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Cradle= birth, baby, breastfeeding, pregnancy.
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Pro-Woman, Pro-Life

A few months ago I was talking with some fellow birth educators and doulas, when one of the women started talking about some legislation that was  "anti-women".  I didn't know what in particular she was referring to (and I still don't), but initially I was concerned about what this legislation could be.  Since this was a group of birth professionals, I thought she was talking about something to limit a woman's birth choices or choice of care provider (ie. midwives).  As the conversation unfolded, I realized that she was referring to abortion.  She referred to the legislation as "Anti-women", and referred to a cultural "War against women".  I was so confused, weren't we a group of childbirth educators and labor doulas?  Why were we discussing abortion?  (It seems bad for business if we are supporting abortion.)

This raises a question, can one be both pro-woman and pro-life?

The Catholic Church often gets unfairly judged as being sexist, old-fashioned, and patriarchal.  Yet, Jesus and the Church were (and are) way ahead of their time.  Jesus, not only talked to women, but was friends with women.  He repeated shows respect to women in the Bible.  He, God of the universe, was obedient to his mother at the Wedding at Cana. He stopped to console the women of Jerusalem while carrying the cross.  And upon the Cross, it was not insignificant that He gave us His own mother to also be our mother.  After Jesus' death, who was the first to discover he had risen from the dead?  Not the beloved disciple, John, not Peter, no...the women!  This is not an accident that it was the women who arrived at the tomb first.

The Catholic Church holds Mary in high esteem.  We honor, her, a woman, as our Queen and our Mother.  The Church recognizes the beauty and the uniqueness of women and of motherhood.  It was Jesus who chose his 12 apostles to be men.  Jesus wasn't afraid to choose women to be his followers because of the culture of his time, he was purposeful.  Jesus shows us the unique qualities that each man and woman possess.

It is not sexist to acknowledge that men and women are different.  Even our basic biology, our sex organs are different, yet complimentary.  Men and women have different hormones, these facts cannot be denied.  Yet, we as a culture act as though men and women are exactly the same.  Should women be treated fairly?  Of course!  Have they always been treated with the dignity that is given them by God?  No.  Men and women are equal, but different.  Apples and oranges are different, but both are still fruit, and both are still good.  We can appreciate an apple or an orange for the unique qualities that it possesses, it doesn't mean that one is superior to the other.

The Church today follows in Jesus' example, and ordains men to the priesthood.  Women do hold a special place in the Church, just as Mary does, it is not better or worse than men, just different.  As a Catholic woman, I do not feel suppressed or oppressed by men or by the Church.  I feel honored to belong to a Church that recognizes my dignity, that I was created in the image and likeness of God.  I am thankful to belong to a Church that recognizes fertility as a gift and not a disease or something to be gotten rid of.

Birth control and abortions do not liberate women, but rather enslave them to their sexuality.  Our culture sends a message to women, that  they are inadequate, they must take medication or have surgery in order to control their body, and get rid of their fertility.  True freedom comes from an understanding of how my body works, the natural cycle of hormones, fertility and infertility.  I appreciate the gift of my body so much more because I understand how wonderfully and fearfully made I am.  I don't need to take artificial hormones in order to be "free".  Our Mother the Church, understood this even before the sexual revolution (see Humanae Vitae).  Thank you, Catholic Church, for truly honoring women, both born and unborn.

I am pro-woman and pro-life!

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