Abortion Stories

Exploding the Myths of Consequence-Free Sex

The stories in this article are about several women I’ve known personally, one fictional woman, and one famous Catholic woman, Dorothy Day, who is being considered for sainthood — all of whom had abortions. Their stories illustrate in various ways many of the reasons women in different circumstances and from different backgrounds choose abortion and some of the harsh realities they endure in the process. (The names and circumstances of the real non-famous women have been changed to protect their privacy.)

This article also shows how many false beliefs and the accompanying abandonment of traditional sexual morality are behind the present-day abortion epidemic, and it suggests a radical return to reality as the only cure.

Leila’s Abortion Story

The first woman I ever knew who had her child aborted was Leila, a Finnish-American college graduate. It was about 1964, before abortion was legalized. Leila was twenty-two. Leila wanted to keep her baby, and she wanted the baby’s father to marry her. But she was pressured into “getting rid of it” by her “old man.”

At the time this happened, I was nineteen, working as a file clerk and saving to go back to Brandeis University after dropping out after my freshman year, the year I had lost my Catholic faith. I was renting two rooms on the same floor as Leila in a neglected townhouse in the south end of Boston. Her “old-man” Harry was a bohemian-type undiscovered artist from a long-time New England family. He told her she was “the grooviest chick he ever met,” but he never wanted to marry or support a family. So, he asked around and got the address and contact information of a doctor somewhere in New York who did illegal abortions.

I heard crying and loud arguing and the sound of things being thrown coming from Leila’s rooms, and I saw Harry beating a hasty retreat down the stairs. But he would not budge from his insistence that she abort their child. When she finally agreed, she was grief-stricken.

Afterwards Leila told me this devastating news: the abortionist told her she could never have another child. She didn’t tell me why he said that. Maybe he had punctured her uterus or damaged her cervix. These kinds of injuries are not uncommon during abortions. As one abortionist wrote in an article I read in 2016, anyone who does abortions who says he or she never perforated a woman’s uterus is a liar.

After the abortion, Leila moved, or more accurately fled, far away from Harry. He soon fell into a new “relationship,” with a go-go dancer he met at a local bar. A few years later Leila mailed me a photo of her holding a pretty blond baby girl. In spite of what the abortionist had told her, Leila was fortunately able to conceive and bear this child after she met a man who loved and married her. Maybe the abortionist had lied about her supposed inability to ever carry another child because she had been so sullen, angry, and protested so much. It’s hard to know.

Dovana’s Abortion Story

The second woman I also knew around the same time as Leila who had an abortion was Dovana. She was actually just a girl, a headstrong, amoral, cute but not-very-bright, runaway high-schooler about sixteen years old. Dovana moved in with a man in his twenties in a room in the townhouse next door to me. After she returned home pregnant, I heard to my surprise that even though Dovana’s Lithuanian-immigrant parents were Catholic, they brought her to the same illegal abortionist who aborted Leila’s baby. Dovana told me later she screamed throughout the abortion. The pain was horrid. The abortion doctor’s nurse told her to shut up, that she deserved the pain because of what she had done and because she was aborting her child. I heard later that Dovana soon got pregnant again with another man and her parents paid again to have the second child aborted, and that she got married in her twenties, but I never heard anything more about her, or if she had other children.

Oprah’s Abortion Story

The third woman I ever knew who had an abortion was Oprah, not the TV star, but a wildly loose-living woman I came across when I lived in the Lower East Side of New York City during the summer of 1966. I was working on the production staff of the Value Line Investment survey newsletter during a vacation between two semesters after I had returned to Brandeis. I was about to turn twenty-one. I don’t remember how I met this Oprah of the Lower East Side streets, but I do remember she was about thirty years old, and she told me she had six abortions. Six! I was shocked not only by her multiple abortions but by her lack of self-control. To my mind the thing “everybody” knew back then was that if you were going to have sex, you should use birth control. But Oprah didn’t know or care. She just kept on having sex, getting pregnant, and aborting her babies. I don’t know how she procured the abortions or how she could afford them, since she had no obvious means of support. As I recall, she had induced at least some of the abortions herself.

