You’ve Come A Long Way Baby?

Female Foeticide

The concept that abortion is a womens’ issue or a feminist issue I have always found bleakly funny.  The dirty little secret about abortion is of course that it has been a bonanza for predatory males.  As actor Gary Graham in this incredibly moving piece notes: “So this abortion thing was pretty damn convenient for a guy.”  Feminist self-deception aside, abortion is all about letting men enjoy sex without consequences.  The consequences are of course merely shifted from the man to the dead child, and to the woman who has to pretend that destroying the life she carried within her was her “right”, and that she feels happy about this, dreadful nightmares notwithstanding, crying  jags that obviously have nothing to do with the abortion, feeling worthless, being unable to quite look straight in the mirror, etc.

Now womens’ liberation and abortion enter a new comic realm.  Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Sweden has approved sex selection abortions.  Of course there is really nothing new about this.  Under Roe in our nation sex selection abortion goes on all the time.  It also occurs in Canada, and in most other Western nations.  However, I do believe that Sweden is the first Westen nation to specifically approve sex selection abortion. 

In other words, women are to be liberated now by giving them the freedom to kill children in their wombs for the fatal flaw of not being male.  By this standard, the liberation of women in our nation will be complete when female infanticide is legalized.


56 Responses to You’ve Come A Long Way Baby?

  1. Jay Anderson says:

    If only Sweden had a social safety net that would alleviate the “need” for abortion …

    (NB: At 17.2 abortions per 1000 women aged 15 to 44, socially “progressive” Sweden has the HIGHEST abortion rate in Europe, followed closely by Great Britain at 17 abortions per 1000 women aged 15 to 44. These numbers are fairly closely in line with the abortion rate in the U.S., which is just over 19 abortions per 1000 women aged 15 to 44. So, obviously something else besides “We need more “progressive” policies that will “reduce” the “need” for abortion is going on.)

  2. Mike Petrik says:

    Sweden’s abortion laws are overall slightly more restrictive than the US’s, which probably accounts for the modest differential. You are correct. The hypothesis that the strength of a society’s social safety net is a key determinant of its abortion rate, while perhaps intuitively appealing, does not withstand scrutiny.

  3. Tito Edwards says:

    Jay, Mike, et al,

    What most liberals don’t understand is that they are contracepting themselves out of existence with their own lies about “freedom” from raising children.

    An ‘unintended’ consequence that no mainstream news organization wants to talk about is in the near future most couples, or women forced by their boyfriend/husband, will be aborting their children if they show the possibility of a homosexual orientation.

    For wickedness burns like a fire, it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
    –Isaiah 9:18

  4. Mike Petrik says:

    I had not thought about the homosexual angle, but if a genetic marker is shown to exist I’m inclined to agree with you that even the most self-regarded liberal couples will find their principles tested. Of course those who fail that test will rationalize their decision as being grounded in concern for society’s intolerance of homosexuality.

  5. foxfier says:

    Don’t forget that it also makes it safer for pedophiles– as shown by that college girl who goes in posing as a younger teenager with an adult BF and keeps getting coached on how to lie to protect the pedophile.

  6. Joe Hargrave says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the problem is too much wealth, against a secular political backdrop. Consumerism + secularism = abortion. That is why social safety nets only stop some abortions, but nowhere close to all.

  7. Matt McDonald says:


    are you trying to be funny?

  8. Joe Hargrave says:

    Not at all. Read my article. Maybe, just maybe, we can discuss this without a petty argument. I’d really like that Matt. Even if you think it’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard. I just wanna be friends, k?

  9. Tito Edwards says:

    Joe H.,

    Buy Matt a 12 pack of diet A&M rootbeer and a subscription to Latin Mass magazine and you’ll have a friend for life!

  10. e. says:

    “Consumerism + secularism = abortion”?

    Was this made in jest or what?

    Somebody had better learn History.

    Even the ancients notoriously engaged in abortion (in fact, the great philosophers even recommended it).

    There is a reason why in More’s satire, Utopia, such things were deemed acceptable acts under the ideals of its Res Publica.

  11. Joe Hargrave says:


    I know my history fine, thanks. Do you think the ancients aborted 1/3 of a given generation? I might have done better to say ‘widespread institutionalized abortion on demand’, granted. But like many things – such as slavery, war, etc. you can’t just compare the ancient and modern versions as if they were identical or even similar.

    We have legalized abortion on demand today because children are seen as a hindrance to social mobility for millions of young people. We have it on a scale that would have been impossible in the ancient world because we have greatly increased the prospects of social mobility for almost everyone in society (how many actually attain it is a different story).

    Why is it that birth rates are so miserable in wealthy countries? Among white people, who tend to be more well off than other races? Among educated people, who, again, tend to be more well off? Higher living standards come with lower birth rates and higher abortion rates. That is why the US and Europe have abortion parity, in spite of different policies. It is also why I don’t advocate welfare spending as a means to solving the abortion problem.It is also why abortion remains illegal in most Latin American countries – they have neither great wealth, nor widespread secularism.

