Pro-Life Spirituality

[National Catholic Reporter, February 5, 1993] Linda was six months pregnant the first time I saw her. Her mother had kicked her out of the house, and the homeless shelter only allowed her two weeks, so she was about to be homeless again. When Linda came to stay with us, she brought all her earthly belongings were in a black plastic garbage bag; about half was stuffed animals.

The Dilemmas of a Pro-Life Pastor

[Christianity Today, April 7, 1997] In his darkened office Pastor Stan put his head in his hands. It had been a difficult phone call, and Marcia was beginning to cry when he hung up. The baby, in the background, was already crying. Usually, the baptism of a baby is a joyful part of the Sunday service, but this time Pastor Stan had said no. Marcia wasn't married, so he had told her it would be a private ceremony. To put her and her baby up in front of everybody, as if it were the same as any other family, just seemed wrong. The church would be practicing make-believe morality, looking the other way. It would mean pretending sin wasn't wrapped all around this situation.

The Question of Question 6: Maryland’s 1992 Abortion Referendum

[Human Life Review, Spring 1993] “Are you sure?” The question caught me off guard. I had been rattling on to my friend Mark Crutcher about the terrible abortion law just passed by the Maryland legislature, the appalling anti-woman provisions, the consternation of the pro-life community, and had wound up with the assertion that we wanted to bring it to referendum.

Designated Unperson

[Sisterlife, Spring 1991] The abortion debate stands or falls on a single question: is the unborn a person? One would not necessarily know this from the great heat and little light that usually surround the issue, as pro-lifers target additional social ills caused by abortion license, and abortion defenders charge that pro-lifers only want to punish women for sexual activity, or keep them pregnant and out of the workforce. But so much passion would not arise if the issue were not literally a matter of life and death. In the Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that if the “suggestion of personhood [of the unborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.” Thus, the personhood of the unborn child is the single point on which the entire debate turns.

Songs of Life

[World, September, 14] There are many ways to act out pro-life convictions, and a surprising number of people do so by singing. A recent survey of the field yielded over 40 titles of pro-life songs, and the list is certainly incomplete. There are two album-length collections of pro-life music, plus many singles and amateur songs. The first album, “Sing Out for Life,”

Seeking Abortion’s Middle Ground

[Washington Post, July 28, 1997] I was pro-choice at one point in my life, but I came over to a pro-life position years ago. I've been there ever since. Perhaps because of my background, I think there's a logic to the pro-choice position that deserves respect, even as we engage it critically. It is possible to disagree with somebody without calling them baby-killers, without believing that they are monsters or fiends. It is possible to disagree in an agreeable way. The abortion argument is essentially an argument among women. It's been a bitter and ugly debate, and I find that embarrassing. For me, that gives a special urgency to this conference.

Post-Roe Feminism: Recharged or Discharged?

[The World and I, May 1992] Major movements begin with dreams and end with mechanics. The term “feminism” is almost inextricably bound up in the public mind with access to abortion, provided (as a recent Fund for the Feminist Majority mailing puts it) “without restrictions”. A kind of red fury surrounds this demand, one that is presented as beyond negotiation and even beyond discussion.

The Bitter Price of “Choice”

[Tampa Tribune, December 3, 1989] When I was in college the bumper sticker on my car read “Don’t labor under a misconception —legalize abortion”. I was one of a handful of feminists on my campus, back in the days when we were jeered at as “bra-burning women’s libbers”. As we struggled against a hazy sea of sexism, abortion rights was a visible banner, a concrete, measurable goal. Though our other foes were elusive, within the fragile boundary of our skin, at least, we would be sovereign. What could be more personal? How could any woman oppose it? I oppose it now. It has been a slow process, my path from a pro-choice to a pro-life position, and I know that unintended pregnancy raises devastating problems. But I can no longer avoid the realization that legalizing abortion was the wrong solution; we have let in a Trojan Horse whose hidden betrayal we’ve just begun to see.

Suffragists at the Abortion March

[Sisterlife, Spring 1992] On April 5, 1992 , the National Organization of Women sponsored an event in defense of abortion; delegations from women's groups marched through the streets of Washington , DC , united by the slogan “We Won't Go Back.” But the march organizers intended the day to be a time of, at least, looking back: “We want to tie our current challenge to the historic fight for women's rights waged by our foremothers,” they wrote in a letter to women's groups.

The Abortion Debate is Over

[Christianity Today, December 6, 1999] The twenty-seventh anniversary of Roe v. Wade is coming up, and I have some bad news. The abortion debate is over. For a couple of decades there it was the hot topic, the cover story of magazines, subject of television debates, and flashpoint of political campaigns. Many a punditorial brow was furrowed over ”this difficult, controversial choice." Then the public got bored.