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Your Opinion: Observations from pro-choice demonstration

by Sue Gibson, Jefferson City | January 22, 2015 at 12:02 p.m. | Updated January 22, 2015 at 12:02 p.m.

Dear Editor:

Members of the Missouri Chapter of the National Organization for Women organized a demonstration at St. Peter church Sunday in celebration of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision affirming women's right to choose abortion.

A dynamic particular to this region is the closing of ranks among Catholics and other Christian denominations, making it daunting for our members and allies to express views contrary to that of the majority. Still, two brave feminists demonstrated on Sunday.

I would like to share some observations, as the rhetoric we heard echoes refrains we've heard from Catholics across the country. Several people informed us that a cathedral is not an appropriate place to demonstrate in favor of abortion.

Following that logic, an abortion clinic is not an appropriate place to protest abortion. There would be no need for us to be at the church if it were not imposing its religious beliefs on people who do not share them.

Some claim that more women die from abortions than from complications of pregnancy. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, each year worldwide, 287,000 women die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth while 47,000 women die from complications associated with unsafe abortion. This makes a good case for safe, legal abortion.

Some assert that electroencephalograms (EEG) prove that fetuses dream. I have read the American Institute of Physics research that identified cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep in fetuses in their seventh month of development, long after most abortions would be performed. The research clearly does not conclude that fetuses therefore dream; further, it is technically impossible to conduct an EEG on a fetus in utero.

After the flock had been incited to fury at the 11:30 Mass, priests stood smugly by, appearing to be above the fray as men predictably harangued us.

The tirades were expected from a patriarchal people who value unviable potential life over the lives of women who are full human beings with hopes and dreams that may or may not include parenting, with jobs that may not accommodate the needs of a pregnant person, with paychecks 71percent those of men.

I cannot imagine that the biblical edict "Do unto others ..." involves imposing one's beliefs on another, shouting while refusing to listen to another perspective, or compelling state laws to reflect the tenets of one faith regardless of the faith or non-faith of the rest of society.


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