    Even their ‘left’ regimes are more Catholic on life issues than ours. How is it that in Nicaragua, a country run by a nominally Marxist political party, abortion can be totally illegal, while in the US, a supposedly ‘Christian’ country, there are 1.5 million abortions a year? It wasn’t entirely by choice – Daniel Ortega explained that abortion is illegal in Nicaragua because 90% of the people wanted it that way. What do you think the percentage is in America?

    Frankly, if it isn’t too little wealth, and it isn’t too much, then what is it? Abortion for sport? Hardly. Most people have practical reasons for the things they do, not Dr. Doom reasons, not ‘evil for the sake of evil’ or why-ever else.

    Finally, is parroting Matt the only way you can take a jibe at me?

  12. Donald R. McClarey says:

    This is not meant as a criticism of Joe, but abortion and infanticide were quite common, and accepted, throughout the ancient world. The rise of Christianity led to these moral crimes being recognized as crimes under law.

    As our society turns from Christ, the pagan world in blood and fire returns.

  13. e. says:


    I don’t think you have given this much serious consideration.

    I could point to more substantial things (than simply making “consumerism” and “secularism” as the scapegoats) that might very well have contributed to the notorious Culture of Death society we have today.

    Had I the inclination & the time, I would devote a page or two to the despicable, so-called Enlightenment, for a start.

    I’d even make mention of the kind of nihilistic emancipation that unfortunately plagues modern society and even our Supreme Court.

    However, clearly, given your last remark, you would rather hurl insults at me than anything else.

    Therefore, to maintain a sense of decorum on this blog, I shall have to pass.

  14. Joe Hargrave says:

    For E and Matt (and to a lesser extent, Don),

    I wish to remind you all that JP II, and even some of his predecessors, paid very close attention to the connection between modern consumerism and the modern culture of death.

    I don’t see any of you arguing to him that ‘well, your Holiness, are you trying to make me laugh by bringing up consumerism? Don’t you know, old man, that the ancient world was full of abortion?”

    I think you’d have a little more respect. Well, if you read my article, and you read anything JP II wrote about abortion, you’d see that modern consumerism worries him greatly and that it is connected to the culture of death. I’m fairly certain Benedict agrees.


    Given everything I said before that last remark, it is obvious that I’d actually like to discuss the issue. I really don’t want to trade insults.

    If that’s not what you want, why did you sarcastically ask me if my argument was a joke? Is it ok for you to insult me?

    Consumerism and secularism are not mere scapegoats. The so-called Enlightenment brought us both. If you read my IC article, my whole point was that a material progress based upon secular ideas – on the ashes of the Catholic social order destroyed by the Protestant rebellion and the ‘Enlightenment’ – is precisely what has lead to this modern problem.

    So you see, we aren’t really saying different things. We are using different words to describe them.

    Can you respond to these ideas kindly? Seriously, it would make my whole week if you and I and Matt could have a civil discussion. Yes, we have different ideas. No, that doesn’t mean I think you are an evil, stupid moron with nothing valid to say. I would sincerely hope that the feeling is mutual. Let’s disagree, let’s put forth different points of view, lets be open to changing one another’s mind. Why is this is so difficult? It isn’t as complicated as nuclear physics or as challenging as climbing a mountain.

  15. Joe Hargrave says:

    I mean, just go to the Vatican website and search for the word ‘consumerism’.

    You don’t even need to follow a link to get a sense of what recent Popes have thought about it, and to hopefully refrain in the future from seeing it as a joke.

  16. Joe Hargrave says:

    I hate to resort to quotes in lieu of argument, but apparently the very legitimacy of my position is in question. So, allow me to present the following.

    “A growing inability on the part of many of our contemporaries to make decisions that are binding in a definitive way, a decrease in interiority and the ability to reflect, and a lifestyle shaped by consumerism are affecting the structures of society in Europe. All this affects the family primarily where self-destructive tendencies are manifested.”

    President of the Pontifical Council for the Family

    “In societies, especially rich societies, where consumerism and materialism have replaced human virtues, and where culture and education are “values free”, the person is actually reduced to an object to be used. “Liberated” from the bonds of family and society, the lone individual, victim of a new form of alienation, is rendered vulnerable to all forms of dehumanization.”

    The Rio Declaration on the Family

    “On the continents of North and South America, as elsewhere in the world, «a model of society appears to be emerging in which the powerful predominate, setting aside and even eliminating the powerless: I am thinking here of unborn children, helpless victims of abortion; the elderly and incurable ill, subjected at times to euthanasia; and the many other people relegated to the margins of society by consumerism and materialism.”


