‘Pro-life’ groups still silent on protecting pregnant workers

‘Pro-life’ groups still silent on protecting pregnant workers August 10, 2012

A few weeks ago we looked at the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (HR 5647), a promising and necessary piece of legislation currently stalled in Congress.

You can download a fact sheet on the bill from the National Women’s Law Center, which explains that the PWFA would “let pregnant women continue to do their jobs and support their families by requiring employers to make the same sorts of accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions that they do for disabilities.”

If you’re a disabled worker, then you’re protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you’re a pregnant worker and not hindered in job performance, or if you’re pregnant and completely unable to work, then you’re protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But if you’re a pregnant worker and able to perform some, but not all, of the functions of your job, then you slip through the cracks and you’re SOL. That means that some pregnant women may be forced to choose between keeping their job and keeping their pregnancy.

Now, since the “pro-life” and “pro-family” movements of the religious right are all about preventing pregnant women from choosing not to keep their pregnancies, this would seem like legislation they ought to be supporting.

And yet, as I noted last month, I haven’t yet seen any support for this, or even any mention of it, among such groups. The PWFA would help to remove one powerful economic incentive for abortion — a real situation that real people face. Anti-abortion groups therefore ought to support it. But if any of them are supporting it, they’re doing so very, very quietly.

Maybe I’d just missed their statements backing this bill? To double-check, I asked the folks at NWLC if they had heard of any support for this workplace protection from anti-abortion groups. Liz Watson, a senior advisor at NWLC, responded:

Supporting pregnant workers so that they can continue their jobs and have healthy pregnancies, is something people of all political stripes should agree on, regardless of their stance on other issues, including abortion. As yet, we are not aware of any support from pro-life groups, however.

One possibility is that these groups are simply not yet aware of this legislation. In that case, one hopes, they will learn of it soon and bring their powerful political muscle to bear in rallying congressional support so that pregnant workers “can continue their jobs and have healthy pregnancies.”

There are other possibilities, but I’ll avoid outlining them here, as the implications from those other possibilities all tend to make these groups look pretty bad — to make them look, in fact, like duplicitous agencies whose alleged concern for “the unborn” will always take a back seat to their paramount concern with controlling uppity women.

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  • ‘m willing to be wrong on this (and hopeful that someone will correct me if I am), but I had always sort of just assumed that pro-life activists, in general, held the belief that mothers shouldn’t work outside of the home.

    Except when it comes to mothers on welfare. They should go to work, otherwise how are their kids going to develop a work ethic. It’s only middle-class women who should stay home with their kids. 

    At least that’s what I gather from all the conservative talking points out there. Else, why would they keep cutting welfare and food stamps back? 

  • Tonio

    If we were talking about one person helping another, Cottage’ gripes would sound like passive-aggressive attempts to discourage the other person from seeking help. The problem with combining charity with attempts at recruitment is that the clients’ religious affiliations or beliefs are not the charity’s business in the first place. There’s no valid reason that the charity can’t simply help people regardless of religious affiliation and leave the proselytizing out of it. Otherwise, it’s the equivalent of a timeshare sales pitch with the promise of a gift card at the end.

  • AnonymousSam

    Even in the most benevolent circumstances (of which I have rarely witnessed or experienced), it’s still coercive. Back before companies largely started policing themselves, drug companies had to submit to reviews by a board of ethics to determine whether or not it was ethical to pay people who were in dire straits to try potentially dangerous new drugs, whether it was something that would help them or not. I see this in much the same light: “We’re offering something which may or may not be hurtful, but since you’re not in a position to refuse, you have to submit to it anyway. If you feel soul-crushing unhappiness, that’s just a side-effect.”

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Ok. So, you are living below the poverty line, paying off school loans. Is the possibility of getting pregnant imminent? I assume you are working and paying rent and all of your own expenses. For a family of 1, that would be under $11, 100/ year. According to this same chart, for our family, we lived below the poverty line for the US for 20 years. I am familiar with what is available. I’m assuming I am much older than you and so I may know of many more resources of which you are not taking advantage. By the way, I am not Catholic, although most all of my family was born in a Catholic hospital. My husband was helped in large part by Catholic charities when he nearly died from a blood clot and we had no insurance. We applied for medicaid as well, and they provided some help after all other means were exhausted. The Catholic hospital that helped us was the most help. We were not cajoled into converting. Not once. We were asked if we required any faith-based assistance, as they would provide a chaplain of our faith if we needed one. So, what I’m saying is that I think you are not aware of the many, many ways that you can seek help. I won’t ask you here to give any other details for which you don’t feel comfortable. What makes it difficult to seek the help you need is that you actually have to talk to individual people and not institutionally or government trained personnel and that is uncomfortable, especially if you feel condemned…even if condemnation is never conveyed to you personally. You know what you have heard about sin and you disagree that anything you might be doing should be called sinful and that you shouldn’t have to suffer the indignity to be around those who believe such things just to get food.  There is a vast difference between talking to individual people and passing legislation, though. I keep harping on it, but lets remember why this conversation was started. I and others like me are reaching out to offer help, but instead we are being told we must lobby for government legislation based on a morality we cannot support in order to ‘prove’ we meet the standards of that morality. You sound like you may need some help now and not if and when you might get pregnant. Waiting for legislation to pass isn’t going to help you now. I would like to talk to you more, but not sure how to do that here.

