Paul Fahey on being prolife in a post-Roe country

He is a good man and he writes over at the reliably sensible Where Peter Is:

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.


22 Responses

  1. Have you watched the animated film “Superman All-Star”?

    There is a scene near the end, where Superman and Lex Luthor face off for the last time. This video does a full breakdown and analysis of that scene:

    “One Villainous Scene | Lex Sees It All”

    Lex says, “If it weren’t for you, I could’ve saved the world!”.

    To which Superman replies, “If it had mattered to you Luthor, you could’ve saved the world years ago”.

    And that sums up the pro-life movement in its entirety.

  2. Sadly, and angrily, I agree with every word you said, Mark. The US, especially if the Rs win, is sliding back into the worst of the 19th century instead of leading in the 21st. Thank you, Saint Ronnie, and your voodoo economics for leading the way.

  3. The dumbest thing about the federal minimum wage is that it is not indexed to local cost of living. $7.25/hr might actually be a living wage in, say, rural Mississippi. I mean, I doubt that, but I’ll allow the possibility.
    But I live in San Diego, where a 1br, 1ba, 650sf studio apartment rents for $2750/mo.

    (NOTE: This listing is not even downtown, but in a nearby suburb.) Most landlords insist that potential tenants show proof of income at least 3X higher than the rent. Do the math: one must be making $50/hr to live in this tiny apartment.

    Think about the cleaning ladies who take care of the downtown hotels. Where are they supposed to live? What will one of them do if she gets pregnant unexpectedly? If you want her to keep the baby, then she needs a very large raise.

    – joel

  4. The Church has been there before. Bolshevism, Nazism & Catholics.

    “On the face of it, the Vatican had scored a great triumph. No government under Weimar had been willing to sign such a concordat, which would recognize the principal rights of the church—rights that presumably would render it immune from the kind of persecution it had suffered [in the past]. By the terms of the concordat the church renounced all political activities and in turn the state guaranteed the right to free worship, to circulate pastoral epistles, to maintain Catholic schools and property. The Vatican had reason to be satisfied: Catholic rights had been put on a new basis and at the same time a regime had been strengthened that seemed to correspond to the Vatican’s sense that _______ Mussolini and Hitler were indispensable bulwarks against Bolshevism______.”

    The Church is now in the same place. Liberalism, Nihilism & Catholics.

    And repeating the same history…

    “The general tactic by the leadership of both Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany was caution with respect to protest and compromise with the Nazi state leadership where possible. There was criticism within both churches of Nazi racialized ideology and notions of “Aryanism,” and movements emerged in both churches to defend church members who were considered “non-Aryan” under Nazi racial laws
    ______Yet throughout this period there was virtually no public opposition to antisemitism or any readiness by church leaders to publicly oppose the regime on the issues of antisemitism and state-sanctioned violence against the Jews._____”

    Voting for democrats is sin, but lip-service statements against Republicans are plenty. The Catholic Church is actively supporting and politically participating in the rise of the worst anti-Catholic political party, while issuing toothless statements against their policies just as before.

    1. Voting for Dems is not “sin”. Enough with such idiocy, particularly while invoking the specter of Nazism while making excuses for the party with members who literally march under the banner of the swastika.

      1. I don’t see where we disagree on this.

        Then the Church supported Nazis. Now it supports Republicans, who are complete nihilists.

        Then the Church urged to vote for Nazis, and at the same time issued token criticism of Nazi ideology. Now it has made it a sin to vote for Dems (and a virtue to vote for Republicans), and at the same time issuing toothless statements on social teachings against Republicans.

        I don’t see any difference between how the Church is acting then vs how its acting now.

        Whether that is befitting the Catholic faith – that is a different question. Did it befit or betray the Catholic faith then? We know the answer.

        I don’t expect a different answer this time too. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

      1. Schroedinger’s USCCB has, during the past days, and in comments on this site by eminent public intellectuals, now been described as:

        1. A Democratic party cabal, in cahoots with ze devil, hell bent on killing babies while sipping coastal elite organic wine.

        2. LARP addicts from The Handmaid’s Tale, a front organisation of the NSGOP and facistoracists to the core.

        I sure hope the final episode of this thriller’s season will reveal the truth. Don’t skip the commercials, kids, or you’ll miss it.