Lily’s Abortion

In 1966, the same year I met Oprah, movie star Michael Caine, in the movie Alfie, portrayed a handsome and callous anti-hero, a Cockney cad who was quite as careless in his pursuit of pleasure in West London as the real Oprah had been in the Lower East Side of New York. I’m including dialogue from some of the scenes here because the movie gave an emotionally moving portrayal of what actually is at stake when promiscuity results in a “problem” pregnancy that people believe can be tidily resolved by abortion.

One of the “birds” (as Alfie called women when he wasn’t referring to them as “it”) he preyed on was Lily, the wife of a much-sicker man he had roomed with when he had been in a TB sanitarium for a while, after an X-ray revealed shadows on Alfie’s lungs. After Alfie had been discharged, he went back for a visit, gave the man’s wife a ride back to the city, and had a fling with her. When it turned out she had gotten pregnant by that one time with him, he agreed to “help” her.

When the abortionist comes to Alfie’s flat, he tells them, “I must have a serious talk with you both.”

He asks, “Is there any chance you getting married?”

Alfie explains that she is married to someone else and had three kids already and that her marriage would be dodgy if her husband learned she was carrying another man’s child.

Doctor: “But you are the putative father.”

Alfie doesn’t know what putative means, so he says: “I’m nothing. I’m just obliging a friend.”

Doctor: “To terminate a pregnancy . . . is a criminal offense. Not only that, but it’s a crime against the unborn child. It’s a course not to be embarked upon lightly.”

When the doctor can’t get them to change their minds, he takes 25 British pounds (equivalent to about 391 pounds — 489 U.S. dollars — today) from Lily, goes with her into the kitchen, and pulls shut some heavy blue curtains that separate the kitchen from the sitting room where Alfie waits. After a short time passes, the doctor comes out and prepares to leave. When Alfie asked him why so fast, he tells Alfie that he only induced the abortion. “That happens later.”

Lily starts having severe pains as her body begins to expel the baby. She asks Alfie to leave her alone, and when he comes back, she is lying looking traumatized in the same spot where he left her on the couch. When he starts to pull the curtains open to enter the kitchen, she says weakly, don’t go in there. But he does. And we are shown the shock and dismay that register on his face as he sees his dead child.

In the next scene, Alfie is talking to a friend.

“I don’t know what I was expecting to see. Not this perfectly formed being. I half expected it to cry out. It didn’t, of course, it couldn’t have done . . . ”

“And then I started to cry. The tears were all flowing down my face, all salty like I was a kid myself . . . And I thought to myself, You know what, Alfie, you know what you did. You murdered it.

Lori’s Abortion Story

The fourth woman I met who aborted her child was Lori, a college-educated Unitarian minister’s wife with two children. It was the late 1960s, I was about twenty-one, and she was twenty-eight. We met in California. I had dropped out of Brandeis again after I met the man I eventually married, and we had taken a long road trip together and ended up in San Francisco at the end of the so-called “Summer of Love.” I used to jokingly call Lori a “blond bombshell” because she was so flirtatious and so unlike the stereotypical idea of a preacher’s wife. From what she told me, the men in her peer group played around with adultery as if it was a sport and they liked to compare scores. She wanted to be one of the players, rather than be one played upon. She had numerous affairs, one with the family doctor, and she always used contraceptives.

Lori found herself pregnant by the doctor, Tom. She conceived the child when her husband was gone for a protracted period of time doing research for his PhD, so that meant she wouldn’t be able to pass the baby off as his.

Dr. Tom aborted their child in his medical office. When Lori fell gravely ill from an infection caused by the abortion, he stayed with her day and night until she recovered. Lori later told everyone in her family about the “good” doctor’s dedication in caring for her, but she told only me and my “old man” about the real cause of the infection or the reason why Dr. Tom went so far out of his way to make sure she didn’t die. Like me, Lori later divorced her husband, Ted, and she never married again.

Betsy’s Abortion Story

A fifth woman I knew who aborted her baby was Betsy. I first met her when we were fellow art students at Moorhead State, a college I attended part-time after I moved with my then-husband and baby from San Francisco to northern Minnesota, near Fargo, where his parents lived, in the early 1970s. I was about twenty-eight when we met, and she was about eighteen. By the time I learned that Betsy had an abortion, I had moved again after a divorce, to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and my two children were six and four years old.

