The Editors: Roe v. Wade has made abortion politics impossible. It needs to be challenged.

Demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington July 9. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

The recently passed abortion laws in Georgia and Alabama have raised the temperature of the national debate nearly to the boiling point. The law in Georgia, keyed to the detection of fetal cardiac activity, would restrict abortion after about the sixth week of pregnancy; it also defines human beings in the womb, at any stage of development, as “natural persons.” Alabama’s law bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy. While these laws allow exceptions for cases where a woman’s life would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to delivery, neither law has exceptions allowing abortion in cases of rape or incest.

Much discussion of these bills has described them as “extreme,” while almost universally neglecting the most significant cause of such “extremism.” Many commentators recognize that these new laws are designed to mount a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade—but they fail to notice that these laws’ blunt restrictions are a mirror image of Roe’s broad rejection of any practical or effective limits on abortion. When abortion rights advocates defend Roe in order to reject any proposed restriction of abortion, they are taking an extreme position. That leaves no ground open for any compromise on less extreme laws. Pro-life legislators are going to meet the same tooth-and-nail opposition whether they aim to ban all abortions or, as recently seen in the U.S. Senate, attempt to require that infants born alive during an abortion receive medical care.

Consistently over decades, polls show that a significant majority of Americans support stricter restrictions on abortion than allowed under Roe, yet not as stark as those established by these new laws. American public opinion on the legality of abortion is conflicted and contradictory. According to one poll conducted this month, half of voters believe that the six-week “heartbeat laws” are either “just right” or even “too lenient;” another poll found that two-thirds of U.S. adults oppose overturning Roe. But under Roe and its successor decision, Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the abortion limits many voters want, even while abortion remains legal, are rendered unconstitutional. About 60 percent of Americans support legal abortion during the first three months of pregnancy, but far fewer—less than one-third—support it up to six months. But Casey’s “undue burden” standard disallows abortion restrictions anytime before fetal viability (around six months), which is not what most Americans would choose.

There is a large gap between what Roe requires and what Americans believe about abortion. But addressing this gap remains politically unimaginable for pro-choice activists at the same time as they present the possibility of Roe being overturned as an acute political crisis. In reality, the reverse is the case. The ongoing political crisis is a consequence of the persistent failure of Roe and Casey to settle the abortion question and the failure of the Supreme Court to offer any sign that these cases ever will.

In her majority opinion upholding Roe in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote that “the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” On the abortion question, this call has manifestly and expressly failed for more than 45 years, while distorting national politics and contributing to national division. The wreckage of these cases needs to be cleared for the country to move forward.

The Alabama and Georgia laws are far from perfect. They should have been accompanied by equally vigorous support for women struggling with pregnancy. They will almost certainly be suspended by injunction before they are implemented, and whenever they eventually reach the Supreme Court, they are unlikely to be upheld in all the details of their current form. If these laws are upheld and Roe is overturned or limited, they will need to be modified in order to be practically and justly enforced. But the legislative work of answering the challenging moral questions about abortion will at least be possible. While that will not end political divisions over abortion, it would allow us to engage them more honestly.

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Robert Klein
1 year 8 months ago

God bless everyone all I have to say is you crucify my lord and master for each and every innocent child you murder with your abortion

Vince Killoran
1 year 8 months ago

I'm still waiting for a coherent, detailed plan to re-criminalize abortion. The Pro-Life folks haven't stepped up to the challenge.

E. Commerce
1 year 8 months ago

Who says it has to be "re-criminalized"? Couldn't the appropriate course of action be simply to get rid of Roe v Wade--say it was wrongly decided, and that of course the unborn child has at least the right to life, if not to all constitutional protections? Enact federal laws that cede regulating of abortions to the states, but require states to help 1) prevent abortion by a combination of education, non-abortive birth control, and regulation of media that promotes irresponsible sex to the young and 2) assist women in distressed pregnancies with all the tools the state has at its disposal to make abortion unnecessary and unthinkable, and 3) Entirely cease government funding of entities that promote or perform abortions. Fund, instead, health centers that actually provide health services such as mammograms, unlike Planned Parenthood.

rose-ellen caminer
1 year 8 months ago

Add to what you said E Commerce;make it a hate crime for any spouse or boyfriend or parent to coerce or pressure a pregnant woman to have an abortion.Make it illegal to fire woman who are pregnant ; enact universal paid family leave laws. Promote propaganda[ public service announcements] that unwanted pregnancies do not hinder a persons life. Enact with programs , for education ,careers, open adoptions ,free universal child care,for working moms,; the gamut to change hearts and minds about unwanted pregnancies. Where there is a will there is a way.

