After the SCOTUS decision overruling Roe v. Wade was announced, my Facebook page was awash in anti-Catholic rhetoric of the most primitive and hateful kind.
Part of the raison d'etre of the Bieganski, Brute Polak Stereotype is Christophobia, as anyone has read the book, and this blog, knows.
The essay, below, addresses the Christophobia flooding social media in recent days.
Abortion on Facebook
Imagine you are a young child.
One night, you realize something you'd
never realized before. Eventually, everyone you know will be dead. Even your
parents will be dead. You experience terror and despair, alone in your bed at
night. The death of the family pet wrecks you.
Questions rush at you. If we are just
going to die, why are we here? And what exactly is "here" anyway? And
where do we go after we die? Anywhere? Nowhere? And what is "nowhere"?
What is human life, and what is its value? You ask yourself these questions for
a long time.
You don't yet know what sex is. You have
older siblings. They have special classes at school. They bring home slim,
stapled pamphlets in pastel shades of pink and blue. You grab one of the
pamphlets and plant your body against your bedroom door. OMG!
After that, you learn about something
that brings sex and death together: abortion. You seek details. The graphic
description you eventually do find is similar to the 2015 Congressional
testimony offered by Dr. Anthony Levatino, a doctor who has performed hundreds
"The first instrument you reach for
is a suction catheter … Picture yourself introducing this catheter through the
cervix … turn on the suction machine… [you see] the amniotic fluid that
surrounded the baby to protect her. With suction complete, look for your Sopher
clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless
steel. At the business end are jaws … with rows of sharp teeth … Picture
yourself reaching in and grasping anything you can … You feel something let go
and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long … out pops an arm about
the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the
spine, intestines, heart and lungs … The head … is now free-floating inside the
uterine cavity … You will know you have it right when you crush down on the
clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That was the
baby's brains … Many times a little face will come out and stare back at you.
Congratulations! … You just affirmed her right to choose."
You are alone, planted against the door
of your bedroom. There is no one there to instruct you on how to react. No one
to tell you that this collision of death with sex is a glorious victory for universal
womanhood. No one to tell you that, as a girl, you should be celebrating what
you just read. No one to insist that the tiny arms and legs that the Sopher
clamp, with its backward facing teeth – just like a shark's – drags from the
woman's womb is not human, not at all. No one to scream at you, "MY BODY
You feel some of the most profound
horror you have ever felt.
This essay will not argue that abortion
should be illegal. In fact, in post Dobbs v. Jackson America, abortion remains
legal in many states. Corporations are rushing to announce that they will pay women for abortion
travel. In any case, the internet offers multiple methods for women to abort
themselves. See for example here, here, here, here, and here.
Rather, this essay will merely point out
that Team "Choice" – their word not mine – are not telling the truth
about abortion. In fact Team Choice members are actively resisting truth, and
aggressively pushing falsehoods. Team Choice's falsehoods aren't just about
abortion. Team Choice are fomenting hatred of one American for another. Team Choice's
falsehoods will lead to division and violence. Members of Team Choice have
advocated, attempted, or committed acts of violence against their imagined
enemies. See for example here, here, here, and here.
Team Choice is spreading falsehoods and
hate in order to suppress the natural horror that one feels at the prospect of
a mother ending the life of her own offspring. "Offspring" is one
English translation of the Latin word, "fetus."
There are, of course, other horrors in
this world. Dr. Savita Halappanavar died, in Ireland, in 2012, of an infection
after an incomplete miscarriage and her doctors' refusal to perform a
medically-indicated abortion. In 2022, a ten-year-old rape victim in Ohio had
to travel to Indiana to obtain an abortion. Abortions in the case of rape, and
fetal or maternal health are not the subject of this essay. If you are a woman
who has had an abortion, neither I nor this essay judges or condemns you. This
essay is not about you. This essay is about how Team Choice talked about
abortion on my Facebook page.
