In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

“I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.”

Applying labels doesn’t really define a political position.  Too many people would force a woman to give birth and then leave her stranded with no means of support.


Much of the pro-choice movement is about economic empowerment.  When I was growing up, before Roe vs Wade was decided, having a baby outside of wedlock was possible the second worse thing that could happen to you.  You were shunned by society for starters.  You lost your job, your health care, and all possible means of supporting yourself.

It’s no wonder some women sought abortion.  What society sowed, let it reap.  It is only when women have total control over their own reproductive choices do they have real economic empowerment.  Children who are born but not fed, educated  sheltered or cared for have very little chance.  They are once again at the mercy of a society that doesn’t want their precious tax dollars to go to help people living in poverty.

So we have come full circle.   Once again society will reap what it has sown.

Sister Joan Chittister’s website:


25 Thoughts to “Sister Joan Chittister: Opposing abortion doesn’t make you pro-life”

  1. Steve Thomas


    I do agree with the good sister at some level, I’m not sure that someone who has taken a vow of poverty, and has her modest earthly needs taken care of by her order, is a firmly entrenched upon this particular piece of moral highround. Before the rise of the enlightened modern state, and before the establishment of modern social services, it was the duty of the churches to provide for the poor. It was the duty of the believer to tithe to the church, for it’s upkeep and for feeding widows and orphans.

    “It is only when women have total control over their own reproductive choices do they have real economic empowerment. ”

    And I agree with another good sister at some level. Except in the case of forceable intercourse, a woman does have total control over her reproductive choices as to whether or not to have a child out of wedlock: She can say “no”. Modern women also have the ability to use contraceptives and profilactics, should they also be exercising a choice to have sex outside of marriage.

    Lastly, it wasn’t the advent of Roe v. Wade that economically empowered women, it was modern warfare. Men went off to war and woman went to work in the industrial war effort. While some single woman had entered the workforce at the time of the industriak revolution, they usually dropped out upon marriage, expected to keep house as was the custom. WWII was the first time a major population of women with families entered the workforce, which would eventually lead to the two-income household.

    If we’re going to speak in terms of “sowing and reaping”, you might want to look at the seeds being cast about, and how much of what we are bing sold by advocates is predicated on lies and half-truths.

    But I am going to make my own over-simplified blanket statement: The only people who ultimately benefited from “2nd-wave feminism and Roe v. Wade” were selfish adult males….think on that for a bit. We can chat about it sometime.

    1. The just say no doesn’t really work in this case. You are setting a standard of behavior that really isn’t yours to set. Women, in the modern age, should be just as able to enjoy sex for other than pro-creational purposes as men. In fact, let’s just keep marriage out of the discussion.

      I do agree about modern women using contraceptives. They have more control now than they have ever had. However, the option of safe, legal abortion is an option. Hopefully, not one that is used for any thing other than a safety net. but, that isn’t my shot to call.

      I did not say that Roe v. Wade empowered. The entire battery of reproductive freedoms does empower though. If women don’t have control over their reproduction, then they don’t really have economic freedom.

      I really don’t want to give war too much credit. Rosie the Riverter and her sisters all opened new doors and new tastes of freedom for women. However, most of the Rosies found a husband and went back into the traditional role of women. They became people like my mother with 3 kids and a dog and a husband. My mother had extra dogs. She still didn’t have a lot of control over her own reproduction though.

      We talked about that when she was older and I was middle aged. She was still furious that she had to come to Virginia to get contraception when she lived in New Jersey. It looked like New Jersey was under church control on the old contraceptive availability. It wasn’t until Griswold v Connecticut that contraception even became available to middle class women. Even that didn’t do it for poor women.

      Enter Planned Parenthood. That organization saw to it that poor women (as well as others) had available contraception. My mother probably would have cut my father off in a New York second before she would have walked into a Planned Parenthood though. Why? Someone might assume she was going in for contraception and would assume she was having sex. Going to a regular doctor didn’t imply contraception.

      I don’t know what you mean about advocates telling half truths. I think women make mistakes with the men they chose and vice versa. However, what woman wants to be married to some douche bag just because she got pregnant? Fewer and fewer. Human nature being what it is, some people will make mistakes in their choices of mates. If you took away every last bit of contraception, that condition would still exist.

      I know what it was like to grow up with restrictions. I couldn’t go to the college of my choice or get the job I wanted to get. It all pointed back to pregnancy and marriage and the state of being female. No, I didn’t imagine it. Maybe it is not I who is being sold the bill of goods. I lived it. I pretty much know how the world turned in that arena.

