STOKING FIRE: Sisters of Life


As legend has it, when New York Archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor visited the Dachau concentration camp in the mid-1980s, he was horrified by the massive evil that the site represented. Eager to do something tangible to counter Nazi hatred, he might have launched an all-out campaign against racism and homophobia or intervened to protect those who continue to be exterminated by genocide.

But he didn’t. Instead, he petitioned the Vatican to establish a new religious order to oppose abortion.

Called Sisters of Life, the 19-year-old New York City-based group is described on its website as “a contemplative and active religious community.” Under the leadership of Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, a middle-aged woman with a Ph.D. in psychology, the group is one of only a handful of Catholic communities to be growing. Indeed, what began in 1991 as a fellowship of eight women is now a group of 64. What’s more, 10 postulants between the ages of 21 and 35 entered the convent in August, taking the first steps in the more than seven-year process of becoming a nun.  The Sisters have also moved north, establishing a five-nun convent in Scarborough, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto.

Unlike other orders in which members take vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty, Sisters of Life take a fourth: “working to enhance the sacredness of human life.” This last vow is what sets the Sisters apart, making them the world’s only religious order to make opposition to abortion their sole raison d’être. Secondly, they adhere to old-school values, wearing the habit, spending at least half of each day in prayer, and fasting regularly. One day a week, and one Sunday a month, is spent in silent devotion. They also engage in activism, participating in 40 Days for Life protests in front of local clinics. Stepping Out of the Boat, an Archdiocesan blog written by Edward Mechmann, further reports that the Sisters have traveled to Albany, “bringing Jesus to the [state] capital, to the Senate chamber, and to the people they encounter.”  Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Sisters take in a small number of pregnant women, folks their website describes as being “at high risk for abortion.” A January 2010 article posted on AmericanCatholic.org reports that in its first 18 years, 150 women and babies were hosted. 

Guests, the website continues, are required to work or go to school by day, but share an evening meal with the Sisters before they deliver their babies and for up to six months afterwards. During their stay they receive counseling and social service assistance through the Catholic Home Bureau and are barred from watching TV, listening to the radio, or using the Internet.

“Prayer forms the walls of our home,” Sister Agnes Mary Donovan told an interviewer from America Magazine. “The goal of our work is evangelization…We provide the spiritual setting and support throughout the pregnancy. Our emphasis is on the spiritual side.”

While Sisters of Life denied my request for a face-to-face meeting or telephone interview—“It wouldn’t be the best thing for us to speak with you since you’re from a pro-choice site,” Sister Bridget told me—it doesn’t take much probing to conclude that the group is anomalous. As a time when the Church is facing mounting debts–$2 billion in reparations have already been paid to those abused by priestly pedophiles and there are many more claims to be settled—and Diocesan officials, particularly in the northeastern United States, are closing scores of churches, hospitals, and schools, the Sisters of Life seem to be continually expanding their real estate holdings.

The irony of this discordant reality is particularly blatant at their Sacred Heart of Jesus convent on Manhattan’s West 51 Street. The convent—which has a fenced in garden full of plants, trees and sculptures of the Madonna–is literally across the street from the now-shuttered St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital, a 73-year-old health center that closed in 2007. The 250-bed facility is one of six Catholic medical centers in Gotham to be closed in recent years. The largest, St. Vincent’s Downtown, was founded in 1849, had 3000 employees, and provided care to approximately 263,000 outpatients and 62,000 emergency room patients each year. In addition, the hospital delivered an annual crop of between 1800 and 2000 babies before being padlocked last April.  

This, of course, begs the question: Why are the Sisters of Life–with two convents in Manhattan; a Stamford, Connecticut retreat house where they conduct workshops for those “who have experienced the suffering of abortion and the joy of healing in Christ;” and three additional convents in Yonkers, the Bronx, and Canada—given the means to expand when other Catholic institutions serving far larger constituencies are left to wither and die?

One can’t help wonder what crosses the Sisters’ minds when they pass the doors of St. Vincent’s and see the dog-eared signs covering the now-bolted doors: “No trespassing. No loitering. No sleeping. No panhandling.” Are the lives of the facility’s former patients—most of them low-income men, women, and children who relied on the hospital for both emergency care and the treatment of chronic conditions—less important than the fetal life that they purport to nurture in the convent across the street? Do the Sisters of Life see the incongruity? Do they care?

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  • goatini

    that this order, with its huge property holdings, was NOT in the list of orders subjected to the Vatican Boys Club Misogynist Inquisition, aka “Apostolic Visitations”. One of the main purposes of the so-called AVs is to liquidate property holdings of orders that don’t march in lockstep with the regressive RCC of Ratzinger, to offset the piles of Vatican loot paid out to sexual abuse victims.

    I can’t even think of a comment to make about the house arrest scheme forced upon the women this “order” “serves”‘ except to say that it seems like a prototype for Magdalene Laundries here in America.

  • colleen

    I can’t even think of a comment to make about the house arrest scheme forced upon the women this “order” “serves”‘ except to say that it seems like a prototype for Magdalene Laundries here in America.

    That’s where I went too. Also a reminder of the grotesque and cruel Homes for Unwed Mothers the Catholic church used to run. 

    They wouldn’t be able to actually imprison the ‘fallen’ women and use them as slaves for the rest of their lives presently. 20 years from now if current trends continue? I think so.

     

  • derekp

    Once again, pro-lifers can’t win. If we try to stop abortion we’re told, “Are you going to take care of these babies!” Then, when pro-lifers try to care for low-income or homeless pregnant women and their babies they are often impugned for having supposedly ulterior motives. 

     

    Tell me, where are the private pro-choice orginzations offering housing, medical support, and resources to women who CHOOSE to give birth?  The abortion clinic in my home town didn’t offer any of that and when women came to them saying they needed help choosing to have the baby, they were told to go to a crisis pregnancy center. 

     

    Also, should we not trust women?  If these women running these convents, and the women choosing to become nuns, and the women choosing to come to them for help are doing good, then they should be praised.  If you have evidence of a crime associated with these convents, then by all means present it here.  Otherwise, learn to trust and respect all women.

  • prolifeandproud

    The purpose of this piece is to point out that the Sisters of Life might not feel bad enough that St. Vincent’s is closed?

    Pro-aborts are always bashing pro-lifers for not caring about the mothers or the situations they might be facing. So here’s an order doing something very concrete to help women, and you bash them for being successful?

    The Sisters of Life is a donor-suppored 501C3 organization. Unlike Planned Parenthood, they do not receive government funding.

  • crowepps

    Unlike Planned Parenthood, they do not receive government funding.

    Unlike Planned Parenthood, they do not provide any medical care.

  • forced-birth-rape

    Pro-extreme-vaginal-pain on women and proud, the rapist I new when I was a kid were proud too.

  • beenthere72

    I, for one, am all in favor of an organization that helps pregnant women with wanted pregnancies.    But as a Jewish American, the part that disturbs me about this organization is that it was founded as a result of the Bishop’s visit to a concentration camp.   What does a concentration camp, intended for the incarceration of primarily men who the Nazis considered ‘enemies of the state’ (not just Jews – though they were treated the worst – but also homosexuals, gypsies, asocials, etc., and common criminals) have to do with unwanted pregnancies?   Or unborn babies?   Why doesn’t the Bishop consider helping living, breathing people that need help?  Like Eleanor says:  “Eager to do something tangible to counter Nazi hatred, he might have launched an all-out campaign against racism and homophobia or intervened to protect those who continue to be exterminated by genocide.”  

     

    But no, he doesn’t.

     

    How does one walk away from a death zone where millions of Jews died, among so many other innocent living, breathing people and say:  “I must save the UNBORN babies!”???   

     

    It just always bothers me when people relate abortion to the Holocaust.   They do NOT equate.   

  • forlife

    “Eager to do something tangible to counter Nazi hatred, he might have launched an all-out campaign against racism and homophobia or intervened to protect those who continue to be exterminated by genocide.

    But he didn’t. Instead, he petitioned the Vatican to establish a new religious order to oppose abortion.”

     

    Thank you for making our point. Pro-choicers think the same way about the unborn that Nazis felt about their victims: whatever, let em be killed. Obviously they are not people (or, at least inferior people) so clearly we need to worry about those whose lives have more value.

    I am a German citizen. My great-uncle was murdered because he was handicapped, and was too much of a burden on society. In the same way today, we “choice” fetuses, especially handicapped fetuses, because they are too expensive or inconvenient to the mother or father or society. Lovely.

