The last time I read TeenVogue, I was still thinking about what color my braces should be and whether my black background on MySpace looked cool or “too emo.” 

But a recent article from the teen magazine that’s been making the rounds on social media is hard to ignore.

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It’s entitled: “I am a Priest, and This is Why I’m Pro-Choice.”

The author, Reverend Broderick L. Greer, is an Episcopal priest who uses the op-ed to explain why he is pro-choice despite his religion’s “typical convictions regarding abortion.”

There are so many issues with the piece it’s difficult to know where to begin, but maybe I should start with the fact that a priest is advocating a pro-choice position in a teen magazine without making any mention of the fact that teens are minors, and shouldn’t be making any medical decisions without their parents’ knowledge and consent. Almost every state requires some sort of parental notification or consent for teen abortions, with a few exceptions in cases of emergency or if bypassed by judicial review.

Near the beginning of the piece, Rev. Greer dutifully recognizes the he “(does) not have a uterus and that many of the decisions made about the bodies of people with a uterus are by cisgender men. And the last thing any of us interested in transformative public discourse need is another cisgender man telling people how they should or shouldn’t take care of their reproductive health.”

One thing he seems to forget here is that cisgender men tend to play a crucial role in reproducing, but I digress.

His admission also does not stop him from taking a position, and a disheartening one for a priest. Greer writes that he believes it is “not his place” to tell women and “people with a uterus” whether or not they should have abortions because “I see myself less as a purveyor of pithy moral quips and more as a companion with people through life’s most challenging and complex seasons.”

But people – with and without a uterus – look to priests not just for companionship through the difficulties of life but specifically for moral guidance. That’s… kind of their job.

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Truth doesn’t need to be conveyed with “pithy quips” but it can be conveyed with love and yes, mercy, in a real and honest and raw way, recognizing complexities of individual situations without resorting to death as the solution.  

As a haver of a uterus, I know I would far prefer a priest to gently steer me in the direction of truth and life for myself and my child than to tell me he has no guidance to offer me.

Greer also writes of his “elation” over the fact that “far fewer people are dying” today than in the pre- Roe v. Wade days of back-alley abortions. But he seems to conveniently ignore the 50+ million innocents who have since died in the womb since that time.

He then writes that “People seeking out reproductive healthcare – not just abortions – aren’t an ‘issue’ or a ‘question’. They are people with needs, desires, and a right to autonomy and self-determination in their reproductive decisions.” But the right to autonomy and self-determination apparently does not apply to the little people in the womb, who inadvertently do become an “issue” or a “question” or a “choice” in Greer’s view.

Greer then resorts to the strawman argument that most people who say they are pro-life are only pro-birth, which has got to be one of the most tiresome arguments out there. Those who identify as pro-life, especially in the millennial generation, do stand up for all life. They don’t see why they have to choose between the lives of unborn and the lives of refugees – they want to support them both. They are as opposed to the death penalty as they are to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

As a young priest said on a retreat I attended this weekend, perhaps now more than ever, most devout Catholics today feel politically homeless precisely because our pro-life views extend to people both within and beyond the womb.

Being pro-life is pretty simple, actually. I believe that life begins at conception. I believe that the taking of innocent life is wrong. Therefore, that belief applies to those in the womb as much as outside of it. And it also applies to supporting the flourishing of human life in every way possible.

These ideas don’t have so much to do with the fact that I have a uterus as they do with the fact of when human life begins and the inherent dignity of all human life, but if that helps my argument, I will throw it out there that yes, I am a woman and yes, I have a uterus, because that somehow makes my ideas about life and death more valid.  

Greer writes near the end that “we must embrace generative ways of relating to one another that prioritize the voices, experiences, and wisdom of historically-oppressed groups, affirming them as they plot the course of their own liberation.”

Ah, but as a wise person once said: “When our liberation costs innocent lives, it is merely oppression redistributed.”