Filed under: abortion, Culture and Catholicism, depopulation, Vatican II | Tags: abortion, anti-abortion, is the pro-life movement winning, pro-life movement, progress in pro-life movement
Joe Jensen, the youth outreach activist employed by Chicago’s venerable Pro-Life Action League, has recently written a piece for the Bellarmine Forum in which he discusses the gains the pro-life movement has achieved since 1973. It’s a lot, according to the report. Jensen lists these accomplishments: it has kept abortion and its 55 million victims in American faces on the front pages of hometown newspapers, with graphic photos and sickening details ; because of this steady media attention, more people are becoming pro-life, including most doctors, who now refuse to do abortions, and also, with all the attention to health code violations and numerous abuses, many ‘clinics’ have been shut down. Even more significant, there is a strongly growing trend in tough legislation protecting the baby at a state level. Besides all that, help is being offered to women through the many sidewalk counselors, pregnancy resource centers, and counseling initiatives like Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard.
These are real achievements, and the growing anti-abortion trend is so clear that even NPR’s recent segment on abortion reported that the Supreme court has become much more ‘conservative’ and may surprise us and reverse its decades-long promotion of infant death by calling those buffer zones around clinics that limit access to sidewalk counselors to the women entering to abort ‘unconstitutional.’ Yes!
But hold the champagne. Examined more deeply, there are some elements in all this progress that ought to concern pro-life Americans. For one thing, there has been little abatement in abortion among African-American women. Headlines from New York on the day before the annual pro-life demonstration in Washington disclose the shocking figures that for every 1000 black babies born, 1123 black babies are killed. More than 100%. This is a fact that ought to have shut the country down in Dr. King Day demonstrations, except that the black community has become so weakened demographically by abortion and contraception, so old and frail, so absent from voting booths and front porches, too, as once vibrant neighborhoods die and schools are closed and homes are boarded up one by one and the wind blows hard and only packs of dogs hear it, so destroyed are these communities by the racist war called Choice, that it is now shockingly silent on these numbers. The dream is dead–Dr. King’s dream. Stone dead, killed by abortion, and contraception, and marriage’s failure, and poverty. The civil rights movement, the pro-life movement, let’s just say all America, has failed the African-American woman.
It is not the other way around. You cannot put all the blame entirely on her for these shocking numbers, when her wages are the lowest in the country and her marriage rate has fallen from a one-in-four chance, back when the modern civil rights era began, to the present one-in-seven chance, after all this ‘progress’ that we celebrate. An African American woman who does not want to raise a child alone must either forego sex (from virtue, or more pragmatically, perhaps, from the failure rate of contraceptives) or become one of those pitiful sex toys going in and out of abortuaries any given Saturday morning across America. Going in scared and coming out crying. The double- down rate of abortion in the African American community ought to concern us more deeply. It ought to concern us really really deeply, it ought to make us stand up and scream. But–let’s take a deep breath– what is meant by ‘more deeply’?
It has to mean that the pro-life movement will abandon its single issue focus and instead develop a political agenda that covers not just abortion, but adds contraception, and goes on to address economics, starting with social policy that favors not only the concept of marriage but writes legislation encouraging universities and colleges to provide housing on every college campus big enough for starting a family, or lose their student loan status (no pressure), and many other practical initiatives from increased tax deduction for children to ways to reduce the cost of education, all simple steps that make abortion not only unpopular but also less financially attractive to the poorest among us.
Mr. Jensen did not, however, mention progress in building a political platform that fights those social conditions which are known to provoke the abortion choice. He has a party, on paper, with a platform already. The pro-life movement has been yoked to the Republican party because of, in spite of, its timid, divided resistance to abortion, and has swallowed a great deal of dubious economic policy in the bargain, with many pro-lifers identifying themselves as Tea Party supporters which arguably includes the absence of provisions for government or private economic help for the poorest (arguable, granted, but we are not arguing it, that is part of the point). But what can pro-lifers do–vote Democrat? So there we are: the unassailable need for a third party and a platform that really fights abortion.
This blog has a recent post discussing one place to start looking for ideas, Jonathan Last’s policy agenda in What To Expect When No One’s Expecting. He suggests simple non-government-funded steps we can take to make family formation easier in housing, in education (for example, make more on-line cheap alternatives to the present exorbitantly-priced classes at traditional colleges, or another idea, encourage work-from-home employment opportunities, or another, devote more public funding to highway superstructure rather than public transportation or biking, because families need the first option more than the second and third, but our emphasis in spending has been on the latter for very many decades, or another suggestion, revised tax structures that favor families much more than present ones; and there are many other ideas in the book, please read it). But the pro-life movement does not consistently turn the media’s eyes toward solutions to social problems that contribute to the abortion rate, and limits its focus almost entirely to abortion, to legislation limiting it and eventually eliminating it. They probably think this is a strategy more favorable to success than a more generalized one. Perhaps that is true, if one wishes merely to eliminate legal abortion and call it done. But that may be unwise, at least in terms of the Catholic’s responsibilities toward women. We’re supposed to help them get to heaven.
