New Pro-Life Movement: ‘No’ to Trump; ‘yes’ to atheists

January 17, 2019
Posted in Blog
January 17, 2019 Editor

New Pro-Life Movement: ‘No’ to Trump; ‘yes’ to atheists

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New Pro-Life Movement: ‘No’ to Trump; ‘yes’ to atheists

Jan 17, 2019

by Peter Feuerherd

photo above: Aimee Murphy, executive director of Rehumanize International, tells a group of pro-life activists at the 2018 March for Life Jan. 19 in Washington that it’s important for people to know that being pro-life means being against abortion, the death penalty, war, and discrimination as well as supportive of immigrants. (CNS/Carson King) 

WN: This broad-based pro-life development, inclusive of non-Trumpers, atheists, and anti-death penalty activists, is hopeful. Now if anti-war (anti(unjust)-war does not cut it! – since entirely subjective) and anti-Empire activists also joined in…


Don’t like Trump? Gay? Feminist? Atheist?

That’s OK, you can still be pro-life, say activists warning that the movement against abortion has been captured by conservative culture warriors promoting adherence to Republican politics as a litmus test. That concern came into sharp focus in 2016.

“The election of [Donald] Trump was a line in the sand,” Rebecca Bratten Weiss, co-founder of the New Pro-Life Movement, told NCR.

Weiss, who lives near Steubenville, Ohio, says that it’s become harder for those opposed to abortion and Trump administration policies, such as the separation of children from their mothers at the Mexican border, to be allied with traditional pro-life groups, who have grown to accept the current administration in Washington with its promise to nominate judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

The New Pro-Life Movement manifesto declares that “all humans have an absolute, inherent right to life, and we believe this right spans from conception to natural death. This includes both the protection and the sustainment of life at all stages, and creates the foundation for our entire platform.”

The manifesto adds:

We are completely, totally, and without reservation opposed to the act of abortion, or any action that directly and purposefully ends the life of a child in the womb. However, we believe the methods of the mainstream pro-life movement have largely failed to address the issue properly.

The manifesto calls for greater access to health care, pre and post-natal care, mandatory paid leave, job protection, equal wages and sexual education.

The New Pro-Life Movement also pledges support for women subject to sexual harassment, opposes the death penalty and argues that increased access to health care and social supports is the best way to discourage abortion and to promote human rights. It also calls for what it describes as sensible controls on gun violence.

Other pro-lifers are also wary of the Trump alliance. Katelyn Beaty, 34, who now works as a book editor, was for 10 years an editor at Christianity Today, the magazine founded by Billy Graham and considered a bellwether of the evangelical movement.

[The Evangelical magazine] Christianity Today entered the Trump fray back in the 2016 election with an editorial calling into question the then-candidate’s morality and view of women. Beaty graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and formerly was part of a United Methodist congregation and now, residing in Brooklyn, New York, she attends an Episcopal church. Beaty said she has voted for both Republicans and Democrats.

But, she said, “I am very discouraged and disgusted by the example of what we have about Republican leadership in the country.”

She said there is a growing unease among younger evangelicals who have stopped attending churches which have become dominated by older, politically active Trump supporters.

“Trump has been an existential crisis,” she said.

At a December 2018 seminar at Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York, Beaty argued that pro-lifers need to embrace a consistent ethic of life — concerned with abortion as well as poverty and other concerns — if they are to develop credibility among millennials. Issues such as paid family leave are directly related to the concerns of hard-pressed women who feel that they are forced into abortions by dire economic circumstances, she said.

According to the Pew Research Center, American millennials, whom Pew defines those as “born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in 2018)”, are more likely to support legal abortion than their elders. The center reported last year that 62 percent of millennials support keeping abortion legal in most cases, compared to 53 percent of baby boomers. A 2018 survey by Public Policy Research Institution indicated that only 44 percent of young people say that abortion is against their personal beliefs, compared to 60 percent of seniors.

That millennial view can be attributed to the clear alliance between churchgoing Christians and the pro-life movement, say critics of the movement. As millennials drop out of church participation, it is not surprising that they are increasingly tolerant of abortion, noted Herb Geraghty, director of communications for Rehumanize International, a Pittsburgh-based group with similar goals as the New Pro-Life Movement. It boasts over 7,000 Facebook page likes.

