“All these penalties do is subdue women’s freedom to get healthy, safe services when they most need them,” she continued.
Gorman depicted abortion as the foundation of equality.
“If the sexes and all people are to be equal, abortion has to be actually accessible and not just technically legal,” she said. This “isn’t only about women and girls, this fight is about fundamental civil rights. Women are a big part of it but at the heart of it are freedom over how fast our families grow."
Gorman was named the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
In her Inauguration Day performance of the poem “The Hill We Climb,” Gorman described herself as a “skinny Black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother.” She is a Catholic who grew up in a historically Black Los Angeles Catholic church. CNA sought comment from Gorman but did not receive a response by deadline.
Her Jan. 20 inauguration performance and her poem’s lofty sentiments drew praise from many observers.
“And yes we are far from polished. / Far from pristine. / But that doesn't mean we are / striving to form a union that is perfect. / We are striving to forge a union with purpose, / to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and / conditions of man,” she said.
“But one thing is certain, / If we merge mercy with might, / and might with right, / then love becomes our legacy, / and change our children's birthright,” she continued.
“Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed / a nation that isn't broken, / but simply unfinished,” said her poem.
Gorman’s 2019 pro-abortion rights performance appears to link pro-life advocacy with the alternative right, a hardline right-wing movement.
“The alt-right’s biggest blunder is that most Americans aren’t under their impression that a woman’s body is up to them to decide,” Gorman said.
(Story continues below)
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As CNA reported in August 2017, some alt-right commentators tend to voice strong support for abortion in non-white communities. In a 2016 article for Radix Journal, a alt-right publication started by self-avowed white nationalist Richard Spencer, the writer Aylmer Fisher criticized the “pro-life temptation.”
Fisher criticized pro-lifers who oppose abortion because it is racist. Instead, he argued that the pro-life position is “dysgenic” because it does not oppose birth among populations that are more likely to be below the poverty line and more likely to be of African-American or Hispanic heritage.
“The alt-right is skeptical, to say the least, of concepts like ‘equality’ and ‘human rights,’ especially as bases for policy,” Fisher said. “The unborn fetus has no connection to anyone else in the community.”
The largest abortion provider in the U.S., Planned Parenthood, has long come under criticism for the views of its founder Margaret Sanger. In July 2020, amid debate about historic figures and their views on race, the Greater New York affiliate of Planned Parenthood, announced that it would remove Sanger’s name from its Manhattan building because of her support for eugenics.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.