Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Peace, all. In my younger days, I had hopes that the prolife movement was going somewhere. Naively, I thought it had the makings of another civil rights struggle. In the 80's, I wasn't surprised the issue remain stalled despite an allegedly sympathetic president. (I never thought the Republicans were or are anything more than the political opportunists the Democrats are.) But I was surprised the seamless garment notion didn't take root more strongly. In retrospect, I see my wishful thinking at work: a hope that a sensible abortion policy could be raised up across the ideological spread. And today I wonder if my hopes have been betrayed by conservative Catholic sensibilities as much as by a liberal apathy toward the issue. Thirty-one years later and it is as if a 1973 Supreme Court decision happened, and then afterward, nothing. No budging off the point in any significant way. Even the uncivil discourse in the aftermath of Roe v Wade has affected the bottom line not one bit. One friend did suggest that if not for the prolife movement, the circumstances today could be far worse that they are. He might have had something there, but deep down, I still feel deeply disappointed that 31 years of lobbying, bishop-politician scuffles, mid-January homilies, and Knights of Columbus roses are responsible for only treading water. Forget about climbing into the boat and rowing somewhere. Two sides yelling across a great divide. And the yelling just gets louder. About a year or two ago, I began to reconsider some cherished notions. I suggested to a few friends that money spent lobbying prolife is perhaps money down the toilet. If we believe people are really being run through the mill on abortion, and the state is unmoveable (even toward the middle ground most Americans support and have supported for thirty years) maybe we should dry up the political gravy train and channel the money to Birthright and other organizations that do the front line work with women in trouble. Maybe some cherished notions need to get reexamined and possibly junked. Quite honestly, I can't imagine such a course of action being harmful. Any takers?

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