    “It presents a particular spiritual and cultural challenge to the developed countries of the West, where the principles and values of the Christian religion have long been woven into the very fabric of society but are now being called into question by alternative cultural models grounded in an exaggerated individualism which all too often leads to indifferentism, hedonism, consumerism and a practical materialism that can erode and even subvert the foundations of social life.”


    There are dozens of these. I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen a document where John Paul II mentioned abortion or the culture of death without also referring to materialism and consumerism. Yes, consumerism, over and over again. Yes, in the context of abortion.

    Are you laughing now?

  17. Matt McDonald says:


    the problem is too much wealth, against a secular political backdrop

    That’s your positon. Boiling all of the above, and ignoring numerous other statements into your pet project of “too much wealth”. It just doesn’t follow.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again

    Your air of superiority doesn’t help, and adds to the humor of your attempt to boil all sins down to greed, and thus the solution… redistribution of wealth. Equality of misery.

  18. Joe Hargrave says:


    I’m doing no such thing, and I’m not trying to come off as ‘superior’. Really. If you read what I actually argue, it is more complicated than that. I am only following and trying to sharpen the analysis of JP II, who I think was really onto something when he repeatedly assailed consumerism as one of the causes of abortion.

    I don’t say it is the only cause. It’s a big one though.

  19. Matt McDonald says:


    Author: Joe Hargrave

    I’m doing no such thing, and I’m not trying to come off as ‘superior’.

    and yet you did, with an air of “I told you so”.

    Really. If you read what I actually argue, it is more complicated than that. I am only following and trying to sharpen the analysis of JP II, who I think was really onto something when he repeatedly assailed consumerism as one of the causes of abortion.

    Can’t argue with that.

    I don’t say it is the only cause.

    But it is what you do.

    the problem is too much wealth, against a secular political backdrop

    insert “one of”, or even “much of” there is a substantial difference. I might argue against the latter, but it wouldn’t be cause for amusement.

    It’s a big one though.

    Certainly and well worth pursuing.

  20. Joe Hargrave says:


    But I mentioned two things in that sentence. Consumerism, and secularism. Broadly speaking, those are the two problems. Underneath those headings, there may be more sub-divisions.

  21. Joe Hargrave says:

    And, please, if you have other things you think are the problem, just say so. There is really no reason at all this has to get ugly or become a fight.

  22. foxfier says:

    Dehumanization, coupled with a sense of entitlement.

    People are able to lie to themselves that it isn’t a person, and that it’s alright if they take this easy way out of their “problem.”

    The girls have been told their entire lives that they deserve the best, and don’t need to feel guilty.

    Their guys have been taught that they deserve satisfaction, and don’t need to feel guilty.

    They’ve both been told it isn’t “fair” for someone to be responsible for a burden they didn’t want. Nothing to feel guilty about there– after all, it’s just a lump of tissue, right?

    Besides, it wouldn’t be fair if women couldn’t do everything men do– including cat around without having to give birth.

    I know I saw this from the inside– my family gave us a firm grounding in basic science, so the idioticy that a baby isn’t a human couldn’t stick, and if you say “this human isn’t a person” then the lie is just too clear and abhorrent.

  23. Mary Ann, Singing Mum says:

    Why is Joe under so much attack?
    Its pretty obvious that consumerism is a huge reason for abortion. Its a clash of perceived ‘have and have not’ fears. People want stuff and babies get in the way. Make God a tangent in one’s life, and it gets even easier.

    Disgusting, tragic- and common.

  24. Joe Hargrave says:

    “Why is Joe under so much attack?”

    Good question!

  25. paul zummo says:

    I have to defend Joe (or at least his initial statement, since I haven’t been able to completely track the rest of the conversation). Consumerism is a problem in the United States. I don’t think that conservative free marketers should jump on such a statement as if it a condemnation of our way of life. A materialistic ethos undergirded by no strong faith system is certainly an issue.

    Children are not seen by all as blessings from God, but rather as expensive opportunity costs to be avoided. This crass materialism certainly inspires some – nay, many, middle and upper-middle class women to procure abortions.

    In this sense that only further proves the points made above that enhancing the social safety net will do little to diminish the number of abortions, as abortions are not a poverty problem per se. Again, many of the women procuring abortion are not poor, but they simply don’t want to have their lifestyle curtailed.

    We can debate the degree to which consumerism is the cause of abortions in the western world, and we need to flesh out what we mean by consumerism. But that it is an issue at play here should not be cause for too much controversy.

  26. Foxfier says:

    But if “conservative free marketers” are the ones that feel the need to be defensive re: consumerism but don’t support abortion, while (based on who’s loud about being “proud” to have had an abortion) liberal folks who believe in a social safety net are the ones having abortions, isn’t there a problem with the notion that the one causes the other?

