Today the world learned that Pope Francis is Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
It’s a little surprising, isn’t it? I mean, why choose this guy when the field included candidates like Edward Snowden, Bashar al-Assad, and MILEY FREAKIN’ CYRUS?
In Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs’ words: “a focus on compassion….rejects the pomp and privilege… embracing complexity…”
Like the complexity behind a woman’s desire to delay motherhood by using contraception? Like the complexity that informs her decision to terminate a pregnancy?
I can’t think of anything MORE complex in a woman’s life than her reproductive health and its consequences for her future. So far the new pope has shown little interest in changing the status quo when it comes to Catholic policy regarding women’s reproductive freedom.
I’m not a Catholic–I was baptized in 1971, but it didn’t take. Still, I have an vested interest in the happenings in the Catholic Church due to its undue influence on American social policy. Remember the sway that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had on the Affordable Care Act waaaay back in 2009 and 2010? I know you do.
Apparently the church is conducting a survey among the faithful to discern just what the heck they think of all this gay marriage, divorce and whatnot that’s been happening in the culture since Vatican II. So far there’s no indication that the results will push Catholic hospitals to start offering emergency care for women whose unviable pregnancies are at risk of killing them. This recent article at RH Reality Check has a great breakdown of the stranglehold Catholic directives have on the providing of health care throughout the United States, and what the ACLU and plaintiff Tamesha Means are doing about it. I am VERY grateful that Tamesha Mean is alive to tell her story, unlike Samhita Halappanavar.
Maybe Tamesha Means should be Time’s Person of the Year, instead.
photo credit: ACLU
I get that Francis looks like he might be a kinder, gentler Pope, but for women, there is no social justice without reproductive justice.