So Doonesbury is taking on the medical rape bill this week, and there’s all the associated uproar you’d expect. Maybe now would be a good time for me to reminisce about my experiences as a pro-life advocate.
This was back during my evangelical Christian days, of course. As a conservative evangelical, I was automatically pro-life, almost without thinking. And yet, I did think too, which got me into a bit of trouble. Creationism was the biggest factor that ultimately made me question my faith, but my pro-life experiences made no small contribution to that outcome.
I remember the time I signed up at church to go to the Roe v. Wade protests in DC. It was kind of exciting, of course—all those Christians in one place, taking a stand against the evil secular world, yadda yadda yadda. But one thing bothered me: it was too Christian. The whole bus ride there was spent singing hymns and praying, with just a few breaks for the passengers to pull out their Bibles for a quick study, or spend a few moments sharing their testimonies with each other.
I didn’t disapprove of course—I was pretty hard core evangelical myself at the time—but I couldn’t help wonder how a non-Christian would feel riding that bus. America is more than just Bible-believing Christians. For the pro-life movement to succeed in a democracy, it needs the support of non-Christians as well as Christians. And by “non-Christians” I mean more than just the few Orthodox rabbis brought in to lend token diversity to the movement.
My suggestions along those lines met with a strangely cold reception. Pro-lifers, I found, generally don’t want secular support. The pro-life movement belongs to Jesus, and Jesus alone. One pro-lifer on Usenet even told me flat out he’d rather see abortion stay legal forever than see America overturn abortion for secular reasons.
The whole point of the pro-life movement, according to this guy, was to bring the American government under subjection to the will of God (i.e. to Christian fundamentalism). He could care less about babies. It was all about theocracy.
Not many pro-lifers have been so open and forthright as that guy, before or since, but I saw the same general attitude running all through the pro-life movement when I was a part of it. I even knew a few atheists who, for one reason or another, believed abortion was wrong, and wanted to be part of the pro-life movement. Not a chance. Would you let one on your church bus?
Anyway, that’s my insight into the pro-life movement. It’s not just about patriarchy and dogma. This is Christian supremacist politics, pure and simple.