Gloria Purvis Does Prolife Right!

Published August 11, 2020

Gloria Purvis shows how it’s really done, because she has integrity, is fully Catholic, and therefore is not full of crap. She writes:

Two weeks ago, I watched as U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a Catholic, took to the House floor to give an account of how fellow Congressman Ted Yoho, also Catholic, verbally abused her.

He failed to exercise self-mastery in the face of her ideas, which he called “dangerous.” So he spoke to her and about her in a way that is contrary to their shared faith, our shared faith. He spewed hateful vulgarities and demeaned her person.

I related to Ocasio-Cortez’s experience, as I have had otherwise good Catholic men verbally abuse me for my ideas while others, like Rep. Roger Williams in the case of the altercation with Yoho, stood by silently. 

Although my ideas on race and the human person align with church teaching, they fell short of some Catholic men’s approval, and so they shouted, howled and insulted me for my “extreme” ideas and for what they perceived as not being winsome in delivery. How could any good man, much less a serious Catholic man, behave this way?

I agree with Ocasio-Cortez that there is a “culture of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women … an entire structure of power that supports [it].” I say this from not only personal experience and seeing how other women are likewise treated for their opinions, but also because of the way women’s minds and bodies are treated in our culture — a culture that can infect even the best of our Catholic men in their weakest moments.

While Ocasio-Cortez is not responsible for Yoho’s heinous words or Williams’ cowardly silence, she, in my opinion, supports policies that underpin a culture of violence against women. In her piece on criminal justice reform, she reminds the reader to “not forget the guiding principle of ‘the least among us’ found in Matthew.” With that guiding principle, I encourage her to rethink the praxis of reproductive rights.

In May 2019, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “When women are in control of their sexuality, it threatens a core element underpinning right-wing ideology: patriarchy. It’s a brutal form of oppression to seize control of the 1 essential thing a person should command: their own body.”

The feminist critique of patriarchy says it is a destructive human relationship based on domination and coercion and therefore is absent of love. That critique also says that in healthy human relationships everyone has rights, everyone’s needs must be respected, and no one should fear subordination or abuse. If Ocasio-Cortez agrees with this critique, I implore her to extend that healthy human relationship to include our unborn daughters, the least among us

If Ocasio-Cortez is to be the future of the Catholic Church, as a previous NCR opinion piece asserts, she must broaden her vision of life issues. It must be a vision that encompasses true love and liberation for all members of the human family, especially the unborn.

Ocasio-Cortez championed a Green New Deal for the good of the environment. But Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI rightly asked, “How can we separate, or even set at odds, the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?”

In “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” Pope Francis additionally notes, “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?”

Ocasio-Cortez needs to examine, in light of her faith, what it means to be in control of our sexuality and our bodies. Who benefits when we terminate the lives of our daughters in our wombs? How does choosing this control over the bodies of our unborn daughters undo patriarchy?

If patriarchy involves an abuse of power and a domination of women, what is revolutionary about the violence that abortion does to women’s bodies and the bodies of our unborn daughters? What is revolutionary about the psychological trauma that the violence of abortion inflicts upon women? How does abortion teach men to be decent rather than encourage them to be Lotharios?

It is not sufficient that some say that women benefit, too, from abortion. Abortion simply passes on the domination of another to the weakest in the family relationship, the unborn daughter. Abortion does not liberate women from the patriarchy; it simply severs a man from his obligation to the mother and their unborn daughter.

It is worth noting that Purvis writes this, not in the National Catholic Register, one of the centers of MAGA Qatholicism in American Catholic media, but in the National Catholic Reporter, which all righteous Qatholics agree is secretly pro-abortion and dedicated to the subversion of the True Qatholic Faith they themselves embody in their ceaseless war on the Holy Father, the Magisterium, the Ordinary Form of the Mass, and very nearly all the actual members of the Church throughout the world, as well as nearly all non-Catholics (except the ones who believe and profess there is no god but Trump and Limbaugh is his prophet).

