Mind Matters: About pro-life

The phrase pro-life gets bandied about a lot and although I have a strong Catholic religious upbringing, I chafe at the words that for many have no meaning but “anti-abortion.” I am not for abortion, but I am pro-choice as well as pro-life. Let me explain how.

You see pro-life is expansive. Pro-life means caring about children after they are born — providing healthcare and early education. Pro-life means providing paid maternity (and paternity) leave so that parents, especially mothers, can bond with their infants without fear of reprisals from the workplace.

Pro-life means all families have good healthcare so that mothers are cared for—before, during, and after pregnancy. Pro-life means creating communities that recognize children as the future while respecting the elders for what they have contributed in the past.

Pro-life means caring for the environment. How is it pro-life to bring children into a world where water and air and earth are polluted? How is it pro-life when there is a rise in childhood asthma when particulates fill the air? (Blue sky is not the whole story!)

Is it pro-life that children and families are still suffering because of the lead in the water of Flint, Michigan? Oh, yes, the nominee for the forty-fifth administration’s cabinet post for EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt, wasn’t sure how much lead was safe to drink. The answer is zero. This is because even the most minute amount can have a lasting deleterious effect on infants and children—at all stages of development—including in the womb. So pro-life means advocating for state and federal agencies that protect us from such contaminants.

Pro-life cares about facts versus fiction when it comes to climate change. That is, pro-life cares about what legacy we leave our children. What kind of world will it be if the earth they inherit is ravaged by both droughts and floods; where food production and supply is threatened or diminished. Climate change portends dwindling resources, losses in habitats and an increase in disease too. Also a rise in poverty. How is any of that pro-life?

So, yes, I am indeed pro-life. However, it is anti-abortion that doesn’t really seem to care abou the unborn. For if the one-issue, so-called pro-lifers really cared for the unborn, then pregnant mothers wouldn’t have been drinking contaminated water in Flint. If there was real care about the unborn, then there would also be care to prevent unwanted pregnancies and pre-natal care for the pregnant, as well as post-natal care for mother and infants! Planned Parenthood does these things. Only three percent of their activities are abortion-related.

Recently, a loved one asked me why so many women are so concerned about the anti-abortion movement even if they themselves would not elect to have an abortion. My response to this young man was that for thousands of years, women’s bodies have been controlled by males. Women’s bodies are quite graphically invaded by men whether of their own volition or, worse, not. Pregnancy too is an invasion, welcomed or not. Anyone who has ever been pregnant will tell you of the changes that happen mentally and physically.

So the last thing most women want is for their bodies to be legislated and controlled by men. Reproductive rights is about that: the right of women to control their own bodies. Yes, I am pro-life, in all aspects of life, from birth to death, from sky to earth, from river to sea. When we are truly pro-life across the board, abortion is a non-issue. Abortion rates go down when there is true pro-life.

* Kayta Curzie Gajdos holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is in private practice in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She welcomes comments at MindMatters@DrGajdos.com or 610-388-2888. Past columns are posted to www.drgajdos.com. See book.quietwisdom-loudtimes.com for information about her book, “Quiet Wisdom in Loud Times: The Rise of the Wounded Feminine.”

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to: editor@chaddsfordlive.com

 

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About Kayta Gajdos

Dr. Kathleen Curzie Gajdos ("Kayta") is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) who has worked with individuals, couples, and families with a spectrum of problems. She has experience and training in the fields of alcohol and drug addictions, hypnosis, family therapy, Jungian theory, Gestalt therapy, EMDR, and bereavement. Dr. Gajdos developed a private practice in the Pittsburgh area, and was affiliated with the Family Therapy Institute of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, having written numerous articles for the Family Therapy Newsletter there. She has published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin, the Family Psychologist, and in the Swedenborgian publications, Chrysalis and The Messenger. Dr. Gajdos has taught at the college level, most recently for West Chester University and Wilmington College, and has served as field faculty for Vermont College of Norwich University the Union Institute's Center for Distance Learning, Cincinnati, Ohio. She has also served as consulting psychologist to the Irene Stacy Community MH/MR Center in Western Pennsylvania where she supervised psychologists in training. Currently active in disaster relief, Dr. Gajdos serves with the American Red Cross and participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as a member of teams from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Now living in Chadds Ford, in the Brandywine Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Gajdos combines her private practice working with individuals, couples and families, with leading workshops on such topics as grief and healing, the impact of multigenerational grief and trauma shame, the shadow and self, Women Who Run with the Wolves, motherless daughters, and mediation and relaxation. Each year at Temenos Retreat Center in West Chester, PA she leads a griefs of birthing ritual for those who have suffered losses of procreation (abortions, miscarriages, infertility, etc.); she also holds yearly A Day of Re-Collection at Temenos.Dr. Gajdos holds Master's degrees in both philosophy and clinical psychology and received her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Among her professional affiliations, she includes having been a founding member and board member of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Pittsburgh, as well as being listed in Who's Who of American Women. Currently, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, The Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Delaware Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board. Woven into her professional career are Dr. Gajdos' pursuits of dancing, singing, and writing poetry.

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