I feel a rant coming on, but I'm trying hard to channel the energy behind it toward something more constructive. It's one thing to be incensed about political agendas, it's another to speak up and be heard. Toward that end, I'm contemplating a letter to the editor in response to two editorials in yesterday's paper.
There's a bill working its way through our local state government that would change the state constitution. The bill reads: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”
The first editorial was written by the state director of Planned Parenthood. The second by a woman affiliated with the state right to life group. Although I suspected my view would be in alignment with the Planned Parenthood voice, after reading the piece I reserved judgment to see how the opposing view would argue its case.
As I read I thought to myself, "are they talking about the same legislation?" And I wondered, again, how it is that perspectives fall so far from each other on the continuum of opinion. That's when I went to the language of the law itself.
The legislation essentially impeaches existing laws that protect a woman's right to address her pregnancy as she determines, and opens the door to prohibition. We've heard the rhetoric from the right on the national stage: rape victims should no longer be called victims but accusers; insurance plans that cover abortion would no longer be tax deductible, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of policy holders would not be utilizing that "benefit" of the plan. The code behind this piece of law is clear: we're on our way to outlawing abortion. The pro-life voice had the audacity to claim that this legislation would make the constitution "abortion neutral." Right. Just like removing safety locks from all guns protects children.
My hesitancy in putting the proverbial pen to paper stems from not feeling confident about the voice I want to have heard. Having an opinion isn't sufficient cause to write. I feel the need to be persuasive. Should I? It's been a long time since I've written such a letter, though I have composed many in my head. I wish I wasn't so easily held back.
It may have something to do with recognizing that as I get older I become increasingly more of an activist. Or, more accurately, an advocate. The other week I preached the directive received from the prophet Micah (6:8) that the first thing God desires is our appetite for justice. Then, sprinkle that with compassion. In other words, consider and tend to the world around us as a context for tending to our own needs. Then, as we walk humbly with God our desire is to do the very thing that God requires.
The best way to become a good advocate is to practice. I guess it's time to take that step, and edge my way toward confidence.