Betsy had her baby aborted sometime around 1976 or 1977, and by then legal abortion was widely available. I had returned to the Catholic faith by then, through the merciful grace of God.

Betsy’s willingness both to be used by several boyfriends and to get rid of her child made me upset, because by then I realized the harm that kind of immorality caused and the grave seriousness of abortion. I was around when Betsy and her boyfriend Sven had met in our art classes at Moorhead State and had kind of fallen into bed together, but there was no talk of love or marriage. Like most other women by then, Betsy had been schooled to hide her desire for commitment because she didn’t want to scare men away. This couple also had been using contraceptives at the time she conceived.

At the time Betsy found out she was pregnant, she had graduated and had recently moved to St. Paul to take a job. She said that when she told Sven she was pregnant, she was grateful he “helped her.” He didn’t want to marry her or anyone else because he “lived for his art.” So, he did what she thought was fair.

Sven came down to the Twin Cities, paid for half the cost of the abortion, went with Betsy to the clinic and held her hand before and after, and he stayed around for a few days to comfort her. Because Betsy spoke of the abortion so dispassionately, I was surprised when she said she needed comforting. As it turned out, she then had an unexpected attack of deep depression. Think of it: that scene in the 1970s of two young parents comforting each other after they paid someone to kill their child, without a shred of conscious guilt, would have been unimaginable only a few years before — until the “sexual revolution” had turned the hearts of parents not only against their children but also against their own emotions.

Even though Betsy believed she was doing the right thing, she was surprised at her body’s reactions. She felt as though her body betrayed her by grieving, in spite of how her mind was made up, and even though she didn’t believe that the child was anything more than a clump of cells. Her breasts were tender and leaked milk. Her whole being was longing for the dead child. She couldn’t stop crying for days. After she recovered enough to go back to work, Sven gave her a long hug and went back to Fargo. Later Betsy married an accountant she met at work, who told her he respected her decision to abort her baby, and I soon lost track of her too.

Karen’s Abortion Story

The sixth woman I’ll tell you about, Karen, was a friend I had met when we were both graduate students. I had gotten an MA in English, emphasis writing, and started work on a PhD in American Studies in Minneapolis in the mid 1980s. Karen was pursuing an MA in the same program. I was in my mid-thirties, and Karen was about twenty-five. When she got pregnant, Karen was married and working as a teacher. She also was using contraceptives. Karen was afraid of angering her husband, George, afraid he wasn’t “ready” for a baby. I knew Karen had been hurt and bewildered by how carelessly the few men who she had dated and been intimate with had treated her, belittling her feelings of attachment, as if she was not worthy of love or commitment. Her own husband has resisted marrying her for a long time after they had gotten involved, and she was afraid she would lose him too if she kept the baby. Karen spontaneously miscarried their child before the abortion appointment, but she decided to go ahead with the procedure to make sure her womb was empty.

Karen told me that she had been surprised how the abortion workers treated women at the clinic because she thought they would be helpful and kind, since their stated goal was to “help women in crisis pregnancies.” It was like a cattle call. All were scheduled to show up at the same time and told to get in line to pay.

Karen forgot her insurance information, and she had to wait until George went home and brought it back. She and many other women who had come in when the clinic opened in the morning had to wait for hours. When they finally got around to her, the nurses were gruff and unsympathetic about the pain she experienced. Before and after the procedure, Karen heard other women crying out from pain and sobbing from sorrow around her.

She later had two more children after her husband George was “ready.”

Araceli’s Abortion Story

I met Araceli, the seventh woman, when I interviewed her for an article about a restaurant she owns. She told me engaging stories about how her spunky Mexican-born mother loved Hollywood movies, and how, as a teen, her mother had convinced her grandmother to move with her to the United States from Mexico because she was beautiful and determined to be a movie star. As it turned out, her mother had met and married Araceli’s also-Mexican-born, also-very-attractive future father in Arizona, and, after the couple moved to Milpitas together, they started a restaurant.

