Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
On the Greater Meaning of “Pro-Life”
The term “pro-life” has taken on a singular meaning, essentially becoming a synonym in our public discourse for “anti-abortion.”
The fate of the fetus is a moral discussion well worth having. But anyone who is truly pro-life can see that life also needs our protection in other critical ways. Protecting life includes caring about the quality of life of prospective mothers in difficult or terrible circumstances, and that of the children they would have. Protecting life includes caring about the deaths that will occur as women, in desperation, pursue illegal abortions when safe and legal ones become unavailable.
Outside the realm of childbirth, there are myriad policies that are focused on the protection of life. Affordable health insurance and health care are life-or-death requirements for everyone. Gun reforms would reduce mass shootings, homicides, and suicides. Our health and safety depend on strengthening critical environmental protections to remove the toxins that surround us. Shouldn’t all of these be part of any pro-life platform, aggressively pursued?
But far more significant is the greatest pro-life challenge of all: protecting all future generations from the unprecedented danger of climate change. If ever we are to stand up for the protection of life, this is the issue that demands our fullest attention. Millions all over the planet face a future of escalating suffering, political destabilization, and widespread death from heat, famine, drought, flooding, and violent storms, on a scale never before seen in human history. Entire regions of the planet are predicted to be become uninhabitable in just a few more decades. Anyone who is truly pro-life would recognize that we face a rapidly intensifying and deeply dangerous climate crisis, which demands bold and immediate action.
“Pro-life” must mean much more than insisting that all fertilized eggs or potential human beings come to term. We have a planet to save, entire nations of people to protect, untold suffering to prevent, in our own country as well as all over the world. Showing up as truly pro-life – beyond a single-issue focus - means caring deeply about all of these things, and demanding that our political leaders take the kind of brave and bold action that is required to seriously address these challenges. All the children being born now and in the coming decades deserve our protection. If we do not protect them, who will?
Great response to Ukraine benefit
We have proof…there really are good people in this world!
The response to the War Sucks for Children campaign to benefit children in Ukraine has been phenomenal. The plight of children ravaged by war touched the hearts of people in our community and beyond and inspired them to give generously.
To date, the campaign has donated over $31,000 to UNICEF in support of the children affected by the war in Ukraine. For the group of retired teachers who organized and implemented this crazy idea our entire careers were dedicated to doing “what’s best for kids.” Even in retirement that objective has never wavered or diminished. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank everyone who supported our endeavor and helped us to answer a call of children in need. Lastly, special thanks go to our former student, Mike Heaton, for connecting us to UNICEF and lending considerable time and expertise to our project.
Patty Madden, Bev Alderson, Rosemary Peck, Kimn Hassenfritz, Kristi Emerson, Pat Heusmann, Anita Hampton
Juneteenth is a big deal!
The emancipation of over 4 million blacks chained by enslavement was a huge step forward in the development and progress of our nation. And changes to the Constitution that followed that great day on June 19, 1865, enshrined citizenship upon these former slaves. Why would we not want to celebrate this event?
Juneteenth is now a National Holiday. I believe every American should celebrate this day especially if you are planning on celebrating July 4. These two dates, June 19 and July 4, are two sides of the same freedom coin. You cannot celebrate one without the other. I would say that if you don’t see the need to celebrate Juneteenth, even as a white person, then you really don’t understand the meaning and significance of July 4.
The freeing of over 4 million Blacks at the end of the Civil War expanded our understanding of freedom and what our country stands for. Lincoln hinted at this in the Gettysburg Address when he said, “that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Juneteenth represents that new birth, the inclusion of millions of previously forgotten and deliberately excluded residents whose labor built the nation’s infrastructure and wealth.
Despite the way Blacks were treated after the Reconstruction period, the freeing of enslaved people was a step toward becoming a “more perfect union.” We are still working and striving to become more united, more just, and more inclusive. And by celebrating Juneteenth, white, black, brown, we are taking another step toward perfecting the nation and creating national unity.
Freedom is intertwined among all people. If anyone experiences oppression or injustice it is a threat to everyone’s freedom. We need to understanding that the United States will succeed to the degree that we include the excluded, recognize the marginalized, raise up the oppressed, bring justice to those treated unjustly, and lock arms together to bring about equality.
Freedom is not a finite commodity. It is self-perpetuating. The more it is given the more it multiplies. Those with a privileged belief see the expansion of freedom and equality as a threat. Nothing could be further from the truth. Freedom breeds more freedom as it is given, acquired and shared.
In the community of Washington there are a series of events planned by local groups to celebrate Juneteenth this year. Starting June 12, there will be daily events that will provide fun, education and fellowship for all residents to enjoy. Washington for Justice, as the primary sponsor, invites all residents to come and celebrate Juneteenth with us, share the freedom and help us build a more perfect union. It is a fitting and proper prelude to the July 4th celebration that we are all used to. With the addition of Juneteenth to our freedom celebration, we can begin to see the whole period between June 19 and July 4 as Freedom Season. Please come out and join us.
Women will die without abortion access
I worked in a hospital before Roe v. Wade was passed. While working in obstetrics, I saw women die because they did not have access to legal abortions. I have worked at the Cook County Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and I have visited an orphanage in Vietnam. Unwanted children break your heart. Presently in the U.S. there are over 400,000 children in foster care. Thousands and thousands of children here go to bed hungry every night. Too many people believe in the right for birth and not for the right to life after birth.
People who say they believe in the sanctity of life but support the proliferation of guns certainly do not believe in the sanctity or life. Masses of little children and teens are being murdered in schools. In fact, more children die from being murdered by guns than from any other cause.
Then we have all the masses of gun murders now in churches, grocery stores, malls and many other places.
Fairfield cemetery stones need repair
To the editor:
This weekend, my sister from Des Moines, my wife and I visited several cemeteries in the area. This has been a tradition the past few years as we have explored our ancestry and local history.
We noticed in Fairfield’s Evergreen Cemetery, in Jordan Circle and around, the number of stones that were in need of repair. This should be done soon to avoid stones toppling over and more damage.
We have a great local history and heritage. We should preserve it.
I especially want to acknowledge Verda Baird, Mark Shafer, Dick DeAngelis and others who have helped preserve our past. Hopefully, someone or organization can find a way to repair the monuments that pay homage to those on whose shoulders we stand.