Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Dorothy Day Didn’t Do It This Way: What It Really Means to Be Pro-Life in 2022

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Those dusty old dominionist douche bags in the Supreme Court really kicked the Democrats a Midterm field goal when they shot down Roe this summer. After tanking the fucking economy with their nuclear proxy war in Ukraine and electing what quite possibly might be the only quasi-sentient creature on the face of the planet more embarrassingly incompetent than Donald Trump, there exists simply no rational reason for any self-respecting white suburban Karen to vote Democrat aside from the threat of the other war party sending the National Guard into their local gynecologist’s office.

Abortion has long been rendered a political third rail for centrist fence sitters in this country for the simple fact that it’s just too goddamn complicated for anyone to virtue signal over without looking like an asshole to at least one half of the country. That and no one really makes any serious money off it. None of this however has stopped Republicans from doing a victory lap with an unwashed fetus in their arms over Samuel Alito’s leaked rejection of bodily autonomy. In fact, many in the GOP have even doubled down on the issue by pushing it even further with statewide bans on abortion for freshly raped ten-year-old’s then calling to make them national.

To the uninitiated normie, this seemingly politically suicidal devotion to the Pro-Life cause might actually appear to be begrudgingly admirable regardless of your own personal position but what it really should provoke is a question that neither side seems to be particularly interested in asking anymore. What does it really mean to be Pro-Life in 2022?

People often seem to be quite visibly shocked when I tell them that I consider myself to be Pro-Life. In fact, they often assume I’m joking. The notion of a genderqueer heathen anarcha-feminist being morally opposed to many if not most forms of abortion simply does not compute for people on either side of the rapidly expanding partisan divide, but this wasn’t always the case. Before Roe, many of the original Pro-Lifers were left-wing Catholic populists like Eileen Egan and the Berrigan Brothers who marched with Martin Luther King and got thrown in jail for resisting the Draft.

For these OG Pro-Lifers, abortion was a human rights issue. They believed that a fetus was a human being and that the right to life was a civil right that God afforded to everyone. But many of these same Pro-Lifers were also often far more concerned with reducing the abortion rate than using the strong arm of the law to regulate women’s bodies and considered abolishing initiatory war and nuclear weapons to be a part of the right to life as well.

This movement became known as the Consistent Life Ethic, and it has sadly all but vanished from the face of the earth since former Pro-Choicers in the Christian Right like Ronald Reagan decided to use abortion like a drawbridge to police the post-Sexual Revolution vagina. But the Consistent Life Ethic and radical Catholics like Dorothy Day and Ivan Illich formed the foundation for many of my own stateless values even as their church scarred me for life for being an irredeemable pervert.

My commitment to the sanctity of human life coupled with my experience as an emotionally abused Queer child whose life didn’t seem to have any value whatsoever ultimately led me to anarchism as well as to another sadly morally passe collection of values known as the Non-Aggression Principle, which opposes the use of initiatory force for any reason by individual, church or state. And it was ultimately these same radical values, the same ones that led me to oppose non-therapeutic abortion, which also led me to oppose banning it.

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