Her parents eventually divorced. Araceli told me she took over the restaurant when her mother died, and like her mother she was not home much at all. She was very lonely as a child, and when she got pregnant with the man who turned out to be her first of four husbands, she said she didn’t want to have a child to go through the same loneliness.

That same mistaken idea is very prevalent in news commentaries about the recently enacted ban against abortion in Alabama, that to prevent a child from having a difficult life, it is better to abort it.

Dorothy’s Abortion Story

When I was in my forties, I became interested in Dorothy Day, and I read everything I could about her life. Day, as you probably know, was a bohemian, peace activist, Communist, and journalist who converted to Catholicism in 1927, similar to my own conversion after trying out the lifestyles exemplified by those who don’t believe in God. Day turned her deep sympathy for the sufferings of the oppressed, which had been behind her mistaken enthusiasm for Communism in her youth, into a zeal for aiding others based on principles that she learned from the scruffy-looking, itinerant, philosophizing, Catholic Frenchman, Peter Maurin.

Maurin had appeared unannounced at her doorstep one day in December 1932, the day after she prayed to God to show her how she could best continue her work for social reform as a Catholic, and Day saw Maurin as the answer to her prayers. Maurin convinced her to work with him towards his vision of a peaceful “green revolution” (a term he coined), a revolution that would create a society true to Christ’s teachings about feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, sheltering the homeless, and so on, a society in which economic inequalities would not exist, “in which it would be easier for men to be good.”

Together they founded the Catholic Worker newspaper and a series of Houses of Hospitality and farms for the outcasts in society. For the rest of her life, Day, like Maurin, led a self-sacrificing penitential life of prayer, poverty, and humble service, and she now is being considered for sainthood.

While reading about her life, I was surprised to discover how strongly a version of Freud’s theories had already taken hold of American culture, even in the first decades of the twentieth century, when Dorothy Day was a young woman. Many of her Communist and literary friends, such as activist Emma Goldman and playwright Eugene O’Neil, were proponents of “free love,” which — as many wags have accurately observed — isn’t love and it isn’t free. Blithely quoting the Freudian claim that chastity gives rise to unhealthy sexual repression, many of them acted out that belief by being promiscuous.

In that amoral milieu, in 1918, when she was 20, Dorothy Day gave herself with all her heart to a devilishly attractive womanizing writer, named Lionel Moise, who some claim taught Ernest Hemingway to write, but who now is mostly remembered only as the man who didn’t love Dorothy Day. When she got pregnant by Moise in 1919, she knew he would abandon her completely if she did not abort their child.

After four months of anguished vacillation about what to do, she told him she was pregnant, and they arranged an illegal abortion. She wrote a fictionalized version of her experience in a novel, The Eleventh Virgin. Even though she tried to destroy all copies of the novel after she converted, years later she handed a copy to a biographer saying, “It’s all true.” In the novel, Day wrote about her fictionalized self that she was too proud to go home, face her mother’s disapproval, and keep her baby, but not too proud to cling to the man who did not want her or their child.

Later she told an acquaintance in a conversation reported upon in America: “You know, I had an abortion. The doctor was fat, dirty, and furtive. He left hastily after it was accomplished, leaving me bleeding.”1

Moise was supposed to pick her up afterwards; she waited in pain outside in the dark from 9 to 10 p.m., but he didn’t show up. She made her way to his apartment in a cab to find he had packed up and left her with only a note. He wrote that he couldn’t be expected to sympathize, since she was only one of God knows how many millions of women who go through the same thing. And she couldn’t expect him to limit his freedom and become just an average married man. As she later wrote, she realized she had sacrificed her child so she would not lose her man, and in the end she had lost them both.

Dorothy got an infection from the abortion and sank into sickness and deep depression. She tried to commit suicide, twice. Then for years she was afraid that she would never be able to conceive another child. It is said that abortion was “the great tragedy of her life.”

Most people only found out about Dorothy Day’s abortion after her death. The fact that she never spoke publicly against abortion is being used by some to claim she was not against it. But she realized the Church’s wisdom after she converted, as she wrote in a Commonweal Magazine article in 1973, when she was seventy-five. She wrote in that article that once a reporter asked her position on birth control and abortion.

