Why Being Pro-Choice is Always Being Pro-Abortion

Today is the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. Yesterday was Sanctity of Life Sunday in the OCA’s calendar and as such our parish commemorated it. Afterwards, our small Orthodox contingent led annual March for Life procession in our fine city. It was the third such event and was well-attended. Our speaker was Dr. Francis Beckwith, who I had the pleasure of meeting afterwards.

As many of you know, subtleties are usually lost on your humble correspondent. More precisely, I try to get to the root of the matter. You may thank Marcus Aurelius (whose Meditations I am re-reading) for advising me to get to the point.

It is always been my contention that those who say they are pro-choice in the matter of abortion “rights” are in fact, pro-abortion. In fact, outside of a few Objectivists out there who are truly apathetic as to whether the baby lives or dies, the vast majority of liberals, progressives, and others who claim to be pro-choice really believe only in one choice. And that is that the pregnancy should be terminated. Always.

So why don’t they just admit it? Well, because deep down, the vast majority of people still have a conscience, even those who participate in abortion in some way. They know that abortion kills a baby. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been efforts to try and convince themselves otherwise. One such campaign from a few years back was the “I had an abortion” campaign, in which women who had abortions would wear tee-shirts proudly proclaiming that fact. Yet even in our Gomorrah culture, steeped as it is in erotomania, this campaign never took off. This is a stunning admission of failure and bodes well for the future in my humble opinion.

For more on this, please read the following editorial by George Neumayr.

+ + + + + + + + +

‘Abortion Is as American as Apple Pie’

Source: American Spectator | George Nuemeyr

In 2004, Planned Parenthood began selling T-shirts emblazoned with the declaration, “I Had An Abortion.” This was part of its campaign to “demystify and destigmatize” the practice. Prominent abortion advocates felt at the time that their movement had grown too timid.

Alexander Sanger, the grandson of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, argued that feminists needed to go beyond the rhetoric of “choice,” jargon he regarded as cowardly and vague. They should celebrate abortion directly and unapologetically, he said. After all, the unborn child, as an annoying interloper, deserves to die. “The unborn child is not just an innocent life,” he wrote, but a “liability, a threat, and a danger to the mother and to the other members of the family.”

Amidst such comments, the website Imnotsorry.net sprung up. The founders of the site explained that it “was created for the purpose of showing women that exercising their legal right to terminate their pregnancy is not the blood-splattered guilt trip so many make it out to be.” Space was provided on it for women to post testimonials expressing their “relief” and “joy” after an abortion.

Ron Fitzsimmons, president of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, also found “choice” rhetoric insipid. “We have nothing to hide,” he said to the press. “The work we’re doing is good. We are there to help women, and it’s important to talk about abortion so that it’s not a stigma.”

Abortion, he said, is more than just a choice. It is a good choice: “We can no longer respond to [pro-life arguments] with ‘it’s your right to choose.’ We need to recapture the notion that abortion is a difficult moral choice for women, but one that is, in fact, a moral choice.”

These days abortion advocates are considerably more circumspect, returning to the “safe, legal, and rare” formula that Bill Clinton popularized. But a few still hunger for raw honesty. In apparent anticipation of the upcoming Roe v. Wade anniversary, Salon interviewed one of them on Monday. Merle Hoffman, a New York “abortion provider,” told the online publication that the “pro-choice movement is uncomfortable with itself,” as it still treats abortion as a regrettable act. “I’ve always said that, and I’ve always believed that,” she said. “We’re not comfortable with the banner we’re under.”


Read the entire article on the American Spectator website.

About GShep


  1. It was a small contingent, partly no doubt because of the weather (cold and rainy). But we had a choir of seminarians to lead the singing, and the memorial service after the march was beautiful and moving. I believe three seminaries were represented: St. Vladimir’s, St. Tikhon’s, and Holy Cross, and there were five Orthodox bishops marching — the most I’ve ever seen.

    • Father, if you have any influence on the group, could you please remind the banner carriers that they are always negligent of the crowd behind them? For years, I have thought about writing a letter, but I don’t know to whom I should send it. I have attended the march pretty much every year since I was a child, and I have marched with the Orthodox group most years over the past decade. However, for the past five years or so, the banner carriers — probably due to their being feisty seminarians — behave as though they are not leading a crowd of people through a gigantic mass of folks. They always leave most of the group behind, especially at the beginning. This year was no different, but thankfully they stopped at the corner on Constitution because they left the bishops! Maybe that was their plan for regrouping, but they need to wait every year for the group to collect.