Gloria is an African-American Catholic who has stood up for Black Lives and argued vigorously for the justice of the Civil Rights movement that white conservative MAGA Catholics hate and fear and fight. Because of this, she has been punished and ostracized by EWTN’s biggest affiliate as having a “spirit of contention”, which is PiousSpeak for “being uppity, black, and female”. Nothing daunted, she presses on and keeps speaking truth to MAGA racism. She is very clear that a Catholic consistent ethic of life fights for the dignity of all human life, not just those lives useful to Trump and the GOP crime syndicate.

She is, in a word, not full of crap.

And because of this, she can make the case for the defense of preborn human life to AOC without the stink of lies, cynicism, cruelty, and selfishness on her breath that overwhelms the entire witness of the MAGA cult every time it opens its filthy lying mouth to again use the unborn as human shields for all the evils it really cares about.

This does not mean that AOC and those in her camp will be able to hear the powerful logic of her argument instantly. That argument is, after all, almost unheard of among the “prolife” community, who much prefer selfishness, lies, sadism, racism, cruelty, and death and only talk about the unborn as human shields for all that. Expecting people of integrity on the Left–scandalized by years and years and years of ugliness, lies, and cynicism from the MAGA cult–to instantly drop their guard because of one person–and that person reviled by the “prolife” MAGA cult itself for being an uppity black woman–is a lot to ask.

But she nonetheless shows us the way forward. May her tribe increase and may we one day be rid of the hypocritical MAGA freak show that now dominates the obscene parody that is currently–in overwhelming percentages–dominating what is laughably called the “prolife” movement.

31 Responses

  1. Gloria Purvis offers a perfect example of a consistent ethic of life. Meeting people where they are and
    walking alongside rather than screaming at them like pod people.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. She, Ms. Purvis, is a shining example as you say of how to reach out to others on what it means to be pro-life. She scares the MAGAmen because she has a consistent life ethic, she knows that “domination” of the other does little to change the mind, but it does make the ‘dominator” in the case MAGAmen feel “in charge”. The complete antithesis of what the church teaches.

  3. I know so many who dismiss the prolife movement because its biggest proponents are hypocrites. It can be hard to justify being pro-life to others because it has so much conservative baggage attached to it and people assume you must be a Republican or anti-science. If only the movement was more like this.

    However, the Ordinary Form deserves 99% of the criticism it gets and hasn’t yet even been held to the same standards as the Mass it replaced. That many of its detractors are crazy jerks is besides the point.

  4. So, while I might disagree with Mrs. Purvis and with the pro-life movement in general, I admit that her approach is by far more logically and morally consistent than what is seen as the mainstream pro-life ideology. If we are going to have a discussion about abortion, I much rather have it be on these terms, where the focus is on how to best serve the common good and save the most lives.

    This is a stark contrast to the current leading voices in the pro-life movement, who are basically calling for a race to the bottom, competing to see who can justify the greatest amount of injustices and atrocities, all in the name of being “pro-life”.

    Its kind of analogous with the way I feel about Biden; I may not agree with a lot of his policies and politics, but I rather have a fight with the Biden administration for the next four years over how to best provide healthcare to everybody, than to continue under the current administration, who is actively working to dismantle and destroy what little healthcare we have.

  5. “The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. It’s almost as if, by being born, they have died to you. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.

    Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.

    Attribution: Dave Barnhart

    1. “They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.”

      In short, they are PLINO’S (prolife in name only.)

  6. From what I recall the National Catholic Reporter was steadfastly anti-abortion. Michael Sean Winters was relentless. However, several regulars of the commentariat (including yours truly) were personally opposed but supported legality.

    Gloria Purvis wrote:

    What is revolutionary about the psychological trauma that the violence of abortion inflicts upon women?

    This is a myth. The majority of women who have had an abortion are fine with it.

    She wrote:

    How does abortion teach men to be decent rather than encourage them to be Lotharios?