My answer was simplistic. I followed Pope Paul. . . . Thank God we have a Pope Paul who upholds respect for life, an ideal so lofty, so high, so important even when it seems he has the whole Catholic world against him.2

She was referring of course to Humanae Vitae, which Pope Paul VI published in 1968, five years before she wrote the Commonweal reminiscence, in which the pope restated the Church’s perennial teachings against both artificial birth control and abortion.

When she became a public figure, Dorothy Day resolved not to crusade against abortion because it might seem hypocritical if it came out she had one herself. And it had happened to her dismay at least once that a young woman who had somehow learned about Dorothy’s abortion justified having an abortion herself because Dorothy had done so. Day was afraid the knowledge might lead other women astray who might also take her much-regretted abortion as an example to follow, instead of as a violent act against both the woman and her child, which, although it can be repented and forgiven, can never be undone.

I am concerned that Dorothy Day’s proposed sainthood may be used to support the false idea that Day did not deplore her early bohemian lifestyle and the abortion she had during her youth before her conversion.

I’ve already seen evidence that some pro-choice “Catholics” are constructing a false narrative that if this woman who had an abortion is declared a saint, then the Church would be admitting that abortion can be a justifiable choice for women in difficult situations. Those who claim Dorothy Day was not opposed to abortion should have a hard time getting around the fact that Day was one of the signers of a protest against legalized abortion on June 28, 1974, eighteen months after it was legalized.

The January 22, 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion deprives all unborn human beings of any protection whatever against incursions upon their right to life and has thus created a situation we find morally intolerable, and one which we feel obliged to protest. . . .

From the point of view of biological science the fetus is an individual human life. The social sciences may attempt to define ‘fully human’ in a variety of ways, but their findings are inconclusive and, at best, tentative and certainly supply no basis for determining who is or who is not to enjoy the gift of life. No one has the right to choose life or death for another; to assume such power has always been recognized as the ultimate form of oppression.

A primary obligation of civil society is to protect the innocent. A legal situation such as now exists in the United States, making abortion available upon demand, is an abdication of the state’s responsibility to protect the most basic of rights, the right to life.3

The protest letter included many statements about the need for compassion for women who felt driven to abort their children, but in no way did the signers portray abortion as anything other than the intolerable destruction of the life of a human being.

About the callous misuse of women’s sexuality that leads to the callous practice of abortion, Day wrote this in The Catholic Worker in September 1963, forty-four years after her abortion:

Sex is a profound force, having to do with life, the forces of creation which make man god-like. He shares in the power of the Creator, and, when sex is treated lightly, as a means of pleasure, I can only consider that woman is used as a plaything, not as a person. When sex is so used it takes on the quality of the demonic, and to descend into this blackness is to have a foretaste of hell, ‘where no order is, but everlasting horror dwelleth.’ (Job x.22).4

What does the Catholic Church think of Dorothy Day’s abortion? Here is one indication, a quote by the late Cardinal John J. O’Connor, Archbishop of New York, who proposed Dorothy Day for sainthood, and who said that one day she may be the patron saint of women who have had abortions.

Made pregnant by a man who insisted she have an abortion, who then abandoned her anyway, she suffered terribly for what she had done, and later pleaded with others not to do the same. But later, too, after becoming a Catholic, she learned the love and mercy of the Lord, and knew she never had to worry about His forgiveness. (This is why I have never condemned a woman who has had an abortion; I weep with her and ask her to remember Dorothy Day’s sorrow but to know always God’s loving mercy and forgiveness.)

The Fatal (to the Child) Flaw

All the justifications these women had for aborting their children contained an unnoticed flaw: It is never justifiable for any reason to take an innocent human life.

It’s a visually poignant commentary on the reality of abortion when you realize that one way to show abortion in sign language is to rock your arms as if cradling a baby, then to gesture as if picking the baby up and throwing it away.

Roseanne’s Abortion Story

One more story. Roseanne had grown up Catholic, and she knew that intimacy between men and women belonged in marriage, but when she went to college, women were being told they could and should “do it” without being married and without fear of getting pregnant. She didn’t want to be considered weak and backwards for believing in God and the Church, so out of hubris she left the Faith.