The Supreme Court decision overruling
Roe v. Wade was announced on June 24, 2022. Social media exploded. One might
think that a highly anticipated, history-making SCOTUS decision would be
followed by profound and complex discussion, soul-searching, self-education
through rigorous research, and citizens doing their very best to rise to the
moment with their best selves, and to seek consensus with their fellow citizens.
One would be wrong.
Team Choice is using social media to exert
tectonic pressure on Americans to think and feel about abortion what Team
Choice wants Americans to think and feel. Team Choice is working to render true
words unspeakable. We must not say "mother." We must not say "child."
We must not say "kill." We must say "pregnant person." We
must say "health care." We must say "choice."
Religion trumps rational thinking and scientific
facts. The religion in question is not America's traditional faiths, the ones
grounded in the Bible and the Judeo-Christian tradition. An emerging religion
dominates discussion of abortion on social media. For want of a better word, I
will call this religion "Woke." This new religion is polymorphous but
its major trends can be described. Woke religion selectively incorporates bits
and pieces of Neo-Paganism. Believers wish each other "good solstice"
and salute light itself on June 21 and December 21. Permutations of
Neo-Paganism as marketed in bestsellers provide scripture. "The Universe,"
note the capitalization, is a deity. The Universe, like the Light, loves believers
and wants what is best for them. Mere positive thoughts make things transpire
exactly as believers want them to. If you get cancer, you gave it to yourself;
if you are poor, it's your own fault, because you don't love yourself enough
and don't believe you deserve money. Self-esteem, or, to be more clinical,
narcissism, is a cardinal virtue. This new faith's hymn has one lyric. "Me,
me, me, me." It's the one pronoun about which no one is confused.
This new religion makes extensive use of
hate. An enemy must be created; an enemy must be blamed; an enemy must be ritually
sacrificed for the Woke to achieve climax and satisfaction. The church of Woke has
fixated on Christians, specifically Catholics, as the hated enemy. This
fixation is economically expressed in a meme by Michael de Adder that depicts a woman standing in front
of the Supreme Court building. The SCOTUS building is merely a shallow façade.
Behind it is a three dimensional Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, the meme
suggests, is the hidden, evil power that women must hate and conquer.
The foundational myth of Woke religion,
like all myths, is repeatedly acted out in ritual. These rituals are carried
out on social media. The left valorizes victimhood. Because victimhood is a
valued commodity, access to victimhood must be limited to those deemed victims
by the Woke priesthood. To cite one recent example, George Floyd, a repeat
criminal killed by a white police officer, is granted the status of victim.
Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an innocent white woman killed by a black, Muslim,
immigrant police officer, is not allowed victim status; neither is David Dorn,
a heroic black police officer killed by a black looter during a Facebook
livestream. Though those allowed victim status vary from one social hysteria to
the next, ritual roles remain the same. The main characters of the Woke myth
are victims, victimizers, and defiant champions of victims. Identified victims
are celebrated. Identified victimizers are hated and demonized. Defiant
champions of victims engage in virtue signaling. Virtue signaling largely
consists in posting memes that announce one's virtue, that is, one compliments
victims, and condemns victimizers.
In the abortion variant of this myth,
the actual victims of abortion, the fetuses that end up in landfills, dumpsters, or incinerated with medical
waste, are not victims at all. The fetus is so insignificant that its death is
not only not worthy of justification, it is not worthy of any mention
whatsoever. If the fetus is mentioned, it is mentioned only in a way that
denies every known scientific fact about the fetus. No less a personage than a
Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, can, falsely, analogize a fetus to a
corpse. The scientifically false phrase "clump of cells" is still used. If a member of
Team Choice acknowledged that the fetus is human, this acknowledgment was made
with contempt, hatred, and a homicidal ethics summed up in a widely shared a
meme from a poster who called herself "Science Nerd." Science Nerd wrote "It doesn't matter whether the
fetus is a human being or not." Women have the right to kill that human
being. Why? Because the mother is the designated victim, and, in this religion,
status as victim trumps all other considerations, and permits otherwise inexcusable
behavior, including murder. Remember, narcissism is a cardinal virtue.