E. Commerce
1 year 8 months ago

Haha--as my son says, we Catholics are all pro-life Democrats, at heart!

geoffrey greetham
1 year 8 months ago

Your title for this article is ridiculous. Given the Church's absolute opposition to a woman's ' option to choose, there never was any "politics" available. Politics implies negotiation, discussion, and u derstanding. It results in a compromise. When the pro-life side won't work with those on the other side of the issue then THERE IS NO POLITICS.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

The editors are anything but honest. Just recently they published "The pro-life movement has always been pro-women. Our priorities should reflect that." (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2019/01/08/pro-life-movement-has-always-been-pro-women-our-priorities-should-reflect). The idea that this all male religious order is pro-women is laughable - they oppose not only contraception and abortion (and the exceptions for rape and incest) but also oppose women having equal status in the church as deacons and priests.

Javier von Sydow
1 year 8 months ago

Hopefully we can keep on working on this misperception or misunderstanding of "enculturation", which is part of a great Jesuit charism, with the compromising with certain principles. This is not enculturation but capitulation. So at this point what seems to be needed is a freedom from the "what-will-they-say" or "what-do-others-think". It is important to understand where people stand on this but it confuses your research on whether something is right or wrong. To find out when a right exists you must remove yourself from these considerations that have nothing to do with a scientific approach but all to do with manipulation. People today in America desperately need to be informed, subjected as they are to constant misinformation according to the whims of the ideologues. Accounting for their opinions in their raw state is meaningless and only functional to the mischievous who are aware of this and pretend to utilize it to their advantage. When you are doing serious research what must be done however is think the whole issue through and bring about the rest of human thought, analysis and science to come up with the ultimate answer to the question of whether there is a human being at conception and if that is the case is it licit and valid to kill him or her for any reason. If there is a human being at conception and the answer to the latter question is no, then the whole issue is sorted out by itself and no person should be killed regardless of the circumstance. And the circumstance could be rape, incest or health issues. This does not in any manner validate these behaviors but rather does not allow them, on Justice alone, to befall on an innocent person. We cannot avoid those issues and they must be dealt with as hard as it is. The same thing is happening in Argentina right now, where abortion is banned but still allowed in case of rape. Under the statute a physician has just been convicted for failing to carry on with the abortion in a case of rape. This is what's going on; there is no escaping the hard questions. Better get on with it.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

Now the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have filed suit to block the Alabama anti-abortion law. This is what the writers of the bill hoped for - a court fight that will end in the Supreme Court, thinking Trump's sycophant judges will back them. I think they will be disappointed. John Roberts, even though a conservative Catholic, would hesitate to strike down Roe and its subsequent supporting cases just to impose a reactionary religious minority view on a country in which the majority wants Roe maintained.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

Overturning Roe would not impose any view on the country, it would allow citizens to have a say in what laws they want to see on abortion. Abortion laws would be determined by citizens debating the merits of these laws and then voting- the way that things ought to be decided in a democracy. It's crazy that the pro-abortion movement have convinced themselves that judicial fiat is the democratic way to decide on law and that sending a decision back to the voters is somehow authoritarian.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

When a Republican votes for Republicans, they are not necessarily voting to ban abortion. Polls constantly show that a majority of Americans want abortion to remain legal. A 2018 poll showed 77% of Americans want exceptions for rape and incest but the Alabama law doesn't allow for that. The pro-life movement is a reactionary nutball religious cult obsessed with controlling women's reproductive lives - they don't deserve to impose their weird views on everybody else.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