A lot of what Roseanne came to believe she absorbed as a teenager from reading feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, which compared a woman who expects a man to marry her in order to be intimate to a prostitute. The Pill would supposedly put women on an equal footing with men.

Roseanne had been convinced abortion was a good thing, too, influenced further by another book called Our Bodies, Our Selves, which promoted the idea that a baby is part of a woman’s body and that society has no right to interfere with her disposing it in any way she chooses. She bought into what she later came to see as a skewed idea of women’s freedom, which actually degraded women and denied them the full expression of their inherent sexual nature.

While she was away from the Catholic Church, Roseanne saw and experienced for herself that the new immorality was worse for women than the old, supposedly oppressive, morality. Women were now expected to “free” themselves by the extreme measures of suppressing their emotions and their fertility. Men were taking advantage of the situation by brazenly using women, and in the circles she ran in, women usually did want to get married and have children, but the men didn’t. If there were any men not trying to live by the Playboy Philosophy, she never met them.

Roseanne eventually returned to the Catholic faith, partly because she saw that living by the world’s values was so hurtful and so destructive to her and to everyone around her. She came to see that God’s laws were protections instead of restrictions. She greatly repented of her enthusiasms for the sinful ideals and the sins of her youth.

Roseanne was relieved she herself had not had an abortion, because if she had gotten pregnant before she met the man she married, she would probably have aborted her child, and then she would also have had that to regret for the rest of her life. Then, later, she found to her sorrow that she had actually probably had an abortion, maybe several of them, without knowing — because she had been taking the Pill.

How the Pill Causes Abortions

Drug companies had originally released the Pill without knowing how it worked. They knew the hormones in the Pill suppressed ovulation, and that was good enough for them to bring it to market and start making money on it. Eventually, researchers figured out that in a certain percent of cycles, an egg would be released anyway, which is called breakthrough ovulation. Sometimes that egg would become fertilized.

The truth is that these hormones do not always work by “preventing pregnancy” as is commonly claimed, because pregnancy begins at conception, not implantation.

If conception occurs, that’s when certain effects of the Pill and other hormone-based contraception kick in to terminate the pregnancy.

The hormones used in contraception effect changes to the woman’s body that almost always prevent successful implantation after conception, and hence — because they cause the death of a conceived human being — they are actually abortifacients. (The word abortifacient, “that which will cause a miscarriage,” comes from the Latin words abortus [“abortion”] and faciens [“making”].)

In a 1984 publication “Facts About Oral Contraceptives,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated:

Though rare, it is possible for women using combined pills (synthetic estrogen and progestogen) to ovulate. Then other mechanisms work to prevent pregnancy. Both kinds of pills make the cervical mucus thick and ‘inhospitable’ to sperm, discouraging any entry to the uterus. In addition, they make it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant, by causing changes in Fallopian tube contractions and in the uterine lining.

The morning-after pill is just a regimen of high doses of standard birth-control hormones taken within seventy-two hours of unprotected sex that do the same thing the Pill does at smaller doses: they prevent a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus so that it dies from lack of nourishment.

Common Themes

Did you notice any common themes in these abortion stories? Most of the women in these stories wanted married love and children, but their men did not. Most of the women felt invaded, rightly so, by the abortion procedure, and several reported serious physical and emotional pain afterwards.

Another common theme: Most of these women had been regularly using contraception when they got pregnant. Planned Parenthood statistics and other studies show that more than 50% of the women who get an abortion were regularly using contraception when they conceived. Tell that to people who claim if we want to stop abortions, we need to make more contraceptives available.

Almost every woman of childbearing age who is “sexually active” is currently using contraception, so how come women are still getting pregnant when they don’t want to be? Because contraception predictably fails even when used as directed.

“In fact, 3 out of 10 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old,” says Planned [Un-]Parenthood. This is a horrifying statistic.

And a great many have multiple abortions. Another distressing statistic is that women who say they are Catholic are more likely than Protestants to abort when they conceive an unwanted child, and overall they have the same number of abortions as women of other faiths and of no faith at all.

