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Tonight on Fox! Schindlers' Granddaughter!

Think it couldn't possibly be worse? Think again. House Bill 1042 is in process......

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 30, 2005.

One of the least welcome innovations of the last twenty five years is the extended time given to victims in court to address whomever was convicted of hurting them. If, say, the woman who was stabbed by a thief wants to vent on him at his sentencing, I hardly see anything wrong with that. But when her mother, cousin, friends and five year old get to yell as well – the youngster provided with keywords and phrases for sound byte possibility – that has nothing to do with either justice or trial or succor for the actual victim. That’s just public relations for the judge and legal profession hoping for extended television coverage, and it’s bogus, contrived, and unlikely to reflect either real feelings or issues, much less justice. If you believe it does, you also believe that Reality TV is real, and that having a camera in your face doesn’t affect how you act, react, and live.

Recently, a variant of this issue was literally played in the Colorado House of Representatives. A woman who claimed to have been raped and impregnated, circumstances unclear, took the time to play a recording of the resultant daughter singing “Jesus Loves Me” to the supposedly melting hearts of the lawmakers. Who were there to consider a new law. That law, House Bill 1042, says that all health care providers in the state must offer information and referrals on how to get pills that let rape victims avoid pregnancy. Not provide the service, necessarily, but just reveal the information for the patient to make her own choice. The patient would be a most likely recently raped woman. While Catholic Hospitals would have to reveal the choices, they would not have to do the procedure or provide the pills in question that would prevent pregnancy if taken soon after the rape. That, so their religion is not compromised.

This is of issue, we are to believe, because our Governor Bill Owens, now separated from his wife, is Catholic. It’s given heightened importance because Pope John Paul himself went on feeding tube today, just like fellow alleged Catholic Terri Schiavo has had for over a decade. Schiavo is being allowed to die as of this writing unless a Court – which yesterday accepted cert to hear an appeal - rules to reinsert the feeding tube. On day thirteen without food and water, it’s rather moot. Even for a person with a fully functioning brain, which she has not had for a while, it might be hard to recover at this point.

But here’s the horror. If Terri Schiavo had been raped in her current condition pre-tube removal sometime in the last fifteen years – and ladies and gentlemen, that and worse happen in the institutions of this nation – and by that rape impregnated, there are those who would mandate the child be delivered even if in the hours after the rape a pill or procedure could prevent the pregnancy. There are some fewer, but still formidable numbers, who would mandate that once pregnant, she deliver.

Of course, the people who believe that her husband is lying and that she would really, really want to live with the tube for decade on decade being unable to process anything above cerebral cortex, probably also are the ones who believe that she should, if the situation occurred, be a mother. God’s will and all. Of course, if human beings didn’t practice medicine, which clearly is designed to thwart both God and nature’s will, most of these other issues wouldn’t exist, anyway.

Regardless of the mother’s identity, you can’t instantaneously tell by glance or test if the woman is pregnant or not, if the egg is about to announce a race winner or is already fertilized and going into nesting mode, and if she is - and such pills as are under consideration are taken - they would provide, in effect, an abortion. And there you go. I realize this is misdirection and legalese point avoidance, and I hate that as much as you in law and conversation, so let’s just say the issues raised by the Bill are only tangent to rape and primarily about birth control and abortion. When politicians start talking about family and protecting children unless they have to raise taxes, they expect to be rewarded for it. Inspiring times.

So among the small favors we have today, imagine a slightly altered universe with Bob and Mary Schindler playing a tape of their granddaughter singing “Jesus Loves Me” to the United States House of Representatives. All those henna-haired globs of unrisen dough and illegal campaign funding, alertly electric with excitement, with constricted throat and moist eye, summer homes and trophy wives with a replacement in the wings, unclear on how to position themselves for the press after adjournment. Jesus may love you, kiddo, but don’t for a moment think those guys do. Once born, you’re on your own.

You pray? Thank God tonight for one Reality Show we’ve avoided, would you? "Tonight on Fox!! The Schindler's Granddaughter!" Mention that with sincere passion and grace. Because he doesn't listen to me.