    2. Steve, I don’t know much about new feminism. I just haven’t paid attention to it because I think most of what I know is pure stupidity. Sorry…I was one of the first wave and I was born that way, rather than acquiring a body of knowledge. I think my father wanted to instill a sense of independence in me and then he was horrified at the creature he had created…who really didn’t go by the traditions of traditional womanhood. I talked back and I embarked on some new frontiers. I never did understand why women couldn’t work in the Virginia ABC stores.

      I got the first wave of feminism that came in with baby boomers covered, just not the millennials. You might have to fill me in.

  2. Censored bybvbl

    Amen, Moonhowler! Too many people who oppose choice also oppose social programs for children who are born. Choice needs to remain an option because these pregnancies are not instances of immaculate conception and the partner often doesn’t stick around.

    When I was in high school, there were a few shotgun weddings and a couple violent beatings (an attempt to get the pregnant girlfriend to miscarry). For most of these girls, their education ended with high school.

    When I was in college, four unmarried friends of mine became pregnant. One had a shotgun wedding, one had an illegal abortion (done by a nurse’s aid with whom she worked), one had a legal abortion done out of state, and one tried to get a legal abortion in Virginia but couldn’t get enough doctors to okay the procedure. All could have finished college without these pregnancies but none did. All were financially poorer because of the inability to control their reproduction. The person who had the abortion followed her heel of a lover out of state, had a child, and eventually saw the light and left him.

    My family was one of the larger (4 kiddos) on our block. Looking back, I think most of my mother’s friends knew doctors who were quick to perform D&Cs – at least the excuse of a D&C was frequently bantered about.

    Other married friends of mine have also had abortions. One had all the children that she and her husband wanted and could afford. The other had a husband that often required ER visits because of suicide attempts and she didn’t want to bring a child into that situation. Life is complicated. Women need to be in control of their own bodies. I’ve found that the biggest control freaks when it comes to reproduction often have lives that they have little control over and want others to suffer the same consequences. Misery loves company. Too bad they don’t love the children that are here and need help.

    1. Interesting stories there. All different. My best friend after college found herself pregnant by a heel of a boyfriend who was in the Navy. He sent her money for an abortion after she told him she was pregnant. It was semi legal at the time, in DC. She had to see a lawyer, a shrink, and an ob-gyn. The shrink turned out to be insane. He harassed her and kept calling our apartment complaining he would withhold his certification on her if she didn’t quite talking about him. The gyn was a decent sort, but she still has scars to this day over the shrink she had to see.

      No woman should have to jump through those hoops. The procedure, in those days, cost 2.5 months pay check. She also would have lost her job and her health insurance if she had carried the pregnancy to term. Walk a mile in her shoes before judging her. She had the abortion.

      On the non-abortion side of this issue, I wanted until my employer dropped the 4 month rule before getting pregnant. That’s right. You had to quit your job before the 4th month or you were fired with prejudice until 1973.

      This was all standard, not an outlier.

      On the subject of D&C’s. You know, you rarely hear of someone having a D&C. My mother had one after a miscarriage. I don’t think I have any friends who have had a routine D&C. Maybe they just call them what they are.

  3. Kelly_3406

    I donate food and money to various church organizations and charities that provide food and shelter for children and battered women. These local programs are very efficient at getting assistance to those who need it most, probably much more so than any large federal program.

    I am perfectly content that being pro-life and opposed to tax increases, which rarely are applied to programs for the needy, are mutually consistent, regardless of what the liberal nun says. There are ways to care for the poor and needy children, other than through government programs.

    I also oppose large increases in aid that Obama has used to entice illegal immigrants to come across the border.

    1. Fewer illegal immigrants are crossing the border during this administration than the last one…many fewer.

      I also disagree that our taxes don’t go to the poor. Medicaid. SNAP. SCHIPS. Free School lunches. HUD.

      Yes, there are other ways to care for the poor but….are they ways the poor can count on on a regular basis? Not really. Money comes and goes with people having changing economic conditions. During an economic down -turn, money for those less fortunate drives up.

      I would like to see contraception even more available so that there are fewer unwanted children born into poverty.

  4. Cargosquid

    The good sister needs to go to confession and repent for going against Church doctrine. If she does not wish to follow Church doctrine and continue to push her idea that its better to kill a fetus than allow it to be born because it might be poor…… she needs to ask to be relieved of her vows.

    1. That is an overly simplified and erroneous version of her believes. Most Catholics I know do believe that they have free will and can think for themselves. You probably want to send the new Pope to confession also.

      You certainly do not mind taking on the role of Christ and standing in judgement of others.

