When pro-life really means pro-death (or: anti-woman)

For all my pro-life readers out there, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this case: Hospital Nun Excommuniated for Allowing Abortion.

The background:  last year, a woman in Phoenix received an abortion in a Catholic hospital.  This patient was 11 weeks pregnant, and had a severe life-threatening condition that would have killed her had she not received the procedure.  Before the abortion, her case was reviewed and scrutinized by a hospital ethics committee, and they all decided that this was the right and life-saving thing to do in this situation.

So looking at this particular case, what is the appropriate pro-“life” response to a situation like this?  I can already hear one of my (rabid) pro-life friends respond to me by saying, “God is in control, and you should trust him to save both the mother and child.”  (Usually this platitude is followed up by a vague reference of a story of a friend-of-a-friend who had a negative diagnosis but continued on with a pregnancy to have a positive result.)  And you know, saying that “God is in control” sounds really nice  — but when faced with impending death, I wonder how willing you’d be to take a bet on dogma over reality.

The reality in this woman’s life was that she was going to die unless she had an abortion.  It probably wasn’t a happy choice for her to have to make, but it was a choice she was glad to be able to have medically available.

It’s situations like these that remind me of the importance of being able to trust women when it comes to reproductive issues.  If a lawmaker passed a law in Arizona’s capital that outlawed all abortions, where would that have left this woman and her family?  Sure, passing such a law may have made the lawmaker score big points with his conservative donors, but his feigned concern over preserving “life” would have meant DEATH for this woman.

As horrible as you may think abortion is, it’s cases like these that convince me that these procedures need to ALWAYS be available for women to consult.  I’m so tired of hearing the anti-choice talking point that most abortions are done out of “convenience,” as if a woman wakes up one day — 7 months pregnant — and decides she doesn’t want to go through with mamahood.

But I digress.  The moral dilemma over this Arizona woman’s story doesn’t just stop with her decision.  The local Catholic church decided to righteously weigh in on the situation, and the role a Catholic nun played in the saga:

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, indicated in a statement that the Roman Catholic involved was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action. The Catholic Church allows the termination of a pregnancy only as a secondary effect of other treatments, such as radiation of a cancerous uterus.

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.

“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

For those of you keeping track at home:

  • Repeatedly rape and take advantage of young children in your charge = a transfer to another parish, the covering up of your crimes, intimidation of your accusers, promotion, etc…
  • Save the life of a woman by performing a legal medical procedure = EXCOMMUNICATION

Just stunning.  How can anyone want to continue to be a part of a such a corrupt (and misogynistic) institution?

Misogyny and the Anti-Choice movement

The anti-choice approach on late abortions is consistent with one viewpoint: the misogynist one. Let’s assume for a moment that the motivation behind anti-choice activism is not a love of life or a belief that a fertilized egg is the same thing as a baby. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, they’re motivated by a belief that the main role of women in this world is to be baby machines, and that women should mindlessly reproduce even if it kills them. Is this viewpoint consistent with the focus on late abortion?

Absolutely! If this is how you feel, you’d be extremely interested in portraying women as callous, stupid, and mercurial, then you’d be all about portraying late abortion as something that happens because stupid, heartless, fickle women change their minds 6 months into a pregnancy. You wouldn’t be interested in the truth about the medical indications that lead to late abortions, because in your mind, if they can’t have babies, they should die trying. You’d relish the opportunity to use graphic imagery and language to shut down people’s rational thinking, and get them to react to an “ick factor.” And you’d be indifferent to the suffering you caused real women, like Tiffany Campbell, who had to abort much-wanted pregnancies because of fetal abnormalities—their feelings don’t matter to you as much as the production model of their uteruses.

Misogyny: The Real Root of Opposition to Late Abortion
Amanda Marcotte

Read the whole article, it’s worth it.

Hating the “sinner”

Have you heard about what happened to Constance?

School officials in a rural Mississippi county told a lesbian student to get “guys” to take her and her girlfriend to a high school prom and warned the girls against slow dancing with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court.

[…] Superintendent Teresa McNeece told the teen that the girls should attend the prom separately, had to wear dresses and couldn’t slow dance with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to court documents.

The school district last week said it wouldn’t host the prom “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.” District officials said they hoped private citizens would sponsor a dance. The decision came on the same day the ACLU asked the district to act on McMillen’s prom requests.


High school sucks enough without being discriminated against by the school’s administration, and then being blamed for the cancellation of prom because of the someone else’s homophobia.

Yes, there’s been a case filed in federal court over what happened to Constance — but if anything, what’s happened in Mississippi should be instructive to show just how hateful some people can be out of religiously-inspired ignorance and fear.