  • red-meg

    …That new Catholic organizations are expanding and growing as others are dwindling and closing?  This is nothing new.  It is the way of things in the Church and the world.

     

    I don’t get the point the author is trying to make connecting the Sisters to the closed hospital.  Perhaps I missed the link to the webpage that demonstrates that all Catholic-inspired organizations from schools to hospitals to food pantries to religious orders all draw their money from the same ginormous pot of money?  And the money the Sisters received from that pot left less money in the pot for the hospital, forcing it to close?!??

  • colleen

    I was curious about what happened to the women and girls and their children after the birth. It appears the the Sisters of Life ‘counsel’ and what they ‘counsel’ is giving the bab(ies) up for adoption.

     

  • john-drake

    I recently attended a retreat by one of the Sisters of Life, and they are indeed included in the apostolioc visitation.

     

    And I don’t believe any “Vatican loot” was paid out to alleged abuse victims. That came from indiviidual dioceses. Go ahead and Google that.

  • john-drake

    Certainly making a mother-to-be aware that adoption is an option preferable to ABORTION is a CHOICE that you should support. No?

  • forlife

    This comment has been removed.

     

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  • rebellious-grrl

    ForLife, many of us here see forced birth as an equivalent to rape. I would gladly stand on any street-corner with Forced Birth is Rape and chant or scream with her. You know why? She is right!

     

    BTW, I have a special one finger salute for you.

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ Genocide and the holocaust, Sight, Sound and Scent magnify all experiences. The dread and fear of knowing someone is coming to get you, knowing someone is coming to get your sibling or child to rape, torture, or put him or her in a concentration camp. Knowing on the other side of that fence your child or parent is in living hell. It is massively insensitive and ignorant to equate abortion with genocide and the holocaust, it means you do not appreciate all the horrors people and children or subject to in those situations. A fetus cannot be raped, a fetus does not have to dread an invading enemy army. ~

    ~ I am very sorry beenthere72, It makes me sick when they say that, it would no doubt be worse if I was Jewish and had Jewish loved ones. ~

  • crowepps

    Most ProChoice people support all of the various choices that are available to the pregnant woman, not the ‘choice’ of total strangers to proselytize her with their own beliefs and try to chivvy her into doing things their way.

     

    If the woman does not want to be a mother, and does not want to have and keep a child, she doesn’t have any obligation to invest 8 plus months in physically creating a child just because someone else MIGHT want it.  The world is full of lots and lots of children already, far more than we collectively are willing to feed and care for, apparently.

     

    I don’t see any basis for your belief that going through the entire pregnancy with all the risks and damage inherent in that is necessarily ‘preferable’ from her standpoint.  Unless, of course, she shares your particular religious beliefs.  She certainly not obligated to do so because of beliefs she doesn’t share.

  • crowepps

    Well, for heaven’s sake — you can’t expect them to let girls/women who are so intellectually challenged/morally corrupt that they WATCH TV walk away with an innocent child!

  • gradchica

    The sisters provide spiritual care, housing, and food to women who WANT TO BE THERE. They are not kidnapping women off the street and forcing them to stay. These are women who are considering abortion because they feel they have no choice. No choice bc their boyfriends don’t want to support the baby, bc their parents kicked them out, bc they lost their job, or whatever–they need somewhere to go and the sisters provide that. If they want to leave, they certainly can. Their house, their rules–they are living like the sisters live, I’d think. 

     

    Are there pro-choice groups that provide such help? Bc I’ve yet to see one–many women feel abortion is their only choice bc they don’t have the support at home, work, or school to have a baby. These sisters are giving these women the concrete tools to make their choice to have the baby–housing, food, clothing, and help getting a job. Geez, sounds terrible to me.

  • gradchica

    The sisters are funded by donations to their organization–if you’re going to get upset about the hospital closing, then get upset with the people who stopped donating to the church/to that particular hospital. Should a convent of random nuns in Omaha be to blame because that hospital in NYC went under?  Or how about a parish in Seattle? Or Notre Dame University? No? Why not? Oh, because their sources of funding are different. Duh. 

  • beenthere72

    Very well said, FBIR!!!!!   

     

    I am happy to report that most if not all of my Polish – and I think Russian – relatives safely left the country before Hitler took control.    I’m sure the same can’t be said for many of their friends.    

  • colleen

    My point is that this appears to be the return of Homes for Unwed Mothers. I suspect that the 150 women mentioned are the ‘fallen’ daughters of ‘pro-life’ Catholics.

    I have several friends who, having gotten pregnant in HS,  went through the experience of having their parents send them off to one of these homes. They were treated like breeding livestock and, at least the ones I knew, weren’t allowed to even see their infants after the birth. I understand that another sort of Home  allowed the infants to nurse and bond with their mothers  and then, after 6 months or a year, they then forced the mother to relinquish her child. It’s hard to know which alternative is more cruel. I do know that my friends (who are now in their 60’s) still weep about their lost child and still remember his/her birthday every year. It’s a cruel and heartless business and one that makes a profit for several people but never the woman who actually gave birth.

    Believe me, I have no interest in what you or the Sisters of Life believe is preferable in this situation. Don’t talk to me about how ‘moral’ adoption is.

    When ANY of you start holding the men  responsible for these pregnancies accountable for their behavior I would be more interested in listening. But, then, if y’all  started holding men responsible for the children and pregnancies they produce there would be no ‘pro-life’ movement or, for that matter, Catholic church to speak of.

    There would, however be a great many less unwanted and tragic pregnancies . I understand that this isn’t  a goal of the ‘pro-life’ movement.

  • colleen

    BTW, I have a special one finger salute for you

    You too?

  • rebellious-grrl

    I stand in solidarity with what FBIR said. The “one finger salute” was for “ForLife.”

  • colleen

    I stand in solidarity with what FBIR said. The “one finger salute” was for “ForLife.”

    I apologise that I was less than clear. I found myself voicing the equivalent of a one finger salute while reading ‘forlife’s’ comments, thus my attempt to join  in your salute.

  • rebellious-grrl

    Anti-choicers (forced birthers) love bashing pro-choice folks who fight for women’s bodily autonomy.

    Forced-birthers want every pregnancy to end in a live birth. Be it forced through illegalizing abortion (and contraception) or by shamming and demonizing women’s bodily autonomy.

  • beenthere72

    I’m sorry for your great-uncle, ForLife, but ‘lovely’ is equating your once living, breathing, able-to-feel-pain, able-to-feel-love, able-to-give-love, able to do a lot of things independent of a host body because he was a PERSON, to a fetus.    Those that were murdered felt their pain.  They suffered immensely.   They lost everything in life they had worked so hard for.  They felt shame, humilation, torture. 

     

    Unfathomable torture. 

     

    A fetus feels none of these things.    A fetus knows of none of these things.   A fetus is not a person.   A fetus’ existance is entirely dependent inside the woman in which it grows and feeds.   And if anybody is going to feel burden and pain during a pregnancy, it is the woman in which it exists.   NOT the father, NOT society.    If the father is forcing abortion because of expense or inconvenience, that is not representative of Pro Choicers. 

     

    If a viable baby is killed because it’s handicapped or ‘inconvenient’, that is murder.   But we are not talking about viable babies here that can exist safely outside a mother’s womb and are not a health threat to the mother.  

     

    If it’s of your opinion that all pregnant women should be forced to give birth no matter the circumstances, it is YOU who thinks the same way as a Nazi.    Forcing your belief on others because it is what YOU think is right even when that pregnancy, that woman, her circumstances, have nothing to do with YOU.    I think that is a disrespect to your uncle and all those that died like him. 

     

     

     

     

     

  • rebellious-grrl

    Thanks colleen.

    No worries.

  • rebellious-grrl

    ForLife, using the “pro-choice = Hitler” argument? Just another way for forced-birthers to demonize women. Equating women who believe in their right to bodily autonomy to being a nazi, or Hitler? That’s complete bullshit! By doing this you minimize the Holocaust. You minimize the death of millions of innocent people. A fetus is not a person! Abortion is NOT murder!

  • rebellious-grrl

    Well said, beenthere72.

    Great post.

  • freetobe

    I was one of those adopted children from a catholic home. I was told my birth mother never saw me. I stayed there for six months until I was adopted by  wonderful parents. Who died many years ago. They were older.

    I was born with an extreme fear and dislike of men. I still have the anger to this day. I wonder what what happened to my birth mother I never heard from her.