      2. >Schroedinger’s USCCB has

        Ah, yes. USCCB. Nice fig leaf there. Not the leaders and shakers of the USCCB, but that inanimate organization.

        Declare that you have to vote for X, or your soul is in peril. At the same time Issue toothless statements against X’s evil deeds.
        Declare that if you vote for Y it is evil. At the same time support Y with toothless statements in support of their good intentions.

        If these are the same, I have a bridge to sell you.

        We in America have a cliche for this – “thoughts and prayers”. Todays USCCB’s leading lights and power players issue “thoughts and prayers”, but when it coming to actually following through with change – nothing.

      3. @ Soren

        Complete boll**** . You don’t WANT Catholics as allies when it comes to maternal leave, care for families and generous allowances for raising children. If you did, you wouldn’t smuggle ”MOAR ABORTION ON DEMAND” into every related bill.

        If you don’t get your abortion go go demand satisfied, you are more than willing to throw poor mothers and workers who are forced to pee in bottles under the first bus that comes along.

      4. > Complete boll**** .

        I described the acts of the leading lights of USCCB. Which part was boll***?

        I don’t do expect government to do religion. I expect religion to do its work on people, to buy whatever philosophy they preach. That in turn, in a civic society will lead to government aligned with it.

        With all the money and power aligned with them, religion still cannot do it. They cant move people to buy into the way of life they are preaching.

        After having done rotten things, losing the trust of people, and losing all credibility by aligning with nihilists, religion is now trying to do by the sword what it cannot do by words. This always works out well for religion, doesn’t it?

  5. “a mindset that despises the limit that another’s value imposes”

    Oh my God, yes. I remember almost breaking under the weight of not being able to afford any pre-k education. I bore the shame of teachers telling me that my dyslexic ones weren’t ready for Kinder.

    My sixth was just admitted into a prestigious college. I just signed on the dotted line for more student loans, even though I still owe the IRS 10k.
    We just can’t seem to get out from under it all.

    I wish I hadn’t sent a single dollar to American Life League or HLI, and had invested it in Apple stock instead.

    Exit polls show OVERWHELMINGLY that poverty = abortion.

    “The party of Life” Ha! What liars.

  6. Or in the words of St. Michael: “May God correct you!”

    Maybe there is a reboot for the died-in-the-wool triumphalist, “pro-life” christians. I can see the value of targeted reincarnation. Hell is too long.

    1. @ taco

      Call me a died-in-the-wool triumphalist pro-lifer, but I still don’t see how abortion on demand is going to alleviate poverty, It’s not as if the stalwart social progressive folks are going to pay women for every aborted child, is it?

      I once again looked at some nineteenth century early socialist propaganda. They were right. While the simple folks are kept busy with low-cost culture war stuff, conservatives and liberals are walking to the bank laughing, hand in hand.

      1. Abortion is an immoral choice, with a thousand shades of gray in between the black and the nearly white.

        Roe is the distraction, Mifepristone rules the day, and isn’t about to go away.

        I’m not worried about the aborted babies anymore. They are baptized in their own blood, and have won the prize. I’m worried about the depravity of the christians who pay lip service to ideas while not giving an actual F.

        I can’t picture a single one of them babysitting for an evening without fear and disgust.

  7. “I still don’t see how abortion on demand is going to alleviate poverty”
    You have it backwards. Alleviating poverty reduces abortion. Poverty is the most powerful abortifacient.

    – joel

    1. @ Joel

      Let’s all put the matter of abortion to rest then, now SCOTUS will decide against Roe and jointly fight against poverty, eh Joel? 🙂