      I understand that they want to get to First Street to have time for the service, but there was plenty of time. Also, if they are worried of the Capitol Police kicking them off the corner as has happened before, why don’t they move to the plaza across from the Supreme Court? I know that we are there for a cause, but we are also quite a visible spectacle to thousands of positively disposed people who have only heard of Orthodoxy. Every year, I witness dozens of interested folks, mostly enthusiastic Latins, engage the group with questions and encouraging words. We would increase our visibility near the Supreme Court and allow for more onlookers to join us in prayer since it is the end of the marching route there.

      This may not be able to be helped, but stationing the group far from the rally (like this year) keeps us from being able to hear the rally (and the Metropolitan’s prayer) and makes us largely invisible to the marchers and to the Orthodox in the crowd who are looking for us. I searched for the group for at least an hour in that muddy mess before I located them on Seventh Street far from the rally. On the way, I came across several disparate groups of Orthodox Christians, including nuns from All Saints Greek Orthodox Monastery on Long Island, who would have otherwise marched with us had the group been present and visible at the rally.

      I know that organization is largely alien to our ethos, but we can do better. So, if you know how to rectify the situation, it would be highly appreciated.

      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

        I hear you, Joseph. It has indeed been hard to march as a group since the parade length was drastically shortened a few years ago. It used to begin at 15th street; now it begins at 7th, which doesn’t allow enough room for groups to form up or stay together en route. The crush of people squeezes everybody through a meatgrinder. This year I thought it wasn’t so bad because there were fewer people, but it was still difficult for some to find or stay with the group.

  2. Carl Kraeff says

    Mr Obama is not heeding Alexander Sanger’s advice. Here is what he said:

    ““As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” Obama said. “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.

    “While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue — no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption,” Obama said.

    “And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

    Disgusting, no?

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Carl, I love it: government “not intruding in private family matters” on the one hand but making sure that “we must stay united to do X, Y, and Z” on the other. So which is it? Intrusion or non-intrusion. Thank you for pointing out their illogical malevolence.

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Here is another instance of Obama administration’s illogical malevolence. As reported everywhere, the Administration has denied an exception to religious groups from a mandate that forces every employer to provide employees with health coverage that not only covers birth control and sterilization, but makes them free. An article in Wall Street Journal points out the obvious: Obama Offends the Catholic Left; A contraceptive mandate provokes an unnecessary war. The authors conclude in part by saying “Catholic liberals appreciate that this HHS decision is more than a return to the hostility that sent so many Catholic Democrats fleeing to the Republican Party these past few decades. They understand that if left to stand, this ruling threatens the religious institutions closest to their hearts—those serving Americans in need, such as hospitals, soup kitchens and immigrant services.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203718504577179110264196498.html

        To go back to the point about Obama’s “illogical malevolence,” I agree that it is malevolence but it seems to fit a pattern and follows its own logic. Mr Obama is a thoroughly political animal untouched by moral considerations, except when they support his anti-America, anti-colonialism (i.e., anti-whitey) worldview.

  3. Question: Is abortion, when medically necessary to save the mother’s life, moral?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Logan, I’m not a moral philosopher but I’d say under those circumstances, it would be a necessary evil. However, let me point out that most physicians and obstetricians will readily admit that it is almost never medically necessary. That’s just a hobby-horse trotted out by the pro-abort crowd.

      The question to be asked of them is, if abortion is not evil, then why don’t they mandate it or at least celebrate it? The purpose of this blog entry was to show that the entire “abortion is wonderful/every woman should have one” campaign is, was, and always will be, bogus.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Hi Logan

      Your question is: Is abortion, when medically necessary to save the mother’s life, moral?

      First, let me say that once upon a time, before modern medical improvment and scientific discovery, people, especially mothers, were faced with this type of choice. This type of choice, as George has previously stated almost never exists anymore. Gestational diabetes is not medically controlled, preeclampsia, which is a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby, is also controlled by medication, relaxation techiques and close monitoring by a woman’s Oby/Gyn that if the Woman and/or Baby start to get distressed and the medication is not working an emergency C-Section is immediately performed.

      Now do these things happen, yes, but because of our improvement is pre-natal and post-natal care, the life and/or health of the mother is rarely at issue.

