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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
July 17, 1992     The Message
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July 17, 1992

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Perspective Funerals remind us of ..... Christian life at its simplest A gasp, almost a laugh, rippled through the church during the homily at the funeral Mass• First came the gasp of sudden surprise. A single heartbeat later came the recognition and the the understanding• The Mass of Christian Burial was being cele- brated for a relative of mine. Even though she had been killed in a car accident, ifi no way could any- one ever describe her as a victim• She was in charge, even at her own funeral. The homilist, a friend of hers, had begun to speak with confidence and certitude about the dead woman's wishes• By way of explanation, he held up a white folder of paper. In it were three pages of notes she had written, detailing what her funeral should be like and what the homilist should say. In life and in death, she got her way. That was her strength, and it was also her weakness, as many who knew her well could say. But what a witness to Christian faith! What a powerful statement, that death is not the end,.but a beginning. What a powerful memory for her family and her friends and all who knew her. No one would have been surprised if death had come after a long illness, or in some other set of circumstances where the inevitable future was always present. The surprise came from the suddenness of death in a car accident, yet here was one woman prepared -- ready, as if it were for the bridegroom, with a burning lamp and a full supply of oil. Modern technology preserves life beyond all previous hopes, sometimes, it seems, too far beyond hope into an uncertainty of hopeless- ness. Death in such surroundings may be wel- come. But, at the time of this person's death, such was not the case. Death was not the wel- come completion of earthly life, far from it. yet she was prepared• Her preparedness was Christian life at its sim- plest and at its strongest. Hers was a faith an- chored deeply in the practical. Everyday life is indeed holy -- and so is its earthly conclusion• Washington Letter Abortion debate moves to a battle of statistics By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With one more major ruling on the books, the public bat- tle over abortion law has moved onto new turf- what the world would be like if a ' - future Supreme Court deci- sion overturns its 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade. Supporters of keeping abor- tion legal have kicked off campaigns aimed at upcom- ing elections and legislation pending in Congress• The Na- tional Abortion Rights Action League and Planned Parent- hood paint a bleak, emotional picture of women bleeding to death from botched, illegal abortions at the hands of abu- sive, filthy, "back-alley" abortionists. The National Right to Life Committee and the National Women's Coalition for Life, on the other hand, see a dra- matically different future if Roe is set aside• They chide supporters of abortion for misleading the public: with inflated projections about the number of abortions prior to Roe and deaths from illegal abortions, while ignoring safety problems that make even legal abortion a risky practice for women• Their image of a post-Roe I I| The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Associate Publisher ............... Rev. Joseph Ziliak Editor ............................................ Paul Leingang -- Production Manager ........................... Phil Beget Circulation .................................... Susan Winiger Advertising .................................... Paul Newland Address all communications tO P.O. " Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $12.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Pubtica- tlon number 843J)00. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication  1992 Catho Press of Evam-v had illegal abortions Pill 1(. Roe has little basis• .,. night's report said the1 ;. lion figure included as aL d tions all miscarriages Jto legal abortions oerformeY . " 's litev. preserve the mother . ac" health. She estimated tlle.r. tual• number, of illegal .au ..'ttu. tlons before Roe at aol  100,000 er year, with a l of' aroun p 21(),000 at the P°" of the baby boom in 1961, number of legal .a° The tions did not reach 1 mm "-r.or " rs 81w" annually until four yea the Roe, sfie found. TodaY, :s annual legal abortion rate' future is considerably less gruesome and pointedly con- tradicts the grim predictions of thousands of women's deaths resulting from illegal abortions in states with laws limiting abortions. "The claim that illegal abortion would be both prevalent and dangerous if legislation protecting unborn children from abortion were passed is