Woke has designated all Christians, but
especially Catholics, as the enemy whose symbolic destruction, through vicious
Facebook memes, or whose actual destruction, through righteous violence, will satisfy
their ritual sacrifice. The defiant hero or heroine is the person who posts a
meme denigrating and fomenting hatred against Christians. The heroine
identifies herself as "defiant" because she imagines herself "fighting
the power." The "power" in this case, the fire-breathing dragon
that the heroine imagines herself as defeating, is the Catholic Church. The Occupy
Democrats Facebook page
is a cornucopia of anti-Catholic hatred and bigotry. Facebook, which depicts
itself as being opposed to hate speech, allows this anti-Catholic bigotry to
The Catholic Church is losing adherents
at a rapid pace, and Catholicism is now and has always been a minority faith in
the United States. In a recent poll, almost 70% of Catholics said that they
believe that Roe should not have been overturned. This is comparable to Americans as a whole. According to a Pew Poll conducted in March, 2022, almost half
of all U.S. adults, of a variety of beliefs and identities – that is not just
Catholics – consider abortion to be "morally wrong" in all or most
cases. In the poll, more white evangelicals than Catholics identify abortion as
"morally wrong" in all or most cases. In short, Woke's singling out
Catholics for demonization is not supported by pertinent facts.
Why, then, did Woke select Catholics as
their prey? America harbors a significant history of anti-Catholic bigotry,
discrimination, and violence; Woke hate may be a bastard vestigial child of
this ancient hate. The KKK was just one expression of American anti-Catholicism,
as in the phrase "K---s, Katholics, and Koloreds." Catholics wear
costumes and make use of distinctive paraphernalia, like rosaries. Rosaries and
nuns' habits made up a good portion of Team Choice's Facebook memes. The red
and white "Handmaid" costume is copied from a Christophobic Margaret
Atwood novel that was turned into a television series. It is based on a nun's
habit. This costume is found repeatedly in Team Choice memes, like this one. "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" is repeated endlessly.
Of course, not only Catholics were
targeted by Team Choice. All Christians were. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, ad nauseum. One meme conflated the cross with a serpent. Woke
must identify Christians as the enemy because Woke and Christianity have
diametrically opposed conceptions of the individual. Woke desires to conquer
the Christian concept of the individual and replace it with its own concept. In
the Judeo-Christian tradition, all humans are created in the image and likeness
of God, and are equally worthy. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, everyone's
pain matters. In Woke, a person's pain matters only if that person is one of
the privileged individuals whom Woke has designated as a victim.
In the Woke church, the individual –
that is the designated victim – deserves everything, and yet is required to do
absolutely nothing except demand and take various handouts and benefits. The
Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the individual's ability to exercise
agency. That ability implies consequences and responsibility. Woke utterly
rejects the personal responsibility of its designated victims. A woman seeking
an abortion did not make any choice that resulted, inevitably, in her
terminating the life of her own offspring. To honor and recognize personal
agency and responsibility is central to the Judeo-Christian ethic. Merely to
mention personal agency and responsibility is anathema to the church of Woke.
The victim status of women, and Woke's
defiance in the face of her victimization, is epitomized in a Marge Piercy
statement circulating as a meme. Piercy is an 86-year-old Communist writer. In
this melodramatically masochistic meme, Piercy protests pregnancy as a form of
capitalistic abuse. "I am not your cornfield, not your uranium mine, not
your calf for fattening … Priests and legislators do not hold shares in my
womb." In fact Piercy has benefitted from American citizenship,
capitalism, and the Judeo-Christian tradition against which she protests. She does
not live in Afghanistan where, indeed, girls are forced to marry older men and
forced to produce children. The large percentage of Americans who think that
abortion should be legal but recognize it as immoral would probably recoil at
any invitation to "enter" – her word – Piercy's body. Rather, we
invite Piercy to consider the bodies created inside women's bodies, created by
women's own choices. Unless women take responsibility for the consequences of
their own choices, women are not full adults, and the feminism Piercy claims to
represent is a sham.
