By Tim Von Dohlen

How Knowing History Opens Our Eyes and Hearts

June 2, 2022

A recent trip opened my eyes and greatly deepened my understanding about the foremost issues in our culture and society today. Let me explain…

The Indispensable Role of Women In Today’s Society

I have always been a strong believer in the important and indispensable role that women play in our contemporary society. From a woman’s role as mother, organizer for the home, instiller of knowledge and values in the life of each of her children, companion and hopefully best friend for her husband, and independent thinker choosing either to be a “stay at home mom” or combining that with a “job outside the home.” A woman’s energy and zest for life is truly remarkable.

Learning How Women Were Treated in the Roman Empire

My wife and I were recently on a pilgrimage to the historically significant Mediterranean countries of Malta and Sicily, Italy, some 57 miles off Malta’s coastline. Malta dates to 6,500 B.C. and was an important part of the Roman Empire.

Well-known writer and historian Mike Aquilina shared his research on the position of women in the pagan Roman Empire. It was surprising and alarming to learn of “how little value was placed on women, almost like other property, and how a woman was treated as a woman and got her place in Roman society from the father, then husband, then her sons.” A woman was first “expected” to marry a man of equal social standing and the marriage was often “arranged” by either father, mother or both.

The limited value placed on a woman can be seen by the Roman’s belief in “infanticide,” so that after the baby’s birth—for the least “defect” of a baby—the baby was left to die or it was drowned. The most common “defect” for which children were abandoned was femaleness. The long-term effect of this was an imbalance of population resulting in many more males than females across the Roman Empire. [interestingly, this echoes communist China’s birth policy for the last 70 years—ed.]

What Historic Event Began A Change That Elevated the Importance of Women?

It was after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that as Christianity flourished and ultimately was accepted by the Roman government in the early 300’s A.D., under the rule of Emperor Constantine, that the importance of a woman was elevated through the teachings of the Church.

In contrast to Emperor Constantine’s rule, the Roman’s brutality to a woman who did not succumb to an arranged marriage or to the dictate of a Roman official to marry a designated male of equal societal stature was to be sentenced by the official to a brothel. Then, if resisting life in the brothel, she was sentenced to the removal of her breasts. If she continued to refuse, she was sentenced to death by burning at the stake.

The Romans did not desire to kill all Christians. Their goal was to use several Christians as examples to instill fear and get the others to convert back to worship of the Roman gods. The Romans also used Christians to provide “entertainment” of the people in the now-famed Roman “circus” and for sport with the gladiators.

While in Catania, Sicily, we learned of St. Agatha and while in Syracuse, Sicily, we learned of St. Lucy—two valiant Christian women, some 50 years apart in time, who chose to exercise their independence by vowing to remain a virgin for life in honor of Jesus’ suffering for them. As a result of their choice, each of these women saints was brutally treated, yet each remained resolute to the point of death for their beliefs.

Are We Witnessing A Return to the Past in Disrespect for Women?

When learning the foregoing, it causes one to compare some of the expressed desires of radical feminists today to allow abortion based on gender selection, and of some politicians who push to allow abortion up to the time of birth or even of infanticide, after birth.
How sad that the cruelty of human beings one to the other can be repeated, especially when we become aware of the history of the treatment of women in the past.

Let us hope and pray that in the future people of goodwill can establish a dialogue to find ways to recognize the incredible importance of each woman and what can be done by our society to treat each woman with the dignity that she deserves.

What I Have Witnessed and Been Involved With For 49 Years

I have been involved in the Pro-life movement since just after the Roe vs. Wade decision on January 27, 1973, having introduced (as a Texas state legislator) on May 11, 1973, the first Pro-life bill (HB 1732) to provide protections for medical personnel who refuse, and health care facilities which refuse, to participate in an abortion. The bill stipulated that they cannot be discriminated against for that refusal.
The bill passed the Texas House on May 25, 1973, but died in the Texas Senate.

Over the 49 years since Roe was handed down, Texas has been a leading state in seeking to restrict abortions and provide protections for those who object to participating in abortion. The importance of assuring continued Constitutional protection for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion provided for by the original drafters of the U.S. Constitution remains vital today as founding American principles.

The Dobbs Case draft opinion eloquently written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito makes extensive explanation that the “unwritten and discovered” Constitutional right to an abortion in the Roe v. Wade decision under the 14th Amendment does not exist and was erroneously discovered and egregiously wrong when Roe was originally decided.

Abortion is not healthcare and Pregnancy is not a disease!

The reality of medical school and training today

One of the most glaring examples of efforts to take away “protection” of conscience rights and freedom of religion is the effort by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) which certifies medical residency programs, to promote “Opt-Out” (that is, all participants in the program are “in” unless one “Opts-Out”) as opposed to “Opt-In” (that is, all participants are “out” unless one “Opts-In”) to actually learn and perform an elective abortion.

The Federal Coats-Snowe Amendment specifically requires “Opt-In” for elective abortion training.

The position for Texas to be “Opt-In” is stated in a Texas Attorney General Opinion Number KP-0395, issued December 13, 2021.
Great pressure is placed on medical residents who choose not to perform an elective abortion by some of the medical residency faculty. Dr. Haywood Robinson, a former abortionist, has said that in medicine the learning method for a medical procedure is to watch one, do one and teach one, and where abortion is concerned after doing this, a person is desensitized and will then more easily perform future elective abortions.

There has been—and continues to be—much misinformation and disinformation about abortion.

Several generations have had the media and advocates of abortion capture and reverse the true meaning of important terminology. Good examples of this come from Roger Severino, former Director of the Office of Civil Rights who says, “people must know 1) abortion is not healthcare and 2) pregnancy is not a disease.”

Constructive dialog based upon science and good judgement can go a long way toward returning to the true and correct meaning of words.


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