EDITOR’S NOTE: Catholics for Choice was formerly known as Catholics for a Free Choice, founded by notorious abortion promoter Frances Kissling. In her August 2 interview with Jim Sedlak (American Life League’s vice president and host of the Armed for Battle radio show), Judie Brown, president of ALL, responded to CFC’s recent accusations against her. Below we bring you an abridged and slightly adapted version of their conversation. You can listen to the entire broadcast online here.
A dissident organization calling itself Catholics for Choice (which has been condemned by the bishops because it’s not, in fact, Catholic), recently ran an article in its magazine, called Conscience, titled “Meet Some Religious Extremists.”1 The introduction said, “Extremism is commonly thought to be another form of patriarchy, but in reality, there are plenty of women’s faces . . . within the fundamentalist movement. Women from a variety of faith traditions use religious ideology to override others’ claims to basic rights, especially reproductive rights.” It starts by saying that you oppose “anybody, any law, any language or any argument that supports a single abortion for any reason.” Is that right, Judie?
We’re so biblically based at American Life League, so we know you can oppose bad actions, such as abortion, but not human beings. I’ve never insulted or in any way attacked a human being, but I continually point out the errors in abortion supporters’ philosophy. Our position is that of the Church: You can’t support an act of abortion for any reason whatsoever, because an act of direct, intentional abortion is a crime that results in the death of another human being.
Once you suggest you really don’t mean it when you say that abortion is an act of killing—because there are some cases of abortion that you’re okay with—you’ve lost your credibility, you’ve lost the moral high ground, and you’ve lost your ability to defend life. So, to my mind, anybody who supports a single act of abortion isn’t really pro-life.
The second point in the article is that, as Operation Rescue was getting started here in the United States, ALL supported it, as you’ve supported many pro-life efforts when they were first getting started. The article says you “led ALL when it was one of the early proponents of aggressive and intimidating techniques such as sidewalk counseling [and] clinic blockades.” Are you guilty of that?
I’m guilty as charged and proud of it! In the early days of ALL, we had several priests in the parish where ALL is located, and we traveled to abortion mills every Saturday morning. Some of us sidewalk counseled, some prayed, and others, including a priest, actually had themselves chained to the front door of an abortion mill.
I felt the presence of God was with us, and as early as the late 1970s, when I first got involved in activism, we helped expectant mothers turn away from aborting their children and have their babies, with the help of pro-life pregnancy centers. If I’m charged with a “crime” because I helped others pursue saving human beings, I’m very thankful that I’m guilty!
The Conscience article also says you’ve “repeatedly taken the bishops to task for not coming down more harshly on prochoice [sic] Catholics.”
What we’ve done is ask bishops, intercede with bishops, and do everything we could to beg bishops to defend Christ in the Eucharist—and according to the laws of the Church (canon law)—do everything they could and instruct their priests to defend Christ from sacrilege by not providing the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to anyone publicly known to be in favor of abortion. That isn’t an attack at all, but a request that bishops act according to the laws of the Church and defend the Holy Eucharist.
The article mentioned your disagreement with Cardinal Dolan about inviting President Obama to the 2012 Al Smith Dinner. Why did you think it was so wrong for Cardinal Dolan to have Obama at this dinner, just before the last election?
Any cardinal of the Catholic Church should never give the impression that he’s accommodating a man who is, perhaps, the most virulently pro-abortion individual ever to exist. That would be President Obama himself. Cardinal Dolan not only ignored all of our requests to disinvite Obama from the Al Smith Dinner, but also provided Obama with all of the “photo ops” he wanted throughout the dinner. I believe that Cardinal Dolan hosting Obama at that dinner added to the opportunity for Catholics to vote in favor of this man. In the last election, 52 percent of Catholics voted for Obama, the most pro-abortion president in American history. I rest my case.
The Conscience article charges that you “embrace stratified gender roles,” because, in a 1979 People magazine profile of you and your husband, you said your “own mother waited on my father hand and foot, and they were very happy. I am very proud to have someone I can wait on. I love being married to a chauvinist.”
My husband certainly is a chauvinist, and that’s one of the reasons I married him. I truly believed in the Catholic teaching that a wife and a husband work as a team, with the husband as leader and the wife as helpmate. My primary vocation is to be his wife and the mother of his children. My faith comes first, then my family, and then my work in the pro-life movement. My husband is a real man, and I thank God for this every day.
The last charge the article makes is that you’re against contraception. You’re quoted as saying that you oppose it because “contraception has ensnared women in more ways than one. . . . [They] suffer and even die even because of it.” ALL is one of the few pro-life organizations that take a strong stand on contraception. Why is this so important?
