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I am troubled from time to time by politically correct labels. It seems that the media somehow gets to choose labels by which people are often unfairly stigmatized in a bad way, or maybe equally unfairly promoted as something they are not.

Take, for example, the headline on the Sunday, April 7 Opinion page “Anti-Abortion. . . .” ("Anti-abortion movement has momentum, but needs to move gradually"). I think it likely that if media labels were to be fair, the correct label would be “Pro-life movement. . . .”

I cannot say that I am one hundred percent anti-abortion because I am fully aware that there are times when abortion is necessary in order to save the life of the mother. On the other hand, I cannot say that I am one hundred percent pro-life because I am fully aware of the previously stated fact.

Having spent the first 20 years of my life in a homestead community in an isolated area of the frontier where we had no services of any kind for many miles around, I had opportunity to help quite a few newborns into the world. It was always an awesome, positive emotional experience.

On the other hand, I was called upon one time to perform an abortion to save the life of the mother. That was an awesomely grotesque and horrid emotional experience. To me there is something very special about new life, and something very traumatic about the end of life, especially the end of a young life. Consequently, I oppose abortion for any other reason than saving the mother. And I especially oppose abortion that is provided for free by my tax dollars.

This practice sends a terrible message to young people. It encourages them to start having sex before they know how to be responsible in any of life’s serious responsibilities. I have heard girls in my own family, as young as grade-school age say “I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I’ll just have an abortion.”

This is not what I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be taught. But I don’t seem capable to over-teach what they are learning elsewhere.

I have heard it said that as a man I should have no opinion on a woman’s right to choose. The Supreme Court has ruled on the issue. Case closed.

But I am involved, and not by my own choice. I see no place in the Supreme Court ruling saying that abortions must be free and paid for by the government. I feel like I am compelled to support abortion on demand through my taxes. I have every right to care about how my tax dollars are spent. I have every right to oppose the practice of abortion for social convenience.

This practice is amazingly divisive. The people who support the practice have not done their part to reduce this divisiveness by forming non-profit, non-tax supported organizations, for funding the practice they promote. I feel that this has put me in a corner where no discussion or compromise can take place.

I recently watched the movie "Unplanned." I was way uncomfortable at first. I thought I was going to see some really grotesque and graphic stuff. However, I saw nothing that even begins to compare to the horrific visual experience of a real-life abortion.

Now I will make a small confession. Except for two of my own children who were born at home, my experience of bringing newborns into the world, and of performing an abortion, was involving cows and calves. I was fully desensitized to the act of killing animals, having been called upon many times to kill jackrabbits by the hundreds in order to save our crops for our cattle.

That was very grotesque and agonizing at first, but it became less and less so, until finally it became a sport to kill jackrabbits. A very good Indian friend told me I had bad case of The Great White Hunter Syndrome. (I’m grateful to say I got cured of that eventually).

Back to when I performed an abortion, I quickly discovered I was not as desensitized as I thought I was. I was deeply and negatively affected by that experience. I still cringe when I think about it these many years later. I was very relieved that the movie was not as grotesque as the real thing.

Jon Garate

Deer Park

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