  • AnonymousSam

    In my specific case, I’m not about to tolerate being called sinful when Peter has made it abundantly clear that I have been made pure and am not to be called impure, Jesus made it clear that we are not to be judged on Earth, Luke/Matthew/and Timothy made it clear that there is to be no reservations in giving alms, Matthew says not to make a public burden of your faith… a day, a day, yada yada.

    In other words, my need does not constitute consent. To take it as a given because I have no other choice is an evil act. Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds — no charging admission for ticket prices here. Jesus healed the lowliest prostitute without demanding that she convert, or reminding her of her sinful ways, or warning her not to use his healing as an excuse to abort a pregnancy.

    I’m in no immediate danger of becoming pregnant (my choice of significant other has much to do with this and also much to do with why our landlord would toss us out at the drop of a hat), but there are plenty of people in my same circumstances who don’t have the luxury of the freedoms I do, and I want them to have the aid of those programs whether they’re Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Pastafarians.

    Part of this is because I don’t like abortion and the quickest way to make abortion less likely to occur is to ensure that pregnancy and children don’t ruin lives. Protections for pregnant women and aid for new and struggling parents does more to ensure completed term than all the soup kitchens in the world.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Jesus fucking Christ. My coworker makes twenty-six thousand dollars a year. She has to take care of herself, her newborn, and her older child on twenty-six thousand dollars a year. (It’d be more if either babydaddy ever paid child support, but she ain’t heard from the first one in some time and expects nothing from the second.) I’m not sure what their rent is, but the local real estate market being what it is, anything that doesn’t have all three of them sleeping in the same room is probably a thousand  a month. Food’s probably another six hundred. I don’t know her car payment or how much she spends on gas, but if her car’s as cheap as mine, that’s another four hundred dollars easy, more if she got something unlikely to break down regularly, and public transportation isn’t an option, there’s very little of it around here and what there is doesn’t run at midnight when she and I get off work. I don’t know how much she pays in child care, but livingwage.mit.edu estimates five to six hundred per month per child. Two children. Another thousand dollars. The month’s supply of money is three-quarters gone and I haven’t even touched anything that isn’t food, shelter, transportation, or making sure a child and an infant have adult supervision while their mother’s at work.

    Maybe you should advocate for minimum wage being a living wage to make sure that women less fortunate than my coworker can afford to raise children instead of getting abortions, as well as making sure of paid parental leave so that women no more fortunate than my coworker don’t have to figure out how to make ten months of pay cover twelve months of expenses.

    If you needed financial help and your church couldn’t afford to provide any but the local Muslims could, and the local Muslims had as a condition of the help that you visit the mosque once a week, would you do it? What if it were the local atheists, and they wanted you to read Richard Dawkins? If you wouldn’t do it when the help and conditions come from people whose religious beliefs you disagree with, why should anyone who doesn’t subscribe to your particular flavor of Christianity take help from your people that has Christian strings attached? And if you would do it, if you’d squash your religious beliefs and your personal pride far enough to accept help and conditions both from these people, can you at least understand why others shouldn’t be made to do the same?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I and others like me are reaching out to offer help, but instead we are
    being told we must lobby for government legislation based on a morality
    we cannot support in order to ‘prove’ we meet the standards of that

    What is objectionable to you about making sure my coworker can afford to feed her family during the time she is taking off from work to bond with her newborn? What is objectionable to you about making sure my coworker can afford to make sure someone cares for her newborn after she’s gone back to work? How can it possibly be morally wrong to make sure expanding one’s family doesn’t strain one’s ability to take care of the rest of the family?

