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Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt Talks Abortion With 1st Graders; Principal Apologizes

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The principal of a Cincinnati Catholic school has apologized to parents after Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) discussed abortion during a speech to kids as young as 6.

Schmidt, a conservative, brought up the controversial matter while talking about the connection between moral issues and legislation during a question-and-answer period, the Daily News reported.

"Unexpectedly, towards the end of her address, Congresswoman Schmidt brought up the topic of abortion," Prinicipal Dan Teller wrote in a letter to parents, obtained by Cincinnati's WLWT-TV. "Your children may come home with questions, especially if this is a topic that has not been broached in your home."

Schmidt was addressing students ranging from first to eighth grade. The name of the school was not reported.

"She defined abortion as the taking of a child's life in the mother's womb," Teller wrote. "She indicated that abortion involves the killing of a child before it is born."

The principal apologized "for any confusion or fear that this may elicit on the part of your child, and for the awkward position this may put you in of introducing a difficult issue at a time that may be premature for you."

Schmidt, who's up for re-election Tuesday, has not commented directly on the controversy. Her spokesman, Bruce Pfaff, told Cincinnati's Enquirer that the lawmaker brought up the topic after receiving "a follow-up question, which she answered consistent with Catholic teaching."

When students kept asking about abortion, Pfaff said Schmidt told them to talk to their parents.

Schmidt's Democratic rival, Surya Yalamanchili, seized on the issue as a chance to criticize the incumbent.

"I consider the Congresswoman's comments to these children to be very concerning," Yalamanchili said in a press release. "It showed the same awful judgment that she has displayed in Washington."

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Personally I believe that this congresswoman overstepped a few boundaries. One, these kids are too young to be "discussing" a morally charged issue such as abortion, and a womans right to choose. This is something a girl ought to be talking with her parents, mom and Dr. about should the topic be in a realistic and acceptable age range. I find this "talk" with gradeschoolers to be completely objectionable and if she had coome to my daughters class with this speach I would be frosted. Clearly this was an attempt to force her moral values on the very young and impressionable. These are issues to be ONLY discussed with family. I urge schools to avoid this woman from having ANY contact with our children again in the future. Thanks. A right to choose advocate in California.

November 30 2010 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oh Great One!

Yeah, the Catholic Church doesn't want all those future little pedophile victims taken away from them. To say the Catholic Church cares about children is like saying Michael Vick cares about animal rights.

October 31 2010 at 8:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Oh Great One!

I can only hope that all the reasonable people come out and defeat these right wing religious kooks on Nov. 2 and hammer in the last nail in their coffin. I'm so sick of both parties -- there's got to be another way (and it's not the Tea Party, ugh!).

October 31 2010 at 8:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

You ain't seen nothin' yet! Wait until after November 2.

October 31 2010 at 8:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In the 1970's at the catholic high school that I attended the priests (school) showed an abortion movie to an auditorium with about a 50-50 ratio of female and male students. It was a movie with graphic, descriptive(s)close-up's of the varied processes of an actual abortion. After the movie we were immediately sent to lunch where they served spagheti and meatballs. Seriously. You can imagine the visual connection. I always thought how sick and twisted the church was for the way they talk to children on this subject. I would see in the back of church (6 days a week) that there was a stack of graphic pamphlets on the subject. Nothing surprises me with Jean Schmidt. She is so not God-like and is a brutish moronic woman who makes us all look thuggish.

October 29 2010 at 11:00 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to weasttc's comment
John and Barbara

I am sorry for your experience. Showing such graphic things without warning, especially immediately before lunch, was probably inappropriate. I would like to ask, though, how do you think the babies that were shown in the movie felt? I have seen babies that were born at and before 24 weeks (16 weeks and more premature) react to pain and other stimuli very definitely. How can anyone in our current degree of scientific enlightenment deny that the "fetus" is anything less than fully human? Not to mention the psychological and spiritual damage to the mother and father when they realize they have allowed/caused the death of their own child, especially in the not-infrequent cases where the mother is unable to bear children after having had abortion(s). The Catholic Church may have presented this material in an ill-advised way, but the truth of abortion is that it is a very brutal procedure, whether you believe that a woman should have the "right" to "choose" abortion or not.

October 29 2010 at 11:17 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

(John and Barbara) I know what you mean. I could never have an abortion for myself. I was pregnant just last year, and I felt my son moving at 14 weeks along. I saw him move on the sonogram at 11 weeks. I used to question whether or not abortion should be considered murder, but since my experience, I have decided it is. I don't think it should have been discussed with such young children, but I do have to agree that they are live humans from conception.

October 30 2010 at 7:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think most of you are missing the point. Obviously there are two very polarized view points here. I think the point is this- #1 six years old is very young to understand and process such a complicated issue, especially in such a blunt manor without the support of parents and/or professional such as a doctor, therapist or clergy. And #2 No one should be pushing their views on someone else's child. That goes for both sides!! I have very strong opinions and I would have hit the roof if this happened to my child. It is my right as a parent to decide when and how these issues are brought up. (and when I do I will make sure that she knows that she has the right to decide for herself whether or not she believes the same way as me. I will encourage her to be informed and make up her own mind)

