My purpose in these posts is to bring a variety of Christian and other writers in a desire to share significant writings that in my estimation contribute to the common good and directly or indirectly give glory to God and extend the Lord's work of salvation to all of humanity. G.S.
There is without question in our day - last summer and now the fall of 2019 - a rapid awakening and excitation of human awareness and related movement of human uprising over the rapid changes to the global environment of Planet Earth. The science is massively in and it is no longer logical to deny these changes: rapid melting of glaciers and ice caps, warming and acidification of the oceans and seas with resulting coral deaths and algae blooms, rising of sea levels, intensification of tropical storms and other storm systems, increasingly severe material damage and human injury and death due to severe storms, flooding, and, ironically, droughts, and the rapidly increasing occurrence of extinctions of living organisms.
We would expect this shift in human awareness and concerns to move citizens to shift from political parties lethargic to take remedial actions for the environment towards parties apparently committed to take remedial if not radical actions to stop further degredation of the global environment, such as in Canada the Green Party.
I joined the Green Party of Canada before the previous election, but when I received no coherent reply to certain questions, in the end I decided to vote for another party in order to bring to an end what I perceived at the time as dictatorial use of the PMO - Prime Minister's Office - to silence MP's and cut short dialogue and in effect limit cooperation.
My questions to the Green Party of Canada and its leadership touch on questions often considered to be moral issues, but actually my question addresses the very foundation of the term "green".
This political party is "green" and calls itself Green because it intends to champion the cause of the natural environment of Planet Earth for its own sake and for the good of humanity dwelling in and living as part of this natural environment. That's very good.
So "green" means doing all we can as human beings to protect and favor the flourishing of all living things on this planet, on the earth, underneath in the soil, on and in the waters - fresh waters and salt seas and oceans - in and on the trees, and in the air throughout the atmosphere. So we are "green" when we protect, care for, cultivate, and make judicious and good use of all living things. We are just beginning to understand that his also means to care for the soil with all its microorganisms which play such a crucial role in the development and productivity of plants, our main food source.
So what then is my question or problem?
Why, in not only the Green Party of Canada but also in the other parties that claim to champion the cause of our natural environment, do all these people consider the philosophy and policy of "green" to be inapplicable to human beings?
Women's health and well being
We Canadians are in great solidarity, for the most part, in continuing to commit ourselves to the gains made in the past century towards achieving, maintaining, and assuring equal rights and opportunity, health care and social services for women and children as well as for men.
It is true that there were women who suffered injury and even death when attempting to have an abortion when these were offered by doctors with questionable credentials or competence and in clinics under poor conditions. The Government of Canada brought these medical procedures into the health care system; so it is now less likely for a woman to suffer such injuries or death.
A woman's right to choose
Much propaganda is imposed on the whole population around a woman's right to choose her care. It is misdirecting and misleading propaganda because it obscures something else that is happening when a woman has an abortion. The unborn baby is terminated, killed, sucked out in a violent and bloody act or poisoned and burned by some sort of intense saline solution, both painful procedures from the point of view of that baby.
We go home content to know that we are upholding women's rights to choose their proper health care, but why are we so unwilling to uphold those same rights for the most vulnerable among us, the baby that has yet to be born into this world and cannot yet speak up for itself?
More pertinently for this discussion, why are we continuing to impose abortion as the only solution for issues of pregnant women's health care in those cases where the pregnant woman does not want the baby, is not able to afford the baby, is not ready to have that baby, or whatever the reason may be?
Why not champion babies as well as women whenever possible?
Why are we so unwilling to champion both lives, that of the pregnant woman as well as that of the unborn baby? All too often, the oppressive attitudes and social conditions known to hold women as captive as slaves in previous centuries persist today, but in a different mode.
A pregnant woman may not have the support of the male who fathered that baby, either because they are not married or because he does not want the baby or not yet, or because he is afraid for whatever reason. Under difference circumstances, she may be alone or young and still living with her parents. The conditions and circumstances will be as varied and different as women are unique.
It is almost impossible to believe that women would be so callous as to have no feelings whatsoever about a new life growing within them. It would be a rare woman who would consider a new baby as a dangerous enemy to be destroyed as soon as possible, but not unreasonable or difficult to understand how a woman might find the pregnancy itself, the change in her circumstances, as problematic.
We as a people have sufficient moral character and social fortitude, I believe, to champion both lives. Political parties - especially one so bold as to call itself "green" - should be able to not only preserve the practice of medical abortions within the health care system, but also to develop a far more robust support system across Canada to encourage all pregnant women troubled by their pregnancey to get the help they need in order to give their new baby - however unwanted by them - a chance to live.
Pregnant women need real support in real time, not oratory or political speeches
These women would need support throughout their pregnancy and then, after the birth, support as they get ready to surrender their baby for adoption. Instead of living through their months of pregnancy with dread and then having to endure the life long effects of having experienced the highly invasive procedure of abortion - no thinking human being can deny the violence of terminating this human life; these women wound discover the option they have of carrying their unwanted baby with love, knowing that they will lovingly transfer their baby to a set of parents willing and eager to do so.