Pro-lifers should consider this: Stalin, Hitler and Romania’s Ceauşescu favored limiting abortion on purely demographic and eugenic arguments. Surprised? There are plenty of unsavory reasons to oppose abortion. Consider Hitler’s. One source writes, “Hitler never appealed to religion, God, or divine revelation to ground his opposition to abortion. Rather he insisted on vigorous enforcement of extant antiabortion laws because he considered German population expansion vital to the improvement of the Aryan race. ”
Or consider communist Romania. In 1966 there were four abortions for every live baby born in Romania. Women were aborting their babies, anecdotes report, because they did not want to bring them into the horrible world of Communism. In that year, Nicolae Ceauşescu (1918–1989) issued Decree No. 770 prohibiting both abortion and artificial contraception. Like Stalin, Ceauşescu was an atheist. He was not motivated by religion or concern for families or unborn children. His anti-abortion policies were strictly utilitarian, an attempt to build his country into a colossus through population growth.
Stalin banned abortion to stimulate the birth rate. In 1936, in a widely resented decree that was dropped after his death, Stalin made it clear as only that killer could that the nation’s couples should produce workers and soldiers as vigorously as new Soviet industries were turning out trucks and steel beams–or else.
Does the pro-life movement think similar thinking is impossible in the United States? Why would they believe that? After all, profits are at stake, and the pro-life movement always knew that, because we know that moral law does not contradict natural law, that is, if something is a sin morally, it’s going to be bad for society in the long run. But the elites did not seem to know this when they pushed for abortion. Or rather, when they initially supported legalizing abortion, the elites were going after increased profits from another angle, the rise in productivity when women first entered the work place en masse, and also their depressing effect on men’s wages going forward, which effect has been cumulative to the present–here is the MotherJones link to the data. However, that situation has changed. Profits have peaked out on productivity and wages and working conditions have fallen to the basement, below which we would be remunerated at about the same rate as third world slaves. And that would blow their cover.
But since profits must continue to grow, year over year, or the whole ponzi scheme of human society collapses, the game plan must change, and suddenly the cost of abortion to the elites–in dollars, not souls, stupid Catholic!–is under scrutiny. The data that abortion is falling but so is the number of pregnancies, for example, is not alarming to pro-lifers, at least it didn’t come up in Jensen’s article, but apparently it is, now, to the elites. The Washington Post moaned that the US birthrate had fallen to a record low not seen since the twenties, that it was especially high among immigrant women, upon whom the report said–admitted– we “have been counting. . .to boost our population growth,” and cited the birth dearth of Japan and Italy (who have been unable to reverse their negative trend) as awful, alarming and downright bad examples to avoid at all cost. That Washington Post report was on 2012 data. The numbers did not improve in 2013, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Demographers like Kenneth Johnson had predicted that the birth rate would improve with the official end of the recession, but that did not happen (just as none of their optimistic predictions of fertility rate improvement have come true, not a single one), and the WSJ wrote, “Low fertility means less growth in a country’s population, barring a pickup in immigration. Fewer people can mean fewer workers to propel the economy and a smaller tax base to draw from to pay the benefits due retired Americans.” All economic reasons to limit abortion having nothing to do with respect for life and making no commitment to making America a good place to have a child.
Weighing in on the birth crisis are CNBC, US News, CNN, CBS, the Christian Science Monitor, and page after internet page of others. Nor is the coverage limited to the US. The South China Morning Post, warned its own government, which continues to press forward with its one-child per couple program that includes forced abortion, that “the consequences of these [demographic] changes are striking,” listing among the areas affected “the evolution of family ties, the future of pension provisions and care for the elderly, the evolution of immigration policies, the ethnic and language distributions within societies, the potential for violence within and among different religious and ethnic communities, ” and this last item which bears thought, “the debate of women’s rights.” One would not wish to see women’s rights fall lower than being hunted down and forcibly aborted, but the author of the article apparently thinks it possible.