  • Tonio

     Also, “based on a morality we cannot support in order to ‘prove’ we meet the standards of that morality” is too vague.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I’m having trouble following the links to the replies, as I am talking to you and Ellie, still. I am offering to help you find the things to meet your needs. Faith-based ministries will help you and if they can’t they have a lot of resources and can point you in the right direction. People of faith contribute and help and labor and obviously live next door and in your community. You and I both are benefitting from the taxes and labor of both religious and secular citizens. The original post is about legislation which you say you do not know the details. I also do not know, but the author of the post is blaming me and others like me for it stalling in congress. Since you don’t even know the details, I’m guessing you also are not lobbying congress to pass it. So, all of your accusations and emotional statements are hypocritical. If you are pregnant and you can’t work at your job anymore and there is no societal safety net to help you and you come to a crisis pregnancy center for help…oh. Wait. You won’t come there, because you might see or hear something that makes you feel guilty. So, you decide to abort the baby. We don’t know you are out there. You never came. Who is dying here? The baby will die. I had no choice to try and help you because you didn’t come. You misunderstand because you don’t want to understand, and yet you blame the people who didn’t know. You didn’t go, because you find their methods coercive. Did they ask you questions about your life rather than just hand you some cash? Or was it just not enough to be fed, clothed and offered prenatal care for you and the baby? Did you want more, but they didn’t have more? You seem to have some experience with scripture and the church, but your responses contain more hyperbole about life and death and lots of missing information in your references to scripture.  What is the main purpose of the church? I’ll answer that. The main purpose of the church is to make disciples of all nations. That is the main purpose. Show me the masses of women dying from an unwanted pregnancy. Show me a Christ that would tell them to go and have the baby aborted. Christ did tell people to not sin, AND to come to Him and He would give them rest. Christ healed people of their sickness. He came to seek and save the lost. He fed the 5000, THAT CAME to HEAR HIM SPEAK. The prostitute worshipped Christ and kissed His feet. Do you worship Christ? Are we sisters? Because if you and I both love and worship Christ, we are both part of the body of Christ, the church. Show me a Peter who would tell the church to give a woman alms so she can have the baby aborted. Show me any commands from God for the church to give up the gospel in place of secular based societal safety nets. Show me this doctrine, because I have never heard it or read it and don’t know it. Would you like to know where to find life and find it abundantly AnonymousSam? I will gladly share more of the gospel with you and I have already offered to help you with whatever you need with or without the gospel, but you seem more interested in arguing with me. As a Christian and part of the church, the body of Christ, it is good. It is very good. You would know if you are in fact forgiven and all of your sin forgotten and you are a new creature, as you said. You are welcome to come to Him, you who are weary and heavy laden and He will give you rest. Take His burden and lay down your own and learn from Him, and you will find rest for your soul. His burden is light. Lay down the burden of fighting for government-funded this, or taxpayer funded that, or societal-safety nets…lay down your nets and follow Christ…that is exactly what Peter did.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    And you don’t have to accept any help from me or anyone else that offers it in the name of Christ. We are back to the beginning. Have you lobbied your legislators to pass this bill? This is your bill and everyone else on here that is supporting it. Take the precious time you are spending arguing with me and write to them in support. I have asked for details of the bill and no one seems to have any. So, all of the ranting at me is in vain. Thank you again Ellie, for talking through this issue with me.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I answered this on your other reply, and this will conclude all of my replies on this post. You live and work in a different ‘field’ than I and others like me. I am glad to help you in the name of Christ. There is no other name under which I can offer it. Thank you for talking.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Not necessarily. You can participate. She had already replied to what I asked and understood what I meant. Did you want to ask any more about that? I wasn’t going to keep up with this anymore after today.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    You seem to want to spar specifically about partisan politics. I would be inadequate for that. Sorry.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Ok, so have you contacted your legislator about the bill mentioned in the original post? Do you know what is in this bill? Do you know why is stalled in congress? Because I can’t seem to get anyone to answer that question. Every comment here has confirmed my thoughts that the post was just to stir the pot and not to actually talk about specific legislation. The church’s main purpose is to make disciples. That’s the MAIN purpose. It’s the demanding attempts to get the church to lobby for legislation that YOU like best that I am attempting to point out. If you like it so much, then explain it and support it.

  • Beroli

    …You are under the impression your wall-of-text posts are apolitical, or politically non-partisan, or non-combative? Seriously?

    I’ll take that as a “Correct, I don’t know what the establishment clause is,” by the way.

    What is the main purpose of the church? I’ll answer that. The main purpose of the church is to make disciples of all nations.

    That’s fascinating. The main purpose of the church is to propagate itself? Anything else it might seek to accomplish is secondary at best to making converts? That’s an interesting Catch-22 there: A Church that prioritizes converts over life, health, joy, or humanity is by definition one not worth joining. Why would anyone want to be part of a virus?

    (Note, this is not meant to be critical of Fred Clark’s religion, or the religion of anyone who wouldn’t say that the main purpose of his/her church is to make converts.)

  • AnonymousSam

    This is typically where I bring up Numbers 5:11-31, which
    describes in part the ritual of Sotah, which, among other things, is designed to produce an abortion and permanently disfigure a woman’s uterus.

    This is officially where I’m too weary to do so today.

  • Tonio

     I don’t know much about the bill itself, so I really don’t have much of a position on it. As far as “getting the church to lobby for legislation,” I don’t know what that even means, since I’m not religious. I just oppose the idea of any group using charity of any sort as a pretext for trying to recruit new members, whether such groups are religious or secular, because that smacks of exploitation of vulnerable people. I’m not saying that soup kitchens do in fact harass their clients.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    What did I say? I said you want to spar over partisan politics. You want to talk to and argue with a Republican. You’ll have to look somewhere else.

