General

Controversy

There’s  been so much going on lately… how can I pick one current event to comment on?  But one that keeps popping up (aren’t we in volume 7 at this point?) are the Planned Parenthood videos.  If I were a shark, I’d be on a feeding frenzy for all the online blood getting spilled while people argue.  But thankfully, I’m a mammal, so I’ll go about this in a civilized manner.

I stand with Planned Parenthood.  Here are a few thoughts.

Medical procedures of all kinds are yucky.  Death is a tricky subject to deal with, so everyone who deals with it on a regular basis (or even on an irregular basis) develop coping mechanisms.  They’ll probably seem strange to everyone else.

A relative of mine suffered through two miscarriages, a stillbirth, and the death of a baby born live.  She wouldn’t talk about the children she’d lost, at least not explicitly, for years, and would cry during the prayer for the departed at Mass.  Yet she would laugh very hard at dead baby jokes.  (What do you call a dead baby on the wall?  Art.)  That’s coping.  I don’t understand the logic behind it, but I have never been pregnant (and as such have never lost either a pregnancy or a child), so I can’t begin to empathize with her feelings.

And obviously her feelings run very deep.  Which brings me to my second objection to what people criticize in the damned videos… the detached, clinical tone of the conversations.  Doctors talk in clinical terms.  Have you ever read a medical text?  Or listened to any professional speak in their day-to-day jargon?  Odds are, it’s not what you expect, and it doesn’t mean that the person in question is evil or “spiritually deprived.”

And the detachment when discussing body parts is by no means new.  Think about where infant mortality is today as opposed to a hundred years ago, and more.  One of the more hair-raising things I’ve read is a letter from Georgian England describing a doctor treating a woman whose baby had died in utero, but did not necessarily miscarry.  The dead baby (I think they said she was about seven months along) stayed put and started to rot.  To put it plainly, the doctor had to roll up his sleeves and pull every piece out by hand.  Without anesthesia of course, as A) it hadn’t really been invented yet and B) probably wouldn’t have been permitted anyway because doctors thought it sinful.

The letter-writer was the patient’s husband, and he goes on to admit that the experience caused his wife much suffering, although she took it all quite bravely.  The book is The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England.  I highly recommend reading it.

There’s volumes I could fill, but I want to keep this post a reasonable length, so I’ll leave with the gruesome historical document.  I won’t go into how investigations of Planned Parenthood are failing to detect any wrongdoing, or how the whole expose is probably criminal fraud.  Or how most people support the organization already.

But here is my not-so-humble opinion, and my sincere hope that this whole, ugly incident will die down without too much collateral damage.  With so many politicians striving to suck up to voters with the presidentials next year… anything could happen at state and federal levels.  But I think without much doubt that everyone wants good sense and sober thought adopted.

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