posted.

Perhaps just this: pity the poor father who knows he cannot afford more children. His life must be torture as he divides a small income by one more share, and especially pity the couple if the child is handicapped. Is there no mercy?
from Georgine: Thank you Dick. The decision is totally about controlling women. There is a lot of “submit to your husband” undercurrent in fundamentalist Christian life, and anger that women are achieving their personal dreams. Hope to not have to live in a culture where I am forced to be subservient. That is not one of my skills. Will continue actively participate in politics. This is the most important time in the past two centuries for thinking rational people to vote and help Democrats get elected.
from Carol, May 29, 2022: The following letter, by Carol, appeared in today’s Sunday St. Paul Pioneer Press.  It was printed essentially as submitted.  In brackets, is a final paragraph as modified by the author.
Carol notes she was responding to an originating column by Gregory Sisk who “holds the Laghi Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas.”  He did quite a lot of bragging about his many achievements.  There’s also a short letter supporting his column – and another long one tearing it apart.”  Presumably the column and the responses are accessible at the Pioneer Press website, here.  
Carol: “Some 60 years ago, I was born to a teenage girl who had left her home and high school without telling others… she made the courageous decision to place me for adoption” writes a local columnist (“When they talk about abortion, they’re talking about me,” 5/22).

Actually, 60 years ago (before Roe v. Wade), there was nothing courageous about a teen placing her baby for adoption; she would have been told by everyone in authority it was her only option.  There was a direct pipeline from the home for unwed mothers to the adoption agency.

The writer shares details of his life of “blessings and opportunities,” his many achievements – for which he certainly deserves credit.  He was fortunate to have been adopted into a loving home.  He’s understandably grateful that his mother did not abort him.  But he can’t know if she would have made that choice even if available.  [He likely doesn’t know the circumstances of his mother’s pregnancy, nor how this may have affected the rest of her life. – They left this sentence out

I’ve known two very young teens who were raped and impregnated – one by her drunken father, also 60 years ago.  Coming from a poor family with no resources, she had no choice but to drop out of school, hide for months, and give birth.  It changed her life.

The other teen, 14, lived far from an abortion provider, was too young to drive, had those telling her abortion was murder.  She had been happy, a good student, an athlete.  She quit school and cried all day, begging to just “be a kid again.”  Her friends dropped her.  The family kept the baby, which had a disability.  The parents divorced over it.  The girl’s life further unspooled, and she made some bad choices seeking to recover her sense of worth.  By the time she was 20, she had aged beyond belief.  It ruined her life.

Lawmakers have recently made some appalling comments about pregnant teens, saying they have an “opportunity,” a “gift from God.”  We have a Supreme Court justice suggesting they can just drop off their unwanted babies at the local fire station.  We should not once again force pregnant teens to supply our adoption agencies.

The writer is of the belief that a fertilized egg suddenly becomes a “human being.”  That’s an argument it seems will never end, and of course many vehemently disagree.  But what can’t be argued is that these teenagers were children, with immature bodies and minds not equipped for forced pregnancy/motherhood.  What about THEIR future blessings, opportunities and achievements?  Do their lives not matter more than an egg or a collection of cells?

The writer points out that abortion ends the potential of a human being, with its own unique characteristics.  However, most fertilized eggs do not implant and grow, and an estimated 20 percent of pregnancies end in early miscarriage.  We accept that as inevitable, acts of Mother Nature.  Opposing abortion because a [specific] “human being has not existed before [and will never exist  again]” does not make sense. [bracketed words added by Carol].
from Dick, May 29: On May 20 the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco said no to Communion for Rep. Nancy Pelosi over her abortion stand as Congressional leader.
The May 26, 2022, issue of the St. Paul-Minneapaolis Archdiocese Catholic Spirit print edition, on page 9, devoted nearly a full page to the issue, called attention to the article on page one, but to the best of my knowledge did not include the article in its on-line edition, accessible here.  We receive the Catholic Spirit, here is a 2-page pdf of the aforementioned page 9.   SF Abp on Pelosi Communion.
Of course, I have no decision making power nor information about how my Archdiocese decides to market its information.  As best I can gather, more or less 10% of the people who receive the Catholic Spirit are considered to be ‘Catholic’ in census information.  So, the newspaper, which is normally about 32 pages print, is in effect an ‘insiders’ publication.
As a lifelong Catholic, who in fact is a regular at Mass on Sunday, and gets the newspaper most likely because we contribute financially to our parish, it appears that the official church has backed itself into a corner by assuming a totally unenforceable position to shame Nancy Pelosi, strictly because Pelosi represents everyone most of whom are not Catholic regardless of individual beliefs.

 

2 replies
  1. brian
    brian says:

    Can the not-see Republicans (pun intended) not see what they’re becoming! Banning books in libraries, controlling women’s bodies, and even, in Texas, having fellow citizens rat on other citizens.

    Reply
  2. Kathy Valdez
    Kathy Valdez says:

    I see before us, not the individual stories but the abortion/anti-abortion complex that is making money off major opponents from all sides in this issue. Another reminder here of how destructive forces seek to drive as many wedges between human beings as possible rather than unite us by our common humanity. Instead of getting caught up in current storm, follow the money behind all the major players and let that be your target of outrage… the abortion/anti-abortion complex would lose a lot of money if we agreed to sit down and come to a peaceful resolution to the issue…think about it.

    My brother once said that we need aliens to land so we humans can find the commonality in our humanity as we have when disasters strike, throwing us all into the same boat – needing one another. “Do you have a belly button?”

    Reply

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