If a majority want abortion to remain legal then they'll have the opportunity to vote for that. (Though if it becomes a state issue then the opinion of voters within a state is what matters, not Americans as a whole.) Of course I disagree that the pro-life movement is reactionary or nutty, and they're clearly not a "cult" by any reasonable definition of the term. But anyway overturning Roe would not allow them to "impose" their "weird" views. It would give them the chance to make their case in public and let their ideas get a vote.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

The case has already been made to the public and they have spoken .... they want Roe to remain legal, Republicans as well as Democrats. If pro-lifers really wanted people's voices to be honored, they would embrace pro-choice, which, you know, actually lets individuals make their own choice about abortion.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

How have people "spoken" about Roe? I assume you mean opinion polling but that's irrelevant. Roe vs Wade was not a decision by voters or by democratically elected officials. It was an imposition of judicial fiat. That means it was not a Democratically chosen law. And that remains true even if people say they like it in opinion polls. Opinion polls are not a form of democratic action. In the same way a king's decrees are not democratic even if a majority of people like the king. No amount of popular support can turn a king into a president and no amount of opinion polls can turn an act of judicial fiat into a democratically chosen law.

Anyway people are fickle on opinion polls. For example a majority of gun owners claim to support licensing requirements, but then they vote against these measures. The only true way to test public support is through voting. And again, how crazy is it that pro-choicers are making democratic decision making out to be something to be feared and reviled?

I was speaking in favor of voting and self-governance. I don't support "choice" as a generally good principle. Certain choices are harmful and should be proscribed. And in a Democratic society certain choices *should* be proscribed if a majority of voters support doing so. Failing to ban something that a majority of voters oppose is disrespecting the will of the voters.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

.

Kathleen Chafin
1 year 8 months ago

I thank God in Heaven for Roe. It just was too late for me to keep my precious infant. Prior to Roe 85% of unwed women were NOT allowed to keep their children. Some sent to.maternity homes, I was sequestered with strangers to cook clean, babysit for them, in labor I was drugged with Twilight Sleep to not recall the birth, tied hand and foot to the labor bed, not allowed to see or hold my son, he was taken by Jesuit Fr. Thomas Halley, who gave my child to his infertile friends in 1968. Then came ROE and by 1973 that 85% figure of forced adoptions dropped to 4%. Like a rock. Because women were told they could choose their lives and they were empowered. Abortions are now at the lowest point ever, due to increased birth control. The Church stole millions of babies globally (look up Baby scoop Era I am one of millions). I am Pro Choice. I am Pro Family. I am Pro Life and I support Roe. The Editors here talk about honest discussion yet fail to mention that the Law is a human begins when born and has drawn breath. The Law Based on on the Bible's 30 or more references to the Breath of God as Life...God formed Adam as a man from clay, and the Breath of God animated him. So the Editors vague reference the needing a law to treat babies born alive from abortion is not true...an aborted fetus, drawing only one breath and alive is treated vigorously by Law. Like anyone else in need of medical care. A doctor or hospital could be sued or even jailed for refusing treatment. If we want to be honest, the issue continues to be about control of women from an all exclusive male celibate institution that never had a fetus in their body for 5 seconds so it is hubris to think you can dictate only. In fact, you do not help women, you do not elevate women when you can only pontificate and use your position of male power to control women's lives.

E. Commerce
1 year 8 months ago

Wait. Your child was "precious" and you are thankful that the precious children who were aborted following Roe were NOT given for adoption? Not quite following your reasoning. That said, so sorry for what you went through...

Lisa M
1 year 8 months ago

Kathleen- While I am sorry you were forced to give up your child, do you truly believe things are really that much different today for young women facing unplanned pregnancies? They may not be coerced into giving up their child, but far too often they are under tremendous pressure to abort. We have traded one form of abuse for another, and young women remain shamed or forced into doing something they really don't want to do. That is not a choice as far as I'm concerned, and it is certainly not liberating. We as women should never have to surrender our child because of difficult circumstances. That's what needs to change. The mentality of our society, where women continue to bear this burden in forced silence.

