As I like to keep this Yoga Matrika blog focused on yoga and take a mindful approach to all issues, I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to bring this highly charged issue to the blog. I decided to bring it here, not to have a debate on abortion—right or wrong? Legal or illegal? Instead, I wanted to question and explore what happens when we fail to use all of our intelligence to consider challenging questions. The original posting is below and it is from the Women’s Health Policy Report that is put out weekly by the National Partnership for Women and Families.
The issue in the article, in case what I have already said has infuriated you or led you to believe that you don’t want to or just can’t read any further, is that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have made a clarification on abortion. Direct abortion is when you terminate a pregnancy for the only purpose of terminating the pregnancy. In summary, direct=bad, very bad, super bad. Indirect is when a pregnancy is terminated in order to save the life of the mother. In summary, indirect=bad, very bad, super bad, but allowable in extraordinary circumstances.
When I read this, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Part of me wanted to laugh out loud thinking about all the meetings and arguments of the men in charge as they debated the difference between direct and indirect abortions. Seriously, any woman who has ever been pregnant and any man who has ever known a pregnant woman knows that this kind of dialogue fails to reflect the mysteries of the whole situation, never mind the realities of pregnancy, miscarriage and abortion. Certainly, any family that has faced the terrible situation of weighing the continuation of a pregnancy vs. the life of the mother, wife, daughter, WOMAN, would assure all of us dear readers that there is no worse hell imaginable. Considering the state of health care for women in the United States, this type of dialogue also seems to steal the stage from the more banal and everyday questions of health for women—not just our reproductive status, but our hearts and minds. Why isn’t the leadership group of any religion focused on addressing the incredible health disparities in our country? Why is the maternal and infant mortality rate so very high here in the United States when we have the resources that we have? Another part of me wanted to cry because these men, men who have made a significant lifetime commitment to their spiritual practice and service of their communities, have missed something important—-how could time invested in this madness ever produce a more positive human experience for anyone? How is this in service of God? While I imagine that those who feel differently about the issue at hand than I do would be delighted to tell me with great passion about how this is very much so in service, it still seems a fair question—at least philosophically, if not otherwise.
How is this related to yoga? This is yoga. A very wise and brilliant student at Yoga Matrika recently communicated her revelation that what happens in her life is her practice. What happens on her yoga mat is just a trial run. What we realize through yoga practice is that just when we think we have the answer, the game shifts. Life is like being invited onto Jeopardy and practicing for months only to find yourself, with no notice, as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune! Direct or indirect, perhaps we can just use this as a public example of what happens when we use our brains to attempt to find logic in what we need to bring our higher intelligence to.
I invite you to read this article and think of a time when you struggled to make logic of a situation in which there is no logic. Thinking back on this time, see if you can now, even with hindsight, go back to the process and use your deeper intelligence to make peace. To do this, sitting on a chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor or in a comfortable seated pose on the ground gently create distance between your lowest rib and your hips. As you feel the sides of your body lengthen, bring your navel center over your pelvis. This allows your pelvis to support your enteric nervous system—-otherwise known as your gut. Now, bring your heart over your navel. This allows your heart to be supported by your instincts. Now, gentle tuck your chin towards your heart so that your neck lengthens and you relax your facial muscles. This allows your brain to be supported by your intuition and your heart. Watch your breath for a few moments and feel the peace that comes from equanimity. Even if it is just for a moment. Isn’t it a relief to take the world off your shoulders? Now, breathe this sense of peace and calm to everyone in the world. Let us all heal and put our energy into work that benefits the health and wellness of all living things.
Catholic Bishops Clarify Abortion Definitions in Light of Ariz. Case
June 28, 2010 — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops‘ Committee on Doctrine released a statement last week clarifying how the church classifies direct abortions and indirect abortions, the Arizona Republic reports.
The statement refers to a recent case in which Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator at a Catholic hospital in Arizona, was excommunicated for her role in authorizing an abortion to save a woman’s life. The statement did not review the particulars of the case or take a position on the excommunication; instead, it said USCCB wanted to clarify “confusion” about the church’s stance on abortion.
According to the Republic, the church condemns direct abortion — meant to terminate a pregnancy — but permits indirect abortion — in which fetal death is a secondary effect of another necessary procedure — in some cases, such as a hysterectomy to treat uterine cancer. “As the church has said many times, direct abortion is never permissible because a good end cannot justify an evil means,” the statement said, adding, “There are no situations in which it can be justified.”
The statement “appears to confirm” the Phoenix bishop’s classification of the Arizona case as a direct abortion, the Republic reports (Clancy, Arizona Republic, 6/25). In the case, the young mother of four was 11 weeks pregnant and had pulmonary hypertension, a rare condition in which continuing the pregnancy often jeopardizes the life of the woman. Physicians concluded that the placenta had to be removed to prevent the patient from dying (Women’s Health Policy Report, 6/9).
Posted by Sharon Rudyk, owner of Yoga Matrika http://www.yogamatrika.com/