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Youth Blog
Alissa Golob Youth Coordinator

What God-Given Rights Would You Bleed For?

What God-Given Rights Would You Bleed For?

BY ALISSA GOLOB

You want to know what I’m sick of? (It’s a rhetorical question because I’m going to tell you anyway). I am sick of television personalities, politicians and that random guy at the gas station telling pro-lifers that the abortion law in this country won’t change. Not now.

 Last time I checked, these people did not have psychic abilities, so my only response to them is, “those who say it cannot be done shouldn’t interrupt the people doing it”.

I recently watched the movie “Iron Jawed Angels”, starring Hillary Swank and McSwoony (Patrick Dempsey) from Grey’s Anatomy. The movie recaps the struggle of Alice Paul and her fellow suffragettes in the United States, and how they fought tooth and nail until they were considered equal to their male counterparts, and finally achieved the right to vote.

 At one point in the movie, Alice Paul (played by Swank) is mourning the loss of her fellow activist Inez Milholland after she dies of pernicious anemia, and, in a pivotal scene, vocalizes the absurdity of the struggle. “It is so unfair that anyone should have to die in a fight that shouldn’t even be a fight”, she says.

And that’s about the right to vote. As important as that issue may be, it’s not about life or death. It doesn’t even come close to the struggle we have today of trying to protect preborn children from being ripped from their mother’s wombs. The abortion issue is so absurd, it shouldn’t even be a fight. I, like Alice Paul, question why this concept is so hard to understand.

 After watching this movie and researching the suffragettes, I found striking parallels between the suffragette and pro-life movements.

 Alice founded the National Woman’s Party (NWP) in 1915, and, through her own leadership, ended the pleading for the right to vote, and became more militaristic in her approach. The NWP began demanding passage of the women's suffrage amendment, calling it the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. At that point, 70 years had passed since this fight had begun.

 The NWP engaged in a more active street battle, organizing demonstrations, parades, mass meetings, picketing, suffrage watch fires, hunger strikes, press communications, and lobbying.

 Sound familiar?  Pro-lifers have been fighting this battle for almost 50 years, forming their own political parties, lobbying politicians and holding press conferences. They’ve organized marches, “choice” chain, demonstrations, Show the Truth, 40 Days for Life, pamphleting blitzes; even starting their own successful newspaper and online news sites.  

 On October 20, 1917, Paul was sentenced to seven months in prison for picketing outside the white house during WWI, with the charge being “obstructing traffic”. On September 13, 2011, Mary Wagner was sentenced to 40 days in jail for peacefully entering a Toronto abortion facility to witness about the value of human life, on the charge of “delaying the progress of a business”. (Baby-killing… a business?)

 Here’s where the difference lies.

Alice’s fight reached its peak in prison. Prison officials put Alice in the "psychopathic" ward, trying to pass her off as insane. They deprived her of sleep, flashed an electric light in her face every hour, and threatened to send her to an even more severe insane asylum. She still refused to eat. Finally, after 22 days of this, doctors were ordered to force-feed Alice, which they did by brutally forcing a tube into her nose and down her throat, pouring liquids into her stomach, three times a day for three weeks. The pain and suffering Alice endured was unbearable… however… she still refused to eat.

One physician even reported: "[She has] a spirit like Joan of Arc, and it is useless to try to change it. She will die but she will never give up."

(By the way, did I mention Paul was pro-life? She has been credited for saying, “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women”.)

With mounting pressure after these atrocities were leaked to the press, President Wilson changed his stance and came out in support of the women’s suffrage movement.  On January 10th, 1918, The House of Representatives narrowly passed the Susan B. Anthony amendment, and on August 26th, 1920, women voted for the first time in the 1920 Presidential election.

We live in a world where our Prime Minister says that as long as he is in power, he will not re-open the abortion debate (like we live in some sort of dictatorship). At least 100,000 abortions are committed annually in our country alone, and millions upon millions of dollars are being forced from taxpayers to cover the cost of this heinous crime. My question is: are we going to let that random guy at the gas station rightfully predict the future of our country? When are we finally going to stand up and say enough is enough?

My question is, what God-given rights would you bleed for?  

 

Comments
By: Santiago Rodriguez
January 21, 2012 @ 6:32am
Thank you for this piece.
I think the problem the suffragettes, natives, african-americans and babies in the womb share is that at the time of their struggle for rights they were not, and in the case of babies in the womb are not, considered 'fully' human.
Through the 16th century, the main struggle fought during the evangelization of America was the position by many that Natives were not human and since they did not have souls. African Americans have constantly dealt with a similar problem. Even after the civil war many consider that since the epitome of humanity is the white male, African Americans are not fully human and thus do not deserve the same rights. The same applied to women until very recently.
Now with regards to babies in the womb, many today (I do not know what the exact number is, but is high) believe fetuses are human. Thus, in their eyes, since they are not human, or fully human, they do not deserve to have human rights.
Thus, our main responsibility is to educate people about the humanity of babies in the womb.
It is a hard task. It demands love, patience and respect.
If we start our conversations with people who do not believe in the humanity of babies in the womb, as frustrated as that may make us, we must never use violence, in speech, attitude or otherwise.
We should also help people reflect on when life begins. I bet many of those who do not believe that life begins at conception struggle understanding when life begins.
We could fight a legal fight, and I am sure it will yield some good results. I think we should rather educate people. And you well know, due to your own learning experiences, as much as our math teacher is right when she said that 3 plus 3 is 6 getting mad and calling a student names never produces results. It was through repetition, with patience and love that our minds were open and we understood that mathematical lesson.
The same holds true for every life lesson. I wish us all patience, love and respect towards those who struggle understanding. May this lead to the opening of many hearts and minds.
By: Catherine Donohoe
February 3, 2012 @ 7:48pm
Thank you for this piece. It is an excellent tool for teaching young women of faith to appreciate their right to vote as well as their right to expect that all people have the right to life. My pro-life daughter just registered to vote and I am proud, as she is to say that she will always vote, PRO-LIFE. Our first election will be the NYS Republican Primary on her 18th birthday!
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