Catholic parents need to stand up and support their children in difficult circumstances, not coerce them into abortion, or threaten that they better not get pregnant, so they are too afraid to tell us. Let's all promise our children that we will be there for them, be there for life. What a difference that alone would make. We owe our children and unborn grandchildren that much. Choosing life is never a mistake. These stressful circumstances pass, like all stressful circumstances, when we provide, or are provided the support needed. I'm so grateful for the loving support I had. My beautiful child has since married and I've been blessed with a grandchild. My life did not end when I had a child out of wedlock, it just took a different path. I still finished university, and later went on to marry and have more children. My parents adored their grandson. We all need to step it up, and let's end this quick fix, coercive, false narrative, so called solution that causes so much pain. Love the mother, love the unborn child. Reap the rewards that every life brings.

E. Commerce
1 year 8 months ago

Lisa M--that may be the most beautiful and heartfelt post I have ever read on this subject. Wow.

Alan Johnstone
1 year 8 months ago

I have no objection to the death penalty in certain circumstances and I have no qualms about the persons who are fighting a just war on the side of the virtuous killing enemy combatants and civilians under certain circumstance and I agree that persons may by using minimum necessary force in self-defence or the defence of another bring about the death of the threatening ones in certain circumstances, so no-one can call me Pro-Life with justice.

We are told from old that before the law of Moses was given, there were laws which applied to all the children of Noah, that is, the whole human race.
They are:

Not to worship idols.
Not to curse God.
To establish courts of justice.
Not to commit murder.
Not to commit adultery, bestiality, or sexual immorality.
Not to steal.
Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.

All citizens of the US are descendants of Noah and imposing these laws on all citizens of the US is perfectly reasonable, even necessary.
They are the minimal conditions of social stability.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Roe v Wade from a Washington Post interview ...
"Roe vs. Wade .... Early in pregnancy, very few restrictions. Late in pregnancy, very few exceptions. And for all its complexity and imperfection and controversy, Roe vs. Wade is widely popular in this country because it has allowed us to negotiate that. And now the drive to overturn Roe vs. Wade is something that flies in the face of what Americans want. And by the way, it's a decision not to end abortion, but to end safe legal abortion, and it is precisely the memory of just how many harms that caused that made it the case that back in the 70s and 80s a great number of Republicans, a greater number than today were pro-choice, too." ... https://youtu.be/3PpHf673nNA

E. Commerce
1 year 8 months ago

Pete Buttigieg was born nearly a decade after Roe v Wade, so he has no first hand experience of how popular or unpopular it was at the time. Sentiment certainly wasn't as tied to a particular party as it is today. Many Democrats had pro-life leanings and convictions and were still free to express them openly--again, unlike today. It was years later that Gov. Casey was barred from speaking at the Democratic National Convention, and that was quite shocking, at the time. What clearly was going on in the several years prior to Roe was the sexual revolution, and young women were being challenged to analyze the issues surrounding abortion. When Roe was decided, it was a HIGHLY controversial decision--it did not settle division over the issues. Rather, it heightened discord--even outrage--, and is still as divisive today.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Only in sex-obsessed Christian circles do I encounter people who reduce the broad cultural shifts of the 1960s and 1970s to "the sexual revolution".

Never mind:
1. Civil Rights
2. The American War in Vietnam
3. Watergate
4. The Disability Rights Movement (encompassing the rights of persons with vision, hearing, physical, intellectual and psychiatric disabilities)
5. The public health movement which outlawed cigarette ads on TV
6. Anti-poverty Programs
7. Agricultural Workers Movement
8. Native American Rights
9. Mexican American Rights
10. Worker Rights (union) Movement
11. Supreme Court cases that established equal treatment for men and women (quick primer: look for Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court cases in 1960s and early 1970s https://www.supremecourt.gov/search)
12. Vatican II
13. Revolutionary changes in psychiatric medication and theories/practices in counseling
14. The explosion of self-help groups
15. The explosion of women in the workforce and higher education
16. My mother, born in 1933, got her own bank account, with no co-signer required, for the first time.

That's off the top of my head and I was born in the very early 1960s in a large, deep South, Catholic military family with parents who divorced in the late 1970s (because of the damage done to my family by the American War in Vietnam). Since you value first person experience, E, I started school in the 1960s and the cultural changes and revolutions I listed above come to mind for me long before I get to the "sexual revolution" and Roe v Wade, in large part because Roe was actually decided on the most recent end of that timeline. An increase in legislation that began to shift away from legally established and protected privilege for white men and, especially white men of power and wealth and "family", began changing almost EVERYTHING about American culture.

