Abortion: No Easy Answer

This post ran in The Washington’s Post "On Faith" section responding to the question: John McCain and Sarah Palin say it’s time to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Do you agree? What is the right moral choice?

As I remember it, abortion started out as a white-hat issue on almost every front. Before 1973 we were confronted with young women who were victims of guilt and ostracism. Unwanted pregnancies were more shameful back then, because "illegitimate" was a powerful stigma to attach to a baby. Doctors were forbidden to help without stepping outside the law. By legalizing abortions, shady practices ended and secrets no longer had to be kept so tightly. (The issue of euthanasia is today’s moral equivalent — terminal patients are made to suffer because of someone else’s moral strictures, and as a result the doctors who aid them have compassion on their side but the law against them.) With Roe v. Wade on the books, however, it turned out that abortion was a black-hat issue for Catholics and right-wing fundamentalists. For them, there could be no compromise when it comes to a mortal sin.

But there never was any color except gray when you clear political animosity away. Every stand on the abortion issue leads to "Yes, but."

— A woman has a right to say what happens to her body. Yes, but shouldn’t the father of the child be given serious consideration?

— A fetus is an unborn human being. Yes, but nobody knows when, if, or how a single fertilized cell becomes human, still less can anyone say when, if, of how the soul enters the body.

— To many devout believers, abortion is a sin. Yes, but do they have a right to impose their concept of sin on society as a whole?

— Abortion is generally a minor procedure with few dangers to the mother. Yes, but many young women therefore use it frivolously, as an alternative form of birth control.

— The state has the right to police medical procedures, including abortion. Yes, but the state has limited rights to police personal morality.

However many shades of gray you want to see, the bottom line is that gray is the only color there is. At this point Roe v. Wade is rather like the plight of the Palestinians. Keeping the argument inflamed has more political value than solving it. Reversing Roe v. Wade would probably be neither a victory nor a defeat for either side. The issue would be turned over to each individual state, and there will always be a tolerant state (e.g., Massachusetts) or a liberal country (e.g., Canada) or a pill you can order online for women who want to terminate a pregnancy. If she is too poor to afford these recourses, there will no doubt be funds available through pro-choice groups.

In the end, I find myself trapped by moral absolutists who have distorted a sensitive issue. As a matter of principle, I side with the pro-choice side, as most physicians do unless their view is colored by religion. I’d rather live in a country where things are allowed unless expressly forbidden, not one where things are forbidden unless somebody expressly allows them. But that doesn’t mean I’m putting on a white hat. There are no white hats in this issue.

Kiva Offers Microloans

The fusion of business and social change is broadly termed "social entrepreneurship" or "cause capitalism." I’ve profiled two other remarkable companies that fall into this category this week. (If you haven’t already, read my posts on GOOD Magazine and on Causecast.) Today our featured company is Kiva, the first person-to-person micro-lending website.

As described on its website, "Kiva lets you lend to a specific entrepreneur in the developing world — empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty." The Kiva website lists the name, picture, age, occupation and purpose of the loan for thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. Lenders make a credit card loan, which Kiva passes along to its certified micro-finance partners worldwide. These partners distribute the funds, and typically provide training and other support to maximize the entrepreneurs’ success. As a lender, you receive email progress updates as the loan is repaid. Recently, Kiva switched to returning portions of the loan as they were paid off, which allows for immediate reinvestment in another project (like the purchase of cattle, grain, computers, looms or solar panels).

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus popularized the model of micro-lending with his successful Grameen Bank founded in 1976 in Bangladesh. Kiva took this model and adapted it to function and scale online. The model has been a success. In recent months, Kiva has attracted more lenders than it has loans available, leaving the organization scurrying to get more vetted entrepreneurs signed up.

My friend made a loan to a 51-year-old agriculture entrepreneur in Ghanna. Her investment fulfilled the remainder of the woman’s loan request ($625). Within eight-months, my friend will have her money back and is then free to re-invest or withdraw it. I’m on my third cycle of investment. For me and thousands of others, it’s an infinite loop of making a difference in individuals’ lives and feeling amazing about it.

Offering A Healing Hand

We here at A friend are offering any one in need of healing, any where in the world, a helping hand. If you are in need of some healing and would like assitance at no cost exept maybe donating a little of your time to helping us Heal others once you are well, then drop us a line. Give us a detailed discription of your illness, a general idea where you are located and at what time in the day you are avalible to receive one hour of healing in a relaxed state. God Bless you and we hope to hear from you soon and look forward to a healthy you joining our little healing group.

With love and affection

A Friend

OUR PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT IS URGENTLY NEEDED!

ELOPMENT IS NOW NEEDED WITH URGENCY!

Our psychic world is nearer to our spiritual world than our material world. It is a solid bridge that unites our temporal physical world to our eternal spiritual world. Both worlds are necessary for our harmonious daily living. Our paradox is living on these two apparently different worlds. Our spiritual beings do need the experiences obtained in this world in order to overcome all human difficulties. Our true high Selves need having human experiences for our safe return to the UNITY.

The key word is perseverance. In our permanent self-improvement, sooner or later we will face issues that go beyond our physical and mental forces. We will be dealing with issues whose solutions will be found living momentarily in planes of our subconscious mind. As I have stated before it is our psychic being who is nearer to God. So, by dwelling on this realm we will be able to bring to life many attributes, skills and cosmic gifts that were used by us, long, long time ago. These spiritual qualities were locked up by us by not using them. These wonderful cosmic properties lay hidden in our total memory chest impatiently waiting to be freed. We human beings experienced a self-induced amnesia when we preferred just living in this temporal physical world. It was by doing this wrong action that we