The church of Woke advertises itself as
representing "kindness" and "compassion." Their chosen
victims must be defended with "kindness" and "compassion"
against their chosen enemies, who are all victimizers and lack kindness and
compassion. Woke's kindness and compassion often involve lying. When a psychologically
confused and fatherless adolescent who was fixated on internet pornography
decided to submit to a double mastectomy and testosterone treatment, I was
deemed "unkind" by referring to that girl as "she." Rather,
the Woke determined that it was "kind" to "affirm" this
Again, Woke exercises its powers, in
this case kindness and compassion, on designated victims whose narrative can be
exploited to undermine tradition. A girl declaring that she is a boy, and
citing internet porn as her inspiration, undermines tradition; therefore, Woke
bestows upon her the Woke gifts of kindness and compassion. When comparable
girls go public with regret for undergoing mastectomies and testosterone
treatment that permanently altered their voices and rendered them sterile, Woke
denounces these transgender regret stories as "transphobic."
Similarly, women who say that they
regret having had an abortion are dismissed as "paternalistic" and an
attack on women's autonomy. Abortion Regret: The New Attack on Reproductive
Freedom, a 2019 book, utterly dehumanizes women who express regret
over their abortions, reducing them to mere political pawns who exist only to
make life harder for Team Choice.
That women who experience abortion
regret are not mere pawns of the patriarchy is demonstrated by Angela Forker's "After
the Abortion" photography series. One of her participants said, "I must take you back to that
dark, dark place that only I knew, only I could go, only I knew about. A very
deep, sad, broken, lost and lonely dark place. It was there that I would cry in
silent tears to my babies, for ending their lives, to mourn who they may have
become and to beg for their forgiveness." Woke must dehumanize and lie
about that woman in order to render its own religion coherent.
Woke's demonization of Christians, and
its attacks on those who regret transition and those who regret abortion, is
telling. Woke accuses Christianity of being censorious. In fact, though, as two
atheist, bestselling authors and public intellectuals, Douglas Murray and Tom
Holland, have both pointed out, one of the most important gifts to Western
Civilization from the Judeo-Christian tradition is the gift of forgiveness. Biblical
sinners, from King David to Saul, who literally killed Christians before he
became Paul, history's most high-impact Christian, repent and receive full
forgiveness. Pope John Paul II was able to forgive, in person, Mehmet Ali Agca,
who shot him in an assassination attempt. Woke could not forgive Kevin Hart, a
comic who made ugly comments about homosexuals, comments for which he later
apologized. The concept of forgiveness lubricates social functioning. Woke has
ripped away the gift of forgiveness.
Woke's insistence on its own kindness
and compassion has proven very attractive to a certain demographic. Though I
have a mix of male and female, rich and poor, and ethnically diverse Facebook
friends, the overwhelming number of Woke abortion posts came from bourgeois,
white, American women of a certain age. These are women who usually share, on
social media, photos of their grandchildren, their gardens, their occasional
forays into pottery or beef Wellington or home renovation. They like to advertise
what great moms and grandmoms they are, and how their lives are built around "kindness"
These women go for months apparently
completely unaware of any current events. In fact many of them reprimand
others, including me, for posting too much about "depressing" "news."
"I'm on a news fast," they announce. "News upsets my
tranquility," they say. "News bores me," they say. "Who is
president?" they ask, and, no, they really don't know.
I like and value these women. I do not
mention their posts to denigrate them. I mention these data points because it
is worthy of note that women who normally depict themselves on social media to
be "domestic goddesses" dedicated to the traditional feminine values
of nurturing, creativity, and hospitality would jump so eagerly to embracing
the ultimate act of inhospitality and lack of maternal femininity, i.e.,
Their change from strictly personal
posts to participation in waves of posts about politics seems almost
orchestrated. It is possible that these women are being manipulated for
political ends. One indication of this: when posting about abortion or BLM, rather
than sharing personal posts that they have written themselves, they share
pre-packaged memes from pages like Occupy Democrats.