All sex-obsessed Christians can see is "the sexual revolution". That is an extraordinarily myopic and willfully ideological reading of the history of the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. I, as a person who came of age during that period and who has studied that period in college and grad school and in my professional training, find it difficult to take seriously opinions founded on and shaped by that reality-distorting tunnel-vision.

Finally, in response to your comment below, I am a cradle Catholic but, over time, consciously began seeking out Jesuit-run parishes with the result that most of the Masses I have participated in over the last 4 years have been Jesuit masses. Especially after a decade of discernment of vowed religious life, living and serving in Catholic Worker houses and deep involvement in Cursillo, doing my professional work fulltime for 2 years at a subsistence (poverty level) income, two years with a stipend of $200/month and six years with zero income because I depleted my savings, all so I could test my commitment to.intentional financial poverty and voluntary simplicity, Jesuit parishes felt like home to me. (I ended up not entering religious life because, as a culturally and legally privileged straight American Catholic, I could not vow my life to Christian discipleship by vowing obedience to an institution that has contributed to the violence toward, marginalization of and suicides of LGBTQ adults, teens and children).

This editorial, collectively written and collectively endorsed by the editors of the Jesuit-owned and Jesuit-run news magazine has revealed a sexist worldview I had not previously discerned in the Jesuits. I am horrified that a group of powerful Jesuits, assigned by the Superior General of the Jesuit Order to this ministry, were able to write and endorse --- in active consultation as a group ---- 669 words on abortion, even filing it under "women's issues" and yet used the word woman exactly and only TWO times.

I do not "have a bee in my bonnet" about the Jesuits. I am profoundly disappointed to the extent that I felt sick to my stomach with that disappointment the first few times I read the editorial. I was so willing to be wrong that I cut and pasted the editorial into Word on my computer three times to do a word count. But my first impression was correct. 669 words on State-compelled pregnancy and only 2 were "woman". I feel invisible to the religious community where I most consistently encountered the face, hands and feet of God. I feel abandoned and actively dehumanized by men I trusted to see my full humanity.

That is no "bee in my bonnet", E. That is a genuine crisis of faith in the Jesuits and the institution in which they are powerful leaders, the institution which has been the spiritual foundation of my life as a human being. That's no bee, E. That's everything.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

It really surprised you to learn that the Jesuits are pro-life? I don't think this has ever been a secret.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Warren, as I have said roughly a dozen times, it surprised and continues to appall me to learn that the editors of the Jesuit owned and run magazine could collectively write and endorse a 669 word editorial about State compelled pregnancy --- which only women and girls experience and thus only women and girls are compelled to obey --- and they used the word and thus referenced exactly and only 2 times. These Jesuits WRITE as their full-time ministry in the Roman Catholic Church and in their religious community. This was not an oversight. This was a decision. A group decision. And it is revelatory of how Jesuits view women.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

I suppose it's possible that there was some group decision to mention women as few times as possible. Then again, it may also be worth considering that this is a very short article- a scant six paragraphs, that it is making a relatively narrow point about the political climate surrounding abortion, and that this article is not the Jesuit's sole word on abortion.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Warren, the editors of the Jesuit magazine collectively wrote and endorsed 669 words about State compelled pregnancy --- which applies exclusively to women and girls --- and they used the the word woman exactly and only twice. These editors are specifically assigned by the Jesuit Superior General to write and opine here as their Jesuit ministry in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Jesuit community. Professional editors, especially award-winning editors (and these are), choose every word intentionally because brevity is a virtue in editorial writing. This was not an oversight. This was skilled and conscious editorial writing in the Jesuit news magazine by the Jesuit Superior General's assigned editors on the topic of State compelled pregnancy and that collective of editors were comfortable using the word "woman" only 2 times out of 669 opportunities. That is revelatory of the Jesuit view of the humanity of women and girls. And it is appalling.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

This does not bother me. All of the points made in this article are totally salient and reasonable. Yes it's important to discuss women when discussing abortion, as they have done in other articles. But this article was about the electoral climate surrounding the issue.