    LOL. I submit human history before Roe v. Wade. Note that practically none of the Church’s massive, decades-long anti-abortion crusade is directed at men. It’s directed at women who have sex for pleasure rather than procreation. Why, well the Church is misogynistic. Because the Church is misogynistic, and because the hierarchy is implicated in abominable sexual crimes, its moralizing on the dignity of the person rings hollow.

    Purvis does make the Church’s best argument against abortion, based on the sublime words attributed to Jesus as to the “least of these.” I certainly understand why the Church and Catholics oppose abortion, and of course they should fight for what they believe in. But we are way beyond that debate. The issue now is whether this republic can long endure.

      1. That sort of reminds me of a guy I was dating in over 20 years ago. We saw each other for a couple of weeks, and I really liked him, snd vice versa. So it seemed.. I invited him over for dinner, where he met a lot of my friends. I want to see him the next day after that dinner, and he seemed like a totally different person. I asked him what was going on, as he seem to like me as much as I liked him. His response was a classic: “I felt that way yesterday. I don’t feel that way today. Besides, I’m on a spiritual quest.”

    1. I don’t believe that women don’t feel bad about their abortions. Heck, I feel bad about some of my miscarriages, wondering if I allowed myself to be too stressed out, or didn’t eat well enough to support the pregnancy. I have to turn those thoughts off, and tell myself to stop listening to the dark voice.

      When I was a kid, my grandma started to speak wistfully about a baby boy that she had “lost”. She spoke of him in vague terms. He would have been my father’s only brother. She would sit on the same chair in our dining room when we were leaving for mass unable to come with us. On more monumental occasions, she would come but shift nervously in the pew the whole time. She finally asked for a priest as she came closer to death. She was immensely relieved to confess to the kind old priest who gave her love and affirmation. I wish she hadn’t waited all those years, to be unburdened on her deathbed.

      I know of relationships that have broken up over abortion–it was just too much to bear. In the case of one of the girls I knew, in trying to prove her loyalty to the jerk who brought her to PP, then dumped her, she cried out, “I even KILLED for you!”

      1. No one denies that *some* women regret their abortions. Indeed, I’m willing to bet that a fairly high percentage of women regret it, if you limit your attention to those who were coerced or manipulated into getting an abortion, or who for whatever other reason felt that they had no choice.

      2. @ Joel
        I don’t try to untangle it all, but the monstrosity that continues to exist is that women who are already treated in a subhuman way will inevitably treat their own offspring in a subhuman way.

        What do people expect?

        Bloodguilt is above my paygrade. I suppose there will be a lot of surprised fat cats with blood all over their grubby hands, and post abortive women who have no blood on their hands at all.

        Let’s focus on the misdeeds of the grubby, entitled fat cats who push women and families to the brink of desperation; fat cats who champion policies that are bold and shameless in sustaining structures of greed, contempt and power.

      3. “Five Years After Abortion, Nearly All Women Say It Was the Right Decision, Study Finds”

        https://www{.}ucsf{.}edu/news/2020/01/416421/five-years-after-abortion-nearly-all-women-say-it-was-right-decision-study

        But one study (apparently the most recent) of at least a few that reach the same conclusion.

        Of course some women will experience regrets or trauma. And of course Catholics are more likely to feel guilty, given the Church’s obsession with abortion, and given abortion is one of the handful of sins that incurs automatic excommunication. The fact remains that a majority of women who have had abortions are not traumatized by the experience.

      4. I do think we should distinguish between feelings and trauma. One of the side effects of trauma could be the numbing or shutting down of feelings. The study could just be pointing out coping mechanisms over time. Regardless… children’s lives are lost with abortion. If we want to see ourselves as a just society, we need to show mercy and compassion to both the mothers and the children.

  7. “culture of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women … an entire structure of power that supports [it].”

    That structure of power is playing out in Poland as Duda pulls the country out of the restrictions on violence against women by the Istanbul Convention. It’s a blatant misogynistic move.