Decent people of all religions and no religion have been convinced by slogans to think of abortion as a “women’s right” having to do with women’s “reproductive health.” But, actually, the truth is that abortion legalization was pushed to begin with in many cases by heartless men like Hugh Hefner, who wanted men to be able to use women as playthings. Whatever its source, the indoctrination was so successful that most women now believe we have to stifle the full emotional and physical expression of our sexuality so we can be equal to men. Wanting to be loved and married are the new social sins.

All the slogans hide the reality. Abortion is not health care. In reality, abortion is an often painful and devastating procedure that invades a woman’s most sensitive area of her body. Every aborting physician knows that almost every woman cries after the killing of her child. The contracepting and fornicating way of life that is supposed to free women — but instead requires them to deny both their desires for married love and their motherly love for the babies in their wombs, so far as to pay someone to kill their own children — that is not free at all.

I recently ran across this quote in an article about the contradictions of the current sexual immorality, by a woman who like me once believed abortion was a necessary thing:

If you were in charge of a nature preserve and you noticed that the pregnant female mammals were trying to miscarry their pregnancies, eating poisonous plants or injuring themselves, what would you do? . . . You would immediately think, “Something must be really wrong in this environment.” “Something is creating intolerable stress, so much so that animals would rather destroy their own offspring than bring them into the world.” You would strive to identify and correct whatever factors were causing this stress in the animals.

The same thing goes for the human animal. Abortion gets presented to us as if it’s something women want . . . But women do this only if all their other options look worse. It’s supposed to be “her choice,” yet so many women say, “I really didn’t have a choice.”5

What Is the Answer?

Obviously, more contraception is not the answer. A radical return to reality is, by which I mean a return to the way of life before 1930, when the Anglican Lambeth Conference tentatively decided that contraception was not sinful for a husband and wife, but only when they had “grave” reasons. It didn’t take long for this exception for hard cases by Anglicans to become the norm for almost every Protestant denomination, for any reason.

Only the Catholic Church had stood fast against the evil of contraception, which opened the gates for a flood of many other evils. This evil practice changed how men treat women and how women view themselves and the children that are the fruit of their wombs. In this contracepting and fornicating culture, the conception of a child is frequently a cause for shame and fear and self-loathing because women often feel, rightly, that they are going to be blamed and abandoned.

Pope Paul VI’s Predictions

A previously unthinkable change has happened in our thinking, and the safe haven of the mother’s womb has become a killing field. Read the prophetic predictions Pope Paul VI made about the consequences of contraception in Humanae Vitae.

Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. . . . Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

If he knew then that contraception was going to pave the way for a holocaust of astounding numbers of abortions, Pope Paul VI might well have added this prophecy:

If people believe they can and should separate the act of intimacy that belongs in marriage from love and from the creation of offspring, what will they do when contraception (predictably) fails? Will they not then seek to rid themselves of the shame, inconvenience, and expense of the child, by then committing the great sin of abortion? Could it be possible that millions of unwanted children will come to be routinely killed in their mothers’ wombs, and that society will begin to celebrate this kind of killing as if it was a positive good instead of a crime that calls out to God?

The truth of these matters must be spoken and written about and spread far and wide. We need to counteract the lies that have blinded many good people, even many Catholics, to these evils of our day. It is no exaggeration to say we are sacrificing our babies by the millions to Moloch, the modern idol of consequence-free sex. We live in an era that says that sex only has meaning only if we want it to, and that our babies in our wombs that are persons only if we want them.6

I am not alone in my certainty that future generations, if there are any, will look back on our acceptance of abortion businesses in the centers of our cities the same disgusted way we look back on those who accepted the loathsome Nazi death camps outside their towns.

May God grant the massive conversion of minds and hearts that is needed for these delusions to be exposed as the work of the father of lies, which it really and truly is.