  8. Don’t let your hate for maga outweigh your love for the poor. I’m the adoptive mother of 4 medically fragile embryo babies. The woman who would have raised them passed away and her widower placed them for adoption. I gave birth to one a year ago… the love of my life. Next month i will bring home his sibling and 2 years later the next and the next as long as my body can bear it. Until then my poor babies remain on the brink. of being drowned and then thrown into an incinerator. Only a piece of paper filed by my lawyer and a monthly offering of cash prevents it and requires the continued “storage” of my “property.” When we adopted them it was legally a property transfer. Truly vile. When i heard roe would be overturned my heart SANG! I’m under no illusion – see how quiet the republicans are, save Mike Pence? Not a peep celebrating this – but when you’re being crushed by the law you can”t wait for helpers with good motives. You have to take what you can get and hope for better people later. It’s depressing to read you’re upset your enemies are scoring a “win.” And even that you think abolishing this is amoral and authoritarian. You and Trump are more alike than you think… notice he hasn’t come out to gloat?? Really he is on your team not wanting it overturned. Maybe his motive is different, maybe he wants to be able to make unwanted pregnancies go away! But don’t be surprised if he thinks like you. You are profoundly mistaken: The law that says another member of the human race is my property, is the authoritarian one. In my house there is pure joy and also anxiety that at the last moment this will be snatched away. We are not concerned with who gets credit for saving our babies lives only that they are saved. It’s sad you won’t rejoice. I pity you. Truly.

    1. I applaud your care for these little ones, but I am baffled by what Roe has to do with it, just as I am baffled by what overturning Roe will have to do with it. I am likewise confused by why you think my scorn for the likes of Trump and the rest of the GOP cult and their contempt for human life somehow makes me your opponent, or makes me like Trump. My issue is not with overturning Roe per se, but with the fact that in doing so, the MAGA “prolife” cult does not have the slightest interest in the unborn except as human shields for their greed, cruelty and malice. Abby Johnson, herself having aborted two children and assisted in the abortions of 22,000 more is already calling for post-abortive women to be punished for murder. Have these people never read the parable of the unmerciful servant? Do they not fear God?

      The Cult has no interest in saving the unborn. If they did, they would focus on helping women in crisis pregnancies and in doing everything possible to relieve economic pressure on women to abort. Instead, they back every sadistic GOP policy to punish the poor and, now, will add punishment of women who cave into the pressure they themselves put on women to abort. I see no reason to rejoice at that.

      1. It has to do with my poor babies because the reason doctors can drown them and toss them into incinerators – at all- is because abortion is legal. In Roe the court used sarcasm to assert that my babies don’t count as people under the constitution. That is why when embryo babies are found to be sick or weak, or no more money can be made from them, they can be thrown away. They are only “tumors” “parasites” “clumps of cells” not people legally. The overturning of Roe is only the beginning of the legal architecture that will be needed to protect the rights of these most poor of people but it is a beginning! Hearts and minds are important – mostly to save the souls of the oppressor! – but poor people need the law to defend them. They cannot wait for hearts and minds, thoughts or prayers. The hearts and minds are rotten as you say. The right wants to use my poor babies and the left calls them parasites. The only earthly power that can protect them is the law. As every oppressed person in this country knows the one necessary shield against the exercise of power is the law. Abby Johnson – she denounces adoption, speaking of it as a valid option only when mother is unfit – an attitude which makes for more dead babies. I suspect she is aware that talking about imprisoning women will only slow the progress of fetal rights. I am no fan of hers!!! But The truth is, the overwhelming majority of abortions are not the termination of crisis pregnancies. Many people prolife and prochoice do not want to believe women could do such a thing unless desperation was involved. The truth is no surplus or lack of money, housing, healthcare causes a woman to choose abortion. Pregnancy, childbirth, parenting or placing for adoption are difficult complex things and they always will be. Abortion is simple and easy. We do need housing healthcare to fulfill reproductive justice. But most unwanted pregnancies end in abortion not because of fear or desperation or lack of money but from a rational decision about the permanence of bringing a child into the world. One day I do hope women are held responsible for comitting abortion: a criminal record is also permanent. We are not there – the law after all currently teaches that fetal human beings are property or medical waste. We can’t expect women to revere them as people with equal rights all at once. But one day? Yes. It has nothing to do with vengance. My husband is a policeman and one of his coworkers was sentenced to 10 years for killing a man out of fear rather than need. This coworker doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was a knight of columbus in my husbands council and prayed the rosary with his little children. But he took a life when there was not need. For that there are consequences and in fact they are good medicine. In fact he welcomed them!!! I agree with you that republicans are looking all the time to do evil and they do not care for the fetal people at all except as tools. However God has seen fit in this instance to turn their evil to good use for His own purpose and that is a reason to celebrate. I am rejoicing that the left may lose this one and that republicans are standing agape at what they have achieved despite their true intention. Truly God has done it and no other, since no one with earthly power sought it!!!!

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