    1. @ stellA

      Don’t forget his comments that being gay is “an ideology“ and “worse than communism.“ Also don’t forget the full throated support of the Catholic Church in Poland for Duda. They are desperate to distract from their burgeoning child molestation crisis. There were two movies in the last year or two in Poland about it, similar to Spotlight

    2. @Neko

      I won’t dance the Hokey Pokey with a sacred cow.

      Thinking something is/was the “right decision” has little to do with guilt.

      I remember reading the morning news years ago, and seeing the body of a little girl dressed sweetly in a polka dot dress tangled upon the rocks and sand of a Mediterranean island. I wanted to rage at God for a second, but I knew the answer already. God didn’t fail her, *we* failed her. God had her under his watchful eye. Our U.S. military industrial complex killed her.

      When I first moved to the SFbay area in ’99, it was to join forces with a promising fintech company that was leveraging the internet and revolutionizing the financial world on Wall Street.

      I have seen so much greed, lust, skull duggery, obsessions, and amorality I don’t think I’ll ever recover, but I’ll tell you one thing; now when I look into the face of one of those castaway homeless people, on the street of one of the wealthiest cities on the planet, I think, “that could be me”. Now I know that my own family members would sell me down a river for two cents and a power trip.

      Today the Salesforce tower looms over the entire city like a phallus, and a homeless women who is pregnant can hopefully find a roof over her head at one of Mother Teresa’s homes for the desperate and discarded.

      1. OK, since you went all non sequitur on me and brought up the problem of evil, is Coronavirus a manifestation of God’s creativity. Because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t cooked up in a lab.

        You have a tendency, which I believe to arise from charitable motives, to characterize women who have abortions as desperate. Some may well be, but many are not. Women terminate unwanted pregnancies for a variety of reasons. And the majority don’t feel bad about it, as much as you may think they should. This is borne out by data and has nothing to do with scared cows.

  8. Neko,

    What I was trying to say, is that the death of that little girl forced me to finally throw away my childhood illusions about a God that favors some over others. I’m glad to be rid of such a contemptible heresy. God doesn’t love me more than that drowned toddler, nor is he obligated to protect me more than her. It took the perversion of others that are family/community members to realize that they could easily outdo the pagans in their perversion (whom Jesus referred to as easily loving their own)–in observing their frightening absence of good intentions. We don’t even love our *own* here, so how on EARTH could we have the moral fiber to love an indigenous/mestizo/middle eastern/black immigrant?!

    I was just listening to an NPR piece about the meatpacking industry whose workers are awash in Covid-19. –So Trump places an executive order that the plants can’t close down due to fear of interruptions in our food supply, but wait, the workers don’t have adequate protective gear…? The plants won’t slow production, but wait, they just sent a record amount of pork to China, YET, these poor people, now essential workers are *still* considered human refuse in society. We have become grotesque in our amorality. Men used to be shamed when they wouldn’t protect others by saying “grow a pair”. Clearly that isn’t the problem! To Trump, i’d say: “Grow a conscience”. To women who aren’t part of the desperate middle and lower class who don’t care about their abortions? Maybe I’d say “evolve” before I could hope they would have a “come to Jesus” moment.

    I don’t think Covid-19 was cooked up in a lab, or by God either. It’s a virus. Some people say we evolved from viruses. I won’t rule that out as a possibility. Some people refer to the “lizard brain”. Maybe that’s an improvement over “virus existence”, and a testimony to the patience of God who wants to help us extrapolate a bit about the possibility of our future non predatory selves.

    1. “We” have always been capable of cruelty and barbarism, but when Trump proves at ease sacrificing whole classes of people to enhance his electoral chances it’s fair to point the finger and say: that orange man IS bad!

      Btw Nate Silver put out 538’s forecast for president: Joe Biden 71%, Donald Trump, 29%.

      Exactly the same odds as 2016.

  9. The orange man relies on his lizard brain to inform his decisions. *Anybody* who does this is both bad and dangerous.

    I guess I’ll have to goodle Nate Silver.

    btw I learned about “Lizard Brain” when I went to some classes at my son’s rehab center. It has nothing to do with the Lizard people that crazy people believe in.

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