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Response to Media on Characterizing Those who Oppose Abortion

There’s no shortage of morons and scoundrels in the world, on almost every side of almost every issue.  But some of them operate by painting a background which so colors the dialogue that it is almost impossible even to communicate opinions successfully.  Here’s an offer: You can say the hateful morons represent the anti-abortion culture if we can say the murdering butcher in Philadelphia and the enablers and concealers of statutory rape represent the pro-choice culture.

Not only are there abortionists who think sincerely that they are doing the right thing and try to exercise the cardinal virtues in doing so, but not all pro-lifers are tight-laced, high-collared, vindictive puritans.  But you’d never know that by reading the papers.

This Easter, my parish confirmed a woman whose mother (a former nurse for PP) told her that if she did not abort her child she would be disowned.  And when she did abort, afterwards, though she wanted to go home and recover, her mother obliged her to go out for a celebratory luncheon party with her lady friends.  But we are insensitive and controlling.

The respecters of women and lovers of their freedom not only support and enable the ‘gendercide’ of women in India and China, but assert with angry firmness that the pill always works, unless the stupid cow forgot to take it.  We haters of freedom and oppressors of women know that ampicillin interferes with the action of the pill, and we say so.  We hate women so much we tell them the truth about the pill.

At least some non- and anti-Catholics are coming to see that the Pope was right about contraception and AIDS abatement in Africa, but you won’t find that in the mainstream.  It may be acknowledged, curtly and briefly, but it will be swept away.

Correlation is not causation, but the rate of single-mother births seems to track pretty closely the rate of contraceptive use.  What’s up with that? Why aren’t we all talking about that?

How many abortion supporters have run the numbers on Natural Family Planning? How many know what is being done now and how well it’s working?

As for “scorn for victims” of rape and the rest.  Is it scorn to fund, build, and provide residential facilities with physicians and nurses and social workers — places which will house mother and child for as long as a year after the birth?  We need more such scorn then.

If people would hear our discussions and read our literature and correspondence, they would not offer as news (to us, at any rate) the idea that the mother is often an innocent victim.  After all, we are the ones pointing out the enabling of statutory rape, while the other side shovels it under the rug.

 Sometimes I feel as if there were two universes. The first includes the people who just know that our side hates women, blames them, and deprives them of what they need.

 The other universe includes the annual March for Life. The first doesn’t hear about this because it is almost completely blocked out by the same media which has little raptures of delight over a couple of hundred pro-choice protestors. This other universe is inhabited by the people at the March. Listen to the speeches and prayers, and tell me if you find one word of scorn for the mothers.  But, oh, that’s right! You can’t, because we are blacked out so that the notion of us as self-righteous morons can be protected and maintained.

I may be the only pro-lifer who doesn’t give much of a flip one way or the other about Roe v. Wade anymore, except that it’s execrable constitutional law and part of the liberal progressive assault on federalism.  I think we must hope for a change of hearts to provide what a change of law cannot.   I look at the plight of the 14-year-old impregnated when her teacher raped her and I see that changing the law back isn’t going to help much, if at all.

But while parents buy tramp couture for their daughters, teachers mock any virtue — chastity especially.   To be in one’s twenties, unmarried and a virgin is considered impossible and risible. See Going the Distance for an example of the cultural celebration of cynical and casual sex and the completely implausible presentation of a woman who is as cynical about sex and as contemptuous of her sex-partners as men are supposed to be.

In the old days, Christians were said to have orgies and to kill people and drink their blood. (Read Tertullian’s Apology for the accusations.) But what they were doing was plucking the exposed babies from hillsides and alleys and trying to care for them. Women became Christians because we respected and cared for them.  Now that we are again called haters of sex and oppressors of women, the porn industry is flourishing, no-fault divorce plunges women into destitution, children, including girls, are given to the hired help while mothers are obliged to work outside the home to celebrate the freedom the secular world has given them to be abused and abandoned by their husbands and boy-friends.  And Planned Parenthood provides the means to destroy the evidence of a disgraceful and sorrowful abuse of girls and young women.

They all “know” that young women would only become Catholic because they are neurotic about sex and are longing to be oppressed.  But the young women in RCIA have told me that they find a respect and even a cherishing of them among us that they see nowhere else.  We are told that Natural Family Planning is just another way to oppress women, while the fact is that the woman’s body provides the veto over sexual intercourse, and the reality of her womanhood is respected rather than medicated away.  Sure there are neurotics among us.  It is far better for them that they join a group which acknowledges their preciousness. I wonder how many of our detractors have read Mulieris Dignitatem.

Still, we are the insensitive, judgmental, oppressing, cruel, neurotic ones, and those who enable the rape of children and the exploitation and degradation of porn and the abandonment of spouses are the ones who really care.

 [T]hey think the Christians the cause of every public disaster, of every affliction with which the people are visited. If the Tiber rises as high as the city walls, if the Nile does not send its waters up over the fields, if the heavens give no rain, if there is an earthquake, if there is famine or pestilence, straightway the cry is, “Christians to the lion!”  What!  So many to one lion? ( Tertullian).


Harry Koenig is a former Episcopalian clergyman who came into full communion in 1994. He has worked in a real vineyard, run a flock of sheep, programmed computers, and served as a law enforcement officer.  He is a lay Dominican and has assisted with RCIA for the past 5 years.


  • Our opposition controls the language, too, which may be their most pernicious influence. Even my reputable local newspaper uses the term “anti-choice” to refer to pro-lifers. If we have to be “anti-” anything, I’d much prefer they use the term “anti-abortion,” since it’s true. But the whole discussion is slanted by their choice of words.

