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The Burning Question

By       Message Mary Pitt     Permalink
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Has anyone else noticed how badly those who write our laws despise common-sense solutions and plain speaking in the English language? Any solution to a common problem that makes common sense to the common citizen is dismissed as being "simplistic", argued about, mulled over, cussed and discussed until it makes no sense to anybody. Then it is scheduled for a vote. The hottest problem in American life today is, thanks to the constant insistence of the "religious right", that of abortion. There is no longer any middle ground and no attempt to find a solution other than outright revocation of Roe v. Wade or "abortion on demand". It seems that this artificial division has been fostered by the two major parties in order to keep their "bases" in line when they enter the voting booth. However, even the pro-choice group, NARAL, states that they want to keep abortion "safe, legal, and rare." I would go one step further and state that the medical procedure should be safe, legal, and unnecessary.

I suggest that a little common sense and a broadening of understanding, together with a Christian attitude of caring for the problem rather than condemning the victim would be highly appropriate. I, too, am revulsed by the prospect of a woman who is carrying a child in the second or third month of development finding it necessary to destroy that life. But I am even more distressed when that "woman" is little more than a child, with no education, no vocational training, and totally un-equipped to parent that child, whether or not she marries the ignorant and over-sexed little boy who is responsible for her condition. The purists preach abstinence only, but purists are not known to be practical. The pragmatist understands that Mother Nature is intent on propagating the species and does not care about the circumstances of the prospective parents. If we hope to improve the standards of living in the nation, put an end to childhood hunger, and develop a more intelligent, better educated citizenry, our best plan would be to make abortion not only undesireable but unnecessary.

There is much talk about adoption as the solution to unwanted pregnancies, but that is also only by the purists. The fact is that blonde, blue-eyed babies are in demand but the supply is inadequate. Unfortunately, most unwanted pregnancies occur among the poor, that is, largely among the non-white or mixed-blood populace and those who want to adopt do not find these children to be acceptable and turn to other nations to find adoptees. Many children have been brought from places like Rumania in order to fill the demand while native-born American children are refused because of race or color. Why were there blonde, blue-eyed orphans in Rumania, sick and unloved, lying in cribs, isolated, neglected, and unwanted by anybody? Because Rumania had been governed by a despot who outlawed all forms of birth control in an effort to increase the population! As the result, that nation found itself awash in unwanted, abandoned babies and had to establish those miserable orphanages to house them. They also experienced an huge increase in crime as these children grew to maturity with no concept of love and no training in the difference between right and wrong. We could learn from that experience.

Would it not be better to institute a system of protection and assistance for women who find themselves in this untenable position? I can hear the right-wing screams about "welfare queens" but the positives would out-weigh the negatives if it were done properly. A woman, (and that definition does include any girl old enough to bear children) who, despite adequate training in birth control, (including the desirability of abstinence), should find herself in this predicament, there should be a procedure to protect that incipient human being should the pregnancy be allowed to run its course. If the young lady in question does not yet have a high school diploma, she should be subsidized by medical care and educational assistance to stay in school until she achieves that goal as well as whatever training is appropriate to prepare to support and care for that child. It might also be appropriate to provide a plan for the unwitting father to complete his education and train him to work at a job sufficient to permit him to contribute to the support, the life, and the education of this infant, whether or not he ever marries the mother.

This will require a great deal of public education to rid ourselves of all the old taboos against "sin" and the ostracism that exists against those who have children out of wedlock. The stigma of illegitimacy should be removed from birth certificates so that every American citizen shall be "born free". The parents should be somehow immunized from the perception of illegitimacy by being considered as victims of "an act of God", as worthy of freedom and opportunity as any other citizen of this nation. The programs of "welfare" should be reconsidered so that a young couple who are prospective parents could marry and still be assisted as needed in the upbringing of their family. "Man in the house" regulations should be eliminated so that a man who is underemployed could remain in his home and parent his own children rather than having to leave in order for them to be allowed sufficient assistance to be able to eat. Those who profess to be "pro-family" and promoting "family values" should approve of these measures.

A plan along these lines would go far in re-building the structure of family life which is so desireable. The costs would be offset by the decreasing costs of crime control and drug treatment as we grow an ever better-educated society to influence children for the better and to inspire them with an ambition to create a better future for themselves. It would seem to be a better investment to create a generation of law-abiding and self-supporting youth rather than to keep spending our money on law enforcement, which is never enough, and prisons with eternally insufficient bed space and costly staffing and maintenance. The present system succeeds only in producing more un-disciplined adults who are ill-equipped to be parents, more unintended pregnancies, and more unwanted children who will grow up to repeat their history
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The one question that we have to ask ourselves as individuals and as a nation is whether we want to continue to cast blame and ostracism on an ever-growing percentage of our young people or whether we approach the problem in a thoughtful and helpful manner and insure the future of our citizens and our country. Those of us who express our Christianity in loving concern for our fellow human beings prefer the latter.
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This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The (more...)
 

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