Geraghty, 22, and a University of Pittsburgh graduate, became active in the pro-life cause while in college, particularly after social media discussions about the Kermit Gosnell case, the Philadelphia doctor who was convicted of murder of infants born alive after abortion attempts. She spoke at the Fordham event about what makes her different from many of her pro-life colleagues. Not only is she liberal, a feminist and in her twenties, she is an atheist.

“I’ve had to sit through countless prayers and songs,” she told NCR about her participation in anti-abortion events, which are often dominated by evangelical Christians and Catholics.

For the pro-life movement to succeed, she said, it can convert everyone to conservative Christianity or, better yet, be welcoming to those with divergent views, including a growing younger population that no longer attends church. She said that while many younger Catholics no longer attend church, many still retain strong pro-life allegiances.

The National Right to Life Committee is a prime player in the annual March for Life held every January in Washington. Geraghty is a regular participant. Last year, her organization sponsored seminars with scientists and atheists who oppose abortion.

“We became an oasis of liberals and progressives among a sea of Make America Great Again hats and Trump supporters,” she said.

She plans to go back this year. If the movement against abortion is to become more inclusive, Geraghty said she, for one, needs to be there, in all her feminist and atheist glory.

“We need liberals and atheists. We’re more inclined to listen to people who are like us,” she said. “I need to be the one to make the event more inclusive.”

[Peter Feuerherd is a correspondent for NCR’s Field Hospital series on parish life and is a professor of journalism at St. John’s University, New York.]

