Monday, September 01, 2014
The Help Women Want


Todd Akin's recent comments, and the Romney-Ryan campaign’s decision to come out as not being in favor of restricting abortions under certain circumstances, took me mentally to a place I do not like to go very often. Politics has a way of doing that. If you are reading this, and you haven’t read Altcatholicah’s current top story, “Tragedy Compounded,” I urge you to go read it. The author speaks with much authority on the matter than I could.

It is not an easy piece to read, and it cannot have been an easy one to write; but at the same time I experienced a certain relief while reading it. Here, thank God, is a woman weighing in on the question of abortion as a way out of tragedy—a woman weighing in and saying, in point of fact, that abortion is not a way out of tragedy at all; that pregnancy, in fact, might possibly be a better one. We need women to speak their mind on this issue; we cannot leave it to the (chiefly male) politicians and pundits trying to run our country to pontificate (for in such cases, it is pontification) on what would be best for women, and what options we ought to give women who find themselves pregnant through no action of their own.

Of course these women need help and support. But it is foolish—and dangerous—for men and for women who have never been in such circumstances, to make condescending assumptions about what sort of “help” might be best.

Part of the fault must lie in our culture. Our culture tends to see choice as such a great good that we leave no room, psychologically speaking, for beneficent serendipity. If we did not choose our life pattern, we must be unhappy—so the culture tells us. Our culture has also become terribly judgmental in its Darwinian dependence upon the predictive powers of origin, genesis, genetics … It will not consider the possibility that the things we do not choose might be turned to good use by us, might turn out to be good for us. It will not, in fact, consider the possibility that sometimes a good end may come of a bad beginning. It will not believe that, once we have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, we can ever go right again. It will not believe, to put it bluntly, in free will.

But that is what happens when you make Choice a god: like all false gods, it becomes first jealous, next arbitrary, then nonsensical, and is lastly unmasked as an utter unreality. To make a god of anything that is not God is to destroy it. (Indeed—not to be too irreverent in enforcing the principle—even God when He became man could not seem to get around having to suffer death.)

The answer of course, must begin with questioning the deification of Choice. If all choices are equal (at any rate under law), can we not still say that some choices are—we will not be Orwellian and say, “more equal than others:” rather, we will be provocative and suggest that some choices are better than others. Is that not precisely what women are beginning to stand up and say?

The government and various social service organizations are quite ready to give women the help they think women need. It remains to be seen whether they will be willing to give them the help that they want.














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