    (on an amusing side note: American Heritage dictionary primarily defines “consumerism” as, well, protecting the consumer)

    I agree that a materialistic worldview without a strong moral system is the most likely cause– if materialism is the theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena then it is most assuredly a huge part of the of folks being able to even think of killing their children.
    (there’s always the sheer ability of scared folks to lie to themselves, especially if they’ve been given the lies to use, and if you spend all your life being told that having a child in anything but ideal conditions will destroy your life, and theirs….)

  27. Matt McDonald says:


    while those liberals are the ones promoting abortion, they are not having all of the abortions. Remember the history of Planned Parenthood. They don’t hate all babies, just the poor and brown ones, and the babies of teenagers.

  28. Foxfier says:

    As I pointed out, though, the scared folks being lied to probably shouldn’t be counted as a cause of the problem, beyond not having a firm enough grounding to reject the lies, and sometimes little ground to even recognize them. (I know my public education spent a lot more time on Sex Ed than basic biology– if our teacher had allowed Planned Parenthood in to her classroom….ugh. Even without, many of my classmates believed/claimed to believe the unspeakably stupid idea that a fetus isn’t human or even alive.)

    Kind of like how HIV/AIDS doesn’t cause people to die, it just makes it so a secondary infection can set in easily and do the job for it.

  29. Joe Hargrave says:

    “But if “conservative free marketers” are the ones that feel the need to be defensive re: consumerism but don’t support abortion, while (based on who’s loud about being “proud” to have had an abortion) liberal folks who believe in a social safety net are the ones having abortions, isn’t there a problem with the notion that the one causes the other?”

    That’s not how it works. This is not about ideology. How people feel in the blogosphere has nothing to do with how people act in the real world. Hardly anyone makes decisions thinking, ‘I’m gonna do this thing in my life because I’m a conservative/liberal’.

    The problem is that consumerism is considered part of the ‘American way of life’. American Catholics ought to realize that the Popes and most Church officials who have had anything to say about it have damned consumerism, have trampled on it and thrown it in the garbage. Like I said, I don’t think JP II ever talked about abortion at length without mentioning consumerism, without connecting it somehow.

  30. Foxfier says:

    Joe Hargrave-

    I think you have my cause and effect backwards– I don’t see someone as, because they’re conservative or liberal, they do x; it’s because they do X that they’re conservative/liberal.

    The ideology describes how the folks are; folks don’t identify and then choose their actions. Same way that we call a car black, because that’s what the paint is; it doesn’t become that color because that’s what we call it.

    Consumerism– if by that you mean the pursuit of/ consumption of physical things as a means to gain happiness– would share a cause with abortion, if (as my theory goes) abortion willfully chosen is caused by materialism as the primary moral code; that would cause dehumanization, which would make it “alright” to sacrifice the person you can’t see for your own goals.

    (have to be careful with phrasing that, because there’s always someone that will find an example of a materialist that manages to have a decent moral code and ignore the amazingly dehumanizing examples)

  31. Joe Hargrave says:


    Fair enough regarding the cause and effect. But just because people who are ‘defensive’ about consumerism also oppose abortion, that doesn’t rule out consumerism as a cause. Consumerism is not always a conscious thought process – it is a way of life imposed upon everyone by the very structure of the society we live in. I am speaking of consumerism as an ideology as well as a way of life, then. These are distinct but related issues.

    Consumerism is more or less what you describe here, with the above distinction in mind.

    Almost anyone professing any ideology can have a decent moral code, since values are as much based in personal psychology as they are ideology, if not more so. My concern isn’t as much with what people profess, but with what they actually do.

  32. Diane says:

    Joe is right.
    The statements are broad but true.

    All evidence points to the following: the more materially successful a society becomes, the more godless it becomes….the more godless a society becomes, the fewer children it has.

    I’m surprised ya’ll do not see this. You must be arguing with him just to argue…maybe ya’ll have a grudge against him or something…I don’t know, but he is right.

  33. Donald R. McClarey says:

    As a matter of history Diane you are incorrect. For example: Britain in 1898 was much more religious than in 1798 and much more materially successful. The latter half of the twentieth century witnessed a precipitous drop in religious belief in Europe, but I do not think that you can extrapolate from that a general rule that material prosperity equals a falling away from religion. There are too many contrary examples throughout history.

  34. Elaine Krewer says:

    Does wealth and consumerism lead to an anti-life mentality? I think it does, indirectly. What happens is that as standards of living rise, so do people’s expectations of what a “decent” life for themselves and their children should look like.

    In the 19th and early 20th century, a “decent” life for your kids simply required giving them a roof over their heads, three meals a day, and teaching them to read and write. As long as they were literate, able-bodied and moral, they could support themselves, or find a husband to support them. Plus, in an agrarian society, children were economic assets because they could help you out on the farm or in your family business once they were old enough to follow directions.