    They told me that the sperm donar would not marry her and that he had no motivation to do anything. Explains the depression I have fought all my life.

    No adoption is NOT always the answer for any party involved.

     

  • colleen

    The women in the  Magdelene laundries were used as slaves to the profit of the  Order often for their entire lives and then, as if the Church hadn’t degraded them enough, they were buried in unmarked graves.The last Magdelene laundry was closed down in the late 90’s more because the laundries were no longer profitable than out of a sense of decency.  The Church has never apologised.

  • plume-assassine

    Your nasty, sarcastic dismissal of FBIR’s comments just proves how little you care about rape victims or how your philosophy hurts women. I’m appalled how you casually wrote this to a woman who has said before that she was raped as a little girl. She has also said that many, many of her family members are pro-lifers and sadistic. She (and I) believe that forced gestation/forced birth is rape — the use of sexual organs against our will. Your attempt to dismiss her pain and anger as mere hyberbole just makes YOU look like an insensitive ass.

     

    What the hell do you think state mandated forced pregnancy/anti-choice laws will look like for women? Flowers and sunshine? “Pro-forced-vaginal-pain” is exactly what it is, no exaggeration.

  • colleen

    Roughly half of US citizens are not ‘pro-life’ if ‘pro-life’ means “wants to see Roe overturned and abortion illegal”. Only 15% of our citizens are in favor of forcing women (and pregnant children) to carry to term even if their pregnancy is a result of rape, incest or would kill or permanently maim  women and the overwhelming majority of us would like to see Roe upheld and all abortions permitted within the first trimester (which is when 98% of all abortions occur)

    We understand that most pro-lifers don’t despise vaginas in and of themselves for the same reason we don’t think that pedophile priests despise the anuses and vaginas of children when they use them for sexual gratification.

     

  • bj-survivor

    When ANY of you start holding the men responsible for these pregnancies accountable for their behavior I would be more interested in listening. But, then, if y’all started holding men responsible for the children and pregnancies they produce there would be no ‘pro-life’ movement or, for that matter, Catholic church to speak of.

    Well said, Colleen.

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ And I know women who have had vaginally violent births without pain killer, but creeps like that want to roll the dice in regards of a woman, little girl, or pregnant rape victims vagina when she has said she does not want to. They are literally pro-forced unwanted vaginal pain. ~

    ~ And since I have had my body used against my will, I am not being hyperbole. If I have custody of my own body I can say “NO” nothing and “no one” will be in it or use it against my will, other people can not offer my body and vagina up to be used and hurt against my will. I do not have to anticipate unwanted vaginal pain against my will to give the sadomasochistic pro-lifers their pleasure. There are rapists who prefer to use objects that are “not” penises to cause women genital pain. ~

    ~ForLife, your heartlessness, hatefulness, and arrogance at females having extreme unwanted vaginal pain when they say they do not want to, makes you talk like a rapist. You are ignorant and you do not know what you are talking about. You and your friends have no right telling me I am going to have extreme unwanted vaginal agony for any reason. Telling me I have to have unwanted vaginal pain, and something has to be in my vagina at any time and place I do not want it there makes you a rapist, it is the truth! Women do not get pregnant to get abortions, when me and my friends were twelve and thirteen we did not set around our beds talking and dreaming of the day we had our first abortion, but we did set around our beds dreaming and talking of the day we have our first baby. ~

  • arekushieru

    I don’t know who drew the (obviously erroneous) conclusion that Eleanor was saying that St. Vincent’s was closed because it was no longer receiving monies directly from the Catholic Church because it was, now, directly supporting the Sisters For Life organization or that she was saying that they don’t care about the closure of this hospital, but they really need to go back and re-read what was ACTually said.  Eleanor was raising questions and plausible correlations…?  She was NOT stating them as definitive cauSAtions…?  Thanks.

    Btw, gradchica, I bet you think CPCs help women.  Even after all the statements from women who were deceived by them and forced into giving their babies up for adoption.  But, still, it’s like another poster said, coercion is coercion, whether or not someone’s intent is to help another.  If   someone did not seek out that particular kind of help and was not fully informed about the services these organizations provide (and, since there is a bill that was passed to ensure that CPCs DID make it clear what kind of services they provide, one can easily gather that these women who visited these places were NOT so informed – and, thus, most likely, did not seek out their help, in the FIRST place – otherwise there would have been no NEED for this bill), it IS coercion. 

    Planned Parenthood is a ProChoice organization that helps women reduce unwanted pregnancies and provides abortion services.  CPCs and Sisters for Life “proselytize (as crowepps stated)” to a woman about abortion without providing any real method to prevent unwanted pregnancies (the main cause of abortions), in the first place.  Their proselytizing to, and coercion of, these women can’t really be claimed as ‘trust’.  Do I trust women who don’t trust other women?  HELL, NO!  But, this really makes me wonder what you are saying, then, Derek.  Are you saying that we should trust these women simply because they are women?  Because, if so, then I have to say that you REALLY don’t understand what the whole ProChoice movement is really all about.           

  • baffled

    The ignorance of Ms. Bader and the forced birth is rape commentators is appalling. 

    Ms. Bader – have you no better fire to stoke than to attack one of the only religious orders that actually helps women in the city? You clearly are not Catholic, and you have absolutely no understanding of how financial decisions are made, either within or without the Church. I’ll pray for your soul.

    Birth is rape people – first, try talking to the women whom the Sisters of Life help. I guarantee, if you can see past your ignorance, you’ll find nothing but love and gratitude from these women toward the Sisters. Secondly, have you ever even given birth? Again, the ignorance from allegedly educated and open-minded pro-choicers is astounding.

    Finally, what dumb website would allow users to rate comments so that the propaganda sucking readers are not bothered with meaningful comments by the “anti-choice” rally? You surely wouldn’t find such censorship on a prolife website. I dare you not to give my post a low rating – no… I double dare you.

  • gerard-nadal

    Ms. Bader,

     

    With all due respect, the only incongruity here is your pastiche of gripes against the Catholic Church, and your attempt to somehow tar and feather the Sisters of Life as being somehow at once causal, complicit, and symptomatic of your laundry list.

     

    The closing of Catholic hospitals involves decades of overwhelming financial pressures, a changing financial landscape that has led to the passage of Obamacare, mismanagement, and failure to keep up with the economic realities in healthcare. How a group of eight women twenty years ago was supposed to stem the tide of a reality not within the purview of their charism is something you fail to address.

     

    Do they care? Of course they do. My suggestion, since you are such an expert, would be for you to recruit seven other women of your caliber and redraft medical economics. (You could call yourselves the Sisters of Medical Economics) You seem to hint at having the answers, as you castigate the Sisters for not saving Catholic Healthcare in this city. Such castigation typically arises from a sense of how an opportunity was missed. So please don’t be bashful and share with us your expertise.

     

    As for why the Sisters have been given the means to expand while others are left to wither and die, you are placing evolution in reverse order. For myriad reasons, the old orders have ceased to function consistent with their founding charism. They died by their own hand. Their former real estate has passed to a community that has taken pains to learn from the deaths of the great orders. Specifically, they pray, fast, wear their habits, keep their charism and do not suffer from being pulled in every direction, etc.

     

    It’s called fidelity and discipline.

     

    Then there is this beauty from your ramble:

     

    Guests, the website continues, are required to work or go to school by day, but share an evening meal with the Sisters before they deliver their babies and for up to six months afterwards. During their stay they receive counseling and social service assistance through the Catholic Home Bureau and are barred from watching TV, listening to the radio, or using the Internet.”

    Imagine that. A group of college educated women, many of whom hold advanced degrees, actually create an environment that fosters reflection and productivity in…  women! And your complaint is what?

     

    That these women don’t drive their guests to Planned Parenthood for an abortion? If they did, one could only imagine the fawning piece you would have written.

     

    The Sisters of Life, perversely, are the ones who guarnatee the “choice” to which you pay lip service. They do this by providing a viable alternative for pregnant women. Without viable alternatives, there is only one option: abortion. With only one option, “choice” collapses into compulsion and coercion for far too many.

     

    Again, with only one option, there is no “choice”.

     

    Why do you not celebrate the options given to women by the Sisters of Life. Why be so sour, unless of course you have another agenda. Do you not see the self-contradiction in asking if the sisters care for the indigent, and then rip them for…

     

    caring for the indigent!