    I’m sorry you don’t like the purpose of the church, but it is what it is. You’re welcome to come, but it’s your choice to stay away. I am not mocking you or coercing you to abandon your morals to join the church, but Jesus told His disciples to preach the gospel to every creature and make disciples of all nations. It is primary.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Those who replied to my initial post here informed me that they would prefer to go to non-faith based organizations and government-funded safety nets for help with needs, because they don’t agree with their beliefs and don’t want to hear anything about sin, God, Christ, the church or the church’s mission, etc. If you need medical care and the hospital available to go to for care has a cross on the wall in every room, a bible on the table, nuns and priests and religious artwork and verses of scripture around the entire facility, I wouldn’t call the medical care a pretext to recruit members. You are turning the purpose of these ministries exactly the wrong way around.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Ok, Sam. That’s fine. If you come back later, I’ll still get the notification, but I guess we’ve talked this one out.

  • Tonio

    I can’t speak for anyone else here. I wouldn’t be bothered the sight of the religious imagery. I would be bothered if, hypothetically, the staff harassed me and my loved ones in an effort to convert us. There’s no reason why I should trust such an organization when its stated position is that it’s immoral not to belong to that religion  – I wouldn’t be surprised if the staffers attempted last rites on non-Christian patients without their consent. Not that farfetched when one considers that the Latter-Day Saints posthumously baptize Holocaust victims even though the families have asked that church to lay off.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Show me a Peter who would tell the church to give a woman alms so she can have the baby aborted.
    As I have said several times now, if a woman can afford to take care of herself only if she’s not taking care of a baby, she’s a lot less likely to have the baby than she is if she can afford to take care of herself and the baby. I don’t know what Peter would say on the legality or morality (which are and should remain very different things) of abortion, and I don’t care. I am however absolutely confident that Peter would say give the woman some damn money so that she can afford to take care of the damn baby.
    Show me any commands from God for the church to give up the gospel in place of secular based societal safety nets.
    Y’know, we aren’t saying faith-based charities shouldn’t exist. We’re saying faith-based charities can’t non-coercively help people of other faiths unless the faith bit is mentioned so little that the charity is effectively secular, and we’re saying charity, whether secular or faith-based, is not enough to help everyone. We need the secular societal safety nets to exist. That doesn’t mean we don’t want charities to exist.
    We’re also saying that your message of caring for all the unborn children would get a lot more traction if you also visibly cared for women and born children.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So someone who won’t listen to your faith-based diatribes but who
    has no other option that will ensure that she and her baby can eat
    should either let them both go hungry or avert the situation by having
    an abortion? Which would you prefer?


    Of course I’ve lobbied my legislators to help women in all the ways
    I’ve mentioned the law should be helping women. How could I do

    Something I’m still not clear on, though. If many women are given a choice between their pregnancy and their job, some will choose pregnancy and some will choose job, and you, as a pro-life advocate, wish to maximize the number of women who choose pregnancy. If the choice is instead pregnancy or job or pregnancy and job, some will still choose pregnancy and some will still choose job, but both numbers will be smaller than in the first scenario, because most women will choose both pregnancy and job. Which means some of the women who in the first scenario would have gotten abortions will in the second scenario instead have babies. That means fewer abortions, which means a win for pro-life advocates, doesn’t it?

    So why do you keep saying you can’t support mandated paid parental leave, or preventing women from being fired because their pregnancy keeps them from doing part of their job? What do you gain, what do the pregnant women gain, what do the fetuses gain from your forcing women to either take a hit to the finances or get an abortion?

  • EllieMurasaki

    The church’s main purpose is to make disciples. That’s the MAIN purpose.
    So if God snapped her fingers and made everyone in the world the same flavor of Christian, without changing a single thing else in the world, the church’s job would be done? Even though there would still be hungry people and homeless people and ill people, and people who have no leisure time because if they did then they wouldn’t have enough money to avoid being hungry and homeless and ill, and people discriminated against because they’re female or LGBT or of color or with a disability? Nothing whatsoever matters to the church except expanding its numbers? I’ll grant you that making everybody the same religion would end religious discrimination, at least for a while, but it’d come back the moment somebody asked an inconvenient question.
    And you wonder why you lot have such trouble winning converts.
    Piece of advice with regards to that: scenario 1, I walk in to your faith-based ministry and ask for help. You ask enough questions to be sure of what sort of help I need, and you give me that help without further ado. You make sure I know you’re helping me because your god wants you to, but you do so subtly, and you make it equally clear that my religious beliefs are not something you care about or are trying to change. Your focus is on making sure I get the help I need.
    Scenario 2, I walk into your faith-based ministry and ask for help. You quiz me on my religious beliefs and why they differ from yours, and you assert repeatedly that I would be better off if I change my beliefs to match yours, that I might need to change my beliefs even more than I need the help I came in for, which might not be forthcoming if I don’t agree to at least consider changing my beliefs. Your focus is on converting me.
    Which scenario is more likely to end with me coming to have a look-see at the religious community that produced your attitude toward me?
    Hint: it’s the one that treats me as though I am a person, not as though I am nothing but a potential convert.
    (If I come in asking questions about your religious beliefs as well as asking for help, it’s probably open season on converting me, but scenario 1 is still likelier to convert me than scenario 2.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you need medical care and the hospital available to go
    to for care has a cross on the wall in every room, a bible on the table,
    nuns and priests and religious artwork and verses of scripture around
    the entire facility, I wouldn’t call the medical care a pretext to
    recruit members.