The fact is, the elites are beginning to realize how abortion affects the bottom line in today’s financial times. Abortion hurts profits, now. It was different when abortion was legalized. Abortion was originally legalized because the trained monkeys the elites hire to advise them thought that a big influx of women into the labor markets would depress wages and increase productivity, and it worked, initially, in the US, in Europe, and Asia. But now, to continue the profit-taking, the situation having changed to a shortage both of buyers and producers (thanks to the success of the prior tactic of inducing their mothers out of the nursery and into the office), babies are needed again, to populate what they coyly call the internal markets, babies as buyers, and as labor, babies as future workers, especially now that migrant labor pools are drying up (our US net immigration last year was negative 11%, for example–we actually lost immigrants). The elites are waking up to the effect of abortion on the new bottom line. It is not due to the pro-life movement alone that twenty two states are presently engaged in a process of severely limiting abortion.
The elites are promoting a new economics now, in their media. “Everybody comes into world with one mouth and two hands,” says economist Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University. “It’s generally true that most people produce more than they consume,” but that interesting factoid was not discussed back in the seventies when abortion was rammed through by court order in Roe v. Wade. Nor did we see quotes such as this one: “Fertility rates have plunged, and that will have an impact on future consumer spending,” (Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economists at forecasting firm IHS Global Insight). They forgot all about consumer spending back in the seventies–or rather, they expected to increase it with the increase in income working women would take to the store. And so it did. But as the Spanish saying goes, Pan para hoy, hambre para maňana, bread for today, hunger for tomorrow–their policies had a delayed consequence that popped up in 2008, oopsie.
So, they are changing the policy. You will find this kind of wording now rather than the angry rhetoric of yesteryear. This quote from CBS encourages women to have not only one but two children: “A rate of a little more than 2 children per woman means each couple is helping keep the population stable. The U.S. rate last year was slightly below 1.9.” Hint hint.
Well, what difference if the elites encourage births and discourage abortions? Isn’t that what we wanted? There is a small problem: while they may change their policy regarding abortion (perhaps even for contraception, if the fertility rate continues to fall), they probably will not advocate at the same time that women may choose to leave the workplace or reduce their work obligations (because their present productivity rates are based on women working), that marriage be restored, that big family housing be increased and earlier marriage promoted, that the tax deduction per child must be increased, and numerous other proposals to give women back what they used to enjoy that made child-bearing –bearable. We have fallen below the economic levels that make most of those options affordable, as have Sweden, France, and other countries with even worse birthrates than ours and who began to try to reverse the trend earlier, with no success.
They may still make abortion illegal, of course. Do you know what women will do if abortion is made illegal but nothing else is changed? They will revert to the practice of infanticide, as women always have and which the Church fought for century after century. We have to want more for women than Hitler and Stalin did, simply because if a higher birth rate is the only goal, half-way measures do not work, not that women won’t be tortured all along the way. It is possible that we do not yet understand the brutality of our enemy. We have seen them run women down like prey in China to forcibly abort them, but we have not processed that they will run them down to forcibly inseminate them.
What does avoiding the bad mean we have to do, in practical terms? We have to form and support a third party with a completely pro-life platform. We must leave the Republican party, and the Democratic party as well. We must offer the American people a true option besides a ‘kick in the head and a kick in the stomach.’ That is what we must do if we ‘love them both,’ as a popular pro-life saying goes. That party cannot be secular.
There’s something else wrong with Jensen’s analysis. He cites as progress the very many outreach programs to help women choose life. Catholics support these programs in huge majorities, and they believe they are giving to Catholic services. But that is not true. Women receive only secular services at these post-Vatican II ecumenical centers. When abortion-minded women visit them and decide to carry the pregnancy to term, they are given diapers and strollers and baby clothes and formula–but they are not invited to study the Faith, they are not invited to consider baptism for the baby, they are not invited to give up the often illicit relationships in which they are enmeshed. All those things would make life better for women, but they are not being offered. They get only secular advice along with the baby clothes. In other words, platitudes in place of sacraments. And we know how well that secular counseling worked for pedophile priests, as replayed this last week in Chicago news.
In some cases, secular advice that plays the victim card, as most do, can actually serve to harden hearts against true contrition, which involves taking responsibility for the sin, not marshalling the list of excuses one initially gave to justify it, as often happens–‘we were too young, we weren’t ready, we should have been more careful,’ etc. The best tools are withheld, confession and the eucharist, in the name of ecumenism. Most Catholics do not know this when they write their annual donation checks to their local crisis pregnancy center.
A pro-active pro-life party would make sure they had an independent Catholic political position, neither Democrat nor Republican, and would in addition offer the true, complete Faith both as spiritual help and as political grounding. This pro-life movement does none of that, and in reality, secularism, with its fangs out, will be just as happy to reap babies for the profit-machine as it was to kill them.
It is said by liberal critics that we Catholic pro-lifers do not vote for or stir ourselves over the needs of the child once it is born, especially if any proposal involves government responsibility. And we seem to care not even for the soul of the child, to see it is baptized. Those are two heavy charges to bear when we stand before Christ our Judge. He was so fussy about those sheep.
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