     

    As for the Cardinal and his order not addressing racism, the Sisters work in New York City, the abortion capital of the world with its 90,000 abortions per year. 79% of those according to New York’s own Vital Statistics are black and hispanic babies. Planned Parenthood operates 78% of its “clinics” in inner city neighborhoods. Sounds like the Sisters are right where you want them to be, Ms. Bader.

     

    Take a Mulligan and get to the real issue Ms. Bader. But don’t try to mix it up with a group of women who are better educated than you are, and who make you eat your words when it comes to “choice”. You’ve been outgunned and outgeneraled by 73 women whose “choice” shows you for who and what you truly are.

  • rebellious-grrl

    baffled, the vileness of your post if offensive and appalling! I am an ex-Catholic and I left the church because of its sexist and misogynistic attitude towards women. It is immoral and wrong to force women to give birth. To enforce that all pregnancies end in a live birth. WRONG! And you can go tell that to your patriarchal Catholic church. Keep your rosaries off my ovaries, keep your theology off my body.

    The commenting and rating policy is democratic. It’s voted on by the commenters. If you don’t like it then by all means go away! 

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ The entire catholic church people appall me with their raping kids all over the world. You do not take rape seriously, no catholic does. The catholic church wanting to force raped nine and ten year olds to give birth. The catholic church does not give a damn about rape, you do not give a damn about rape. Rape is nothing to the catholic church, child rape is nothing to the catholic church. I have had unwanted genital pain, I could not say no, I have had to anticipate it. Forcing a women to have genital pain against her will, and have to anticipate it for nine months is rape. You just want the catholic church to be entitled to rape kids and force women, little girls, and pregnant rape victims to give birth and no one say anything negative about it.~

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ I am very sorry for you Freetobe, I have been scared of men all my life and have had depression also. ~

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ You know it is sickening the catholics coming in here and voting down Freetobes post, no doubt they would vote down a persons post that talked about them raping him or her as a child. These people do not care about born people, they just want to get them born were they can treat them like dirt and make their life crap.~

  • prochoicekatie

    A few things.

    Planned Parenthood receives government funding to provide PAP smears, breast cancer screenings, and STD testing. These services protect women’s ability to start families (they all affect fertility) and care for the families they already have. Heaven forbid you recognize that PP does things we all can agree are good (like keeping women alive). I’m also sure the Sisters could apply for those funds if they provided those services.

    Planned Parenthood does have affiliates and programs for women choosing to keep their pregnancies. I know we have one such program right here in my state. Your ignorance about their services is evidence of your prejudice. Furthermore, PP also advocates for legislation and policy that allows women to choose to start families, to support their families, and to ensure their children’s health. Programs like CHIP, Medic-aid, and health care reform. The Catholics have fought these things because they have decided, erroneously, that HCR created funding for abortion, and even that the bevy of other health services and life-threatening conditions needing care are less important than restricting a woman’s right to choose something (that she will have the right to choose regardless of whether HCR occured). That is not noble, or caring, or logical.

    PP gives all women pre-abortion counseling if that is the reason they have made appointment. They don’t force anyone to make any choice. And they provide referrals to adoption and pre-natal care programs (if they aren’t offered by that health center). PP can’t offer every service, nor can they offer everything at every health center. They do provide referrals for the services we don’t offer, unlike CPC’s. Because of the on-going effort to block access to abortion, PP must devote a large amount of their resources to keeping that choice available for women. No one else will. While I take no issue with SFL providing the option to become a parent to women, the manner in which women are not provided referrals for other options, and the manner in which their ability to access other information (about anything) and resources is significantly curbed is problematic. Choices should be made freely, and dangling food and shelter in front of a woman but requiring that she give up access to the outside world seems manipulative.

  • beenthere72

    Choices should be made freely, and dangling food and shelter in front of a woman but requiring that she give up access to the outside world seems manipulative.

     

    Good point!

  • prochoicekatie

    Also, while Sisters for Life may not receive funding, MANY MANY Catholic organizations do receive millions of government dollars.

    PP has affiliates that receive little or no government funding. So some PPs receive funding and some don’t. Some Catholic groups receive funding and some don’t.

    PP doesn’t refuse to provide or refuse to provide referrals for any services deemed legal and safe medical care, and Catholic groups have a sizeable list of said items they refuse to provide or provide referrals for.

    It’s something to consider when pro-life Catholics want to mount their high horse.

  • beenthere72

    Oooooh, a DARE!   

     

    Why must you pray for one’s soul that isn’t Catholic?

     

    What is ignorant about forced birth is rape?     We’re not talking about wanted pregnancies when we equate it to rape.   What else would YOU call it to force a woman or child to carry to term a pregnancy that she does not want?    What if that pregnancy were the result of rape or incest?    What if that pregnancy threatens the woman’s or (pregnant) child’s life?  (at which point we could now say:  forced birth is murder!)   

     

    What happens to the women and their babies after their stay is over with Sisters for Life?  

     

    Finally, pro-life websites probably just delete the comments that don’t agree with them.  But then I wouldn’t know, I don’t hang out on websites where the resident commentors think they know what’s best for MY body,  would probably accuse me of being a murderer,  and would offer to pray for my soul.   No thanks.

     

     

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ I had a pro-life woman tell me that giving birth is like a car wreck, you can not control it, if it kills you, it kills you, that is your time to go and you should do nothing to stop it. We were talking about a pregnant raped fourteen year old.~

  • squirrely-girl

    …but requiring that she give up access to the outside world seems manipulative.

    Cults have a nasty tendency to do this too…

  • gerard-nadal

    This comment has been removed.

     

    RH Reality Check is an unapologetically pro-choice publication, and the majority of our readers supports the struggle for sexual and reproductive rights, health, and justice.  We realize that some of our readers and commenters do not support these goals.  We embrace and encourage vigorous debate and civil discourse on the site and welcome comments representing diverse points of view that are evidence-based and reasonably engage the debate.  We reserve the right to delete, without further explanation, comments that misrepresent evidence or promote misinformation, that threaten or demean others, undermine the civility of discussion or seek to divert conversation from the topic of the original article.  We reserve the right to ban users who repeatedly abuse commenting privileges.

     

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  • beenthere72

    That is horrible.    Would she say that to her own daughter?

  • plume-assassine

    We’re not talking about wanted pregnancies when we equate it to rape.   What else would YOU call it to force a woman or child to carry to term a pregnancy that she does not want?

    EXACTLY. Apparently our friend “baffled” is too ignorant to understand that. Consent to pregnancy/wanted birth is not rape. (In the same way, that consent to sex/wanted sex is not rape.) Why is it so damn hard for these people to grasp the concept of consent??

     

    If women actively seek out and choose to live with the “Sisters of Life” to carry to term and give birth in total religious seclusion and isolation from society in return for shelter and food, then fine, that is their choice. But you know what, most Catholic women are told that they don’t get a choice!

  • rebellious-grrl

    It’s just an article dude. Why don’t you go spout off at your website. You have your own microphone, we have ours.

    Don’t blame the Catholic church’s problems on “Obamacare.”  Lets look at some of the real reasons. How about the U.S. Catholic Church clergy abuse scandals, or declining church membership, or embezzlement.

    Imagine that. A group of college educated women, many of whom hold advanced degrees, actually create an environment that fosters reflection and productivity in…  women! And your complaint is what?

    The problem is proselytizing Catholicism. When people are desperate or in need the power dynamics are unequal. When the party who holds the power is proselytizing to the party in need that’s wrong. It’s wrong to prey on people who are desperate and in need. Offering help is one thing, but pushing a religious agenda is another.

    Why do you not celebrate the options given to women by the Sisters of Life. Why be so sour, unless of course you have another agenda. Do you not see the self-contradiction in asking if the sisters care for the indigent, and then rip them for…

    Plain and simple, It’s easier to fundraise to support a “maternity home” by demonizing and shamming women then to actually do work of Jesus by empowering and helping the poor. They are narrow-mindedly focused on the worship of the “Cult of the Fetus” then actually giving a rat’s ass about poor people.

    Maybe you should read up in the racism in the anti-choice/forced-birth movement.

    (VIDEO) Black Abortion: Battleground Georgia
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/03/29/black-abortion-battleground-georgia
    Stop Perpetuating Myths About Black Women and Abortion
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/02/18/stop-perpetuating-myths-about-black-women-and-abortion

    Take a Mulligan and get to the real issue Ms. Bader. But don’t try to mix it up with a group of women who are better educated than you are, and who make you eat your words when it comes to “choice”. You’ve been outgunned and outgeneraled by 73 women whose “choice” shows you for who and what you truly are.

