Sunday, October 30, 2022

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

 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.

If the goal of the Pro-Life Movement was to prevent the destruction of unborn life, then prohibition has been a massive failure, which really shouldn't be incredibly shocking considering that it almost always is. Barring people from seeking abortions legally only makes the risks of seeking them illegally a common occurrence and this isn't just a Pro-Choice talking point. 

Studies conducted during the early nineties and published on PubMed have shown that the estimated number of illegal abortions that occurred annually in the years before Roe V. Wade were on par with what was then the current number of legal abortions, somewhere over one million a year, and for poor people they often occurred under heinously unsafe conditions that risked the lives of the mothers right along with those of their unborn children. What all of this adds up to is the horrifically inconvenient fact that banning abortion ultimately costs more lives than decriminalizing these procedures. It also affords the state with a level of power over basic bodily autonomy which is far too draconian to be justified for any reason.  

I often tell bewildered partisan pod people that my feelings regarding abortion are pretty similar to my feelings regarding fentanyl. I think that it's fucking terrible, and I don't think that most people should have a goddamn thing to do with it but I'm also not willing to grow America's already bustling prison state in an insane attempt to prevent it that is pretty much guaranteed to fail to do anything but pack jail cells with more desperate people.

I much prefer to combat the degradation of human life by means that are both more moral and more effective like harm reduction. This means providing drug users with clean needles, Narcan and access to safer alternatives to hard narcotics and this means providing young people with contraception, Plan B and access to information regarding their own biology regardless of whether or not their parents or church elders agree with it. 

All of these services are provided by the type of free health clinics that today's so-called Pro-Lifers are working overtime to shutter, and this is probably why we've seen the abortion rate drop drastically since it's been legalized. The bitter fact of the matter is that many abortion providers have done a better job of preventing abortions than what has become of the Pro-Life Movement. 

This is because the Pro-Life Movement has been poisoned by the toxic sludge of the same partisan bullshit factory that has rendered many once well-intentioned movements into hives of counter-revolutionary virtue signaling imbeciles. Today's average Pro-Lifer doesn't give a flying fuck about making the practice of abortion obsolete.  They're much more concerned with scoring points and winning elections.

This is also probably why most people who oppose abortion are far more likely to embrace the rest of the western culture of death that the original Pro-Life Movement committed themselves to smashing. A culture that wipes out entire species just so we can drive bigger cars. A culture that sells entire generations into prostitution to the forever war machine. A culture that turns incarceration into a thriving industry that profits off of the practice of indefinitely warehousing drug addicts and desperate mothers who have fallen through the cracks of a society that puts no value on the life of human beings that can't be bartered over for a new iPhone. 

I still consider myself to be a Pro-Life anarchist for the same reason I remain committed to other equally quixotic causes like environmentalism, denuclearization and military non-interventionism, because I believe that all life is sacred and worth defending against the scourge of Western Civilization and the Westphalian Nation State. It just shatters my heart that the movement that first lit this fire in me has been thoroughly infested by parasites like Lindsey Graham who only seek to use its language to camouflage their malignant culture of mass slaughter. 

So, what does it really mean to be Pro-Life in 2022? I've honestly given up on trying to figure out what these people fucking believe anymore, all I know is that Dorothy Day didn't do it this way, and neither can I.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH 

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

*  What Katie Did by the Libertines

*  Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana

*  Livin Thing by Electric Light Orchestra

*  Bellyache by Echobelly

*  Cherub Rock by Smashing Pumpkins

*  Late at Night by Buffalo Tom

*  Zombie by the Cranberries

*  Hurricane by Plains

*  Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way by Waylon Jennings 


  1. ‘’...what does it really mean to be Pro-Life in 2022?’’

    ‘’Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're fucked.’’
    — George Carlin

    “Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.”
    — Edward Abbey

    "We campaign against legal abortion on that grounds that it fails to respect the innocent lives of the unborn. Once children are born, though, they’re on their own, proving that it isn’t really children’s lives we value, but our ability to limit people’s choices.'
    — M. G. Piety

  2. I have been watching one of David Attenborough's wonderful films which truthfully displays the horrifying nature of planetary life and it is quite obvious there that life itself is not pro-life. Predatory animals such as lions eliminate helpless and weak young animals so that frequently only the very lucky and better gifted survive and the most powerful tool of evolution is death. To raise a child without love or the necessary basics of staying alive and the extremely important and frequently expensive education into society is a burden that must be very willing and eager to undertake. An unwanted child can easily become a monster of resentment and hatred and the use of abortion to prevent that is only basic good sense. Fertilization is simple biological mechanics and if it is an accident it is easily disastrous.

    1. I've always felt that Peter Kropotkin's theories on evolution made much more sense than Darwin's. Kropotkin observed that the most intelligent species, prime apes, dolphins, elephants, whales, only reached that level of evolution due to strong communities, a strong sense of mutual aid that allowed for the entire species to excel. I believe that human beings are currently in a state of catastrophic devolution specifically because we have abandoned these values in favor of isolation and distraction. In a strong community, no child is unwanted. Destroying the child does nothing to repair this problem. It only feeds into the pervasive culture of destruction.

  3. As much as I would prefer to agree that a mutual respect re-enforcing the abilities of a social system to support each potential for life, I cannot ignore that our own society advances by the openly vicious competition between individuals in organizations and sports and even the more abstracts such arts and science does impel advances in accomplishments. Unregulated proliferation in reproduction can destroy society as the planet does not have an infinite capability to provide necessities. I would prefer the essentials of reproduction remain in the domain of each individual involved rather than political control since, it is quite obvious that politicians seem to be the most idiotic and antisocial sector of our species more driven by greed for personal power than an intelligent society.

    1. On the last point, we are in complete agreement. The state is a death machine. Entrusting it with maintaining the means of human existence is like hiring John Wayne Gacy as a babysitter. Expecting anything less than atrocity would be a fools errand. Individuals have to be given the final say unfettered, regardless of whether one agrees with their choices. Nothing justifies tyranny.