Birth Control as a Human Right – Toledo Protest

On Friday, February 6, about a dozen protesters gathered outside St. Anne’s Hospital on Secor Road in Toledo, Ohio.  This protest was organized by the Toledo Chapter of the National Organization for Women (see Toledo NOW facebook page), it also supported by Occupy Toledo.  The purpose of this protest was to advocate for birth is a human right.  This was triggered by the recent decision by the Obama administration to require that organizations owned by religious groups must provide birth as part of their plans.  This rule does not require that religious groups themselves must provide birth as part of group plans to their employees, only to those employees that work in organizations owned by religious groups, such as a hospital.Birth Control is a Human Right - Toledo Protest

Anita Rios, of Toledo chapter of N.O.W., demonstrating for birth as a human right (photo courtesy of The Toledo Blade).

I went to this protest.  When I pulled into the massive empty parking lot of St. Anne’s Hospital, I was greeted by two of their guards.  They immediately asked, “Are you from Occupy Toledo?” Indicating that I was there for the protest, they told me that I could not park there.  Now, that’s what I call radical hospitality!  I recognize the right of private property, but I can’t help but find it ironic, that respecting the right of a woman to be the steward of her own body and her own life is trumped by a claim of religious freedom.  Personally, I consider conscience and religious freedom, the stewardship of one’s soul, the most thing in which we are entrusted.  Also, I recognize that conscience and the functions of the state will inevitably come into at certain points. The only question I would ask, that when and the state comes into conflict, can one tell the difference between a and the state.  I find nationalism as a is completely repugnant and patently idolatrous.  I will stand against such every opportunity I am afforded.  In the same vein, when I find that religion functions largely as just another interest in society, it profoundly diminishes its role in society. So, how does one tell the difference between a and the state?  I would submit that a willingness to one’s own interests for a larger good, and ever larger good, is a way of living that points to the ever “more” that is. Of course, with nationalism, that ever larger good comes to an abrupt end at our geopolitical borders and a rather crass commitment to our national interest ( as opposed to a global interest, or an interest in protecting creation).  With religion, the demarcation of giving up on an ever larger good is usually at the boundary of that religion’s institution.  This is where conventional takes over.  In the case of Christianity, the gospel becomes foolishness.  The profound and texts that speak about dying in order to be born anew are too large to be held within the boundaries of an institution.  In more practical terms, this is seen as sacrifice, self-sacrifice, giving up something of lesser value for something of greater value.  I am eagerly waiting to see the Roman Church’s response to this between and state.  If, in fact, the reality for the Roman Catholic is that its is sacred, then I would expect that they would be willing to pay a large price in order to see that its becomes manifest in the world.  Let me be clear.  When I say being willing to pay a large price, I mean that they themselves are willing to pay a large price, not forcing others to pay a large price.  The latter is simply the ways of the world, conventional wisdom, bad news.  If the Roman Catholic is willing to take on huge fines to witness to the importance and value of this that they hold to be true, then they will earn a commensurate measure of from me.

Birth Control as Human Right Protesters in Toledo, Ohio

Toledo Protesters Demonstrating for Birth as a Human Right

Defending and promoting one’s is costly, typically in direct proportion to the value of those values.  I was delighted to join a dozen or so protesters who were willing to put a little skin in the game, invest a little time, enter the fray, risk ridicule and misunderstanding, etc. to demonstrate how much they value birth as a human right. May many more join the fight for this and other human rights!

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