    What’s your point here? That your a jerk? Point made.

  • rebellious-grrl

    It’s just an article dude. Why don’t you go spout off at your website. You have your own microphone, we have ours.

    Don’t blame the Catholic church’s problems on “Obamacare.”  Lets look at some of the real reasons. How about the U.S. Catholic Church clergy abuse scandals, or declining church membership, or embezzlement.

    Imagine that. A group of college educated women, many of whom hold advanced degrees, actually create an environment that fosters reflection and productivity in…  women! And your complaint is what?

    The problem is proselytizing Catholicism. When people are desperate or in need the power dynamics are unequal. When the party who holds the power is proselytizing to the party in need that’s wrong. It’s wrong to prey on people who are desperate and in need. Offering help is one thing, but pushing a religious agenda is another.

    Why do you not celebrate the options given to women by the Sisters of Life. Why be so sour, unless of course you have another agenda. Do you not see the self-contradiction in asking if the sisters care for the indigent, and then rip them for…

    Plain and simple, It’s easier to fundraise to support a “maternity home” by demonizing and shamming women then to actually do work of Jesus by empowering and helping the poor. They are narrow-mindedly focused on the worship of the “Cult of the Fetus” then actually giving a rat’s ass about poor people.

    Maybe you should read up in the racism in the anti-choice/forced-birth movement.

    (VIDEO) Black Abortion: Battleground Georgia
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/03/29/black-abortion-battleground-georgia
    Stop Perpetuating Myths About Black Women and Abortion
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/02/18/stop-perpetuating-myths-about-black-women-and-abortion

    Take a Mulligan and get to the real issue Ms. Bader. But don’t try to mix it up with a group of women who are better educated than you are, and who make you eat your words when it comes to “choice”. You’ve been outgunned and outgeneraled by 73 women whose “choice” shows you for who and what you truly are.

    What’s your point here? That your a jerk? Point made.

  • colleen

    You surely wouldn’t find such censorship on a prolife website

    On the contrsry. I’ve never found a religious right, Catholic or ‘pro-life’ website that allowed alternative points of view. The ‘pro-life’ POV in intrinsically authoritarian and anti-democratic and the ‘pro-life’ movement is just the latest Inquisition.

    I dare you not to give my post a low rating – no… I double dare you.

    Good lord, are you 9?

    If I wanted to read a bunch of fools eager to spew their hatred I would go to beliefnet or some Catholic site where they try to blame the horrific number of raped, tortured and murdered women on  Guatemala on “the contraceptive mentality” and the fact that you folks haven’t even been able to stop your clergy from systematically raping your own children and then CONTINUE to allow the institutional Church to enable and protect the rapists on the gays.

     

     

     

  • rebellious-grrl

    “most Catholic women are told that they don’t get a choice!”

    So true.

    The red flag of Catholic sexism,

    I grew up Catholic, attending Catholic school k-12. I remember being told in school that if a woman had an abortion there was no forgiveness. It was a mortal sin — you were going to hell. No ifs, ands, or buts. It was to hell you go. I asked, “If someone like Hitler or a mass-murder were to ask forgiveness before their death and be granted a “free pass” to heaven, but a woman who had an abortion was not forgiven, and damned to hell? Made no sense to me. A clear case of sexism.

  • bronxbirdfeeder

    Without more than one option there is no “choice”.  The Sisters of Life are the ones to provide a choice, not Planned Parenthood.

    And heads up Rebellious, you don’t know all the work that Dr. Nadal has done to show that PP supports a racist agenda aka Margaret Sanger to eliminate undesirables.  You should check out his blog or Facebook page for an education. http://gerardnadal.com/category/margaret-sanger/

    People should be able to make a point without referring to things that do not matter to the point at hand.  Otherwise that point just looks inadequate.  If someone is writing about the pain of vaginal delivery and how that is like rape, whip out the research to back it up.  I  gave birth without pain killers, yes, it was painful, but it was worth it.  I can only imagine how much easier it would have been with a little pain relief, pain relief that is available to almost all women. 

    Finally, anyone who is interested in the best interests of all readers would not censor the comments if the comments are civil and thoughtful.  

  • arekushieru

    So, since adoption is a choice for an unwanted child, not an unwanted pregnancy, what choice do Sisters of Life offer that Planned Parenthood doesn’t, other than birth?  Hmmm…?  Oh… none?  Then I guess all the other posters were right and you and Nadal are wrong… once again.

    That’s correlation NOT causation.  Unless you are willing to claim that all Volkswagen owners are racists and all US citizens are racists, because their founders either dealt with Nazis, who support a racist agenda, or slave-owners, WHICH supports a racist agenda?  No?  Thought not.  So, all that work you state that Mr. Nadal has done?  …Is worthless.  Btw, why should I listen to someone whose work OBviously takes other people’s words out of context in order to twist them for his own agenda.  Almost everyone back then was a eugenicist.  Margaret Sanger, happily, was the LEAST of these.  She supported the elimination of undesirables on the basis of health, well-being and criminal activity, unlike the rest of those who supported it ON that very basis of race.  So sorry to disillusion you, once again.

    Please, LEARN TO READ, before replying, next time.  (After all, I HIGHly doubt you missed it since it was repeated ad nauseam for you TO read it.) UNWANTED pregnancy and FORCED pain of vaginal delivery are much like UNWANTED sex and FORCED pain of penetration.  DUH!  My mother did NOT experience rape when she had me, because she CHOSE to have me.  Yet she had NO pain killers when she had me, either.  Wow, look at that, I guess we WEREn’t simply talking about the pain of childbirth when we were comparing (forced) pregnancy to rape (forced sex). 

    The comments (for the umpteenth time) are NOT being censored.  It’s a rating system.  The comments are simply being *collapsed*.  And you can click on the subject line to make it appear again.  If the comments were really being censored, they would be removed entirely.  That’s another thing people should learn to read before posting.  The commenting policies on a website… perhaps…?

     

     

     

     

  • freetobe

    For all you have been through( I have read your posts here for a while) you are an amazingly, sweet caring person. You have risen above the horror of what happened to you.

    I can sense your extreme pain.

    I have been in threapy for years and still noone can tell me what is wrong. The hatred I have of men sometimes consumes me.

    I must say to these know-it-all anti-choice women and men- I was an unwanted child and you know what if I had been aborted I would never have known the difference!

    I wished I could have said I was sorry to my birth mother for causing her so much pain. Yes I am sorry I ruined her life!!!

    You so called holier than thou religious freaks think you know it all but you know nothing until you have lived through it!!!

    Jesus never judged anyone this way nor did He      ever force himself or his views on anyone.

    Think about that before you judge. True Christians can see the fake ones as clear as day.

     

  • arekushieru

    Hear, hear, Freetobe!  I know our introduction to each other didn’t start out on the easiest of footings, but I completely agree with your post, especially THIS part:

    Jesus never judged anyone this way nor did He      ever force himself or his views on anyone.

    Think about that before you judge. True Christians can see the fake ones as clear as day.

    :)

  • rebellious-grrl

    If someone is writing about the pain of vaginal delivery and how that is like rape, whip out the research to back it up.

    If you were a regular reader/commenter here you wouldn’t make a very insensitive comment like that. I will let FBIR speak for herself.

    I say, equating being forced to give birth is equal to being raped.

    Being violently physically assaulted. No right to your own body.

    Being used. Being hurt. Pain.                         Forced birth IS RAPE. 

     

    Unless you have been a victim of sexual abuse/assault you may not understand. But those who are compassionate can understand what FBIR is saying.

    Finally, anyone who is interested in the best interests of all readers would not censor the comments if the comments are civil and thoughtful.  

    You are not being censored! Comments are not censored. They are voted on by the commenters. It’s a democratic process. “Civil and thoughtful” is subjective. I’m sure I wouldn’t last a minute on Jill Stanck’s website without being deleted. Then again I wouldn’t know, I don’t troll forced-birth sites.

  • plume-assassine

    The only choice that Sisters of Life provide is birth with the pressure of giving the baby up for adoption. Planned Parenthood offers abortion, adoption referrals, and parenting classes.

     

    Pretending that Planned Parenthood has some kind of insidious eugenics plot in this day and age, and is somehow forcing Black women into having abortions, is a fantasy that insults the intelligence & autonomy of Black women/women of color. SisterSong is working to combat this inherently racist myth that Black women are somehow being “duped.”

