In Let Us Dream, Pope Francis cuts through the partisanship and the ideologies in our world to offer a simple diagnosis of the sickness responsible for the decay and moral rot that infects our culture. He calls this illness the technocratic paradigm, which, Francis says “is a mindset that despises the limit that another’s value imposes” (p.34).
A mindset that despises the limit that another’s value imposes.
This mindset can be subtle. In my case, it often doesn’t reveal itself until another person’s needs and wants actually begin to impose themselves on me. Children have a way of bringing this mindset out into the light.
Children impose themselves on people’s lives in life-altering ways. Having children can derail career plans, force parents to stay in terrible jobs, or prevent a parent from going to work at all. Children from unexpected pregnancies can disrupt high school, delay college, or cause their parents to quit school altogether. Having children can make leaving abusive relationships more difficult for women. Children can rack up obscene medical bills. And they often do all this even before they are born.
This brings me to last night’s news of the leaked draft of a majority ruling by the US Supreme Court that would overturn the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Assuming that this is indeed the majority opinion, and that the position of the court does not change between now and the official decision (expected sometime this summer), then there will no longer be a federal right to abortion that supersedes state-level abortion policies. In other words, the regulation of abortion goes back to state legislatures.
I think reversing Roe v. Wade is absolutely essential. That decision undermined the basic rights of an entire class of people based on their level of development and functioning. It is grotesque ableism enshrined into law. Because it is a ruling of the nation’s highest court, any legal route to protecting these rights begins with a reversal by the court.
However, although reversing Roe v. Wade is essential, it is far from sufficient. By itself, this anticipated Supreme Court decision would simply place the imposition that accompanies children onto their mothers—women who are often already in vulnerable positions due to poverty, lack of medical or psychological support, or abusive situations.
Last night, New Wave Feminists, a pro-life group led by Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, released a statement in response to the news. It said, “Now is not the time to brag, or gloat, or celebrate. Now is the time to get to work and create a world that supports and protects not just the unborn person in the womb, but the equally as human and valuable people carrying them.”
It is not a solution to simply shift the serious imposition caused by children onto women. It is not pro-life. And it is not Christian. A nation shaped by Christianity would freely and gladly take on the imposition of children.
But we don’t. Ours is a nation that values profit over the flourishing of children and families.
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches that families are owed a “family wage.” That is, “a wage sufficient to maintain a family and allow it to live decently. Such a wage must also allow for savings that will permit the acquisition of property as a guarantee of freedom” (CSDC 250).
Perhaps if the wages paid in our society to families were actually living wages, one might argue that the community was sufficiently fulfilling its obligation to safeguard the financial wellbeing of families. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s children are living in poverty (17%, according to recent data) and many more lack the educational and economic opportunities necessary for human development.
Our society’s current economic structure and political system has continually refused to take up responsibility for the well-being of its most vulnerable members. As Christians, we have an obligation to support the common good of all. In light of this, the Church offers many ways for our society to support families, and even gives us suggestions: “There can be several different ways to make a family wage a concrete reality. Various forms of important social provisions help to bring it about, for example, family subsidies and other contributions for dependent family members, and also remuneration for the domestic work done in the home by one of the parents” (CSDC 250).
Unfortunately, in the US, we do not value paying laborers a just wage so they can provide for their families. We do not value maternity and paternity leave. We do not value a permanent extended child tax credit. Instead, it seems that we value the wealth of billionaires over the food, housing, healthcare, and education of families.
This is in stark contrast to how Scripture and the Church value workers and families. It also reflects a broader problem that Pope Francis regularly decries. In Fratelli Tutti, the pope says, “Some parts of our human family, it appears, can be readily sacrificed for the sake of others considered worthy of a carefree existence. Ultimately, ‘persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when they are poor and disabled, ‘not yet useful’ – like the unborn, or ‘no longer needed’ – like the elderly’” (FT 18).
Combatting the “technocratic paradigm” by insisting on economic policies and social programs that do not despise the imposition of children, must be an essential part of the pro-life mission. Even more than that, not only must we not despise the imposition, we must welcome it. As the pope keeps reminding us, we must turn to the Good Samaritan as our model for welcoming the imposition that other people’s value place on our life. And we must welcome the imposition of children—not just on an individual level, but as a community, as a country.
Read the rest here. He’s perfectly right, of course, but the problem is that the overwhelming majority of the demographic that calls itself “prolife” is not prolife. It is scarcely even anti-abortion anymore. Its real goals are the defense of GQP policies of greed, spite, racism, violence, authoritarianism, lies, and (when necessary) killing. When their god king helped murder Jamal Khasshoggi, they gave him a full pass because they don’t care about human life. When he mocked the disabled, they attacked those in the disabled community who were offended and lied for him that he did no such thing. When he confessed to being a sex predator, they celebrated him as a Real Man and compared him to King David (who repented, in contrast to Trump who said he did not believe in asking for forgiveness and bragged that it somebody hits him, he believes in hitting back ten times harder).
The unborn are fig leaves for all that. So the defeat of Roe will leave the Cult, not fighting for human life from conception to natural death, but doubling down on the GQP goals (largely about spitting in the faces of sexual minorities) and concentrating wealth and power in the hands of the powerful, because they have no ideas other than the worship of power. Their own ideas regarding the unborn will involve punishing post-abortive and miscarrying women.
Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Americans, who loathe abortion but also have no intention of telling some woman in crisis what she can and cannot do, are going to back women in crisis. This is all highly predictable. The “prolife” movement settled on the attempt to impose a fragment of Christian morality on a culture they lazily refused to evangelize and now are going to find out just how badly they have have failed in whoring themselves out to GQP racism, selfishness, nihilism, lies, and sociopathy.
All I know is what I see and experience. The backbone of the MAGA fascist cult define themselves as “prolife” while in fact burning their energy on defending inhuman GQP policies. That’s what the entire ‘five non-negotiables” thing was designed to do. That’s what every “prolife” propaganda organ did during the Trump years, no matter how cruel and stupid the policy was. It’s why EWTN promotes deadly morons like MTG. It’s why Lifesite and Church Militant and Crisis spend their time, not defending the unborn, but defending spreading plague, or Russian war crimes, or making fun of George Floyd’s murder or spitting at the Holy Father. I can count on one hand the figures in the prolife movement who actually defend the Consistent Life Ethic and who regard the Holy Father with respect and not mockery and contempt. If the majority of the prolife movement is not treating the consistent life ethic with contempt, they are doing a bangup job of hiding it. I wish I were wrong. But I see no reason to think I am from the actual evidence on the ground.
So while I agree with Paul on what the prolife movement should be doing in a post-Roe country, I don’t believe for one second that it will do it. Everything in their history says that once Roe is gone they will devote their efforts to supporting GQP greed, lies, cruelty to the poor and brown, and a slew of policies that will make it harder and harder to create, feed, house, and educate children and then clutch their pearls and blame the poor for caving in to the economic pressure to abort that they themselves inflicted on the poor in their greed, callousness, and cruelty. They will keep fighting to make health care inaccessible. They will keep attacking the Pope as a “Marxist” or “communist” or “socialist” for reiterating Church teaching on the common good and a living wage. They will blindly congratulate themselves for being “prolife” and blindly condemn “libs” for trying to help the poor and the vulnerable. And they will do their utmost to punish post-abortive women, not help them, just as they will do their best to pressure them to abort, not help them.
Until the MAGA “prolife” cult of death demonstrate change by their actions, there is not one reason on earth to trust them.