This is sickening.
I was part of our youth group and joined a “pro-life” march in Washington, D.C. I went to Notre Dame for college and lived and worked with missionaries for two years after graduation. I was indoctrinated to the highest degree in Catholic doctrine and dogma and at the end of it, I came away with the deep conviction that my upbringing and my religion were guiding me to live a life centered on social justice.
I had no idea how formative my Catholic education was in preparing me for my first encounter with a patient who needed an abortion. Empathy was one of the core values I was taught by my parents, who had a First Nation’s People’s proverb hanging in our house: “Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins.” My patient opened a door for me, revealed to me the dark and sad space in her life, and I could understand that for her, an abortion was both right and necessary. And for her to be able to make the choice was just.
When faced with my own abortion several years later, I was devastated. Yet at the same time, I was grateful that in a region of the world where many women do not have access to safe abortions, this care was readily available to me, in a setting of love and support.
Just a few months earlier, I had been called to the operating room in our district hospital. I found a young woman on the table and an even younger doctor attempting to gain control over a life-threatening complication of an attempted home abortion. I worked feverishly on her as her life drained away. I watched her blood turn from red to pink to clear. Despite all of my training, I was unable to undo what had been done. She was a mother of five who had seen abuse and abandonment. And there she was, dying in my hands.
I do not expect anyone to transform their moral ideology or religious convictions. We do, however, need to weigh very seriously the consequences of the political decisions we make based on our values. In my Catholic, middle-class community growing up, we were single-issue voters. We believed that we were preserving family values by voting “pro-life.” But what the data show, and what my own experience has demonstrated, is that the illegality of abortion does not decrease either the likelihood that women will seek an abortion, or that someone will provide an abortion.
I love how she says she was “indoctrinated to the highest degree in Catholic doctrine and dogma” at Notre Dame. Yeah, because when I think Catholic dogma, I think Notre Dame, right? You too, right?