In the mid-1960s, when the birth control pill was coming into vogue, the medical community made a decision and a concerted effort to redefine when pregnancy begins and to deny women the right to know the dangers of the pill. The reason for this, in my humble opinion, had to do with money. We know that pregnancy begins at the point that the baby is created—not eight days later, when the baby implants himself. But if doctors could tell women, with a straight face, that their pregnancy didn’t begin till eight days after it actually did, then they could convince women that these pills 1) wouldn’t abort their child, which, in fact, they could, and 2) wouldn’t cause them any harmful side effects, which we now know is totally and patently false. The pill can be deadly to babies in the womb; it’s dangerous to women and can cause their death. Yet the medical profession has steadfastly denied these facts.
Besides understanding the history of the pill, I understand and accept the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Church teaches that contraception is intrinsically disordered, because it puts a blockade between God and His ability to bless a couple with a child, if He so chooses. When you ingest a birth control pill or use any other contraceptive, you say no to God: “We don’t want Your gift of a child; if we’re ready to accept that gift later, we’ll let You know, but in the meantime, keep Your nose out of our marriage.” That’s outrageous, and that’s the primary reason why ALL has always opposed contraception.
For those on the other side, sex is only for recreation. They do everything they can to prevent procreation when sex happens, because they really do not like babies. I’ve become convinced of that, over the years. And they spend a lot of time trying to convince our young people that babies are bad.
And once they deliver that message, people begin to ask, what’s wrong with promiscuity? What’s wrong with infidelity? They begin to think you can have sex with anybody, anytime you want, and it’s okay, because there are no consequences. But the consequences wind up on the floor of the abortion mill.
Many members of the medical community prescribe contraceptives, and they just don’t want to see that they’re killing children in the womb—even though the manufacturer’s information sheet says that one of the ways the birth control pill acts is by preventing implantation in the womb.
Since the 1960s, the primary focus of the medical profession has been financial gain by fudging on the facts. When you ask a doctor for the facts about the birth control pill, they’ll deny that there’s anything wrong with it and say that it certainly doesn’t act to kill babies. They can’t afford to admit that.
Years ago, when I was a guest on a radio program in Australia and we were discussing the birth control pill as an abortifacient, a caller said he once asked a doctor if the pill can cause an abortion. When the doctor assured him it doesn’t, he asked for documentation. The doctor gave him the reference book he used to prescribe medications. The next week, he went back to the doctor and told him, “In the reference book, it says that the birth control pill inhibits implantation in the womb. What does that mean?” The doctor said, “That means it causes abortion.” It was as if the doctor had never seen that before. There’s a lot of miseducation out there and probably even within the medical schools. ALL has a lot of good information on all aspects of contraception, including a website called www.ThePillKills.com.
Ninety-nine percent of the people who use the birth control pill have no idea how it works. And we haven’t even talked about the pill’s effects on marriage and the family, and all of its other deleterious effects.
Several scientific studies have now shown that a woman who’s on the birth control pill while she’s dating gets attracted to the wrong mate, due to the way its hormones affect her body. And if she later goes off the pill, there could be a lot of problems.
Look at bodybuilders or anybody else that takes artificial hormones. They’re always affected negatively, because you don’t need to ingest artificial hormones, whether you’re a bodybuilder or a woman who doesn’t want to be responsible for her sexual activity.
The birth control pill is, in fact, a steroid, and has an effect on the body similar to that of any other steroid. These days, there’s a lot of talk about harm to children from steroids, especially when they’re used for sports. So, if you’re in a position to influence youth, this is an important point to make, besides the moral reasons for not using the birth control pill and not having sex outside of marriage, to begin with.
That’s right. The level of ignorance about contraception is enormous, and I think, in no small part, that’s because of silence from the pulpit and from the government, and the total dishonesty of those responsible for drug approval in this nation.
Is there a last message you would like to give our listeners?
No matter how many arrows are thrown at you, how much criticism you receive, or how many so-called friends you lose because you’re defending life, it’s all worth it, because we have a Savior in Jesus Christ, Who has died on the cross to save each and every one of us who are willing to imitate Him, follow the path behind Him, and accept our cross, whatever that might be in our own life. And if we do that, although we may be alienated from others, we’ll never be alienated from Him. After all, we are His servants—and we are His servants alone.
1See Vol. XXXIV, No. 2 (2013), available online here.
SIDEBAR: Firm principles make decisions easy
by Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League
For many pro-life and pro-family groups, one of their most challenging tasks is deciding which legislation or ballot initiatives to support. There are questions of whether the bill or initiative will get passed, whether it’s pragmatic, whether it can be “sold” to constituents, and many others. At American Life League, none of that matters. To evaluate a bill or initiative, all we do is determine whether its results will be morally correct, whether it’s free from exceptions, and whether it’s consistent with Catholic teaching. If it meets those three criteria, we support it. If not, we don’t.These same principles have guided the development of our forthcoming Culture of Life Curriculum, our evaluation of the activities of various Catholic charities, our efforts against Planned Parenthood, and our decisions regarding support for various personhood initiatives.
Many groups and individuals ask us when we’re going to start being “realistic”—that is, when we’ll start accepting the death of some babies in order to save many more. The answer is never! We are, after all, the organization run by Judie Brown.