Kate Madonna Hindes
I grew up in a very, Catholic, family. My father was on the parish council, my mother counted the money given on Sunday. Altar Girl, Eucharistic Minister, Director of Youth Ministry. I attended Catholic schools then Catholic college and I wrote for a national Catholic publication for almost a decade. If there was ever a child that should have never strayed, I was it.
As a single woman I had a child and at her baptism, I was humilated. I started seeing the small parts of organized religion that terrified me. It wasn’t just Catholicism or any other religion, it was the near-sighted mentality that the world could be fixed if we all kept our babies. I saw behind the judgmental attitudes, the Pollyanna outlook, the Draconian ideals. I started not believing in Catholicism at all. I however, did believe in my family. I know they saw something with great intentions and I know my father’s heart couldn’t be in the wrong place.
I know I alienated myself and I can see the sadness in my father’s eyes or hear it in his voice that I gave up on something so vital to his own well-being.
Three Christmases ago, my father wrote me a heartbreaking letter telling me the only thing he wanted was for me to go back to Church. My parents home is filled with crosses and paintings of saints and Jesus all of which I took down in my own room during the year I lived there after my daughter was born. A few family members that are Catholic online, don’t reach out to me; we don’t speak. A few months ago when I was in Washington D.C., to speak on Capitol Hill, part of my family was there for the pro-life march. They carried “Defund Planned Parenthood,” signs. I never would have imagined that a few short months later, everyone’s wishes would come true. They’ve done it, with their marches and their short-sightedness.Somewhere in Wisconsin there are women wondering how they will get affordable care.
What I’m having trouble understanding tonight is how the world has become such a wretched, ignorant place. Last year the Archdioses of St. Paul mailed DVDs as a pathetic attempt to remind their parishioners that marriage is only for a man and a woman. This year, Churches are putting the pressure on legislators and congressmen and women to defund one of the nation’s most important health care options for the uninsured or underinsured. While insurance corporations are making record profits from not insuring the very people they pledged to protect our government is being pressured to stop funding the ONLY source for some women to get pre-natal care, mammograms, cervical cancer care and more.
It’s come to this: It truly doesn’t matter anymore whether you are PRO-LIFE or PRO-CHOICE. We need to decide to be PRO-PEOPLE. I can tell you from someone who’s had to make difficult choices, that NO woman wants an abortion. If I was faced with that decision, I’m not sure what I’d do. What we want is the foresight to know what will happen and a money tree to immediately alleviate our concerns. I am a single mother and as I wrote to Rep. John Kline, without Planned Parenthood, I will not get adequate care for cervical cancer check-ups. Until the new laws take affect, I am uninsurable and pre-existing conditions rule my life. What happens to my daughter, because I am stuck in the mess of insurance red tape? Why aren’t our bills directed towards our fellow Americans and getting them GOOD care?
In 2011, we are still denying the GLBT community the basic rights that go with matrimony. And, we are slowly allowing a mentality to take over that denies women BASIC rights to their own bodies and their own affordable care. It’s no longer an issue that we have to choose a side, what is becoming an issue is that we are actually scapegoating a courageous organization from giving basic care to the population it serves. If Planned Parenthood no longer practiced abortions, we would go back centuries where women died trying to end their pregnancies. This is now becoming a human right’s issue with big corporations and Churches lobbying to revoke tax dollars spent on making sure people are getting affordable contraceptives and care.
This is a call to action for those both PRO-LIFE and PRO-CHOICE. Look beyond the abortion aspect and realize that in Minnesota, 6 Planned Parenthood clinics are already closing. Where will the women of Thief River Falls, Brainerd, Red Wing, Owatonna, Albert Lea and Fairmont go? What if they cannot afford to drive hours away for a simple pap smear? What will happen when there is no one to give them affordable contraception and they are actually forced to choose an abortion? More importantly: Who are we to judge.
If we are truly pro-life, we must practice mentality outside of marching or yelling or picketing. We must offer REAL sex education to our daughters, affordable care to other women and be willing to give of ourselves to make sure that each child conceived has the tools for LIFE, not just a ‘church lady’ blanket given at a crisis pregnancy center. We need to LISTEN and be willing to sacrifice of ourselves if we truly stand behind our beliefs.
If we are truly pro-choice, it’s time to tell our stories and give more of ourselves to those struggling around us. We cannot hide behind what the women before us worked so hard for. We need to work just as hard to educate and listen to those who may not agree.
Maybe you’re like me, and you look at your daughter asleep in her bed and wonder what might have happened if you didn’t have two very angry, but very supportive parents at 25 when you found yourself pregnant and out of a job teaching in the Church. Maybe you can see both sides, but you’re the one being affected by clinics closing, or unaffordable care. It’s time for us to step up too, tell our stories and be willing to heartfully stand for what we believe. Maybe you’re just a little sick of hearing that your uterus and the decisions concerning it belong to someone else. If Michele Bachmann and John Kline would like my uterus, it’s theirs. Without Planned Parenthood, I won’t be able to get the care to keep it; and doesn’t that say it all.
Please follow @PPMN for up-to-date news concerning cuts and funding.