    Maybe not, but it’s definitely (1) a strong indication that
    Protestants and nonChristians are less welcome there than Catholics, if
    they’re welcome at all (shockingly enough, making people feel unwelcome somewhere makes them less likely to come), and (2) if the care needed involves something
    that Catholics don’t want to do–say, ending an ectopic pregnancy before
    it threatens the woman’s life–then the care is unavailable, or not
    available in the form the patient wants. Most pregnant women who
    discover that the pregnancy is ectopic are women who want a baby, and
    who therefore want not to halve their fertility in the process of not
    dying of complications of the ectopic pregnancy, but Catholic medical
    personnel use only one method of ending an ectopic pregnancy, and
    halving the woman’s fertility is an inevitable consequence of that

  •  Why not stick to a policy which demands that the individual be responsible or him or herself?  I.e. – one voluntarily gets pregnant, then one accepts the responsibilities of getting pregnant…and that means carrying the child to term, accepting responsibility for raising it, and NOT demanding that others (such as the employer) take on that responsibility in their place.

    No one is forcing anyone to “take a hit” on their finances; rather, society is simply expressing the belief that individuals should be responsible for their finances THEMSELVES!  Is that (i.e. – personal responsibility) such a mysterious concept today? 

  • AnonymousSam

    Define “voluntarily.” Until we get a comprehensive sex education program, there are no feasible applications of this term.

    Then define “others,” because I’m pretty sure this form of slut-shaming has a tendency to backfire by giving the entire country another generation of unwanted children.

    Then define “consequences” in the implicit usage you have given it: Why is a woman getting pregnant grounds to fire her? Why should she be stricken with poverty because this country is absolutely hateful toward women? Why should she have to spend the next sixteen to indefinite years of her life sharing those consequences with a child?

    Libertarians have this tendency to confuse responsibility with their right to be an asshole. Congratulations on not coming across as an exception. The next time you need something, consider precisely how many people have collaborated to make it possible for you to have what you want and need.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Why not stick to a policy which demands that the individual be
    responsible or him or herself?  I.e. – one voluntarily gets pregnant,
    then one accepts the responsibilities of getting pregnant

    So you’re in favor of mandating comprehensive sex ed and expanding access to contraception, which will minimize unwanted pregnancy? Good to know.

    No one is forcing anyone to “take a hit” on their finances

    My coworker is on FMLA parental leave. She had a baby and our employer is covered under FMLA, therefore she is required to take two months off to bond with the baby. FMLA leave is unpaid. Therefore my coworker is required to lose two months of pay in order to have the baby. What do you call that if not a negative impact on her finances due to having a baby?


    Why not stick to a policy which demands that the individual be responsible or him or herself?

    Your examples suggest that by “responsible” you mean exclusively responsible — that is, if I am responsible for myself that means nobody else is responsible for me.

    I don’t stick to such a policy because I prefer living in a world where people share some responsibility for one another’s well-being, and to demand that individuals be exclusively responsible for themselves precludes that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Also if we are exclusively responsible for ourselves and fetuses are people, then it’s the fetus’s responsibility to find somewhere to live that’s willing to have a fetus living there. A fetus that takes up residence in an unwilling woman’s uterus is the only one responsible for said fetus’s eviction.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ellie has said virtually all that I would, and I might add one thing: It
    isn’t possible to convert me to Christianity. Please take that as a
    given: I know the Bible better than you do and I’m not interested in
    hearing it clumsily recited to me by people looking to boost the numbers
    of the church, whether out of perception of the love of an allegorical
    man-god or the Lovecraftian horror/platonic Ero-Zeus hybrid the New
    Testament sometimes makes him out to be (when it’s not affirming the
    laws of the Old Testament as in Matthew 5:17-19, and said laws include
    things like Deuteronomy 20:10-14’s tenants on the procedure for
    eradicating villages and dividing up the women for sex slaves and
    Deuteronomy 13’s admonishment to murder anyone who suggests worshiping a
    different god) or because of the presumption that there exists an
    objective basis for all laws and morality of the universe (I asked God
    of this personally and I was informed that society changes too often for
    such things to have meaning, much less to try and base such laws and
    morality on a society thousands of years after the fact).

    Just don’t. There is no pride or indignation involved. I’m not an
    atheist — you could, albeit inaccurately, classify me as a sort of
    pantheist. My understanding of God is more expansive and personal than
    the belief in–as Ellie described it recently– God torturing himself to
    death in order to take on the punishment God assigned us for breaking
    rules God made. For one thing, it’s a rude presumption whether we’re
    having dialogue or not; proselytizing is an act of love, not
    salesmanship, and you’re pouncing on it like a feral cat on a wounded
    mouse. I don’t know you and you can’t even even hope to pronounce my
    name. Our relationship, while not antagonistic, is not on grounds of
    which you could hope to make that kind of connection with me even were I
    receptive to the message.