  5. Kelly_3406

    The linked WSJ article attributes the worst economic recovery in 70 years, which was just revised downward even further, to higher taxes and excessive regulation. This is the most likely reason for the drop in illegal immigration. It is also the biggest reason to oppose higher taxes — a poor economy creates poverty, particularly for women and children.

    1. Ah so it probably isn’t Obama’s fault? My taxes haven’t gone up, other than locally.

    2. I can’t read it. The opinion is behind a pay wall. That is just one person’s opinion, from what I could tell. I would say that the 30’s were the worst economic recovery in the past ….oops, we are just out of the 70 year time frame. Well, my response to this is this last recession (read depression) was the worse since the crash of 29. I would expect the recovery to not be instantaneous.

  6. BSinVA

    According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, 23,000 children aged out of the foster care system in 2012. 60% of the males were convicted of crimes; 52% of the total were unemployed; 75% of those females received government assistance and 33% of the males did; 50% were abusing drugs; 17% of those females were already pregnant.

    Currently there are about 397,000 children in foster care in the US; 102,000 of them are up for adoption; only 7,000 children were adopted in 2012. In Virginia, the State provides money to the foster parents to help support these children (tax money).

    Children raised in orphanages have ,on average, a 20 point lower IQ score than those raised in foster care.

    Obviously, these are the children of mothers who were unprepared to care for them so that they can contribute positively to society. They are the ones that are being minimally supported by your tax dollars. It is also obvious to me that our support systems for these children (government and private charity) are failing.

    1. Those are glaringly sad statistics, for sure.

      I think I will go back to my “every child a wanted child” theme after reading that.

  7. Kelly_3406


    My taxes went up.

    1. Federal? Did your income change? Wouldn’t that have affected all of us? My local taxes went up a little.

  8. Kelly_3406


    I paid more capital gains taxes.

    1. But that isn’t an actual increase in rate, is it?

      I understand capital gains only when it comes to selling stocks and dividends. I don’t understand it when it comes to houses etc. With inheritance, I didn’t inherit nearly enough to involve capital gains.

  9. Kelly_3406


    The process for adopting is daunting. It takes a lot of time, money and effort. There is far more demand for adoption of healthy babies than there are healthy babies available to be adopted. So the kids referred to in this study are either older, many with emotional problems, or unhealthy babies (i.e. drug babies). I have some friends that took the plunge to adopt one of these children–it has proven to be a huge financial burden and a chaotic influence on the rest of the kids in the family.

    I am not sure how more tax dollars could fix this situation. It is indeed heart-breaking, but also it speaks volumes about the negative impacts of drug and alcohol abuse on the entire family. Yet places like DC and Colorado are de-criminalizing marijuana. We shall see if that leads to even more children in foster homes.

    1. I think that Colorado and DC are works in progress as far as marijuana is concerned. Marijuana isn’t causing the drug addicted babies, however.

      We have a cousin who adopted a child from Russia. She is about 18 now and has caused them a great deal of trouble. behaviorally and educationally. I am not sure if she was a drug or alcohol baby or not.

      People do want healthy, white babies–not everyone but most. White girls keep their babies. In my day, they didn’t. Nowadays, they do.

      I also know that white girls when giving birth are sometimes pressured to give up their babies for adoption. That just isn’t right.

  10. BSinVA

    More taxes will not reverse this disaster of unwanted babies. More family planning can reverse it though.

    1. More taxes will help pay for all the services for all the unwanted children. Maybe those children aren’t wanted. Their parent(s) just cant afford to raise them. This is an ongoing, continuing problem.

      It’s easy to tell someone else not to have sex. Right. That obviously doesn’t work nor has it worked since time began. The more available family planning is, the fewer unplanned or unwanted children.

  11. The bill to defund Planned Parenthood will not advance.

    DOA at the moment.

  12. Cargosquid

    Moon-howler :
    That is an overly simplified and erroneous version of her believes. Most Catholics I know do believe that they have free will and can think for themselves. You probably want to send the new Pope to confession also.
    You certainly do not mind taking on the role of Christ and standing in judgement of others.

    Actually…no, I’m not.

    She is a Nun, bound specifically to support Church doctrine. She is opposing Church doctrine. In the eyes of the Church, she is abetting and supporting a sinful act.

    1. Do you think the Pope is not doing just what she is doing?

      I have known a few nuns over my lifetime. Many of them don’t discard thinking for themselves when they put on the habit. In fact, many I have known don’t even wear a habit.

      Yes, you are standing in judgement of others. Perhaps you don’t see it, but you are doing just that.

Comments are closed.