As I listened to a story told by an African educator on NPR's "On Point" this morning, I began to weep. He told the story of a man, husband and father of three, who before he died, sold all the family's possessions, without the knowledge of his wife and children. The widow learned of his actions on the day of his burial. When she arrived home, later in the day, she turned to her children, and uttered these words, "What am I going to do, with nothing left to raise you with?"
She then hanged herself, only to be found, dead, by her eldest daughter, herself a mere child.
As the educator told the story, he remarked on the "hopeful" side of the story, that this same young girl had committed her story to music, and she is now singing her song, thereby releasing her pain, and permitting her finally to get some sleep, after her trauma.
Another story emerged from the past weekend's reporting on the African "reality": that three-quarters of the beds of one country's hospitals are used by women suffering from back-street abortions. I'm no psychic, and certainly no genius, but it seems remarkable to me that a government from a so-called enlightened country like Canada could, in good conscience remove, "abortion" from the procedures its foreign aid will cover, in the $1 billion-plus it has committed to maternal health in Africa over the next five years.
Am I just stupid? Or is this a complete abandonment of the quality of health care to which Canadian women are entitled, simply because the Canadian government knows it will not face adequate pressure from Canadians to change their "mind" (in quotes, because of my scepticism that there is one behind the decision) and the government is committed to placating their religious and politically "right" supporters?
So much for the separation of church and state! Not in Canada!