      However, in some instances it still does occur. Now we as men think that this is a choice, but when my wife was pregnant with our twins we came into contact with so many couples at our parenting class that our hospital was sponsoring, and offering at a not so moderate fee, that all the couples, especially the women/mothers made it very clear that they were having their babies no matter what, even if through c-section.

      one couple that my wife and I encountered were having their first, and possibly their only child, due to medical malpartice on the part of a previous doctor that left the woman damaged to the point that she and her husband tried for several years to get pregnant. This young woman made it very clear that she was having her baby no matter what.

      Now did this mean even at the expense of her own life? I interpreted her words and emotional reaction as a yes. Countless women get pregnant and later find out that they have cancer. The doctor tells them we cannot do chem-therapy because it would kill the baby. more ofter than not the women forgo the chemo to protect their child and once born have their therapy. In some cases after they die from the cancer and are kept alive by machines so their baby can be born.

      So IMHO the question and choice you present is a choice in the abstract, not always, but mostly. Because women have a natural desire to protect their child even when faced with their own death.

      Now I am not saying that we should outlaw abortion in instances of the life of the mother, but this situation rarely occurs, and when it does occur it should be mourned.

      This goes to the second part of the answer to your question. In those instances where abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother it is just that necessary it is never morally right to perform. Police Officers that shoot and kill a suspect that is either a threat to them or others are mandated here in Chicago to go to counseling and get help. Why? Because they just killed another human being. So although the shooting and death of that other human being was necessary or justified we as human beings know it was wrong.

      Many of our military men and women from WWI all the way through to today have gone though PTSD because of the death and killing they have had to endure. If killing a human being was OK or morally right our own instrinsic moral compass would never bother us as it does.

      Tertullian said that God’s natual and moral law is written in our hearts. Its because that moral code is there that we suffer and mourn as we do when a human being dies even if necessary.

      So the short answer to your question is Abortion under your set of facts would be justified, but never moral.

      I hope this helps.


    • While our contemporary 21st-century medical knowledge has nearly eliminated the circumstances in which such a painful choice would have to be made, there are still unanticipated situations, such as ectopic pregnancies, which — if uninterrupted — might indeed result in a mother’s death.

      It’s also known that some few ectopic pregnancies have continued to (nearly) full term without permanent injury or fatality of mother or child, but these are rare and not many physicians would stake their reputations on encouraging these mothers to stay pregnant.

      As I recall, there’s a special category of russian saints, women whose dangerous pregnancies indicated that only an abortion could save their lives, but who chose to continue (nearly) to term and died, sometimes with their gestating children, sometimes with their children being surgically delivered alive. Such mothers are revered as martyrs.

      No one would have condemned these women or their families and physicians if they had chosen abortion, but they chose a nobler, higher, holier way, sacrificing themselves so that their children might have at least a chance, albeit a slim chance, at life.

      At the same time, had they chosen to abort their children, that choice would be regretted forever and they would mourn the loss of those incipient lives, usually baptizing their aborted children and burying them in holy ground. My own mother once suffered a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and did this very thing with the help of her mother, and baptized her fetus in the bathroom sink. Thank Heaven my grandmother was there!

      Contrast this with the treatment of aborted babies in modern american abortuaries. The sometimes still-living fetuses are discarded and destroyed as ‘medical waste’ like an excised tumor.

      Now, please notice: I’ve used various forms of ‘choice’ and ‘choose’ among my words here.

      And this is the real and true arena of choice, where a good christian woman can choose to abort her child for serious reasons, or she can choose to risk her own life by continuing her pregnancy.

      In our own time, serious reasons are, of course, many and varied, and they must be worked out in fully informed medical consultation and spiritual counseling, and family considerations.

      So, for example, if a mother in a high-risk pregnancy might lose her life if she attempts to carry to term and she already has several young children depending on her, she might sadly opt to save her own life at the expense of her baby’s, but not for her own sake.

      Yet if she has no other children, and she and her husband are at peace with the possibility that she might die in the process, she can choose to risk her own life. Here again, it’s for the sake of her child that she makes this choice.


      The proabortion people make it seem that ‘choice’ consists only of whether or not women — FOR THEIR OWN CONVENIENCE — can opt to kill their children in the womb.

      And the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade absurdly ignores all these medical, spiritual, familial concerns, and says that it’s a woman’s ‘right to privacy’ which trumps every other consideration.

      The logical implications of this bizarrity are astounding, since it seems to make secrecy the standard of morality. Who else may I kill, provided I do it in private?

      It’s this major gaffe in jurisprudence which is likely to be the legal lever to upend and undo Roe v Wade, not the medical/spiritual arguments.