I'm not convinced there is a *minimum number* of mentions you have to give women in an article on abortion. It depends on what points your making. And "X word shows up X times" is not any kind of a measure of how much consideration its getting. After all the phrase "pro-life" appears only once, the word "life" twice. The words "fetus", "child", and "unborn" don't show up at all.

Two mentions isn't even a particularly small number in a six paragraph essay. Of the two articles Crystal links to one mentions women seven times across 19 paragraphs, the other mentions women twice across 26 paragraphs. At least one of these articles is pro-choice.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Warren, I acknowledge that "this doesn't bother [you]".

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

I'm not saying it wouldn't bother me if the Jesuits really didn't care about women. I just don't see your word counting as coming anywhere near proving that.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Warren, I acknowledge "it doesn't bother [you]" that the editors of the Jesuits' news magazine collectively wrote and collectively endorsed an opinion piece about State compelled pregnancy and mentioned women exactly and only two times.

E. Commerce
1 year 8 months ago

Yet at the center of the published article is a featured video with women giving first person accounts of why they are pro-life...

A Fielder
1 year 8 months ago

Not all of the editors are Jesuits, or even men. Just FYI.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

The Jesuits published it. Matt Malone is the Editor in Chief and he is a Jesuit. The Jesuits own it, literally and figuratively.

Finally, women can and do devalue their own humanity; women often behave this way when they serve patriarchies and the men who run them.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

This is getting frustrating. Let me take this point by point.
1. You keep harping on the number of words-669- as if this were a high number, but it's not. 669 words is actually a very *small* number when it comes to writing an essay. It would be difficult to fully treat any issue in just 669 words.
2. I don't actually see two mentions as being a particularly small number in a six paragraph article. As I noted before "pro-life" is only said once in the article. Roe vs Wade, which is the subject and focus of the article, is mentioned 11 times. That's not a huge number.
3. This article is making a narrow point about the politics surrounding abortion and how the Roe decision affected those politics. It's not an article about people's personal experiences or even an argument about the ethics of abortion. It's fair to say that the article focuses more on poll numbers and politics then on women's experiences. But that's because that's what the article is about! Maybe you would prefer an article with a different focus, but that's not a problem with this article. The article also leaves out any argument as to why abortion is immoral. That's not because the authors don't care about these arguments or don't think they're important, it's because that wasn't their focus for this particular article.
4. This is just one article on this site out of many about abortion. Many articles focus specifically on women. You act as if the Jesuits were given one single, solitary chance to address women and they blew it.
5. For the record I really don't think this "X word comes up X times" thing is really an accurate way to measure... anything. You simply can't measure the attitudes of a writer by counting the number of times they use a particular word. It's a meaningless number. I hate to keep harping on a single point, but the article only mentions "pro-life" once despite being sympathetic to the pro-life cause. It also never uses the words "child" "fetus" or "unborn." By your thinking this could be considered a deliberate slight against the pro-life movement. In any case, if there is a case to be made that this article is sexist it would have to be made by addressing the issues raised - not by counting the words.
6. Even if I *did* believe that this article erred in not mentioning women enough I would still not buy that this was a deliberate- even planned!- slight, rather then just an oversight. You argue that it can't be a mistake because their professional writers and therefore each word is chosen carefully, with its meaning in the larger essay carefully considered. This is a misguidedly reverent view of writing. Maybe if they were writing high art they would write that way but not for a boilerplate editorial piece like this. Most writing-even by renowned writers- is much more haphazard- the writer more or less spilling their thoughts out onto the page. A lot of writing contains error and oversights; it's not a sign of malice.
7. And it's a pretty big leap to conclude that the whole Jesuit order is sexist to the core on the basis of one (supposedly) bad article. That's why I have a hard time believing this is really about this article, and not about the Jesuits' pro-life beliefs more generally.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Warren, I acknowledge your frustration. I acknowledge that you are not bothered by this editorial which was collectively written and collectively endorsed by the Editorial Board of the Jesuit Society's award-winning news magazine and which editorial discusses and supports State compelled pregnancy while referencing only twice those persons and citizens whom these editors recommend be compelled by the State to remain pregnant against their will.