Another possible indication of political
manipulation: Democrats are openly hoping to weaponize abortion. Given
inflation, high gas prices, and an unpopular president, Democrats may lose the
House in November, 2022's, midterm elections. Democrats are openly exploiting
abortion as a lure to win November votes, and a continued hold on power. In
this power grab, they are overtly lying. They are insisting that Dobbs v.
Jackson was an overreach, and that it bans abortion. In fact, the court
surrendered, rather than accumulated, power. Power over abortion now returns to
voters like my Facebook friends, rather than resting exclusively with nine
unelected judges. And abortion remains legal in many states.
Woke's kindness and compassion are
selective and they are political tools. They may serve to help get Democrats
elected; they may serve attempts to weaken or at least critique Western
Civilization. Woke kindness and compassion are never wasted on victims whose
suffering cannot be exploited politically.
For example, in 2013, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
placed a pressure cooker bomb three feet away from Martin Richard, an
eight-year-old boy with large, wide-set, liquid brown eyes, a button nose, and outsize,
grown-up teeth flashing in an innocent smile. The Tsarnaev brothers' bomb and
its shrapnel, including nails, shattered Martin's body. The "kind," "compassionate"
ladies? The moms and grandmoms? Not a single one of these ladies on my page
voiced a peep of protest. One possible reason: political Facebook pages were
not pumping out memes insisting on outrage over the jihad murder of Martin
Team Choice on Facebook insists that
they are defiantly exercising kindness and compassion in defense of women's
rights. In 2015, Farkhunda Malikzada was tortured to death on the streets of
Kabul by a mob of misogynist men who so enjoyed their lynching that they posted
video documentation on the internet. On May 12, 2022, Deborah Emmanuel, a
Christian Nigerian woman, was stoned and then set on fire; this lynching was
also videorecorded; one can see the videorecording on the web, and hear the
eager lynchers shouting, "Allahu akbar." Police did not stop the attack, and the chief imam of Nigeria's national
mosque defended it, as
did at least one other imam. In 2009, a hungry and impoverished,
75-year-old widow in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to receive forty lashes because
she accepted donated food from men. In 2017, village elders in Pakistan ordered
the rape of an innocent 16-year-old girl. In 2020, Texas police arrested Yaser
Abdel Said, a father accused of "honor killing" his two daughters.
On my page, none of the women who would
later create a Facebook frenzy over Dobbs v. Jackson revealed any awareness of,
or compassion for, female victims of gender apartheid. I posted about these
cases. Some Woke women vehemently denounced me as a "racist" and
Social media displays of compassion and
kindness are coins of the realm. Coins are not to be wasted on the unworthy, on
Justine Ruszczyk Damond, on Deborah Emmanuel, on David Dorn. Coins must be
invested wisely, in any identified victim whose alleged victimization can be
used to denigrate or critique Western Civilization. Nothing is more
foundational to Western Civilization than the idea of mothers as loving
nurturers of their own offspring. Fetuses cannot vote, or donate to political
parties. Fetuses, thus, have no value, cannot be granted identified victim
status, and cannot receive kindness and compassion.
In response to the SCOTUS overturning
Roe, a fresh look at the ethics of abortion is called for. This fresh look at
abortion's ethics is required for several reasons. For example, Roe included a
viability standard. The state, Roe declared, had an interest in protecting the
life of a fetus that could survive outside the mother's womb. Contrary to Roe's
viability standard, Team Choice members have voiced support for abortion up to
and including the imminent delivery of a healthy, nine-month fetus. See the
2019 exchange, quoted below, between Kathy Tran and Todd Gilbert, both of the
Virginia House of delegates.
Gilbert: "So where it's obvious
that a woman is about to give birth, she has physical signs that she's about
give birth, would that still be a point at which she could still request an
abortion if she was so certified? She's dilating?" …
Tran: "My bill would allow that,
When Democratic superstars like Stacey
Abrams and Pete Buttigieg have been asked about abortion-up-to-birth, they have
deflected rather than answered forthrightly, but their comments can be taken as
support for such abortions (see here and here). Atheist ethicist Peter Singer has justified support for
infanticide (see here), but not only rarefied Ivy League professors like Singer
have moved comfortably from support for abortion to support for infanticide. In
discussing abortion on Facebook, I have encountered Facebook friends, people I
know, "normal" people with normal jobs, who recommend infanticide for
infants that are unwanted. Facebook does not remove these posts though they are
overtly an "incitement to violence" against a vulnerable population.