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Opps! That should read Gestational Diabetes IS medically controlled.


  5. Peter and Monk James: thanks for your thoughtful replies.

  6. Mark Paring says

    if being pro-choice is always being pro-abortion; does God’s giving us free will and freedom to accept his love or not accept it make God pro-sin? of course not!

  7. Has any Orthodox cleric reacted to the Obama administration’s move to restrict the rights of Catholic institutions?

    • George Michalopulos says

      If you go to the Episcopal Assembly’s website you can hear crickets chirping.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Seriously, one courageous cleric has spoken out on this issue. More to follow.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I also offer my current Bishop, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, who took on our local “Greek Star” newspaper for equating Abortion to Birth Control as a way to reduce population control. The Bishop was right to denounce him and I give him great credit for what he said and wrote. I offer the following response to that horrendous and anti-life article in the Chicago-based “Greek Star.”

          Editor to the Editor
          The Greek Star
          4732 N. Lincoln Avenue Suite 4

          Chicago, IL 60625

          Dear Editor,

          In the November 17, 2011, issue of the Greek Star, it was sad to see the “ER: The Earthy Report” take not only a subtle non-Christian, racist and condescending attitude toward women in light of a serious but complicated problem facing all humanity, but also to pretend that the solution proposed was “moral.”

          The author of the article rightly notes that increasing population poses numerous challenges to all of us. Of chief concern to John Vlahakis is the environment and he notes that “the pressure to procreate without considering the consequences to the world is morally and environmentally wrong.” He casts much of the blame, simplistically, on religion and patriarchal societies. Of course, his implied solutions are equally wrong ethically and morally.

          His main “solution” is no solution. If every woman of the world were capable of exercising what he calls the “right” to “vote, drive, or [have] access to proper health care and birth control,” this does not mean that population would decline. Women could choose to continue procreating at the current rate or higher. Of course, implicit in this so-called solution is the equation of birth control to abortion. And killing human beings for the convenience of those already alive is not only selfish, but anti-Christian.

          The relative freedom for women to kill their preborn babies or to access conception control in the United States, the notable achievements of the women’s movement, and a marked decline in American religiosity, has not prevented our population from growing. Even if this is in part to immigration, in “Christian” and “patriarchal” Europe the populations of Russian and German citizens (non-immigrants) are significantly declining. By contrast, in China, women have been forced to abort “illegal” preborn children for that country to control its own population growth—neither for any religious reasons of its militantly atheist government nor due to “patriarchal” social pressures. It is simply economic.

          The problems Vlahakis fears are most serious in the so-called “third-world” nations. Economic interest and ingrained social values in the third-world certainly impact population growth. Environmental challenges coincide with, but are not always due to population growth. The situation is difficult and complicated, as is the relation of indigenous religion and social structure. In the third-world, where most people do not look and live like Vlahakis, many do not have the “luxury” of considering their environmental footprint in light of the more serious and daily struggle to survive. Still, corrupt governmental policies do far more damage to the environment than the increase in population in such areas.

          If “Religion and patriarchal societies” should not impose on the freedom of women, the same may be said of white, affluent, educated males pretending they know what is best for the women of the world by suggesting overly-simplistic solutions. Hubris is never moral.

          As we approach “Sanctity of Life Sunday” in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago (January 22), it would be better to see the problem in terms of social justice rather than a need to limit the size of society and act counter to our Christian principles. We do not need to blame non-white, non-Christian societies for our environmental plight; we do not need to suggest that there be less non-white people in the world. We need to fulfill what Greek Orthodox Christians have always seen as a divine mandate to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28), though in a manner pleasing to God and beneficial for all human beings. We need to respect human life in all its forms, and in all its numbers, and treat the environment in which we live as the gift from God that it is. The two are not mutually exclusive in the Orthodox Christian faith.


          +Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos
          Chancellor, Metropolis of Chicago

          I may have my disagreements with my Bishop on certain other issues, but on this I am with him, and in all sincerity, have learned alot from him on the Orthodox position on the Santity of Life issue. That its not just limited to Abortion, but to all matters and things that are anti-life.


          • God bless Bishop Demetrios for his categorical defense of the unborn and his public witness to the Sanctity of Life! He should be the rule not the exception in the GOA and other mostly silent jurisdictions. The people and the world need to see and hear that our shepherds are serious about the faith the the teaching of Christ.

            • Chris, if I may add: I am also puzzled by the silence of the Antiochians in this matter. Lest we forget, Bishop +Basil Essey was the only other Orthodox bishop (besides +Jonah) who signed The Manhattan Declaration.

