Words cannot express how much I dislike writing about abortion.
As a Catholic, I believe that the fetus has personhood from the moment of conception. That’s something that cannot be taken lightly. We ought to do everything we can to protect unborn children– and we have to do the same for their parents, and for children already born, for the disabled, for the poor, for people of color and anybody else who is vulnerable to violence in our society. That’s our solemn duty. It’s our job to respect life from conception until natural death, and the lives of the vulnerable most of all.
However, as a Catholic, and just as a person who hates liars and bullies, I feel bound in conscience to point out a bully when I see one. The pro-life movement is championed by people whose horrendous behavior puts life in danger and makes objection to killing a baby seem oafish, and this is wrong. It’s immoral and stupid. I’m not going to tolerate abusive, dishonest people like Frank Pavone and Abby Johnson. I’m going to speak out against them.
This is a surefire way to get both pro-life and pro-choice people good and angry with me, and then I have to deal with the troll comments for a week. But I couldn’t live with my own conscience if I didn’t speak out anyway, so here we are.
You may recall that I wrote this weekend about casting my vote for president. I refused to vote for Donald Trump because I viewed him as the worst possible option– not only to help unborn children but for any other sort of human being as well. But that was a bit of a scary thing to do, because of all the pro-life people telling me I would be in mortal sin if I did it. They insisted that I had to vote for Donald Trump or have the blood of little children on my hands. They’re loud about this, and they are insistent. If you point out that you think Trump is not really pro-life they accuse you of rash judgement. If you argue that Republican policies seem likely to drive abortion rates up rather than down even if abortion somehow becomes illegal, they tell you you’re full of it. If you point out any other sort of human being who would be endangered if Republicans were allowed to have unbridled control, they ask how you can possibly think about any other sort of human being when millions of unborn babies are slaughtered every year. If you’re Catholic, you can’t possibly practice your faith in America without running into people like this.
Which is why I want to show you an article.
This article, from April of this year by CBS news, is all about how abortion demand is going way up due to the pandemic, and is expected to stay that way as long as the pandemic lasts. Clinics are seeing more women seeking abortion than they have in a long time. One clinic says they performed ninety abortions in March of 2019 and two hundred fifty-two in March of 2020. And more women who might have changed their minds about an abortion after the initial consultation are going through with abortion now: one clinic said that fifty per cent of patients usually came back to get an abortion instead of deciding to have a baby after all, after the initial consultation. But now, the number is closer to eighty-five per cent. Women who actually wanted to be pregnant, who would like to have a baby, are reporting that they decided to abort their babies anyway because they don’t feel safe going to the hospital right now. They are going long distances to seek abortions where abortions in their own communities have been banned. They are taking abortion drugs at home, at shockingly high rates, when they find it hard to get an abortion in a clinic.
And this isn’t just something that happened in April, either. Here’s another article from two months later, showing that there’s been a massive increase in at-home medication abortions in places where states put in temporary abortion bans as part of elective medical procedure bans during the pandemic.
There are two logical conclusions we can draw from this. The first is that when states restrict legal abortion access, as they would have the ability to do if Roe Versus Wade were ever reversed, this would not lead to the end of abortion the way we learned it would in Youth Group. It’s happening right now so we can watch the results, and it leads to women getting abortions in a different state or in a different way. The same women are not changing their minds and choosing life because it’s illegal to get an abortion nearby or in the way that they planned, they’re just doing it anyway. We now know the results of abortion bans; this year has been our experiment. They move abortion around. They don’t lead to a pro-life society. A legal ban is not a practical way to save unborn babies.
We can also see, right here in real time, that the pandemic and the chaos it caused have led to a huge increase in abortions. And every careless or foolish action that prolongs the pandemic and drives up the death rate is going to continue this increased demand abortion. Anything we can do to actually help control the pandemic and mitigate what’s been destroyed by it will certainly flatten this other curve as well. The women who might have changed their mind will go back to changing their minds. The women who actually want to keep their babies in the first place will feel empowered to do so. We can help them. This is something that we can do, that actually will save lives.
Women don’t get abortions just for the heck of it, on a whim. They do it for reasons they find very grave. And the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has given women far more reasons to want an abortion. Women who might have changed their minds are going through with it. Women who actually wanted to have their babies are choosing abortion instead because of the pandemic and the financial and social consequences of its mishandling. This could easily have been predicted.
And meanwhile, all around me, I see people who call themselves staunch pro-lifers, led by President Trump and the Republican party, mocking any precaution taken because of the pandemic and any efforts to flatten the curve. I see them refusing masks and throwing big rallies just to own the libs. I see them spreading conspiracy theories that this is all a liberal ruse to control us. I see them demanding that there be no enforcement of social distancing at Mass or anywhere else. I see them saying that the pandemic shouldn’t control their lives and they have a right to do just as they please even though it will make this nightmare last longer and could sicken or kill the people around them. They accuse anyone carefully following the rules of not trusting God and of living in cowardice, of not being real Christians.
And while they’re doing this, they tell me that if I vote for anyone other the man who botched the nation’s handling of the pandemic and caused tens of thousands of preventable deaths, not only by mismanagement but by deliberately lying, I am in mortal sin for causing abortions.
They tell me that I shouldn’t even think about the deaths from COVID-19, when abortion is still killing babies.
And, in fact, they are killing babies. They’re causing abortions in real time. Because the botched response to the pandemic is driving up abortion demand and it’s just going to keep doing it. And, contrary to what we’ve all been told, abortion demand is the thing that causes abortions.
The pro-life movement is a lying, abusive confidence game, and they’re killing babies.
I refuse to help them kill babies.
I refused to be bullied by them ever again.
Image via Pixabay.
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross.
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