    Which I’m not, certainly not at the limited level of which you have
    communicated it thus far. “Jesus has infinite love for you” is a
    meaningless concept to me, thanks in part to having a personality
    disorder which renders my understanding of emotions to be largely in the
    abstract. You can quote the first book of John until you’re blue in the
    face (1 John 4:7-21 is the best part of the book for those keeping
    track at home) and while I consider it beautiful in its way, it has no
    emotional significance to me. It takes a more concrete display of such
    messages to make an impact on me, which is why you’ll find me here among
    Christians who actually want to improve the world, rather than those
    who passively wait for God’s judgment (and more specifically, God’s
    wrath) to improve it for them (preferably by casting all the
    bad people down into a fiery pit to be tortured
    forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever). That idea is
    incompatible with love or justice and you won’t find many people here
    who believe in it.

    So I maintain: John, Luke, Matthew, Timothy and Jesus have their
    message. Jesus in particular had a little bit about how Christians are
    to comport themselves (Matthew 25:34-45 if you need a refresher). He
    said nothing about measuring the worth of the individual by their number
    of converts. He didn’t even say anything about who had received the
    Gospel. He did say things which can be applied quite neatly into the
    legislation you are rejecting.

    And I’m putting up my sword for the rest of the night. Thank you, drive through.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Jesus in particular had a little bit about how Christians are to comport themselves (Matthew 25:34-45 if you need a refresher).

    Also Matthew 6, 7, and 23.

  • AnonymousSam

    I opted for the epilogue in the name of brevity.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    I’ve read all of your replies to me, but will only comment here. I came to this blog post to read what it had to say. Since this site is having conversations on faith, I looked at the comments. I ran down the list and saw comment after comment of mocking assumptions about pro-life supporters as though they are one homogenous group of the same faith, family size and milk and cookie consumers. I thought I might talk to you. I have tried repeatedly to bring the meandering comments back to the original post’s point. This legislation was created by ? and stalled in congress because ?  The criticizers in the comments don’t even know the details of this bill and aren’t lobbying congress.  The blog post and comments blame pro-life supporters for not championing your own cause. You don’t want what is offered by faith-based ministries…you say there isn’t enough money offered to women to take care of their children. You say faith-based support for pregnant women is not visible…or is it too visible and too faith-based? Which is it? You can say anything you want to about what’s available and what’s not and how much pro-lifers and the people in the church don’t care about women and you don’t have to prove any of it’s true. I would say you are lying, except I actually think you just don’t know. You aren’t aware, because you’ve not tried to find out. Would a cross on the wall and a chaplain offering spiritual support scare you off? How about Muslim symbols or dress or Jewish? Have you ever lived in a large city? I grew up in Chicago. I expect the Jews to act and look like Jews. I expect the Muslims to act and look like Muslims. I expect the Catholic nuns at the convent to act, talk and pray like Catholics. I expect the same of Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists. If I needed something, I know I could go to a faith-based ministry. I know they would help me or help me get help. Should it hurt my feelings if I was asked if I was interested in finding out more about their faith or their church or mosque? If they told me that they regard all life as sacred and would help me, but they don’t pay for abortions or offer contraception, should I sneer at what was offered as too little? Would I be right to demand that they lobby congress to force themselves or somebody to provide more?  You say that if the ministry would just give you the money and whatever else you want and look more secular while doing it you might consider coming back and checking things out. I don’t know how to respond to that.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    “I know the Bible better than you do and I’m not interested in hearing it clumsily recited to me by people looking to boost the numbers of the church” –

     Charming. Thanks for talking Sam. You can put your sword away for good. We don’t need to talk again.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you needed help and the only source of help you could find was an atheist group, and they were only willing to help you if you were willing to read Richard Dawkins, would you take the help and the Dawkins, knowing that Dawkins has a really good track record of making people who read his work realize that religion is stupid?


    Then don’t you dare sneer at anyone who won’t take help from you because the help has a conversion attempt attached.

    You are still dodging my question: what do you have against the fetuses of pregnant women with jobs? It must be something, because your persistent refusal to work to make sure no woman ever has to choose between her pregnancy and her job is doing nothing to save those babies from abortion.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right
    hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your
    Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”   – Matthew 6  …and if you want to see how Christians are to comport themselves, you need to read the entire new testament. Also, you might want to ‘refresh’ yourself and read the whole of Matthew 25 to understand this passage you guys are referencing and to whom Jesus is speaking.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In Matthew 25, Jesus tells of the Judge speaking to the people condemned for not helping people less fortunate than themselves. The people condemned specifically include people who do not feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.