October 29 2010 at 9:02 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

I live in Cincinnati, and the local Catholic school/church down the street from my home is littered with 4,000 crosses, with several signs saying: “Can 4,000 abortions in the United States each day be right????? Let’s build a community of love, hope and truth where all life is respected.” There are at least a couple Catholic schools/churches with similar displays in town, and Jean Schmidt spoke at one of them. I feel Jean Schmidt’s comments to the young children at this school regarding abortion was inappropriate, but honestly, for the Catholic school to make such an issue about her remarks is, to me, appalling. When their own students have to go to a school with a lawn filled with 4,000 crosses, signifying dead, aborted fetuses, how can they possibly demean Jean Schmidt for her comments? Don’t tell me the school doesn’t explain to their students the meaning of the crosses. Each time the Catholic church pulls this stunt (every year or so), I’m brought back to the time several years ago when my daughters were young. I would cringe when my 5 year old would ask, “Mommy, why are there so many graves at St. Gertrudes?” Or, worst of all, when they would put the names of children on the crosses, my daughter once asked me, “Why is my cousin’s name on that grave?” The Catholic church made it so terribly uncomfortable for me as a mother of two very young daughters. I had no intention of discussing the issue of abortion with my 5 and 6 year old daughters at that moment, or to discuss with them what the word ‘abortion’ even meant! I felt it was such an invasion into my right as a mother to discuss such a sensitive subject with my children when and where I chose. So when I read that the principal of this Catholic school apologized to the parents of the young children "for any confusion or fear that this may elicit on the part of your child, and for the awkward position this may put you in of introducing a difficult issue at a time that may be premature for you," I have to ask him, where is my apology? For years, you have put parents in a difficult position of discussing this issue prematurely. If you can’t stand by your gross and inappropriate display, I suggest the Catholic church thinks twice the next time they plant their 4,000 crosses indicating America’s daily aborted fetuses. For the church to act ‘holier than thou’ (pun intended) is wrong. Jean Schmidt shouldn’t have made the abortion comments to such young children, but shame on the Catholic school for throwing her under the bus.

October 29 2010 at 9:02 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cincybig's comment

Don't you just love hypocrisy? I'm so sorry you have to deal with that. It's hard enough these days to raise children and talk about uncomfortable subjects. What I don't understand is that these are the same people who will send the child out of the room when the topic of sex, homosexuality, rape, etc. Yet, they will tell them all about killing babies? Even advertise it throughout town? It really makes you wonder. Good luck with your children. Sounds like you are a good parent.

October 30 2010 at 7:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wish everyone running for office not only had to state their party affliation but also whether they are Catholic or not. That way, I can choose not to vote for a party I don't agree with, and knowing that they were Catholic, then I would DEFINATELY not vote for them regardless of their party.

October 29 2010 at 8:57 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Nancy's comment
John and Barbara

I guess then that you would have (or did) vote against the Kennedy's and John Kerry? Please think before you write off every Catholic (or Protestant, or Muslim, or Jew, etc., etc., etc.). Being against someone because of their beliefs is bigotry, isn't it? Or you saying that tolerance is not always right? In that case, maybe when Congresswoman Schmidt spoke out she had a right to do so, since she obviously believes that abortion should not be tolerated? Where and how should we decide what is right and wrong?

October 29 2010 at 10:48 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

I have to agree with "John and Barbara", Nancy. My views (and my votes) are on often the liberal side, AND I'm very grateful, both for civil rights laws that JFK designed (and Johnson followed-thru on, for him), and for the long-standing contribution that Ted Kennedy made. I'm *politically* pro-choice and personally pro-life (I see the question of when life starts as a personal question), so I may not have agreed with every view Ted held... but I think it would have been a loss to the country if anti-Catholic bias had shortened the many contributions he made.

November 01 2010 at 6:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A life is a life no matter how young or premature. And the truth is the truth no matter who disagrees.Always choose life over death. I respect her for sharing the truth no matter how she is viewed. Although the parents discretion might have been considered.But we all need to hear the truth.Before it is confused with a lie.And then we will have good moral judgement WHEN IT COMES TIME TO MAKE CRITICAL CHOICES...

October 29 2010 at 8:08 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to congalifex5's comment

I believe that meat is taking the life of something that can feel pain and experience its own life, thoughts and feelings... but you won't find me telling that to someone else's kids at a school where their parents should not have to worry about me springing my "Truth" on them. You're right, the truth is the truth no matter who disagrees... you might later come to realize that you were on the wrong side of that "Truth". Objective facts are true, but still refer to terms which we make up and refer to... there will never be a way to determine that conception is where life begins, just like "teenager" is a creation that did not exist before... the idea of fetus, baby, toddler is arbitrary... We've gone to the moon but there are no such things as inches... same thing with good/evil... money... you get the idea. Enjoy your righteous indignation. I'd say it is better that those "children" don't have to enter an overcrowded world with parents who don't want or have the ability to care for them.

October 31 2010 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some of you are concerned with this woman talking about abortion to these children. What you also need to remember is that if you purely teach birth control and do away with abstinence, you WILL have kids as young as this starting to have sex. Do you not remember the kid that was a father at the age of 10? This is the downside to constantly harassing programs that teach abstinence. I for one am a proponent of teaching both in the same class. So which is it people? It seems people want to start teaching kids how to have safe sex without ever touching the issue of abstinence yet not discuss what actually happens during abortion. Whether you are for or against it, I am concerned with the lack of education on the severe depression that often afflicts these women after the procedure. It's like you want to give the impression that abortion has no risks and is easy as pie.

October 29 2010 at 8:07 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply


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