PS The persons whose State compelled pregnancies the editors discussed and recommend just slipped the editors' minds? I think you make my point, Warren, when you insist this failure --- the failure to keep women front and center when discussing and recommending that they be compelled by the State to remain pregnant against their will --- was an "oversight". As in looked right past? Or through? Or around? Or maybe just do not see when it doesn't suit?

PS
Let's just wrap it up by acknowledging you are frustrated by my criticism and I am appalled women are beside the point in a discussion and endorsement of State compelled pregnancy of, you know, women.

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

To be clear I don't actually think there was any oversight. I think the article is fine as it is. I was just making the point that even if I *did* think the article erred- which I do not- I still wouldn't believe your framing of this as a deliberate attack

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Warren, it was in the Catholic Church of my childhood (which included the almost-last-in-the-country integration of my public school the year I started first grade in the deep south as well as the America War in Vietnam from inside a mobilized Catholic military family) that I first learned the following:

inaction is action;
No decision is an active decision;
Failure to include is active exclusion;
Silence is active speech.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

It was in the Catholic Church of my childhood (which included the almost-last-in-the-country integration of my school the year I started first grade and the America War in Vietnam) that I first learned that

inaction is action;
No decision is an active decision;
The failure to include is active exclusion; and
Silence is active speech.

E. Commerce
1 year 8 months ago

Wow. First of all, it is quite an accusation to say that I am "sex-obsessed" because I tied Roe v Wade to the sexual revolution and did not bring up the full range of history that we lived through. To associate loosening abortion restrictions with the movement of "free sex" seems pretty appropriate, to me. Second, I will say that my comment about "a bee in your bonnet" effectively trivialized what you are detailing as to your crisis of faith--so I apologize for that. I was observing a subjectivity in your comments that seemed not quite on topic (to me). Just like you are sensitive to me not touching on the full range of 60's and 70's history, you take the Jesuit editors in this article to task for not mentioning the word "women" or "woman" more. In both cases you point out we are slighting something YOU think is important. Ok--but I was expressing MY thoughts and trying to stay on topic, saying only that which needed to be said. I can't speak for the authors of the article, but maybe that was their goal, too?

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

E, the topic of the editorial is State compelled pregnancy. Women are the only humans who can be compelled to remain pregnant because women are the only humans whose bodies can become pregnant and, thus, women cannot be unimportant or off topic (beside the point) in an editorial supporting State compelled pregnancy unless women are unimportant or off topic (beside the point) in the worldview of the writers when it comes to pregnancy. And, yet, that is the reality here: the editors of Jesuit Order's news magazine wrote 669 words on State compelled pregnancy and only two of those 669 words are the word "woman". There is nothing subjective about that. These are facts. The topic of State compelled pregnancy IS inseparable from the topic of women and, yet, the Jesuits were referenced women two times in 6 paragraphs. That is dehumanizing. And for the Jesuits' editors to collectively write and collectively endorse an editorial that dehumanizes women is appalling.

Thank you for your apology.

I encourage you to read about the full range of movements underway in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s and the profound interconnectedness of the various efforts to secure civil rights and freedoms for all citizens. You will discover that reproductive rights are fundamentally an outgrowth of that monumental effort toward equality and freedom for all from the power of the few (white men of power, wealth, rank and "family") rather than a strategy in a "free sex" movement.

