On June 7, Times Union columnist Chris Churchill published a piece entitled “At the Capitol, a silent protest amid the crowd.” The piece focused on Sheila Blasch, a pro-life Catholic who has quietly demonstrated outside the Assembly chamber in the weeks and months following the passage of the Reproductive Health Act.
As a young adult, Blasch survived a horrific car accident involving a drunk driver. Blasch’s mother lost her life in the crash, and Blasch spent two years recovering from burns arising from the accident. Churchill writes:
[Blasch] believes the tragedy gave her a perspective others don’t have. When she was suffering in the burn unit, some onlookers may have believed she would be better off dead or her future would be without value. ‘We have people who want to tell others whose life is worth living, but I can tell you that for all I went through, my life has been worth living,’ Blasch said. ‘We’re here for a reason. We’re created for a reason.’
Blasch’s belief that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances is a minority opinion, for sure, and some would argue that it’s unrealistic or dismissive of women’s rights. But even if you passionately disagree with her, I would hope you can respect her point of view and commitment to it. I would hope you’re willing to hear her story.
At the Capitol, many have not been. Lawmakers who supported the RHA rarely even look at Blasch, she said, and almost never bother to engage. They stream past, day after day, as if she’s invisible. Lawmakers who opposed the RHA, meanwhile, are more willing to stop and chat…
More lawmakers should do the same. What, after all, is so terrible about talking, even with somebody with whom you disagree? Every person has a story to tell.
New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation thanks Chris Churchill for his thoughtful, even-handed column. We also thank Sheila Blasch for her ongoing commitment to the cause of life.