     

    “Whip out the research to back it up”? Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? Pregnancy and childbirth are subjective experiences. And one last time: We are not equating the pain of vaginal delivery with rape. We are equating forced gestation/forced birth with rape. Rape is not just about the possibility of pain, it’s about the use of one’s body against one’s will. Anything that occupies my sexual organs against my will and without my consent is rape. And you know what, that’s faaantastic that you gave birth without painkillers — but obviously it was A WANTED BIRTH and therefore not rape. Your experience of pregnancy, pain, and childbirth does not apply to all women.

  • gerard-nadal

     


    Actually, you should listen to Planned Parenthood. At the New York City Council hearing on Nov 17, Planned Parenthood stated that they only do contraception and abortion. They do NOT provide prenatal care. So, if we’re talking about who cares for poor women, it would be the Sisters for Life, who provide the housing, education, material resources, social services and access to prenatal care.

     

    As for unwanted pregnancy, no woman is forced into a dungeon by the Sisters until the baby is born. You sound like a fool with this vaginal pain/forced delivery prattle when discussing the Sisters.

     

    Women stay with the sisters IF they CHOOSE to keep their baby. It’s voluntary all the way.  Many choose otherwise. But there is the beauty: The Sisters’ presence makes “choice” a reality.

  • prochoiceferret

    Actually, you should listen to Planned Parenthood. At the New York City Council hearing on Nov 17, Planned Parenthood stated that they only do contraception and abortion. They do NOT provide prenatal care.

     

    Gosh, and here I thought they provided all sorts of services in addition to abortion and contraception. Hey, lookie!

     

    Oh, wait a second. Abortion and contraception are just the ones that get your Catholic panties in a bunch. No wonder you seem to forget about the others.

     

    So, if we’re talking about who cares for poor women, it would be the Sisters for Life, who provide the housing, education, material resources, social services and access to prenatal care.

     

    Do they provide the housing, education, material resources, and social services (and perhaps not the access to prenatal care) to the poor women who don’t want to carry their pregnancies to term?

     

    You sound like a fool with this vaginal pain/forced delivery prattle when discussing the Sisters.

     

    Oh, I don’t doubt that respect for women’s rights, and the horrific nature of being emotionally and economically coerced into carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term, sound perfectly foolish to you.

     

    Women stay with the sisters IF they CHOOSE to keep their baby. It’s voluntary all the way.  Many choose otherwise. But there is the beauty: The Sisters’ presence makes “choice” a reality.

     

    Unless the women decide they don’t want to go through with their pregnancies, and the Sisters kick them back out onto the street. Is there a part in the Gospel where Jesus did that?

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ I have not said one negative thing about the sisters, I got angry when I read the post who called us pro aborts. That always makes me angry my life long dream was to have six children, If someone tried to force me to get an abortion I would die before I got one. If I were pregnant to day I would believe it is the best thing that ever happened to me, I would “LOVE” it! I consider sex, pregnancy, and birth “a females reproduction” to be very serious and multi-dimensional emotionally for women. ~

    ~ I hate sex, I feel about sex the way friends and family have explained to me is the way they feel about the possibility of being pregnant and giving birth. They cannot under stand why I would love to give birth, just like I cannot under stand why they love sex.
    They are scared of being pregnant and giving birth, I am, not! I am scared of having sex, they are not.

    They think it to be weird that I find intercourse to be repugnant but find giving birth to be BLISS. Since I find forced sex to be the worst thing in the world and they have explained their feelings about pregnancy and birth, which match my feelings about forced sex I greatly sympathies with them even though we feel opposite about pregnancy, birth, and sex. It is called listening and caring even though you do not feel the same. ~

    ~ Did Jesus not say do not call some one a fool? ~

  • risorgimento

    Or some kind of intrepid piece of journalism exposing the dark underbelly of an order of Catholic nuns?  It must have been a slow news day in the culture wars. 

    A friend of mine, a poor, undocumented immigrant woman whose middle-class white American boyfriend and his family were pressuring her (in some very threatening and frightening ways) to abort her pregnancy, found shelter at the convent you mention in this post, which is being described by some commenters here (with no little amount of hysteria) as a “Magdalene laundry.”  So the Sisters don’t provide TV or internet access?  Well, it’s not a hotel.  The Sisters live there too, and they don’t have access to those things themselves, since they are living lives of poverty; why, then, is it such an outrage that a few women in crisis pregnancies are allowed to continue their work and school lives while awaiting the birth of their children (or fetuses, whatever you like), while some nuns give them free housing and help them to get signed up for social services?  What exactly do pro-choicers do for poor, undocumented women in crisis pregnancies who choose to keep their babies?  It would be interesting to see a counter-post here detailing the arrangements and facilities, access to cable TV, etc., that pro-choicers provide for such women, but that would make it necessary to prove that such arrangements and facilities actually exist.

    Bader suggests that somehow the existence of the small convent across the street from the now-defunct St. Vincent’s hospital was complicit in that hospital’s demise.  Umm, how exactly does this conflation work? The pregnant women across the street at the convent used to give birth there, and the Sisters were adamant about choosing that hospital facility, because Catholic hospitals refuse to comply with the federal law that requires that hospitals report undocumented immigrants who seek their services to the INS.

    What exactly do pro-choicers do for pregnant women, especially poor women and undocumented immigrant women, who find themselves in crisis pregnancies, other than everything possible to get them to have abortions?  Surprise:  many of these women don’t want abortions.  I’d love to see what you propose as an alternative, and how you provide for these vulnerable women in crisis.

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ Oh, it so makes me mad when the religious right use race as a abortion weapon, I grew up with southern Christian republicans, they say the meanest most demeaning things about black and Mexican women behind closed doors, but they will pretend to care as a weapon in abortion debate. Outside of abortion they do not care what becomes of these women or their little girls, could not care less. ~

  • rebellious-grrl

    You sound like a fool with this vaginal pain/forced delivery prattle when discussing the Sisters.

    Do you always make fun of woman who have been the victims of sexual abuse/assualt? Trying again to prove your an jerk?

    PP does offer prenatal care.

    PRENATAL CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
    Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP) that serves pregnant women in New York State. If you live in Nassau County and wish to continue your pregnancy, then PPNC can enroll you in this program. You will receive free medical visits at our health center, as well as nutritional counseling from a certified nutritionist, classes about pregnancy and parenting, and Lamaze.
    All women who are Medicaid eligible regardless of immigration status (you don’t need to already have Medicaid), are under 20 weeks pregnant and are at low risk for complications (our medical providers will review your medical and pregnancy history to determine this) may join the program.
    If you are interested or for more information, call (516) 750-2500.
    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/nassau-county/25589.htm

  • beenthere72

    Can you share with us what happened to your friend after she had her baby?    I’m not looking for something to attack, I’m just interested in hearing a real-life account of what it was like to be there and what happened next. 

  • freetobe

    I am sorry for lashing out at you Arekushieru, I think I must have been having one of my bad -hate men days- I get very emotional about this subject and get annoyed with myself for losing control at times. Thank you for understanding :)

  • princess-rot

    It doesn’t “seem” manipulative, it is manipulative. There are recent documented cases of crisis pregnancy centers and religious institutions in the U.S. offering room and board to desperate women only to later coerce them into giving up the child or be held in debt for thousands of dollars for their “care”. Excuse me if I must cast a cynical eye on this sort of thing – your post is otherwise brilliant. But just because they can’t call them homes for unwed mothers any more doesn’t mean the mentality behind them has gone and they don’t seek to manipulate the vulnerable to further their cause.

  • arekushieru

    Oh, I do.  With the experiences that both you and FBIR have mentioned having, I can certainly see why you would have such days.  I think thanks should go to you for being able to clarify!  :)  And, my apologies, if I seemed to be attacking you, because that was NOT my intention.  ><;  Sorry, again!   

  • arekushieru

    As for unwanted pregnancy, no woman is forced into a dungeon by the Sisters until the baby is born. You sound like a fool with this vaginal pain/forced delivery prattle when discussing the Sisters.

    As for unwanted sex, no person is forced into a dungeon by the MRA’s until the sex is finished.  But, wait, they do state that the woman was ‘asking for it’, or said that ‘she’s a slut so it can’t really be rape’, thereby creating a very oppressive and coercive atmosphere, ANYWAYS.  MUCH like we have stated the Sisters do, OVER and OVER.

