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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Friday, February 05, 2016

"Trapped" and Religion

The religious right has succeeded in stigmatizing abortion by claiming the moral upper hand, making many, even in the pro-choice community, concede that abortion is inherently wrong, albeit often necessary. But Trapped rejects this moral divide. In one powerful scene, Callie Chatman, a recovery room attendant in Montgomery, consoles an emotional abortion patient. “The same God that got you through all, everything that you’ve been through? …. He’s still there,” Chatman tells her. She prays over the patient, her hand on the young woman’s forehead. “Amen,” they both say at the end. In Chatman’s faith, in Dr. Parker’s faith, we find a compassionate, pro-choice God.
The documentary title concerns targeted regulations of abortion providers (TRAP), but this portion highlighted in the article has long been a continual concern of mine. I say more in the comments there, but in basic part the differences involving morality and religion here is a major reason why there is a constitutional liberty. Laws in effect unconstitutionally favor one view here though some do not see it as exactly a "religious" divide (like atheists can be against abortion, putting aside the narrow view of "religion" this implies).  Plus, it isn't just a government thing -- these issues in large part are influenced by what people at large think and believe.

To suggest the length of time I thought about this issue, the "value voters" deal in the 2004 (a decade plus ago? sheesh) still rankles. Al Franken at the time noted liberals have "values" too though that was a code at the time for "conservative."  Code words abound here -- "family values" or "tradition" etc.  In each case, it is a spin deal, the truth more complex and diverse.  Note also here, which is overall a good discussion on a ruling regarding a problematic gun friendly law that abridges speech of doctors. Future possible cases are suggested, particularly hate speech. But, a major area of content based regulation of doctors is abortion.  This is not novel -- back when that blog was freestanding and I still commented, its not covering that issue rankled. It is a reminded it leans more conservative than simply libertarian.

Anyway, I have a book in the hopper on this issue, so might get back to this thing eventually.*  But, overall, as with gun owners who support regulations (most of them), sane Republican voters (some exist; hey, I know a few), etc., it's best to not totally concede these things to the other side. Surely in the case with religion and morality, there is a lot liberal people to promote.


* Okay, added that link, which includes a reference to the book by a liberal Christian long involved in the move of the clergy to support reproductive rights.  A somewhat ironic theme is that such clergy at times were more radical than Planned Parenthood itself, which was more establishment minded.  It starts with a discussion of "sacred" and how religion is basically about supporting something beyond the "profane" or secular world, particularly concerned with justice.  See also, the book Sacred Choices, which uses a similar definition and discusses how different religions think about abortion.  Recommended. 

Then, it discusses how Margaret Sanger was involved in the birth control movement and worked with clergy, particularly Protestants and Jews. A few cases where the clergy helped change policies about birth control, including doctors at Catholic hospitals and providing it at public clinics followed.  Useful reminder current controversies are not new.  And, the last few chapters are about abortion, including the clergy involved in the 1960s to help women find providers when it was still illegal. 

The book is not about defending the pro-choice religious approach by citing doctrine or biblical verses as such as much about a history of their involvement in the movement.  It is useful in that respect, including its discussion of the changing views of Catholics regarding non-Catholics, the earlier negativity shown to be largely defensive in nature.  I think at times the book came off as something of an overcorrection itself in regard to the importance and strength of religion in promoting pro-choice values.

But, in this society, it is an important and at times ignored part of the equation. And, it will continue to be an important resource to response to threats and criticism.  This is readily apparent in the same sex marriage area.  Worthwhile addition to the story here.

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