For women who would avail themselves of this option to give birth to their baby, it would be better for the baby, better for the adoptive parents in the case of an adoption, better for the mother to not have the burden of having ended a life, better for the mother who in the end decides to keep her baby, better for the "absent father" who may experience a change and choose to take responsibility for the child as well as for its mother, better for the whole family that can rejoice in the welcome of a new life rather than conceal under cover of secret the termination of that life, and better for Canada.
Now that would be a more truly "green" policy and practice, if not entirely green.
Is contraception green? Could it be green if we wanted it to be green?
What about contraception? Again the propaganda would have us not touch this by claiming it has to do with a woman's right to choose her own health care. How is it health care for us human beings to treat our own human condition as something that needs to be medicated?
There has probably never been so much infertility in human history as there has been since the introduction and regular use of the contraceptive pill. The propaganda around the introduction and later the continued marketing of the pill claimed to "free women" from the confines of their fertility cycle, but the evidence since 1961 shows the opposite effects. Women have never been so reduced to the level of a commodity or object to be used as since then. When people had a little more respect of the mystery of human fertility, men in particular but also women were more inclined to have respect for their bodies and their whole self.
When the respect or more basic "fear" of fertility was removed, the floodgate was opened for women to conduct themselves "as freely as men", but the result was not Utopia or Paradise on Earth. If truth be told, women are less happy or fulfilled now than ever before.
How can we be "green" when we assist in our own social disintegration?
For men the collapse has been even more complete and tragic. Whatever their faults may have been in previous generations, at the very least most men could at least be credited for showing respect for the women in their lives and for women of all ages in general. The sexual revolution accompanied by the launch of the pill made it easy for men to reduce women to objects for their pleasure, in one stroke surrendering or abandoning their male role of protector and reducing themselves to narcissists.
The ravages are everywhere to be observed and lamented: selfish and uncommited adult women and men, disintegrated families, single parents that are mostly mothers, absent or non-existent fathers, unfathered lost rebellious adolescents, adult children who never leave their parents' home and never grow up or take full responsibility for their life and contribution to society, ever increasing violence in a downward spiral sapping the life from human society. Individual citizens can and do try to do all they can to cultivate life in their own home and family and around them, but the "ungreen" human policies of our political parties will not do anything to remedy the situation but only ensure that it gets worse.
Medically assisted dying
The reason we now have a law in Canada obliging medical staff to aid people to hasten their dying is because a good cause was made for those people who apparently were suffering to a degree that had become impossible to endure any longer. It has proven difficult if not impossible to argue against the new policy now enshrined in law. We who are currently living on Planet Earth have developed a high intolerance for pain and suffering, perhaps losing sight of the values human being have nonetheless found in their suffering since the dawn of time.
Not unlike pregnant women who are troubled by an unexpected pregnancy combined with the lack of support, or in some cases their perceived lack of support, for continuing their pregnancy and bringing the baby to term - for whatever eventual outcome - there is a similar crisis in the case of those who want to hasten the time of their death.
Normal human beings under normal circumstances generally want to live and to live as long as they possibly can. Life is worth living as Bishop Fulton Sheen used to say. That perspective can and does change when people get sick or are injured and suffer and experience pain on various levels.
Why are our public institutions so intent on imposing abortion as the only solution to an unwanted pregnancy? Now in this case, why are our public institutions so intent on imposing medical aid in dying as the only solution for the person who wants an end of their suffering?
Encouraging or supporting a patient to hasten the ending of their life through in effect a medical execution makes a very violent statement about the value of human life. It is understandable that one who is dying and enduring suffering and pain they no longer feel able to sustain could, then, in the absence of any other solution, desire to die. Those who are in such a painful situation could also be expected to not want to kill themselves but prefer to welcome their death as coming from outside. What is unfortunate is that this new law in Canada in effect and in truth makes of medical healers and practitioners nothing less than executioners.
How is this a "green" policy and practice?
Our societies are not stuck in the stone age. Incredible advances have been achieved just in the past few decades in caring for the dying. Just a few generations ago when people reached a point when the medical staff could no longer heal them, the medical staff tended to scatter and abandon them. Why? Because it is uncomfortable for medical staff to admit they can no longer offer healing to patients who are, in effect, dying. Medical staff would normally want to help their patients, but in the absence of anything to do, it is easier to simply stay away and let the family and friends, if any, take over.
What's to prevent us from creating a national Palliative Care program?
A whole new branch of medicine has developed since the 1970's called palliative care. It is medical care that simply has a different goal than the regular medical establishment which seeks to heal. For palliative care, the goal is to temper pain and suffering with expert medical care and medication, but also and more importantly to provide the patient with a supportive environment and opporunity for them - with or without their family and or friends if any - to ponder and make sense of their life, to realize the value and contribution of their life, to discover what they have accomplished but also to learn from what they have failed or been unable to do. Most of all, this complex medical goal in the giving of quality palliative care is to help the patient make of their death a meaningful moment, if not the most meaningful moment of their life.
Now these would be more completely "green" medical policies, don't you think?
© 2004-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal QC
© 2004-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC
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