  • risorgimento

    The women whom the Sisters of Life serve are allowed to stay in the convent with their children until they get settled in more permanent housing.  My friend found a job and an apartment when her daughter was four months old and moved out, but many of her colleagues at the time stayed for over a year.  The Sisters help the mothers try to find jobs and housing, and help them get signed up for social services.  I know these women very well — i.e. both the nuns and those they serve.  It would be hard for even the most virulent pro-choicer to refute the good that the Sisters do if s/he witnessed it first-hand, rather than drawing false conclusions from the innuendos of this attempted hatchet job.  As I said, I’d like to know what pro-choicers are doing to help poor, uneducated immigrant women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies, other than to guide their feet into the abortionist’s stirrups.  Surprise:  your poor, uneducated oppressed minority sisters don’t want abortions, but often feel they have no other choice. 

    The Sisters of Life believe (obviously) in the sacredness of all human life, and put their belief into practice, one woman and one baby (or fetus, suit yourself) at a time, and do so on a shoestring (I won’t even go into the absurdity of the suggestions that this religious order “owns” real estate or any other assets).  Anyone who thinks that what they do is somehow sinister or evil is not only wrong, but is sadly lacking in the ability to analyze evidence and think critically.

  • prochoicekatie

    Multiple PP affiliates offer pre-natal services. All offer referrals and adoptions.

    READ THE POSTS ABOVE BEFORE YOU ASK AN ALREADY ANSWERED QUESTION, please.

    PP’s support and encourage women to make the choice that is right for them, and will direct them to resources, if they are not provided at that facility (WHICH THEY SOMETIMES ARE – see above posts), no matter what they decide.

    CPC’s and Sisters for Life don’t do that. So please, do some research yourself.

  • risorgimento

    Right, it would seem to be obvious that an organization called the Sisters of Life “[wouldn’t] do that,” i.e. provide referrals for abortion services. 

    And yet they do “support and encourage” the women they serve to “make the choice that is right for them,” which in the case of the women who live at their convent rent- and board-free for many months during and after their pregnancies, means having their babies, and in almost all cases means keeping them. 

    What is more, their support of impoverished illegal-immigrant women and their efforts to get their clients in need on social services would seem to give the lie to the common notion that pro-lifers don’t care about women and post-birth children.

    PPs offer pre-natal services as well as abortion.  Okay, but they still clearly lag far behind groups like the Sisters of Life in their care for women and post-birth children.  As I’ve stated in previous comments, I’d love to know exactly what pro-choice organizations do for impoverished mothers who seek to keep their babies and these babies after birth.  The fact that pro-choice activism on behalf of these populations is so imperceptible is one of the reasons many African Americans believe that contraception and especially abortion are efforts toward Black genocide (of course, the acknowledged racism and eugenicism of the early pro-abortionists does nothing to dispel that perception).

  • jrm83

    What is the basis of your assertion that beliefs about abortion being “Black genocide” have anything to do with the actions of pro-choicers or the pro-choice movement as a whole?  The only people I’ve ever heard equate abortion with “Black genocide” are (usually white) members of the “pro-life” movement.

  • plume-assassine

    Yeah, okay, don’t even try and tell me that pro-choicers aren’t doing anything for women who want to give birth and parent. Social conservatives (specifically anti-choice conservatives) have been trying to demolish any kind of governmental efforts to help low-income mothers for a loooong time now. Welfare (which includes WIC) and federally subsidized low-income housing is never a priority; and single moms on welfare are especially demonized by the right. If it’s not a religious charity organization with a moral agenda (such as Sisters of Life), then anti-choice social conservatives are not interested in helping. Many hate the idea of government welfare programs replacing their church, and it bothers them that the church is not the number 1 source of charity & crisis help, which means that they miss a chance to proselytize to extremely vulnerable women.

     

    And I can’t stress to you enough how racist it sounds when you continue to claim that abortion & contraception are synonymous with “genocide,” especially “Black genocide.” Think about what you are implying for just a moment. You are implying that Black women are not smart enough to make choices about their body or pregnancy and are being duped. “Oh, the poor, poor Black women, they just don’t know any better, do they!” Why is it always white Christian men who insist on speaking for Black women?

    Martin Luther King was for family planning — in fact, he wrote a speech called “Family Planning – A Special And Urgent Concern” in which he acknowledged Margaret Sanger many times. “There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts.”

    I should also mention that your eugenics/genocide myth is dismantled when you realize that– in all the time that Planned Parenthood, abortion & contraception access have been in this country, the fertility rate of Black Americans remains higher than that of white Americans. Population statistics project that by 2045, “white” Americans will no longer be the “majority.” I, for one, am looking forward to this future! The US will no longer be a nation just for white heterosexual Christian males. And I’m looking forward to even farther in the future, when there will no longer be any concept of race for the people in power to use as a tool of oppression. Because everyone will procreate with one another in spite of things like one’s race, and there will be so many bi-racial children and multi-racial folks — Black-White-Latino-Asian American — until, one day, there will be no possibility for racial discrimination. I probably sound more like an idealist than most but that’s a future to look forward to.

  • freetobe

    don’t you think?

    I was born in a Catholic foundling home. i think they were wonderful to me and my adoptive parents. There is no doubt they are doing good things. However,

    it is that they are only for birth. No choice whatsoever regardless of the situation the women is in.

    When I was born, women who were teenaged and unwed, (as my birth mother)  had no choice except a back alley abortion with a huge risk of death attached. I personally would have gone throught with the birth myself comparing the alternative.

    Adoption must be a painful experience for the mother whom I would guess would regret it for most of her life or at least feel guilty. I did as an adoptee.

    So you see there is no easy choice for any of us women. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Why must we be damned at all? I am getting tired of it!

     

  • freetobe

    that I forgot to mention.

    As i was raised a catholic and left when I was 18 because of the sense I had then that the Catholic religion was biased against women. I heard all the sermons and recently my daughter and I have been studying the Bible and no where in the Bible does God or Jesus say that they are either for or against abortion. No where. If you are going to say that the Ten commandments mention this it is not specific. In other words Thou shalt not kill ,what? humans animals, plants etc. All life should be precious not just humans because God created all life if that is what you believe. Until all people who claim to be christian accept that and stop killing ALL life. I will never feel any differently about respecting human life any more than  I do a tree . Hypocrisy does not work. You cannot say you are pro-life and eat meat or pay for wars. An animal is also alive before it is killed. This may seem petty to some but to some this is how they feel and then some do not believe in God at all. That is their right.

    Jesus NEVER forced his views on anyone. he gave all of us a CHOICE! So I ask the christians to remember that and judge not. It is not our place to judge anyone or take their choices away.

  • risorgimento

    “And I can’t stress to you enough how racist it sounds when you continue to claim that abortion & contraception are synonymous with “genocide,” especially “Black genocide.” Think about what you are implying for just a moment. You are implying that Black women are not smart enough to make choices about their body or pregnancy and are being duped. “Oh, the poor, poor Black women, they just don’t know any better, do they!” “

    If you re-read my comment above, you will see that I made no such claim or implication. 

    “Why is it always white Christian men who insist on speaking for Black women?”

    You are apparently assuming — incorrectly — that I am a white Christian man, based on nothing but your own prejudice.

    Incidentally, I look forward to the multiracial future you idealistically envision at least as much as you do, if not more. 

    As for Black genocide being a myth created by white men, you need only do a little bit of first-level research.  Check this out, for instance;

    http://www.blackgenocide.org/black.html

    Believe me, it’s not a site created by white men.

    Things are a lot more nuanced than you seem to believe.  When you assume, etc.

  • risorgimento

    And not for nothing, but it’s the attempts of prochoicers to co-opt women of color into their movement — belated attempts at that, and not very successul — that suggest a lack of confidence in Black women’s abilities to make valid and rational choices about their lives and their fertility.  The majority of Black women are categorically against abortion, and, though abortions are procured in the community (at a much higher rate than in the white community), it’s a taboo subject.  It would be refreshing if prochoicers consiered how racist their attempts to invalidate and change hundreds of years of Black culture really are. 

  • plume-assassine

    If you re-read my comment above, you will see that I made no such claim or implication. 

    What are you trying to say then? Either you think Black women are being duped and “don’t know any better” or you think they are literally being forced to have abortions by doctors. Which is it?

     

    You are apparently assuming — incorrectly — that I am a white Christian man, based on nothing but your own prejudice.

    lol okay, no, I never assumed that YOU were, but it is obvious that the most vocal members of the “genocide” conspiracy myth are staight white Christian men. I am not talking about Clenard Childress Jr., but about Priests for Life and their attempt to co-opt Black civil rights with their “Freedom Ride” — oh, but it’s okay, you guys, Alveda King was there!