  1. James Martin, SJ, “Dorothy Day and Abortion: A New Conversation Surfaces,” In All Things, America, americamagazine.org/content/all-things/dorothy-day-and-abortion-new-conversation-surfaces.
  2. Dorothy Day, “A Reminiscence at 75,” Commonweal, Aug. 10, 1973, commonwealmagazine.org/reminiscence-75.
  3. The Catholic Peace Fellowship Statement on Abortion (June 28, 1974), catholicpeacefellowship.org/wp/wordpress/resources/1974-cpf-statement-on-abortion/.
  4. Dorothy Day, “On Pilgrimage – September 1963,” Catholic Worker, Sep. 1963, catholicworker.org/dorothyday/articles/806.pdf.
  5. Frederica Mathewes-Green, “When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense,” National Review, Jan. 22, 2016, nationalreview.com/2016/01/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life/.
  6. Fr. George W. Rutler, on authentic sexual life:

    The only safe sex is real sex, sex done for the procreation of life and the sanctification of love.

    It is fantasy if you think that authentic sexual life can be divorced from the procreation of life and a lifelong consecration of love. Then you are mocking an anthropological fact. Once you have done that, then you are opening yourself to all of the contradictions of the natural order. Once you start telling people they can have safe sex, you are telling them that they can live a fantasy and pretend it’s real.

    (“The World According to Father George Rutler,” Crisis Magazine, Mar. 1, 1990.)

Roseanne T. Sullivan About Roseanne T. Sullivan

Roseanne T. Sullivan is a writer from the Boston area who currently lives in San José, CA. Many of her writings and photographs have appeared in the Latin Mass Magazine, at the New Liturgical Movement, in Regina Magazine, National Catholic Register, at the Dappled Things blog, Deep Down Things, and other publications. Her own intermittently updated blog, Catholic Pundit Wannabe, is at catholicpunditwannabe.blogspot.com.


  1. Avatar Francis Etheredge says:

    Tragically true as, indeed, is the implicit account of what many men are like; however, there is an account of what happens to a man on the aborted death of his child, or the beginning of one (in The Prayerful Kiss, by Francis Etheredge) – for a child is for eternity and is scarcely forgotten for a moment. While reasoning about the beginning of life is necessary, the hope of a healing of our times is a true hope: a hope beyond the power of human beings and an appeal to Almighty God for help.

  2. Avatar Victor Ssemwogerere says:

    We need to stand strong with our position ” pro life.” We need to encourage one another to strive for the change of mentality among the people, or our friends who promote and stand in for this enemy of society.

  3. Avatar Ann M Erwin says:

    Abortion was legalized for the sake of MEN who can take advantage of vulnerable girls and women, who are looking for love in all the wrong places. Feminism as promoted by the media is a big lie. A girl or woman who has a strong loving father, I believe, is less likely to throw herself at a man who has no qualms about using her. I believe our image of God as Our Loving Father is also rare in this culture, because fathers have become weak. Only when that relationship to God as Loving Father is restored, can we truly value ourselves and others as his Beloved Children.

  4. Avatar Peter Rosario MD says:

    The article points to depression and sadness in the immediate post abortion period. Some scientific articles (usually supported by pro-choice institutes) suggest no increase in rates of depression in women in a 24 month period following an abortion compared to the general population. However, studies looking at periods of 20, 25, or 30 years post-abortion show significant rates of depression in women who trace their depression to their abortion years before. Additional medical studies indicate higher rates of breast cancer in women between the ages of 30 to 50 who previously had abortions. The etiology of this phenomenon, much less likely to occur in a similar demographic population of women with no prior abortion history, is well understood and explained by the changes in pathophysiology of breast tissue during pregnancy. The abortion throws these normal physiological changes into disarray which may eventually give rise to cancerous cells. Finally, as noted in the article, future pregnancies may be much more difficult to maintain to term. If the religious arguments against abortion, most valid by themselves, isn’t convincing enough to some, perhaps the pure medical science of the dangers of abortion is worth mentioning. (It should be noted that possibly for political reasons much of what is mentioned above is suppressed or held to be invalid by medical authorities which is why abortion it is not commonly expressed as a health hazard. The arguments expressed above are valid conclusions of appropriately conducted medical studies.)

    • Avatar Matthew Wade says:

      Peter, if you could provide citations for those studies it would be most helpful! Thank you for your reasoned approach.