    Today, a decent life for your kids is presumed to include a suburban house with a yard, their own bedroom, their own car at age 16, their own computer and video games, fashionable clothing, comprehensive health insurance coverage, and a four-year college education. Children are seen as economic liabilities because the family pays (and pays and pays) to support them until they become adults, at which point they fly off on their own and (usually) contribute nothing further, financially, to their original household.

    The thought of having to provide all this for an expected child is daunting enough even when a pregnancy has been carefully planned; it is even more so when a pregnancy is not planned. Hence, middle- and upper-class women, particularly those with college educations, are more likely to resort to abortion than are lower-income women whose expectations are not as high, and who see single and teen motherhood as a fact of life rather than as an unmitigated disaster. (On a societal level, of course, widespread single/teen motherhood IS a disaster in terms of its effect on family structure and stability; but I am thinking more in terms of how individual women perceive the prospect of motherhood in less than ideal circumstances.)

    Does this mean a lower standard of living would lead to fewer abortions? Probably not in the short term, since economic distress and pessimism about the future would likely prompt more women to abort. (The birth rate dropped significantly during the Depression, and even though abortion was illegal then, I would guess that abortion rates went up.) In the long term, however, as priorities shifted away from economic security back toward security sought in faith and family, the abortion rate might go down.

  35. Foxfier says:

    if something else fits, it’s silly to go and single out “conservative free marketers” so that you can then go to consumerism– which you later define as a large part of the “American way of life”.

    Given that infanticide has been used similar to how abortion is used now– to remove unwanted or burdensome children– it might be over broad to tie it exclusively to material improvements. (Besides the way that it’s subjective– how much is “enough” improvement to trigger this? Could any other explanation fit, like someone who mentioned the Enlightenment philosophy earlier?)

    Dehumanization of the involved child makes more sense; if they’re not people the way that you are, then it’s alright to use and abuse them.

  36. Joe Hargrave says:


    When did I ever mention conservative free marketers? That was all you. I think consumerism affects everyone in roughly the same way. There is no ‘later defined’ – I never put a political spin on it.

    It seems to me that you and a few others are rejecting my argument without really considering it. You can’t always compare the ancient and modern versions of a problem and conclude that there is nothing new in the modern condition that is responsible for the modern problem.

    Why is it that JP II hardly ever – if he ever at all – spoke of abortion or the culture of death without also talking about the problem of consumerism? Do you really think he was ignorant of ancient abortion and infanticide? Of course not.

    What we have today is widespread abortion on demand, declining birth rates for affluent countries and peoples, and the opposite in many poorer countries, especially Latin American countries with a Catholic culture. Nominally Marxist Nicaragua is more pro-life than the United States.

    Finally, I do not tie it ‘exclusively’ to material improvements – it is those improvements against a secular political and philosophical backdrop.

    And, for Don, you can’t even compare 1798 and 1898 to say, 1950. Mass industrialization and mass consumerism really took off in the first half of the 20th century and acquired a settled character after WWII. It is always hard to draw exact lines but the post-war era is obviously different than any other era before it in history.

    People don’t just randomly start having more abortions. Nor do they arbitrarily exchange one belief for another. Real changes in the way we live our lives affect how we think about everything else. Sexual freedom and family planning have always been desired by some, but it takes an economic revolution to have them desired by most.

  37. Joe Hargrave says:

    And, also, Fox, I think dehumanization does take place – it isn’t at all mutually exclusive with consumerism. It is an extension of it. But I also have to say, most women I have ever spoken to about this, pro-choice women that is, do not argue that their ‘fetus’ is ‘not a person’. They believe it would be better off dead – it is how they convince themselves that their act isn’t all about them when it really is.

  38. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Actually Joe, I believe the highest rates of abortion ever reached were under the Communist regimes of the Soviet Union and the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe installed by Soviet bayonets. Free market Poland bans abortion which Communist Poland made freely available. As for Nicaragua banning abortions, the Sandinistas are to be praised for that, if nothing else, but their attitude on that issue is very much the exception in political movements of the Left which have achieved political power.

    The banning of abortion in the West, at least the taking of effective legal measures against it, was very much a product of the nineteenth century following the Industrial Revolution. The attitude of the Church against abortion was always clear, but effective legislation against it was rare until the development of modern medicine, itself a product of a prosperous society.

  39. Elaine Krewer says:

    It is my impression that prior to Roe, when abortion was illegal, it was the doctor or other medical “professional” who performed an abortion who was punished for breaking the law, NOT the woman who sought the abortion — the basic idea being that the doctor was taking advantage of a woman in a desperate situation. Is this also true in countries where abortion is illegal today?

    If one or both of these statements are true it would demolish the claims of the pro-abortion crowd that jails would be filled with pregnant women if pro-lifers had their way.