    Nevermind that MLK and his wife were pro-choice… but, it’s fine, just continue to ignore the speech that I linked to in my last comment.

     

    Speaking of the actual word “genocide” — I think it is extremely inaccurate and hyperbolic to use such a loaded word when talking about abortion. An embryo is not representative of an oppressed group of people targeted for systematic elimination, an embryo is not a person, therefore there is no “genocide.” I think this does a HUGE disservice to survivors of real, actual genocide.. such as in Darfur and during the Holocaust. You cannot in good conscience draw a comparison between the elective termination of a pregnancy (a non-sentient embryo), and the immense pain & suffering & horrifying experiences of an actualized sentient person who was murdered in a Nazi death camp. There is no comparison. Actually, it is an extremely ignorant to attempt to do so because not only is it linguistically inaccurate but it is extremely insulting and offensive to those survivors of real state-enacted genocide.

  • goatini

    co-opt women of color into their movement” 

    Speaking as an active 40+ year member of “their movement”, I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.  However, the List Of White Guys I provided above have made co-opting the African-American community into THEIR movement a top priority.  For them, no opportunity for exploitation goes unexploited.  

     

    a lack of confidence in Black women’s abilities to make valid and rational choices about their lives and their fertility.”

    As the entire forced-birth movement is predicated upon a lack of confidence in ALL women’s abilities to make valid and rational choices about their lives and their fertility, you’re only further betraying your misogynist agenda, and your total lack of compunction in exploiting women of color.  

     

    And the rest of the message is a load of Fact Free Forced Birther Lie Salad, worded to make uncritical minds dumbly accept a bunch of concocted pure-D baloney as “fact”.  

  • goatini

    Mark Crutcher

    Rod Parsley

    Trent Franks

    Tony Perkins

    Steve Mosher

     

    Because they all look really, really WHITE to me.  And these are the perpetrators of the MYTH of “black genocide”.  In fact, Crutcher is responsible for the site you cited.

     

    The African-American “preachers” who have gotten on Crutcher’s misogynist bandwagon are simply money-grubbing liars, just like Parsley.  They’re just looking for a new, never-ending revenue stream.  It’s a better scam than the “prosperity gospel” and provides SO many more places to hide the money.  

     

    How about YOU “do a little bit of first-level research”?  

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/1153/

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/individuals/clenard-childress

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/individuals/johnny-hunter

     

    And if you’re genuinely interested in what African-American women and other women of color have to say on the topic:

    http://www.sistersong.net/reproductive_justice.html

     

    (I must say, though, that I’m fairly sure that you are well aware of exactly WHO is behind this blatant exploitation.  I don’t think for one second that you are naive about the lies you are trying to spread.  Well, you won’t spread them here without being called out on them.)

  • plume-assassine

    Oh, puh-leeeeze, pro-choicers trying to co-opt women of color in the movement? LMAO are you serious? Go tell that to SisterSong!

    What made you think that “white” was the default race for interest in family planning initiatives and pro-choice feminism anyway?? Do you really know anything at all about the history of feminism?? Ever heard of Black feminism?

    The majority of Black women are categorically against abortion

    Really? I wasn’t aware that you conducted a national survey about this subject.

     

    It would be refreshing if prochoicers consiered how racist their attempts to invalidate and change hundreds of years of Black culture really are.

    Wow, more ignorance. Change hundreds of years of Black culture? Once again you are assuming that historically there haven’t been any Black pro-choicers out there fighting for reproductive justice and that all women of color are being “manipulated” and “co-opted” by white people in the movement. Which leads me to the fact that you apparently couldn’t stomach the link to Martin Luther King’s pro-choice speech that I gave you because it was featured on – *gasp* – Planned Parenthood’s web site. If you could choose at least one celebrated, well-known person who is representative of historical Black American culture, it would be MLK. His wife, Coretta, presented a copy of his speech to Planned Parenthood after he received the Margaret Sanger award. Do you need me to copy & paste it for you or something…?

  • risorgimento

    And around and around we go.  So prolife Blacks are co-opted by white men, but prochoice Blacks are real?  Do you see how insulting that sounds?

     

    I have not had time to click to your link, but I submit that Dr. King was murdered before legal abortion, and could not have foreseen the devastation to the Black community.  Um, the abortion rate in the community is FIVE TIMES what it is in your neighborhood, and Black women are less than a tenth of the US population.  Might not Black ministers have cause to be genuinely concerned here?

    As for femnism, no doubt you’d dismiss a group like Feminists for Life, but they are truly radical, and go far beyond the idea most mainstream feminists have that abortion is the locus classicus for all civil liberties, where the buck stops.  They work to advance legislation that will help women in crisis pregnancies to keep their babies, which includes income subsidies and college-tuition rebates.  They are neither left nor right.  It is a big, big mistake to presume that being on the left MEANS being prochoice, while being on the right MEANS being prolife.  Plenty of rightwingers love abortion, and why?  Because it keeps the minority population down by several hundred thousand people every year.  And one or two people on the left believe that true feminism could not endorse an essentially violent means of problem-solving.  Strange bedfellows indeed.

  • prochoiceferret

    So prolife Blacks are co-opted by white men, but prochoice Blacks are real?  Do you see how insulting that sounds?

     

    Perhaps if there were actual Black-created, Black-headed organizations that felt that the biggest problem faced by the Black community was “abortion genocide,” the insult wouldn’t be on you.

     

    I have not had time to click to your link,

     

    And yet you had time to post a reply! You must be in one of those weird time zones where the clocks run zigzag.

     

    but I submit that Dr. King was murdered before legal abortion, and could not have foreseen the devastation to the Black community.

     

    I submit that abortion was legal before Roe v. Wade (just not nationwide), and that Dr. King was pretty darn familiar with devastation to the Black community and what sort of things did and did not contribute to that.

     

    Um, the abortion rate in the community is FIVE TIMES what it is in your neighborhood, and Black women are less than a tenth of the US population.  Might not Black ministers have cause to be genuinely concerned here?

     

    Of course they would. The question is, would they correctly focus on the high rates of unwanted pregnancy, or use the statistics as an excuse to deny Black women reproductive autonomy?

     

    As for femnism, no doubt you’d dismiss a group like Feminists for Life, but they are truly radical, and go far beyond the idea most mainstream feminists have that abortion is the locus classicus for all civil liberties, where the buck stops.

     

    Yes, it’s not like women having control over their own bodies is all that big a deal anyway.

     

    They work to advance legislation that will help women in crisis pregnancies to keep their babies, which includes income subsidies and college-tuition rebates.

     

    So I take it they’re not on good terms with the Republican Party, then?

     

    It is a big, big mistake to presume that being on the left MEANS being prochoice, while being on the right MEANS being prolife.  Plenty of rightwingers love abortion, and why?  Because it keeps the minority population down by several hundred thousand people every year.

     

    I guess the Hyde Amendment’s days are numbered.

     

    And one or two people on the left believe that true feminism could not endorse an essentially violent means of problem-solving.

     

    I think plenty of people on the left believe that true feminism could not endorse forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

     

    Strange bedfellows indeed.

     

    Sorry, but given that we are proponents of comprehensive sex ed, we know better than to get into bed with strangers.

  • crowepps

     It would be refreshing if prochoicers consiered how racist their attempts to invalidate and change hundreds of years of Black culture really are. 

    Not sure I am aware of what aspect of ‘Black culture’ insists that Black women are not moral agents capable of making their own decisions, but I think a lot of Black women would be willing to change that.

     

    Not ALL of them, of course, since Black women are not a monolythic group with identical lives and minds who all have exactly the same wants and needs.

  • prochoiceferret

    Not sure I am aware of what aspect of ‘Black culture’ insists that Black women are not moral agents capable of making their own decisions,

     

    I suppose one could make the argument that slavery and centuries of abject race-based oppression and disenfranchisement are an aspect of Black culture, but then it’s kind of non-sequitur-ish to call the invalidating-and-changing thing racist.

  • crowepps

    ProChoice people are TRYING to have a conversation about ‘when opinions differ who has the right to decide’ and ProLife life people insist on highjacking the discussion instead to ‘WHY DO YOU EVIL FEMINISTS MAKE STUPID WOMEN KILL THEIR BABIES?’

     

    I’m not pro-abortion or pro-genocide or pro-promiscuity at all — I’m pro-women are people and are entitled to sex without receiving a death penalty.