Please click on: New Pro-Life Movement

  1. [1]Please look at several articles as well on American/Western will to world domination by clicking on "Selected Articles: Western Aggression Backed by Western Media”. The series of articles is introduced thus:
    The Western allies never run dry of resources to support their global war of terror and aggression, ostensibly an integral part of their foreign policy. They dynamically legislate laws lest the people awaken. They have the unbending support of the corporate media, which skilfully distorts reality. When will they ever back down from their destructive quest for colonies? Read our selection below.
  2. [2]It continued:
    ‘For seven months, Tiger Force soldiers moved across the Central Highlands, killing scores of unarmed civilians – in some cases torturing and mutilating them - in a spate of violence never revealed to the American public,’ the newspaper said, at other points describing the killing of hundreds of unarmed civilians. ‘Women and children were intentionally blown up in underground bunkers,’ The Blade said. ‘Elderly farmers were shot as they toiled in the fields. Prisoners were tortured and executed - their ears and scalps severed for souvenirs. One soldier kicked out the teeth of executed civilians for their gold fillings.”   The New York Times confirmed the claimed accuracy of the stories by contacting several of those interviewed.  It reported: “But they wanted to make another point: that Tiger Force had not been a ‘rogue’ unit. Its members had done only what they were told, and their superiors knew what they were doing. “Burning huts and villages, shooting civilians and throwing grenades into protective shelters were common tactics for American ground forces throughout Vietnam, they said. That contention is backed up by accounts of journalists, historians and disillusioned troops… ‘Vietnam was an atrocity from the get-go,’ [one veteran] said in a recent telephone interview. ‘It was that kind of war, a frontless war of great frustration. There were hundreds of My Lais. You got your card punched by the numbers of bodies you counted.’ Current likely Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was also quoted giving evidence before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971.  He reported that American soldiers in Vietnam had “raped, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. Nicholas Turse [later author of: Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam], a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, has been studying government archives and said they were filled with accounts of similar atrocities. ''I stumbled across the incidents The Blade reported,'' Mr. Turse said by telephone. ''I read through that case a year, year and a half ago, and it really didn't stand out. There was nothing that made it stand out from anything else. That's the scary thing. It was just one of hundreds.'' Yet there were few prosecutions.
  3. [3]Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:
    Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin's gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] ("The Cold War in Central America", pp. 216 - 221).
    What was true for Latin America was true for around the world: massive human rights abuses, assassinations, regime changes of democratically elected governments, etc., etc., etc. orchestrated by US Empire. Yet Americans invariably have wanted it both ways: to be seen as the exemplary "City on A Hill" that upholds universal human rights and democracy, while operating a brutal Empire directly contrary to all such elevated values, and a concomitant rapacious Empire market economy that takes no prisoners. This began of course even before the founding of the United States of America and continued apace, in its mass slaughter and dispossession of indigenous peoples, in its brutal system of slavery on which its obscene wealth in the textile industry in the first place was built. "The Land of the Free" conceit was a sustained con job on the part of America's leaders. It was also apotheosis of hypocrisy. American exceptionalism was/is true in one respect only: it was brutal like no other Empire in its eventual global reach.
  4. [5]
  5. [4] The highlighted article about renowned whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg points to again what is utterly chilling, horror-filled, exponentially beyond immoral, American (hence the world's) reality: "Daniel Ellsberg: U.S. Military Planned First Strike On Every City In Russia and China … and Gave Many Low-Level Field Commanders the Power to Push the Button". [5]He has since written The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Of it we read:
    Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist for the California Book Award in Nonfiction The San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2017 List In These Times “Best Books of 2017” Huffington Post's Ten Excellent December Books List LitHub's “Five Books Making News This Week” From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America's Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day. Here, for the first time, former high-level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking firsthand account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization--and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration--threatens our very survival. No other insider with high-level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.
  6. [6]A classic instance of this aligning with "just war" is the United States' "war on drugs" as subset of "war on crime", while at the same time the CIA was a major worldwide drug dealer in league with other drug cartels -- all done to enhance American Empire during the Cold War -- and continues to the present. The four-part series mentioned below connects American Empire drug dealing to the current War on Terror, in particular in Afghanistan. This of course is colossal hypocrisy as well. Worse: the series posits American federal government administrations over many decades as the Ultimate Drug Cartel, with Blacks, Latinos, and generally the poor directly being knowingly poisoned en masse. Then they have been primary targets of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and thereby become victims of America's too often savage prison system that oppresses and brutalizes them all over again... See: "The War on Drugs Is a Failure, So [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions Is All for It". A citation from the article reads:
    In June [2017], the History Channel aired a four-part documentary series called America’s War on Drugs.” The series asserts that the war on drugs was actually a war of drugs—and that the CIA was essentially a partner in spreading drugs and drug use. The series follows how the U.S. intelligence agency, in an obsession with fighting communism, allied itself with U.S. organized crime and foreign drug traffickers and includes firsthand accounts from many involved. In an interview with Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar on her radio program “Rising Up With Sonali,” the series’ executive producer, Anthony Lappé, explains why the CIA got involved:
    It’s actually a pretty mind-blowing story when you look at the extent to which the CIA was involved with drug traffickers and drug trafficking throughout the Cold War. … If you look at Cold War policy against the Soviet Union, we were locked in a global battle for supremacy, where we have lots of proxy wars going on. … We needed to team up with local allies, and often the local allies we were teaming up with were people who had access to guns, who had access to underground networks, to help us fight the perceived threat of communism. There are actually a lot of similarities between what drug traffickers do and what the CIA does.
    Lappé elaborates by saying the hypocrisy of the war on drugs has been evident from the start: Secret CIA experiments with LSD helped fuel the counterculture movement, leading to President Richard Nixon’s crackdown and declaration of the war on drugs. The series also explores the CIA’s role in the rise of crack cocaine in poor black communities and a secret island “cocaine base.” In addition the documentary makes the connection between the war on drugs, the war on terror and the transformation of Afghanistan into a narco state and contends that American intervention in Mexico helped give clout to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán and the super cartels, making it easier to send drugs across American borders. Watch Kolhatkar’s full interview with Lappé by clicking here. Please also see the now classic: The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by noted American historian Alfred McCoy. Of it we read:
    The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, The Politics of Heroin includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War until today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.
    To be noted as well is Johann Hari's Chasing The Scream, which tells the tragic tale of America's long-standing offensive against drugs, and the way to end such a war worldwide -- that several nations are successfully embracing.


Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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