A reader writes:
I know that some of your readers have refused to acknowledge that this is an issue, but sincere pro-lifers need to be concerned about the job security and safety for pregnant women. This poor lady is losing her house and job as she is expecting and she is not the only one. Why do pro-life concerns evaporate when they cross the interests of corporate profits? Why are pregnant women so much the object of scorn rather than compassion?
I consider you something of a voice in the wilderness. Why are the “much dreaded” feminists the ones doing the heavy lifting here and the Church remains silent?
I think mostly the reason is that a huge percentage of Catholic conservatives don’t think with the Church, but instead mine the Church’s teaching for a few things they like and then navigate most of the rest of life according to their tribal allegiances and little shibboleths, code words, and tribal markers. Feminists are part of Them (Liberals! Proaborts! Democrats!) Therefore if they say it, it’s bad.
This is a profoundly unCatholic and deeply ideological (read: “heretical”) way of navigating reality, of course. If St. Thomas were alive today, the sort of people who think this way would charge him with heresy for treating Aristotle (A PAGAN!) and Averroes and Avicenna (MUSLIMS!) with such respect and laboring to incorporate their insights into a Catholic theology. Much “conservative” Catholic culture in the US does not conserve and is far more interested in searching out heretics to expel than in seeking converts and places where we can evangelize the culture. (Recently, I was informed that when Bernie Sanders (a lefty Vermont Senator) cited Pope Francis with approval, that was not a hopeful sign that Lefties were listening to the Church, but a horrible sign that the Pope was appealing to the Wrong People. A mentality like that has not interest in evangelization, only in hunkering down in the bunker.)
And a mentality like that will therefore not listen to feminists or lefties when they point out, with perfect common sense, that if women are forced into poverty, the likelihood climbs exponentially that they will abort their children. It is dogma that big corporations like Walmart have the right to treat their workers like dogs if they like and “poor people can just find another job”. The connection between poverty and abortion is steadfastly ignored because all that “social justice stuff” doesn’t matter and is really just liberalism trying to distract us from the only thing that does matter: abortion.
Crazy, I know. But when you try to point out the connection between destroying economic security for the poor and abortion, you will get a fight from an awful lot of conservative Catholics whose thinking is almost entirely informed by libertarian code words and stuff they picked up from talk radio. Such Catholics often look with active hostility and suspicion at what the Church actually has to say. Hence the deep hostility, emanating almost entirely from the Right to Pope Francis.
The only solution I can see is to keep pounding away at what the Church actually teaches (including the concept of a living wage for families and the sinfulness of an employer punishing a family for having a child till people start to listen. The embarrassing spectacle of the “anti-abortion-but-not-prolife” Christian has to end and Catholics have to embrace the fullness of Catholic social teaching, which is fully prolife. We have to be better advocates for the dignity of women than feminists are. Not people telling women, “Don’t contracept or abort, and don’t expect any sympathy or help from us when Walmart screws you over, because corporate rights are more important than you and your family.”
If it’s bad for the family, it’s bad. This action by Walmart is bad for the family. Catholics should condemn it unequivocally.