    It should be acknowledged, however, that not all anti-abortion laws in history have been motivated by pro-life sentiment. Communist Romania under Ceaucescu banned abortion, and even most forms of birth control; and if I recall correctly, the government insisted that every family have at least 5 children! (Hence the large number of Romanian orphans after the fall of the regime.) Of course, the intent there was NOT to promote respect for human life and dignity but to insure that the government had plenty of factory workers and soldiers at its disposal. (I can’t help but wonder if the Sandinistas in Nicaragua had a similar motivation — insuring that they have plenty of soldiers for the future?)

    Also, some pro-choice people will claim that Nazi Germany banned abortion. It is my understanding they did — but only for “Aryan” women, whom they wanted to have as many children as possible. Abortion was encouraged, if not outright required in some cases, for Jews, Gypsies, the handicapped, and others not part of the “master race.”

    All these regimes represent different sides of the same insidious coin against which Pope Paul VI spoke in Humanae Vitae, when he said governments must leave family planning up to the family and never coerce couples in this regard. (Positive, voluntary rewards or incentives for having children, such as tax exemptions or “baby bonuses,” are a different matter.) It seems to me that from the Church’s point of view, it was wrong for Romania to demand that every couple have 5 children, just as it is wrong for China to demand that all couples have only one child.

  40. Foxfier says:

    Elaine Krewer-
    you might find some use in
    she collects abortion deaths, and there’s a lot of stories of trials of abortionists.

  41. Joe Hargrave says:


    Everything you point out only confirms my analysis.

    First of all, Marxism is a materialist ideology that leads to its own form of consumerism. We never saw it quite so much because, for various reasons, the Soviet bloc could never get too far beyond heavy industry. There was however a noticeable and sizable shift to the production of consumer goods after WWII in Russia. It was also during this time that abortion, temporarily outlawed by Stalin because he wanted to restore the population level, was legalized once again.

    This, on an ideological backdrop which claimed that abortion was essential for the advancement of women in society, to emancipate them from motherhood and ‘domestic drudgery’. It is the same logic the West came into with its own materialist and consumerist ideologies. The Soviets had it first.

    This is why JP II, again, did not relent for one moment in sharpening and deepening his criticism of the West even as he battled communist totalitarianism. He never failed to emphasize that consumerism, hedonism, et. al. were a threat to civilization as well. He saw communism and consumerism as two heads of the same materialist beast.

    Next, the Sandinistas are not the exception. Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, and the list goes on – none have legalized abortion, or even made noise about doing so. I’ll have to double check this, but if memory serves me correctly only two countries in Latin America have loose abortion laws like the US – Costa Rica, and Cuba. Ironically these two countries embody ideological stereotypes of ‘free market capitalism’ and communism respectively! Meanwhile countries with a rich Catholic heritage that have not been carried away by consumerism have not yet fallen. I hope that it stays that way as they continue to develop, because I do believe prosperity and respect for life are compatible, but only on certain conditions.

  42. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Joe in regard to Costa Rica abortion is illegal.

    In regard to Chavez, some of his allies did attempt to loosen the abortion laws in Venezuela but ran into strong Catholic opposition:

    As to Evo Morales, critics point to Article 66 in the new Bolivian Constitution as opening the door for legalizing abortion.

    In regard to abortion and the Soviet Union, the Bolsheviks legalized abortion immediately after taking power. Abortions were subject to restrictions from 1936-1955 and then made legal again.

    My point in regard to the Soviet Union and the communist governments imposed on Eastern Europe is that the living standards there were pathetic by the standards of the West, and yet the abortion rates were the highest in the world. Intriguingly, abortion rates have fallen in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    I do not accept the proposition that a rising standard of living leads to more abortions. I think other factors, including active practice of religion, play a much more important role. The divergence of abortion rates among the states lend some credence to this with the more secular east and west coasts tending to have higher abortion rates.

  43. Joe Hargrave says:


    I was wrong about Costa Rica, obviously – I’m now trying to remember which L.A. countries have legal abortion.

    I’m also well aware of Soviet abortion law, as I hope I made clear in my last post (was I wrong about something there?). I don’t normally like to blow my own horn too much, but I know a great deal about Soviet history and Marxist ideology. So did JP II, and that is again, I must stress, why he was able to make the comparisons that he did. Benedict is no different in this regard. Read this homily, for instance:

    In countries like Bolivia, you do have leftist movements that want legal abortion – but the majority of the people oppose it. What the leaders want to do is, for now, checked by the will of the people. And that’s the real difference. Their people value different things than we value. They have less consumerism and hedonism, and consequently less abortion.

    You say Soviet living standards were ‘pathetic’ when compared to the West, but they were still higher when compared to the rest of the world – hence the designation ‘Second World’. But that isn’t the real point; the point is that they still had a consumerist mentality even if their economy had not become as efficient at producing consumer goods. It was a combination of an industrial society AND a materialist ideology that gave them their own version of consumerism, different than the West in form but not in essence.

