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Letter: Planned Parenthood and the backup plan

A recent letter writer invited those he labeled as liberal, California Christians, such as our governor and attorney general, to “think about things.” He said that he was offended because they are pro-choice politicians who use religious statements, such as “they are all God’s children,” to justify using taxpayer money to feed hungry, illegal immigrant children. The writer suggested an inconsistency between using a religious argument to support feeding hungry children while supporting Planned Parenthood abortions.

I’m not an elected official. I’m just a socially-moderate and usually fiscally-conservative Democrat. And I am pro-choice. But “I’ll be your huckleberry.”

Re-evaluating our values as we search for and receive more information is what intelligent people should do on a regular basis. To that extent I agree with the letter writer.

My pro-choice views flow from my reading of materials that discuss the important question of “When does life begin?” I’ve read the Bible, scientific papers, and evangelical arguments. I have considered religious discussions on the question written by Jews, Muslims, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Unitarians and Lutherans, to name a few. I have heard political diatribes, which are not helpful. Facebook trolls merely display their ignorance, abusiveness and social immaturity. And I don’t find bumper stickers to be meaningful.

I’m still pro choice. Morally and scientifically, I don’t believe that human life starts at conception. I feel no need to explain myself because it’s a personal choice. Also, it would come off as if I were trying to convince pro-life folks of the righteousness of my choice. No, thank you, as my 3-year-old grandson says when he doesn’t want to do something. I respect the abortion views of those who are pro-life. We will, hopefully, respectfully agree to disagree. That’s the way it was when a conservative Republican governor appointed me to the bench.

What I don’t understand is pro-lifers who elect Republicans who don’t respect life. I believe that I, as a pro-choice Democrat, have more respect for the sanctity of human life than those who are pro-life Republicans. Here are examples.

Democrats breathe life into Planned Parenthood. Republicans repeatedly try to kill it. And they have no back up plan. Ninety seven percent of the services provided annually to the organization’s 11 million patients, men and women, have nothing to do with abortions. Planned Parenthood provides services to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, counsels rape victims, and tests for pregnancy, cancers, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Planned Parenthood also offers pregnancy planning, prenatal services, childbirth classes, adoption referrals, and after birth exams. And yet pro-life Republicans try to kill these services that are desperately needed by women carrying their pregnancies full term. Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

Do babies just magically appear at birth? Is that story about the stork real? Shouldn’t we care about the pregnancy during the nine months from conception to birth? How about the day of birth? And don’t those lives deserve our support after birth?

Democrats support the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Republicans continue to try to kill it with no back up plan. The Act provides low-cost or no-cost preventive care including screening tests for pregnancy related anemia, diabetes, hepatitis and Rh incompatibility. It covers folic acid supplements to help mothers have healthy babies. The law helps with breastfeeding equipment, after birth childcare home counseling, and maternity leave advice for new moms who have jobs.

Obamacare provides life-preserving medical help before, during and after birth. How do pro-life Republicans justify killing it?

It doesn’t take much effort to self-righteously just say “no,” does it? It takes time, money, and work to help a poor, uninsured and possibly unmarried stranger through her pregnancy, the birth of her child, and the most important development years of the child’s life. It takes compassion. And at the risk of offending someone, it takes good Christians to step up and “walk the walk.”

I won’t throw in that pro-life Republicans tend to support killing convicted criminals, reducing gun purchase restrictions that might prevent another mass murder (25 so far this year), and maintaining perpetual war with air strikes that kill scores of innocent men, women, and children, born and unborn.

Criticize me for supporting a pregnant woman’s choice of whether to give birth to a child, if you will. But when she chooses to carry, give birth, and raise the child, I support giving her the services that she needs.

If you are pro-life, then own it. Double down on it. If you object to Planned Parenthood and Obamacare, then find adequate replacements. But millions of pregnant women need help while pregnant, during birth, and after birth. Please don’t say ”no” to them and the life you say is precious.

— Charles A. Wieland,

Retired judge of Madera County Superior Court,


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