    Since you’re so vehemently against making sure my coworker (who, I remind you, isn’t getting any pay from late July to late September, because she decided she’d rather have her baby, like I’m sure you wanted her to, than get an abortion) can pay her rent and her family’s food bill this summer, and since you’re so vehemently against mandating the paid parental leave that will ensure that no future employed pregnant women will look at the prospect of a couple months’ unpaid leave and decide that they’d rather have money for rent and food than have a baby, the people Jesus is chastising include you.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Did this happen to you or someone you know? Was there a friend of yours who was hungry and food was withheld until she read the bible? Really? I’m not sneering at anyone for not taking help. It’s irritating and feels like a waste of time to talk to you to have you turn things upside down or take it ten miles too far. A reasonable reply instead of exaggerating would be helpful.

    Maybe I don’t understand your question about pregnant women with jobs. Do you mean why won’t I lobby congress to pass legislation to make all companies provide paid maternity leave? I’ll leave that task to you. I think I addressed this at the very beginning. I said that I’m not standing in your way if you want to lobby congress for this, but demanding that faith-based organizations champion this along with all the other benefits you want included is wrong. We already talked about the morality vs. morality angle. You are trying to persuade on this point by saying that it will save babies from abortion if the paid maternity leave passes. If you insult Christians, Christianity and the man and words upon which their faith is based simply because you wonder why pro-life supporters won’t stand behind paid maternity leave, well then why don’t we save the insults and just talk about that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    http://www.gbcmpk.org/PoliciesAndProcedures.htm –scroll down to the part where that church refuses to be charitable to anyone who isn’t part of that church, and anyone who asks for help despite not being part of that church gets lectured on the necessity of being part of that church.

    Yes, do let’s talk about why you think women who work and who want to have babies should be punished for the latter by being denied a substantial fraction of the benefits of the former.

  • maddog23

    Joni Mitchell: “Oh come lets run from this ring we’re in where the Christians clap and the Germans grin…” The one assumption that turns my stomach is that comparison of the fetus and the lowly walnut. What does that really do for humanism?

  • EllieMurasaki

    If you have a better visual for fetus:baby::potential:actual than fetus:baby::walnut:tree, I’d love to hear it.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Again with the exaggerating. Am I ‘vehemently’ against your coworker getting paid maternity leave? The legislation will never pass in time to help her. Is there really no other option for her besides aborting the baby? Is there no help for her anywhere? What has she tried? I’m glad to try and help her get help and look at what is available.  You are very young, Ellie. As I said, you may be unaware of all that’s available already. Do you all live in a city or rural area?

    As for Matthew 25, do you feel that feeding the hungry and giving shelter to the homeless can only be done by government mandate? What about individual people? Your coworker is your coworker. Why would I be chastised for not helping her instead of you? You are right there close. Are you able to help her?

     Matthew 25 , “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He
    will sit on His glorious throne. All
    the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one

    Do you notice who is gathered before Christ here? All the nations. This is a prophecy of coming judgment. These aren’t just a bunch of Christians standing there being sorted out by who fought for the most government regulation to help to pay women’s rent and food while they stayed home to care for the baby they didn’t abort. We don’t know poverty here in the US like poverty is known in other parts of the world. Church and ministries send teams of people out as missionaries to build houses and bring food and medicine to needy people. When I was young, I wanted to train to travel on one of the Mercy Ships that bring medical care to places without. My life didn’t go that direction, but that ministry is still going. Did you know about it? There are so many other ways to meet needs besides government legislation. It may take several people helping, but that’s the way faith-based ministries work. It’s not just handing over the cash and walking away.

  • EllieMurasaki

    She has already had the baby, and I stand fully behind her choice to have the baby, but were I in her position I’d have gotten an abortion. She has an older child to think of as well as herself, and she was already working a second job to make ends meet, and I have no idea how she’s going to make ends meet now.

    I have student loans. I have done what I can to help my coworker but I cannot help her enough. Conveniently, however, I am not the only one capable of helping her. Mitt Romney has a fuckton of money; if he paid his fair share of taxes, the federal government would bring in ten or twenty million more a year, and that ten million would cover food for a year for several thousand people. Multiply that by however many people there are as rich as Romney, and we could eliminate hunger in this country. We really could. If Romney and his ilk took it into their collective head to eliminate hunger in this country via private charity, that would be equally effective, but they haven’t so I expect they won’t. And do keep in mind that one of the major driving factors of the abortion rate is the fear that the cost of caring for a new baby will make it difficult or impossible to feed oneself and one’s other dependents. If nobody in the US was afraid of going hungry, a lot fewer people in the US would get abortions.

    I am aware that there are both faith-based and secular programs in place to alleviate poverty in areas of the world that have more and worse poverty than the US. The faith-based programs have, as they have always had, the same problem there that they do here: they’re more interested in saving souls than lives. And lots of them have a couple other significant problems, namely, instead of asking the needs of the people they’re trying to help and addressing those needs, and instead of paying an expert to  do what needs done when their own skills are insufficient, they do what they think needs done and they do it themselves. Sometimes this means a horde of US teenagers build shacks for a Mexican village, shacks that will fall down in two months because neither the teenagers nor their chaperones are carpenters, because they think the village’s houses aren’t good enough shelter, when the villagers if asked would have said they’d much rather have a few dozen portable water purification systems because their children keep coming down with water-borne illnesses and they’re not worried that their houses are drafty, and for bonus points they’d like the teenagers (a Protestant church group) to stop implying that the villagers’ souls are in danger because the villagers, being Mexican Catholics, ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    And there’s absolutely no reason for you to imply that the worse problems elsewhere mean we don’t dare try to solve the problems here at home.