    Next door to the abortion clinic in downtown Fargo–North Dakota’s only one–is a cafe that sells beer and sandwiches. I’m always astounded that people eat there; who wants to eat a ham sandwich next door to a place where children are being killed? We need to change the conversation in this country so that eating at a cafe next door to an abortuary becomes unthinkable. When that happens, we’ll be well down the road to ending abortion once and for all.

    • Harold O. Koenig

      Yeah. I went with their lingo because I didn’t want to provoke the usual contretemps about capital punishment and all that the other side wants to jam down our throats.

      We will not end abortion, any more than we will end poverty or slavery, IMHO. What, again IMHO, we need to do is pray our knees off, fund facilities for mothers who want to keep their babies, assist single mothers, and LOVE WOMEN. I mean LOVE. And promote true manliness.

      Wait. How did I get on this soapbox?

  • Mary Kochan

    You got drafted by the editor. Ask the other guys around here and they will tell you that it happens.

  • Tarheel

    Well said. By allowing abortions we are giving approval to an immoral lifestyle. We have allowed and permitted abortionists of the world to allow a avenue for us to “free us from our responsibilities.” so we can concentrate on a more worldly and pseudo-acceptable lifestyle. After all being a Christian is just not fashionable in today’s world. Our society today is becoming more hedonistic and materialistic are an alarmingly fast rate.

    Abortion and its supporters have “dumb down” love to a mere physical act rather than the intimate act it is supposed to be.

    Please get a bigger soap box. I want to stand on it with you.

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    If you take the time to read The Everlasting Man, you will come across a section where Chesteron compares Rome and Carthage, pondering exactly why Rome felt it had to destroy Carthage. Remember, this is the same Rome that lined its roads for miles with the rotting carcasses of its crucified enemies. The same Rome whose violence and ruthlessness in war tamed Palestine. The same Rome that burned Jerusalem to the ground. The same Rome that fostered a slave society. The same Rome that persecuted the early Christians to the point of death. The same Rome whose laws and punishments crucified Our Savior. This is the Rome which said Delenda est Carthago, Carthage must be destroyed. Why? Because the Carthaginians threw their newborn infants quite literally into the fires of Moloch, and the elite politicians and business owners in Carthage were concerned only that the gravy train keep motoring along.

    Let’s face it: our society is worse than Carthage, and for the same reasons. Were there an emperor in Rome today at the head of his legions, he would direct them at us. And he would be right in doing so.

  • Harold O. Koenig

    After the 9/11 the New Yorker published an article about one of the big guys in Al Qaeda. He had been in the US and was revolted by our license and luxury.

    (Mind you, they have a vastly excessive and perverse idea of purity, but that’s neither her nor there.)

    To have killed the innocent in their millions … As Jefferson (a demi-god where I live) said: I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

    Attende, Domine,et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

    Full disclosure:In 1971 I offered a to a young lady either to pay for her abortion or too marry her. She chose the abortion. I do not condescend here. I scream from the gutter, from the sewers. But even from here, we can see what’s wrong and what’s right.

  • nickkname

    “part of the liberal progressive assault on federalism…teachers mock any virtue — chastity especially.”

    Hasty generalizations and appeal to fear. (Common political fallacies, by the way) Argument is invalid.

    “The other universe includes the annual March for Life.”

    If you want media attention, seek it out. Have reporters go to the march, maybe. Perhaps have marches in different cities at the same time.

    “You can say the hateful morons represent the anti-abortion culture if we can say the murdering butcher in Philadelphia and the enablers and concealers of statutory rape represent the pro-choice culture.”

    I’d rather say: What and weeds.

    There are pro-life terrorist organizations, just as there are environmentalist terrorist organizations.

    What they have in common is bad politics.

    “I may be the only pro-lifer who doesn’t give much of a flip one way or the other about Roe v. Wade anymore…I think we must hope for a change of hearts to provide what a change of law cannot”

    I hope so too. I also hope for greater study of the Compendium for the Social Doctrine of the Church.

    Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

    Venerable John Paul II, pray for us!

    • nickkname

      “What and weeds.”

      Should say ‘wheat and weeds’

      Sorry!

    • Harold O. Koenig

      Never fear! I got the wheat and tares reference. I’d prefer to look at things that way — and I thought my opening sentence pretty much said so — morons and scoundrels on every hand.

      This piece was originally a response to a series of characterizations of Catholics as hating women, etc. The sitz-im-leben counts.

      As to teachers, my wife is a an elementary school teacher in a country school. And it is, I think, a legitimate device of polemical rhetoric to neglect to say “some”, especially since without the operator “all” there is no more reason to assume it than to assume “some”. Figuring out which operator to employ is left as an exercise for the reader. You pass. I will cop to no more than deliberate imprecision.

      Do you, however, think that a majority, or even a meaningful minority of teachers agree with Catholic sexual ethics? How many teachers know even that the term “chastity” can comprehend sexual intercourse?

      The president thinks a baby is a punishment. this fits right in with the notion that Catholics think anything as fun as sex should come packaged with its own punishment. It’s a rough and crazy world out there.

      In general, in lots of sorts of combat there is what I think of as a “brush back” like the too close to the batter pitch in baseball.

      In logomachy, at least the way I do it, a brush-back is meant to convey, “I can play rough, if that’s the way you want it, but I can also be reasonable, which I prefer. You decide.”

      There IS, and has been at least in my life, a huge and persistent myth that Catholics are all anti-sex, anti-woman, anti anything fun and life-affirming. A few well placed rhetorical explosions are going to be needed to remind our antagonists that we can and do think and are even prepared to think — just as soon as we finish this eating fine meal and wine and making chaste, enthusiastic, and joyful love with our spouse.

      It was meant to be meaningful polemics. I hope it was.