Texas Zealots Banning Abortion, continued

The context for talking about Roe vs Wade can get so muddled that little sunshine shines through.  I offer some points that can establish a context for agreement and to move us on from a stalemate that serves no one.

“A Coathanger is not a Surgical Instrument.” Photo by Steve Rhodes on Flickr.
  • Being in favor of Roe vs. Wade does not mean you are in favor of abortion.  There is nothing in Roe vs Wade that says a person must have an abortion.  Nothing.  Zero. Nada.
  • What is being said is that if women are going to have an abortion (and they will and always have), let us make it as safe as possible.  This way a woman’s life is not in danger or in far less danger than reverting to the era, not so long ago, when wealthy women could hire doctors for such procedures but poor, young and middle class women had to sneak into dark places to undergo a dangerous procedure that often cost them their lives. 
“Politicians and Priests Make Crappy Doctors.” Activists protest the 2012 death of an Indian woman who was refused a life-saving abortion at a Dublin hospital. The victim’s parents pursued international prosecution for human-rights violation. Photo by William Murphy on Flickr
  • In other words, good law and good morality are not always the same thing.  You can be against abortion but in favor of Roe vs Wade both to allow for as safe a procedure as possible and also to allow for the diversity of conscience on this matter.
  • Living in a pluralistic culture and time, in a democracy, not a theocracy means, among other things, that churches should not dictate to the society as a whole what are deeply held beliefs of their own.
  • Another rule, present in the Catholic tradition, is called “the lesser of two evils.”  Yes, you may believe that abortion is evil; but so too is men telling women what to do with their bodies (especially the scary politician type men who live by their reptilian brains and often practice misogyny).

See Matthew Fox, “Moving Beyond the Abortion Fixation: Some Theological Context,” inConscience: The Newsjournal of Catholic Opinion, vol. xli—no. 2, 2020, pp. 24-28; or www/consciencemag.org.

Also see Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Banner Image: Memorial to women who died from illegal unsafe abortions at major pro-choice rally in Washington, DC, November 12, 1989. Photo by Carolmooredc; on Wikimedia Commons.

To read the written transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree that the question of how to render abortions as safe as possible is an important moral question?  And that banning all abortions does not answer that question?


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13 thoughts on “Texas Zealots Banning Abortion, continued”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you so much for taking on this tough issue from Texas; I couldn’t agree more that the morality of the situation and the legality of it are distinctly different, and until we can admit that no one in this society has the right to impose his/her beliefs in regard to abortion on the rest of the population, this will remain a tool for those with extremist anti-democratic (dare I say fascistic?) intentions. And a great distraction from the REAL challenges of our day that the GOP wants to ignore. Why this, why now, Texas?!

  2. Avatar

    Many factors contribute to our ‘moral’ responses and code – our genes, the influence of family, culture, religion politics, how we react to others. Religion is but one factor in that process. From the Code of Hammurabi to David Hume’s philosophy, influence abounds. Religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular has tended toward the dogmatic. Kant reminded us: “The death of Dogma is the birth of morality.” Hume reminds us of the effect of ’empathy’ toward others as a motivating factor for moral action. It is often a complicated response.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Brian, I agree that many factors contribute to our moral responses. This is because our family’s, cultures, religions, and politics, ALL have there own moral codes whether written or not and we are determined good or bad in terms of how we act in relation to those codes. And they date from Hammurabi to the Constitution. The question ends up being how a case has been argued and how honest has everyone been in relation too uphold the Constitution and not their own personal beliefs or opinions.

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for this most compassionate commentary on what is true for women. Thank you for your wisdom which I will share with everyone who will listen. God and the Archangel Michael bless you!

  4. Avatar

    When Roe v. Wade was being debated in the 60’s, I was a student nurse. I was also VERY Catholic then (not so much now) and of course opposed to this new law. When I was in my Obstetrics rotation, one of our instructors told us a story about something she’d experienced. A young girl was pregnant and needed to have an abortion. Because that was all that was available then, she sought out a “back alley abortionist”. During the procedure, the man noticed a white cord coming from her vagina. Thinking it was the cord, he pulled on it to evacuate the fetus. It was a piece of her intestines. He had pierced her vagina and ended up inside her abdomen. She died in agony. That was a “lightbulb moment” for me. I recognized that abortion needed to be safe and available, because sometimes, though it isn’t ever a GOOD option, sometimes it is the ONLY option. Banning abortion will only cause more women’s to die.

    1. Avatar

      what abou the men who caused the abortion? even consentual…it’s all amazing that men aren’t responsible one tiny bit…what if we could get those pro-life folks to adopt a child “saved” from abortion – what if every catholic parish supported a famiy financially and spiritually and emotionally to adopt from the foster care system, a child of color? the bill is facist and racist!

  5. Avatar

    I agree with Matthew that this bill is fascist. His pleas for reason unfortunately falls on deaf ears in Texas, Florida, and many other states who are jumping on the bandwagon of toxic masculinity. “Pro life” is an oxymoron and code for control of women. A truly pro life person looks at life as a whole, not just the “life” of incompletely formed cells. I am beyond sick and tired of laws generated by religious zealots, who are really only front men and women for power seekers.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you Sue, for your comment! Matthew is truly one of the few voices speaking for the women in this country and even in the world. He’s been said to have a spirituality tainted by feminism–well so be it, and thank him all the more!

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