to John McCravy, Micah Caskey, Heather Crawford, Chandra Dillard, Jackie Hayes, Rosalyn Henderson-Myers, David Hiott, Jeff Johnson, Josiah Magnuson, travis, Melissa Oremus, David Weeks, michael rivers
Dear Honorable Members of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Abortion,
I live in Michael Rivers’ district in Beaufort SC and my husband is on the school board. I represent the views of many people in my area as I also minister to many people and have a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. The people I am in touch with are not only in my local area but live throughout the state due to my volunteer work in disability advocacy, belonging to many groups for parents and mothers.
Thank you for your service and thank you for your hearts. There is no tougher spot to be in when it comes to trying to do right by others and feeling confused. But for each and everyone of you, I pray that you release and let go of any beliefs that you cling to at the moment and listen. In the past, when I tried to help my son, I did so by doing too much for him. The results were not good, it did not help him become more mature. It created conflict and became a test of wills. It’s a hard line to manage when encouraging a child to grow into independence. When I used to work at Blue Cross of South Carolina, I did business process redesign. We would observe different departments and help to grow to become more efficient. Since the departments did not report to us, we would have to work with everyone to come to the best solution that would work to achieve the best results. We had no authority to direct people to do what they felt would work because sometimes the problems were bigger than what the whole organization had control over. We had to respect that there was a middle ground that could work for everyone.
Right now, in the state of South Carolina, we do not have enough social programs to help the mothers who choose to carry children to full term. We do not have enough social programs to help mothers raise children in the best manner that benefits the child and eventual society, as we all know that kids raised in healthy environments benefit our society. I know this as I have a developmentally disabled child and to “work the system” to get him help was next to impossible. This was due to things like the state not paying enough to attract ABA providers to live here. This therapy was critical to the outcome to make him as independent as he could be. From being a parent advocate in my community, I know the same is true for mental health providers. We do not have enough resources in South Carolina, even if one is a private pay, to help people learn what they need to learn to become a good parent in these challenging times. We also do not have programs for mothers trapped in situations of domestic abuse. We live in a culture that is set up so that mothers are dependent on a single man for support, when in fact all children born and raised are eventual inputs into our labor system. Mothers are birthing and raising children to supply our labor system and to be caregivers of us all when we get old and need care. Anyone with a loved one at home or in a nursing facility can understand that caregiving is difficult and family members end up doing this work with little or no support resources. So, we have a whole lot of things going on in our state that are not supportive of child birth, child raising, and caregiving.
Currently, if a woman gets pregnant, the option does not exist for her to give birth and raise the child if she does not have the means to do so. Her only options are adoption and abortion. Without the option to raise the child herself, adoption and abortion are only concessions, neither is a true choice. Additionally, there are medical reasons that women can not safely give birth. Add this to the fact that we do not treat women equally, we do not respect women (or there wouldn’t be rape or violence), and we do not value the unpaid work of mothers. As people who care for our community and state, we have a whole lot of work to do before anyone even thinks legislating abortion solves the problem of “saving children.”
But back to my first point. Not only can we not make adults do what we want them to do, it is unholy. When we insist that someone does what we want them to do, right or wrong in anyone’s mind, the result is an automatic pushback. To the point of it being unholy will involve a true openness to understand the Bible in a way that may not have been applied to this topic.
Nowhere in sacred scripture does God or Jesus tell us to control our neighbors. God gave us all free will. And Jesus tells us to treat our neighbors like ourselves. I will leave you with the following Bible quotes from three of the Gospels.
- So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
- Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)
- The Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:28-34)
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31
the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Let’s try to help and not condemn each other. The solution we all seek is in making life better for each other through love and understanding through programs to help mothers birth and raise children as well as help for people to care for their disabled and elderly family members. Mothers do this work; caring, loving, women. Make it easier on mothers to do what is right by their children and they will rise to the occasion. Make it safe for women to raise children without depending on violent men. Legislating abortion is counterproductive. It causes us to waste time and resources on things that do not directly support the overall care of all of our children and loved ones.
May the peace and love of God be with you all,
Rev. Jill Striebinger, ARCWP