Lisa M
1 year 8 months ago

J Jones- The connection between civil rights and equality and abortion is something I have never understood. When you take away one person's civil rights for another, how can that be equality? That is precisely why deciding an unborn child is not a person is necessary for those who support abortion, but it defies science. How can abortion, which demands a woman end the life of her unborn child be of benefit to women? Shouldn't we all be striving to implement programs that support women when they find themselves in difficult circumstances? Should they not be met with love and support and accompany them? Is that not what is asked of all of us as far as how we are supposed to respond to the vulnerable in society, whether that be migrants, the poor, the mentally and physically challenged, the elderly, or a person facing distressing circumstances? Our vulnerability as women concerning pregnancy should not mean the we must surrender our child. We are better than that, and we deserve better options than that. Then we will have true equality, Abortion may appear to be a quick fix, but it still leaves women as vulnerable as ever, allows men to wash their hands of it and walk away, allows parents to force their decision on their daughters, and ends the life of an unborn child. We need to change our thinking by embracing ALL persons in vulnerable circumstances. That is our duty, and anything less is our failure.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Lisa, I always appreciate your sincerity and your kindness. I agree with many of your thoughts about what communities can and should offer women and girls. That is wholly distinct from whether the State should compell individual pregnant women and girls to remain pregnant. It is horrifying to me that men who believe they are Christ's representatives in the lives of Catholic women can and did make that argument almost entirely without reference to women. It had never occurred to me that, for Jesuits, I could be beside the point when they wrote about their support for the State compelling me to remain pregnant. This vessel will seek company and guides and models of Christian discipleship elsewhere, where women are not beside the point when their bodies and lives are inseparable from the point. Peace, Lisa.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

"When you take away one person's civil rights for another, how can that be equality?"
This is the crux of the misunderstanding. There aren't 2 people with competing rights, there is one person, the woman or girl, and the process that's beginning in her body, about which she makes a decision. The right to autonomy over your own body is the most basic right a person has. Slaves do not have that. Men take it for granted.

Lisa M
1 year 8 months ago

Crystal- I thought the 'just a blob' theory died in the 1990s with the advancement of ultrasound? Two people at different stages of their lives. One is initially dependent on the other for survival, often, the tables turning fifty some years later. Two lives, both in need of love and support. Both worthy of life and dignity. Both individuals that are never duplicated. Each made in the image of God.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Interesting, Lisa. Are you proposing that the State compel every person the United States to personally provide elder care to the woman who gave birth to them? No exceptions? And anyone who helps you avoid personally caring for your elderly mother goes to prison for 99 years?

Lisa M
1 year 8 months ago

J Jones- I wasn't saying that, sorry if I wasn't clear. I just meant that it is often how life goes, or rather, how life starts and ends with dependence. We rely on each other. As far as compelling people to provide care, either for the pre born or the elderly, I would hope that it comes from the heart, not mandated, although I'm fully aware it is not always the case. I don't want anyone to be forced to do anything, I just want assistance in place to help people in difficult circumstances so that they may respect the value of every life, young and old :) I'm pretty sure we can find a lot of common ground if we approach it from that perspective.

J Jones
1 year 8 months ago

Lisa, I believe you. And I agree with your statement here 100%.

This editorial was written in support of State compelled pregnancy.

Crystal Watson
1 year 8 months ago

Actually, it's known that the Republican party was pro-choice back then. There's an excerpt in an NPR interview with Randall Balmer, editor for Christianity Today and a Professor of Religion at Columbia University, from his book which speaks to this ... "Evangelical: Religious Right Has Distorted the Faith" (https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5502785). It begins ... "In the 1980s, in order to solidify their shift from divorce to abortion, the Religious Right constructed an abortion myth, one accepted by most Americans as true. Simply put, the abortion myth is this: Leaders of the Religious Right would have us believe that their movement began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Politically conservative evangelical leaders were so morally outraged by the ruling that they instantly shed their apolitical stupor in order to mobilize politically in defense of the sanctity of life. Most of these leaders did so reluctantly and at great personal sacrifice, risking the obloquy of their congregants and the contempt of liberals and "secular humanists," who were trying their best to ruin America. But these selfless, courageous leaders of the Religious Right, inspired by the opponents of slavery in the nineteenth century, trudged dutifully into battle in order to defend those innocent unborn children, newly endangered by the Supreme Court's misguided Roe decision.

It's a compelling story, no question about it. Except for one thing: It isn't true ....."

Warren Patton
1 year 8 months ago

No, some Republicans supported abortion and some opposed it. In 1969 a poll found that 46% of Republicans supported legalizing abortion in the first trimester- hardly overwhelming support. Many Republican politicians in the 1970s came out against the decision. Republican president Gerald Ford criticized the Roe decision. Republican congressmen sponsored or co-sponsored Constitutional amendments to overturn Roe multiple times in 1973 and 1975.

Randall Balmer is being misleading. He claims the Southern Baptist Convention supported abortion in 1971 but their resolution actually stated "Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves..."

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