              • Michael Bauman says

                George, perhaps it is the ‘have to check with Met. Philip before we speak rule’. In any case, Bishop Basil is busy tending his flock which includes the folks who run The Treehouse http://www.wichitatreehouse.com

                • George Michalopulos says

                  If that’s the case, that there is indeed such an informal rule, then I’m saddened. Bishops need to be bishops. And anyway, +Philip has been a moral stalwart in other areas (eg getting out of the NCC), I just don’t understand why this issue should be a problem.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    George, it is a problem because Met. Philip, IMO, is actually preparing for his leave taking and is therefore very inward focused right now. The three new auxilliary bishops are part of that. He is not alone in his preparation. The other bishops are aware of some of the problems they will have to face and are, IMO, attempting to create a way to deal with them. It will be very different once Met. Philip is no longer on the scene. By necessity, the bishops will have to function more as a synod.

                    • I wonder how they will manage being able to function as a Synod…Met.Phillip better start helping them learn…he looks very frail..

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Michael, I hope the AOA does not go through the same thing the GOA went through when Iakovos died. We are still attempting to recover, but are getting splinttered more and more. Good luck and I hope you guys go through it better.


                    • Thomas Mathes says

                      What does “synod” mean since the bishops are not “ruling bishops” but only auxiliary bishops? In the OCA the only voting members of the synod are “ruling bishops” with dioceses. Also, what does “synod” mean when there is really only one eparchy or diocese? The so-called dioceses are just regional divisions of the one Archdiocese ruled by the Archbishop. He can move and remove his auxiliary bishops at will, and likewise redraw their so-called diocesan borders. When he retires, the Holy Synod in Damascus will appoint a new archbishop with the same authority over the archdiocese. Then the auxiliary bishops will need to adjust to that personality, but they probably already know the heir apparent and have begun the adjustments.

              • Michael is correct. These rules are spelled out in the “Eighteen Points” drafted by the legal department, specifically points 5 and 7 in additional to the added caution that must be exercised due to point 18.

                5. The role and responsibilities of an Auxiliary Bishop are such that each Bishop acts on behalf of the Metropolitan Archbishop and he does not act in “his” own right. We must always be mindful that one of the primary values in the administration of the Archdiocese is to exemplify unity and brotherly love. In fact, this values set the example for the faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese. There can only be one set of policies, addressing both internal and external affairs, of the Archdiocese, otherwise the risk of confusion and fragmentation becomes real. As such, no Auxiliary Bishop may formulate any policy of his own, and, in the spirit of unison, the policies of the Archdiocese are the policies of the Auxiliary Bishops.

                7. In order to establish and maintain “ one voice” within the Archdiocese, any and all formal communications by an Auxiliary Bishop to another (non-Antiochian) Archdiocese. Diocese, Church or Organization must be communicated through the Archdiocese.

                18. By no means are these policy changes and directives set forth herein to be deemed an exhaustive list. The Archdiocese reserves its right to issue further policy changes and directives it deems appropriate.”

                “Oh how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

              • Bishop Mark (Maymon) did as well.

          • Indeed! God bless His Grace for this erudite and thoughtful letter, and the orthodox Christian sentiments which informed it. And of course for publishing it. Perhaps it would have been better had he been in charge of the Episcopal Assembly’s Church and Society Committee instead of Savvas?

  8. cynthia curraWen says

    Well, I have about the past 4 years complain about Ronald Reagan’s view on immirgation which led to our problem on illegal immirgation. But Reagan help the Orthodox the most since the communist wall fell down, doesn’t mean that all the problems of Eastern Europe was solved, sometimes I wonder if the Orthodox who see protestants wrong can’t appreaciate what a American Protestant did for them by bringing down communism.

  9. http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/releases/protest-against-hhs

    The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.

  10. cynthia curraWen says

    I think that human trafficking is involved a lot with the abortion issue. Women that are forced into selling their bodies end up getting abortions their pimps pushed this. In the Secret History Procopius mentions that Theodora prior to taking up with Justinian mention she had abortions. Theodora according to Procopius that hated her and John of Ephesius that she had connections with a brothel in her teen years. Empress was very anti-brothels for her day and encouraged Justinian in laws against them and even pay the borthel keepers to release the girls and supported a convent for ex-ladies of the night. So a lot fo abortions today like in Byzantine times is related to foreced sex or illicit sex. So, support fighting the sex trade here.