    Marxist literature of the 20th century is filled with aspirations for the ’emancipation of women’ from ‘domestic drudgery’ through the widespread application of technology to home life. You may not realize it but Marxists have always had a love-hate relationship with American materialism and consumerism, seeing it as the basic foundation for a future socialist society. Just because they couldn’t quite achieve in the USSR (though they did for the upper classes there) doesn’t mean they didn’t want it. They did, and they do.

    Finally, as for the divide between states, its not only secularism that separates the coast from the interior, but income, urbanization, population density, education levels. All of these things are related. The question isn’t ‘which factor, to the exclusion of others’, but rather ‘which factor is decisive’. For the Popes a materialist ideology is the common thread running through the cultures of death, be they in communist or capitalist trappings. There is no way to avoid their repeated – often repeated – pronouncements that rising living standards WITHOUT a corresponding religious and ethical foundation ARE responsible for the culture of death.

    Which is all I have really said.

  44. Abortion was also quite common in the ancient world and in ancient China, Japan and India — with those cultures that weren’t good at herbal and physical abortions resorting to routine infanticide instead. Nor, sadly, was it absent in the Middle Ages, though it was far more underground then since it was condemned by the Church.

    Now, one could argue that this was also the result of consumerism at it appeared in those cultures. However, by that point one may be defining consumerism to broadly as to simply be a plug for materialism, selfishness and willingness to prey upon the weak to protect the strong.

    There would be a certain amount of truth to defining consumerism that way, but it would mean basically defining consumerism as “sin” — and it’s a no-brainer that all societies are prey to widespread sin, nor are we likely to see that change in this world. Once society manages to drive one sin out of fashion, it’s opposite invariably springs up to replace it. The golden mean eludes us in life. (Which isn’t to say that we shouldn’t work on improvement.)

  45. Joe Hargrave says:

    Ok, once again, and I hate to keep pounding a point but I feel I must until it is acknowledged – it is clear that the modern problem of abortion has its roots in the modern version of materialism, which on a practical level is consumerism.

    I challenge you to search the Vatican website, for instance, for ‘consumerism’ and ‘abortion’. And even before consumerism became a buzz word, Popes were condemning it under different names. The link between consumerism and the culture of death is recognized by JP II and Benedict over and over again. It’s in so many documents that it ought to be a matter of common knowledge.

    Consumerism is not simply subsumed into ‘sin’ in general, it is specifically isolated and specifically linked to a decline in Western society’s value of life.

  46. Rick Lugari says:

    FWIW, Joe. I think you would find a lot more agreement if you stuck to the term materialism rather than consumerism. I could be mistaken, but I don’t necessarily view them as synonymous and I wager others don’t. I don’t think you could have consumerism without materialism, but there can be materialism absent consumerism. Materialism having a disordered view of material good versus spiritual or social good. Consumerism being more of a theory or system, or better, materialism in action. You may not have to pound that point if you just change the term.

  47. Joe Hargrave says:


    I understand your point. Materialism is the philosophical problem. But it isn’t enough to state that. Why? Because consumerist thinking and behavior has infected millions of nominal, professing Christians as well, I daresay the vast majority of them. One can reject materialism in the head, and still be swept up in consumerism. Materialism is an idea – consumerism is not only an idea but a way of being.

    And what you describe as materialism, is in fact consumerism. Materialism is a view that nothing exists but matter. Matter is usually defined in such a way as to exclude God or anything transcendent.

  48. Foxfier says:

    if you want to make the argument that consumerism is causing abortion, then make it.

    That they’re both condemned by very wise men in the same speech doesn’t mean that one causes the other– it means they’re related, which would be explained if both are from materialism.

    Here’s one I found with a quick google:
    May this order be understood and respected! May it never be violated, and even less so upset! Modern progress, as can be clearly seen, has such a danger in itself. The “progressive” culture, with the exception of those projects which have the person as their true reference, all too easily become a culture of things rather than of people. There are so many things that can be done, the calls of advertising and publicity are so insistent, that there is the risk of being overcome. People can end up being, even against their will, slaves of things and of the desire for possessions. Does not perhaps the so-called consumerism represent the expression of “order” (or rather of “disorder”) in which “having” is more important than “being”? Is it perhaps not symptomatic that this line of culture is sometimes hostile to the beginning of life, almost as if that human being who is just beginning its existence were an impediment to the possession and use of things?
    -April 21, 1991; The Pope celebrated Mass in the cathedral of Fabriano on the feast of St Joseph.

    A shared symptom of the disease.

    Random thought- wouldn’t most of the Deadly Sins be involved in materialism? Everything but wrath, maybe pride. (depends on how coherent the materialistic philosophy is– no reason to be proud if there’s no purpose but pleasure.)

  49. Joe Hargrave says:


    I did make it. I linked to an article I wrote on it, twice. I pointed out a number of relevant things here. I’m working on a longer paper as well.

