The other day, I posted a link on Facebook to a very informative article about Planned Parenthood and the funding it gets.
Someone I went to high school with--we were never friends, per se--commented. He said he read the article and felt sick to his stomach, which I found odd, considering the word abortion only came up once, in this sentence: "To really understand what federal funds pay for at Planned Parenthood, you first need to know that federal tax dollars don’t pay for abortions."
So what was he sick about? I'm not sure. But I didn't want a battle on my hands, so I felt that my response was pretty innocuous.
This prompted an email from said fellow. He wrote,
Christina, I apologize in advance if my questions are too personal for your comfort, but I feel compelled to ask. Have you abandoned your Catholic/Christian faith? What experience or experiences have you had that have shaped or caused you to turn away from Christ? I'm obviously making some assumptions with these questions, but seeing your posts lately has caused me to raise an eyebrow in both disbelief and curiosity.First off, let me repeat that I went to high school with this fellow but I knew nothing of him past that until we became Facebook friends. He and I both attended a Catholic school, one that I spent all four years hating due to the hypocrisy that infiltrated the place. The first day I walked into that school, I felt ostracized, and while this isn't the forum to vent my rage, I could. I remember feeling despondent at having to wake up each morning and go to a school that touted Christian values but that instead was filled with people whose actions were anything but Christian. Four years of misery is a tough thing to get past, but I did. And while I didn't forsake my Catholic/Christian faith then, I probably could have.
Secondly, I have never and will never agree with everything the Catholic church has to say. Why? Because the rules and regulations of the Catholic church were not put there by Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit or even Moses. They were put in place by a bunch of dudes way back when. The Ten Commandments? Well, that's another thing altogether. I actually do, for the most part, try to live my life by the Ten Commandments. But here's the thing...I also believe in religious freedom and the freedom from all religions. So I can't impose my beliefs on anyone.
And that gets me to my belief that while yes, an abortion is not something I would choose to do, I cannot, under any circumstances, tell another woman that she cannot have an abortion. My body is not her body. Her body is not my body. I don't live her life and she doesn't live mine.
But that belief--a woman should have a choice whether or not to keep a pregnancy--wasn't even the point of the article. And that is why I'm annoyed at my acquaintance's remark. The point of the article was to help people understand that Planned Parenthood is there for so many reasons: namely, they provide preventative care, including testing for STDs and Pap smears. They also provide birth control and educational services, all the things a woman (and man) should have, but things that not everyone has access to unless a place like Planned Parenthood exists.
Now I'm the one making the assumptions here, but if he really read the article with an open mind, wouldn't he have understood exactly what it said? I think he and I will agree to have different views on this subject, and in the meantime, in case you're curious, this was my response to his email:
You can ask away. And right now, I am not sure this answer will be sufficient for you. I have not abandoned my faith. I still follow Jesus Christ but I truly believe that abortion is a personal choice. I would never have one, but I cannot tell a woman what she can do with her own body and I do not think that anyone else can. Furthermore, I have seen what happens when women especially do not have good access to medical care. And despite what you might think, PP and places like it use far more of their dollars for preventative care and education, which is so important for everyone to have.
Abstinence education doesn't work. Even many of the die-hard Christians I know didn't wait to have sex until they were married. They were just lucky enough that their condom didn't break or that the woman was on the pill (and using that birth control shows they didn't subscribe to all of the "laws" of the Church in the first place). They were also lucky enough to have medical insurance. I won't make any assumptions about your family, but it seems to me that you've always had enough money and access to medical insurance such that a place like PP would never be needed. I hope it always is the case.
While I have also been lucky enough to have medical insurance, I know many who have relied on PP for simple preventative care--men and women who will suffer greatly if this place is defunded. We have so many problems in this country, and I believe that my ability to empathize and work for the social justice issues that we see and to help out those in need is exactly what Jesus would want me to do. I suspect we differ greatly in our beliefs, and if I'm making you uncomfortable, then please, feel free to unfriend me. I will understand. I'm allowed to post my views just as much as you're allowed to post yours. I hope you have a great day and wish you and your family well.