both inaccurate and misleading," concludes a re- port by the Horatio R. Storer Foundation, an affiliate of the National Right to Life Com- mittee. Researcher Cynthia McK- night, author of the founda- tion's "Life Without Roe: 'Leagues' To the editor: A week ago after" viewing the Midwest premiere of Columbia Pictures' A League of Their Own in Evansville, Huntingburg Mayor Connie Nass was quoted in the June 25 issue of The Herald as calling it "the kind of film you can be proud of having had filmed in your town be- cause you can take your kids to it." However, after taking tx4o of my young sons to Wednes- day's matinee in Jasper, I came away from the Astra disappointed and with a few words of caution for parents going to see what is generally considered to be wholesome family entertainment• Although Mayor Nass, who was privileged to read the script before the film was made in Huntingburg's League Stadium last summer, reportedly said one of "League's" best features is that sex and violence have been left out  that isn't en- tirely the case. There are several scenes which I felt uncomfortable with watching along with my children, and I feel that other parents of impressionable Making Predictions About Il- legal Abortions," went on to refute claims about the num- ber of illegal abortions per- formed prior to Roe and pro- jections about how many there would be if the decision were overturned. She also disputed claims that thou- sands of women died annu- ally from complications of il- legal abortions and that similar death rates would occur if states had complete control over abortion law. McKnight's study was re- leased July 1, the same day the National Abortion Rights Action League published its report, "Facing a Future Without Choice," produced youngsters may also be of- fended by such instances as a locker room scene with fe- male team members in vari- ous stages of undress. In another scene, the male star, Tom Hanks, enters the dressing room in a drunken state and proceeds to use the rest room area as several of the female players use a watch to time the length of the sounds coming out of the urinal. Hanks is also seen laying in the dugout of Huntingburg's League Stadium doing what both rock star Michael Jack- son and Roseanne Barr- Arnold have been criticized for doing in public. And there is rough lan- guage, again involving Hanks, who plays themanager, and is thrown out of a game for referring to the umpire as a male sex organ. It's unfortunate that Penny Marshall didn't leave scenes such as I've just referred to, on the cutting room floor. In my opinion, it wouldn't have taken away from the sto- ryline. And parents like me could have truly felt comfort- able viewing great family en- tertainment for a change. by the National Commission on America Without Roe• The release of the reports soon after the Supreme Court's June 29 ruling in Casey vs. Planned Parent- hood highlights the different approaches being taken by prominent organizations on opposite sides of the debate• Where National Abortion Rights Action League's report is heavily emotional, the Starer Foundation's is almost strictly statistical. The abortion rights group highlighted violent incidents at abortion clinics such as bombings and arson and pep- pered the report with anony- mous first-person accounts of degrading and dangerous ille- gal abortions in the years prior to Roe. The Starer Foundation aimed at statistics cited by abortion- rights supporters• "According to one pre-Roe estimate, 'as many as 5,000 American women die each year as a direct result of crim- inal abortion,"' said the Na- tional Abortion Rights Action League report. Such figures are not based on facts, McKnight's report said, and are "in stark con- trast to the officially reported statistics, which show no year from 1950 onward with even as many as 3O0 deaths and demonstrate a long pat- tern of decline long before the legalization of abortion." In 1972, the year before Roe, there were 39 maternal deaths due to illegal abortion, the report said. Even the claim that 1 mil- lion women or more a year about 1.6 million• ..rate "If the 1 million esU,.0ns for pre-Roe illegal ab°rnl;e were correct, then wu hd would have had to have h'or" almost 30 percent moreft tions when it was illeg''ort hen it was legal," the °v. 1 , aid. "That is patentY absurd." Ate separate press.Cii:rs ence, the National we .... ecl Coalition for Life disli- a collection of materials ,,ut larly refuting claims auv legal abortion. • coali" One aim of both tl3e ,_, ,o tion and National Ri,g,.m-,e] Life Committee istO |or the la i field, as b.otla p y ng  h rtlO ¢IL, O , urge supoorters ol _Hstlc rig-hts to'be more re.a[',ers about numbers and da- of abortion. _,.io 's A release in the cea'.'8ee, acket noted, for rest ., p _ uh lUO, that from 1972 tllro 5 t,al deaths. ! ! | I ! Bishop's schedule J.A. Dotterweich Huntingburg