    Consumerism isn’t a ’cause’ in the way one billiard ball hitting another ’causes’ it to move – it is a cause in that it shapes our lives. Abortion and consumerism don’t merely show up in the same speech. Even in this passage you provide, it is evident which way the relationship is going. It is not merely a ‘shared symptom’. The hostility towards life is what is ‘symptomatic’ of the deeper spiritual disease of consumerism.

    Abortion is a part of the ‘culture of death’, and a culture is not something that develops out of nothing. A culture develops out of the way we live our day to day lives, how we work, how we produce and consume. Sometimes changes in our practical, economic lives produce unforeseen cultural results. Our technological capacity quickly outpaces our moral development.

    These are consistent and pervasive themes in the thought of our most recent popes.

  50. Foxfier says:

    Mr. Hargrave, PLEASE stop responding to things I did not say.

    Abortion and consumerism don’t merely show up in the same speech.

    I never claimed they did. I said they are mentioned together because they have the same cause– they are both symptoms.

    Just make the argument, don’t post a link and leave it as an exercise for the reader. The basic idea can’t be that complicated– the details naturally will be, but not the basic theory.

    I assume you’re trying to change minds, not just exercise your fingers. If you can hook someone with an argument, then offer more detail in a link, it’s very useful.

  51. So just to be clear: Would you argue that abortion at this time in history is caused by consumerism (as is divorce, and a number of other evils relating to excessive individualism) but that abortion the the Victorian era and in the Middle Ages and in Classical times was the result of completely different moral failings? A constant symptom with many different causes?

    I’m not trying to say consumerism isn’t a problem. I’m just concerned that if we say, “Consumerism is the root of the culture of death” and then insist that we need to change our economic structures in order to defeat consumerism, we fall into a form of Utopianism where we imagine that some changes in our economy can somehow root out sins that have appeared in nearly every society in history.

  52. Joe Hargrave says:


    If you don’t want to read the link, don’t read it. I couldn’t care less. But I did make the argument back at the beginning of this discussion, with E. I don’t see why I should have to repeat myself over and again, especially when I have five people here who disagree with me. I think providing the link to my article was sufficient.

    Frankly I’m not trying to ‘hook’ you or anyone else. This isn’t a sales pitch, its just a discussion.

    Now, how are we going to go forward? Sarcasm, glib remarks? Is it really necessary? We don’t have to be foes here. I’ll address any objection you want to make in as fair and civil manner as I can. There is absolutely zero need for any rudeness or hostility from either of us. No need to argue. Like me and Darwin here, see?

  53. Joe Hargrave says:


    I would not argue that. I would argue that the consumerist impulse has always existed, but only in the 20th century did it find a material host to make it a widespread phenomenon.

    Abortion for most of human history was a ‘luxury’ of the upper classes, perhaps the middle classes – but always the minority. It was culturally accepted in the ancient world, but in the ancient world, and up through the 19th century, the idea that life begins at conception didn’t exist – life began at ‘the quickening’, and prior to that, ‘abortion’ was a removal of what was thought to be a dead mass.

    Now, there was infanticide in the ancient world, among pagans. But there was also hedonism, if not consumerism as we think of it today, a desire for pleasure at the expense of virtue and the well-being of others. The Roman games and orgies were only the most blatant examples.

    We might call consumerism the modern hedonism, mass, industrialized, rationalized, efficient hedonism. Neither are synonymous with ‘materialism’, however. Pagans had gods and supernatural beliefs.

    As for your concern, forget utopia. Who is talking about that? I would be fine with a society, though, where abortion was rare, where it was culturally unacceptable. It would be delusional to think all abortion can be destroyed.

    There are economic structures of sin, social roots of evil, that have been frankly and repeatedly acknowledge by the popes. They specifically say – this is not just about individuals, but structures and institutions. And we must address them. The impossibility of creating utopia does not negate our moral obligation to confront the structures of sin and transform them as best we can.

  54. Foxfier says:

    Joe Hargrave Says:
    Thursday, May 14, 2009 A.D. at 5:52 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the problem is too much wealth, against a secular political backdrop. Consumerism + secularism = abortion. That is why social safety nets only stop some abortions, but nowhere close to all.

    That isn’t an argument, that’s a statement.

    If you don’t want to change minds, why are you wasting your time?

    Now, how are we going to go forward? Sarcasm, glib remarks? Is it really necessary?

    Up to you. All I’m asking is that you support your arguments, instead of just dismissing other folks’.

    Frankly, I don’t much care what you do– I think the arguments that materialism and dehumanization are the causes of abortion/ infanticide, as opposed to consumerism (defined, again, as pursuit of happiness via material things, opposing to other meanings of the word).

    I just want you to have a chance to fairly represent your arguments. You don’t take it, no skin off my nose.

  55. Joe Hargrave says:


    I said more after that, to E.

  56. […] and the Culture of Death A discussion I have been having with my Catholic brothers and sisters about the causes of abortion helped to […]

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