    You still have not given me a straight answer for why ‘having baby = two months with no pay’ is not in your opinion a problem that needs solving.

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Thank you! That link is very helpful. I’m not in California, but I see this is a local church with a benevolence ministry. They will help someone who is not a member in other ways besides giving money. Money help goes to the members and if possible, they prefer to provide vouchers…I’m guessing that’s more like gift certificates or gift cards for specific stores for food and I know our church would pay people’s utility bills. Why do you suppose their benevolence policies are this way? Why might a ministry attempt to help in ways that doesn’t include handing over cash? I can tell you from my own experience. I’ve done prison ministry and also ministry with people who have been released from prison or have substance abuse problems. Just giving cash is unwise. You need to find out more about the needs and try to actually meet needs and not conveniences as this church says they do. This policy is biblical:

    counsel the applicant to seek assistance in the following order of priority:
    Family (relatives),Home Fellowships,Benevolence Committee

    This is a biblical priority list. Family is the first line of help. It is their God given duty to help. Home fellowships would be the closest ones to you before approaching the church/ministry. So, as I said in another reply, meeting needs through actual hands of actual people is where faith-based ministries labor. Anyway, good link. Good example.

    As for the last statement you made, I already told you that I have worked at least part time most of my marriage. With my first child, I worked for a small company and they let me bring the baby in on the weekends and work all summer. With my second, I had saved up sick days and vacation days to help with my time off. I drove a schoolbus and was able to come back in the fall and bring the baby on the bus. With my 3rd child, I was self employed and I continued to work after he was born. I made my life work for my lifestyle. I didn’t rely on the government to come up with a way to make it work for me. If your coworker just can’t see her way to make it work at this late date, then help her, if you have the ability. Grace Bible will help her and she wouldn’t starve if she went to them, but they wouldn’t hand her $8000 either.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So what you’re saying is that my coworker should ask her employers if she can bring the baby to work with her, and when she is, as I’m sure she would be, turned down (I don’t know about the beauty salon, but my place of work, we’re on the phones all the time, and the last thing we need is a crying baby in the room), she should quit both jobs and look for one that’ll pay better or allow her to bring the baby with her. In this economy, where someone who loses a job is pretty much guaranteed not to get another one, never mind a better one. Or she should quit her jobs and start her own business. In this economy, where somebody looking for a loan to start a business with is shit out of luck unless their dad’s Mitt Romney, and half of all small businesses go under in the first five years.

    Yeah, that’s absolutely going to help her, I’ll pass on your advice when I see her next. What’s wrong with making her employers keep paying her while she’s out on parental leave?

  • Thecuriouscottage

    Well, let’s suppose that I found out that I was pregnant at the ripe old age of 45. My husband is disabled and I still have 3 other kids living here. If I intended to keep the baby myself and not abort or give it up for adoption, I would save all of my vacation time for my maternity leave. I would investigate my company policies on leave and find out what’s available. My company has short term disability at half pay. I would also cut back my expenses to. the. bone. It doesn’t matter to me what Mitt Romney has.

    As for your cynical statements about hordes of US teenagers building shoddy shelter, I take exception to that. My 16yo son is a skilled carpenter with all of his certificates for commercial and residential construction. He has build 2 Habitat houses. I have numerous missionary friends and family and you persist in the insults of faith-based ministry. I am glad to talk to you about things, as you seem to be only aware of things about which you can make sweeping generalizations and instantly declare that they are worthless. I need to get to bed now. Keep on helping your coworker and let me know if you actually want me to look into ways to help her.


  • Thecuriouscottage

    I never took out a loan. I just started working. So, she’s a beautician? She could certainly do that on her own. What’s wrong with making you pay her while she’s out on parental leave?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, so your son’s a fine carpenter. Awesome for him. Most teenagers aren’t. And if you were to become pregnant right now, you’d be in a much better position re taking care of the child if you got paid parental leave that wasn’t your vacation time or your sick time. Also, pregnancy is not a disability, what the fuck.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You seem to be implying that rather than go into debt to get the college degree that will allow me to get a better-paid job, I should settle for making thirteen dollars an hour forever. What have I done to offend you such that you wish to condemn me to a lifetime of scraping by?

    I do not have eight thousand dollars lying around. If I did, I’d be delighted to write my coworker a check, but I don’t. Our employer, however, does have eight thousand dollars lying around, and there’s no reason why that money shouldn’t go towards the paychecks my coworker’s missing. The only reason it doesn’t go towards those paychecks is because employers are notoriously difficult to persuade to do anything that cuts into profits; if the law requires paid parental leave, they’ll provide it, but not otherwise.

    Why should the law not require paid parental leave? How does it benefit infants and parents of infants to not have paid parental leave?