Monday, July 21, 2008


The letter to the editor that I sent finally was published last Tuesday.

Some background: Planned Parenthood of SD sent out an alert saying that they needed letters to the editor about the new attempt to ban all abortion in South Dakota. I responded, and was given a form letter to put my name to. The long and the short of it was that, while preserving the talking points given to me (with which I totally agreed), I made it my own through the process of giving it my own voice while editing it to death to make it fit the word limit for my newspaper.

Certainly we want the best for our loved ones. However, what “is best” is different to different people. As a community, it is important that we respect the decisions of others while expecting them to do likewise.

When a family must decide how to proceed with an undesired or compromised pregnancy, this respect is crucial. What if the pregnancy is risky to the physical or mental health of the mother? What if it threatens the well being of her current children? What if the fetus is incapable of developing into a baby that could live independently after birth? These are horrific situations to envision for any family. Unfortunately, many families struggle with like situations.

If Initiated Measure 11, the abortion ban, passes, families no longer will be able to consider their situations privately. Rather, they will be told that the government knows what is best for them, regardless of their unique circumstances. Do we really want to tell our sisters, mothers, and daughters that they are incapable of making their own decisions? South Dakota's fiercely independent pioneer forbearers would gasp at this government intrusion into deeply personal matters.

For the sake of our families, vote no on 11.

In the last several months, I've tried to become intentional about living out the last part of The Baptismal Covenant, which asks, "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?" and, "Will you strive for justice and peace among people, and respect the dignity of every human being?" My reflection on these questions has led me to reframe my ideas on various societal questions. I never dreamed I would write a letter to the editor such as this. However, the proposed law is totally cruel and I think would lead to many unintended and unfortunate consequences.

And besides, South Dakota voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to allow the current law to stand. There is a very vocal faction in the eastern part of the state that will not let it rest. And the attorney general of South Dakota, Larry Long, actually authored the bill while saying at the same time it would not withstand judicial scrutiny. If that isn't a conflict of interest, I don't know what is.

I have more catching up to do, but it's time for my walk!


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

You are such an example, learning to speak out about your convictions. Thank you for keeping us up to date on the outcome of the letter.

cassidyc said...

Wow -- what a powerful expression of your values! Thanks for being courageous enough to share your convictions with our community on such a contentious issue.

I'm working to defeat the ban AGAIN with the Campaign for Healthy Families, and would be honored to add you to our list of folks willing to make their concerns with the ban known through future Letters to the Editor. Please feel free to email me (which I think you can do by clicking on my name?) or call me at our Sioux Falls campaign office: 605-977-2008.

Thanks again, Episcogranny!

FranIAm said...

This is very powerful. I have been struggling with ways to express myself around this issue and you have helped me.

Jan said...

As Ruth wrote, you are such a model for the rest of us. Thank you for writing this letter and now for telling us about it being printed. I applaud you!

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Brava, says the board member of Tri-Rivers Planned Parenthood.

Here is the short version of the way I see it....

1. I deplore abortion.
2. However, banning legal abortion will not stop women from having abortions.
3. Some of my attendings when I rotated through OB/GYN remembered the pre-Roe era, and told stories taht were tragic and unneccesary. I hever want to return to hose days.
4. The present culture of "feto-idolatry" scares me to death b/c it brings the possiblility of a "Uterine Police force" that will investigate every miscarriagr.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I tagged you for a meme . . . if you're willing to play. See my blog.