In any case, advances in medical science
have changed the date of fetal viability, as National Public Radio reports. "When Roe v. Wade was decided in
1973, viability was considered to be 28 weeks. Now, it's about 22 weeks. 'In
1973, my first year of residency, we didn't put breathing tubes into 28-week
babies to try to save them because it was futile,' Dr. Edward Bell says. 'And
now we don't do it because it's not necessary. The same babies.'"
Technology has advanced since the 1973
Roe decision. Ultrasound has placed the irrefutable, full
humanity of the fetus before our eyes. Kirstie Piper, a professional
camerawoman, recently participated in the filming of an ultrasound. At first
the fetus would not cooperate. She was tucked into an unphotogenic ball. To get
a clearer picture, "The sonographer began tapping lightly and rapidly on
the mother's belly." The fetus stirred. Someone was knocking on her door. Piper writes, "the baby rolled her head towards
the sonographer's hands, and her eyes fluttered open. I stood, shocked, as I
made eye-contact … when my boss asked what I thought of the experience, all I
could say was, 'Their eyes – I didn't know you could see their eyes!'" "A baby's eyes can 'see' light starting around week 16 … The eyes
first open between weeks 26 and 28."
Some argue, from genetics, that
personhood begins at conception. In presenting this position, Scott F. Gilbert,
the Howard A. Schneiderman Professor of Biology, emeritus, at Swarthmore
College, said, "Personhood begins at fertilization. Here's where the
geneticists say life begins. A unique genome is made and the conditions exist
to generate a new person. When asked in Human Life Review in the spring
of 2002, 'At what point does individuation take place?' Doctor Jerome Lejeune,
very well known geneticist … said, 'Oh. That takes place at fecundation, at
fertilization, at conception. Because it just tells us that the constitution of
this person is unique to this person.'" In his talk, Dr. Gilbert did present alternative
points of view, including the view that life begins at gastrulation, that is
fourteen days after conception. Another view: personhood begins at 28 weeks,
when "the human-specific electroencephalogram pattern" develops.
Gilbert concludes, "there is no consensus among scientists as to when
Another reason for the fresh examination
of the ethics of abortion: the ubiquity of birth control. A wide variety of
birth control options are available and they no longer carry the stigma that
they once did.
No such reexamination of the ethics of
abortion occurred on my Facebook page after the Dobbs decision was announced. The
fetus, the actual victim of abortion, was rarely mentioned. If mentioned, Team
Choice was entirely happy to declare that the fetus is not human. Their
evidence? Unsupported Facebook memes. Team Choice passed right by all those
questions that, for thousands of years, have kept generations of philosophers
and scientists awake at night. "What is human life? When does it begin?
Why are we here?" Team Choice settled all that with unsupported Facebook
memes like this one and this one and this one and this one.
What didn't flood my Facebook page after
Dobbs v. Jackson? Abortion. Actual abortion. Verbal descriptions of abortion,
such as that provided by Dr. Levatino. Photographs of abortion. Videos of
abortion. Photographs of the tools used to perform an abortion. Photographs of
aborted fetuses. The sound and fury unleashed by Team Choice, tellingly,
avoided abortion "as if it were the plague," to use an old metaphor.
During Gay Pride month, my page is awash
in images of attractive gay people. During Black History month, my page
receives meme after meme celebrating heroic black personages. Holidays bring
out Christmas trees and hamantaschen. Abortion? If you want to talk about
abortion, and you are on Team Choice, you assiduously do not talk about
abortion. You do not illustrate abortion. You do not even tell the truth about
abortion. You talk about how subhuman Catholics are. That "choice"
alone tells us much about abortion.
is the author of God through Binoculars:
A Hitchhiker at a Monastery