An es­cape from toxic pol­i­tics

Porterville Recorder - - OPINION - Kathryn Jean Lopez is se­nior fel­low at the Na­tional Re­view In­sti­tute, ed­i­tor-at-large of Na­tional Re­view On­line and found­ing di­rec­tor of Catholic Voices USA. She can be con­tacted at [email protected] na­tion­al­re­

On Bleecker Street in Man­hat­tan, you can find both a Planned Par­ent­hood clinic and a bou­tique for preg­nant women. Ac­cord­ing to Vogue, the store, Hatch, “is ar­guably the first of its kind, in that it was de­signed specif­i­cally for preg­nant shop­pers: Chang­ing rooms have a size chart to help you fig­ure out how a gar­ment will fit your belly a few months down the line; there’s a ‘crav­ings bar’ with candy, pick­les, and ice cream; and ... a down­stairs meet­ing space for work­shops and lec­tures, in­clud­ing one on breast­feed­ing and an­other called Dudes to Dads, in which new fa­thers can learn how to swad­dle or change a di­a­per.”

When I find my­self in the neigh­bor­hood, I of­ten wish that be­tween the for­ceps and the ice cream bar there could be a per­pet­ual meet­ing place, where any woman look­ing for a mo­ment’s pause could find respite. I think of a woman named Eleanor Mc­cullen, who, for years, has stood out­side Planned Par­ent­hood in Bos­ton with a sign of­fer­ing help, hope and love. Many a preg­nant woman con­sid­er­ing abor­tion has been re­lieved by her pres­ence, in­vited by her warm, grand­moth­erly smile to re­think her op­tions.

I’ve been think­ing a lot about the women who get lost in our de­bates about abor­tion, and the chil­dren of those women. The Demo­cratic Party ap­pears to be dou­bling down on bru­tal­ity. If an un­born child survives an at­tempted abor­tion and is de­liv­ered alive, even then, her life is not wor­thy of pro­tec­tion? The gover­nor of Vir­ginia -- a doc­tor! -- said as much the day be­fore he be­came em­broiled in that state’s black­face scan­dal. I was grate­ful for the con­nec­tion made be­tween the two civil-rights move­ments. But, of course, that mes­sage seemed lost on most of those with the mega­phones call­ing for his res­ig­na­tion.

I keep think­ing of a let­ter that Pope John Paul II wrote to women, cel­e­brat­ing their unique gifts and spe­cial place in the great web of cre­ation: “Thank you, women who work! You are present and ac­tive in ev­ery area of life -- so­cial, eco­nomic, cul­tural, artis­tic and po­lit­i­cal. In this way you make an in­dis­pens­able con­tri­bu­tion to the growth of a cul­ture which unites rea­son and feel­ing, to a model of life ever open to the sense of ‘mys­tery,’ to the es­tab­lish­ment of eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal struc­tures ever more wor­thy of hu­man­ity.”

There’s so much con­fu­sion and mis­ery in the world to­day. What if women took the pope’s ad­vice and led a rev­o­lu­tion of love? One that took is­sues that have been our most con­tentious and po­lar­iz­ing and trans­formed them into a meet­ing ground -- a place to dis­cuss how we can re­ally help women, chil­dren and fam­i­lies with some com­mon-sense ini­tia­tives -- where a bet­ter pol­i­tics is con­ceived? I think of is­sues that Don­ald Trump brought up in his ad­dress to Congress and in his Na­tional Prayer Break­fast speech, for starters: the late-term abor­tion abom­i­na­tion and the fos­ter-care cri­sis only made worse by ide­o­log­i­cal ex­trem­ism pre­vent­ing faith-based part­ners from vi­tal re­sources for chil­dren, fam­i­lies and govern­ment agen­cies.

Women on both sides of the po­lit­i­cal aisle could be­come trail­blaz­ers of a bet­ter pol­i­tics, while re­flect­ing some of the moral con­vic­tions of the suf­fragettes they seek to honor. Take a pause and con­sider what could be more life-giv­ing than the cur­rent sta­tus quo of the Demo­cratic Party -- abor­tion ex­pan­sion -- what could hatch a health­ier pol­i­tics for women, chil­dren and fam­i­lies? There are a ton of is­sues. A baby step would be to quit re­fus­ing to stand for a help­less sur­vivor of abor­tion. And then we might sur­vive these poi­sonous po­lit­i­cal sea­sons and come out of them re­new­ing our com­mit­ments to life and lib­erty.

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