I don’t make a habit of speaking ill of priests.
In my time as a writer, I’ve come across a few that I don’t always agree with—even a few who were pretty nasty. One in particular even told me that if I were in his parish, he’d deny me the Eucharist simply because I’m a lefty (politically speaking, that is. Can’t do a damn with my left hand).
Regardless, as a Catholic I have a deep reverence for the priesthood, and do my best to show respect those men who have dedicated their lives to the Church.
But I have some issues with Fr. Frank Pavone.
I take issue with his endorsement of Trump. I take issue with his willingness to overlook every other evil Trump supports just because it *might* result in a pro-life justice (a pointless endeavor, in my opinion). I ESPECIALLY take issue with his response to my friend Mary Pezzulo when she shared her story of surviving sexual assault.
Please understand, I have nothing but respect for Pavone’s dedication to the protection of the unborn. But he, like so many others in the pro-life movement, has become so focused on the end goal that it has blinded him to the existential threat that Trump campaign presents to our democracy. I honestly fear that by latching to Trump’s campaign so fervently, the entire pro-life ideology is in danger of not only losing its credibility, but becoming synonymous with the trail of racist, misogynist rhetoric that the GOP is leaving in its wake.
All of this plays into one giant singular problem, of which Fr. Pavone is a prominent representative: the Pro-Life movement is cannibalizing itself.
But there is a silver lining.
Over the past few years, more and more alternative pro-life voices have been sprouting up. Most notably, Democrats for Life, New Wave Feminists, Secular Pro-Life, Life Matters Journal, as well as the voices of Mary, Rebecca Bratten Weiss, and, of course, my own here on Patheos. And while each of us has our own unique approach and position, the common thread that links us together is that we exist outside of the mainstream pro-life movement that has been overtaken and dominated by the right-wing.
It’s time for a movement that rejects the myth that the GOP is the “party of life”. A movement that chooses to hold to real principles and refuses to bend to the will of a fascist demagogue. A movement that realizes overturning Roe v Wade isn’t even half the battle, and would rather take real steps to reduce the demand for abortion instead of paying lip service to ending the supply.
It’s time for a movement that looks past counseling and baby clothes and seeks to create and sustain a society where a woman doesn’t feel like she has to choose between a family and a career, where she has job protection and leave so she can the time to spend with her baby, and where an unexpected pregnancy doesn’t make her fear for her livelihood
It’s time for a movement that is 100% whole-life—totally, completely, and without reservation. One that is full dedicated to preserving and sustaining of all human life, from the unborn to the elderly, the innocent to the guilty. One that recognizes that the words “pro-life” do not represent a single issue, but an entire worldview that includes issues such as unjust war, the death penalty, euthanasia, gun violence, and torture.
Furthermore, it’s time for a movement that shows the world that being pro-life is not synonymous with the right-wing Christianity. We are left and right. We are Catholic and Protestant. Atheist and Agnostic. Men and women. Gay and straight. We are feminists, socialists, Democrats, and secularists. And we are fully pro-life, from conception to natural death and everything in between.
We are the new pro life movement. We are here to create a true culture of life, and we will not be governed by threatening or consequentialist ideology.
Won’t you join us?