Analysis

The Virgin Mary: the first pro-choice supporter?

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Did you know that the Virgin Mary, who is honored as the Blessed Mother in Catholic tradition, was the first pro-choice activist? No? Well, apparently she was the first person to embrace the ethic of “Choice”- according to Sister Donna Quinn, a pro-choice Catholic nun.

In a 2009 article in the Chicago Tribune, entitled “Pro-choice nun still fighting for women’s care,” Sister Quinn makes the following statement:

 I was reminded of being with men and women from the Unitarian faith tradition last year as they celebrated Mary who by her assent, they believed, was one of the first women in the New Testament to express Choice.

Apparently, these Unitarians were embracing Mary as the first pro-choicer. Their reasoning is that because she said “yes” to the angel who asked her to bear Jesus, she was exercising “Choice.” The rest of the article seems to imply that Quinn agrees.

Sister Quinn made this statement on the day that Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. She celebrated that Marian feast by writing to pro-abortion congressmen to thank them for defeating a piece of pro-life legislation.

Sister Quinn does not limit her pro-choice activity to communing with pro-choice Unitarians, writing to pro-choice congressmen, and making bizarre statements about Mary. She also works as a clinic escort. She works for the abortion clinic (either as a paid staffer or a volunteer, the article was not clear on that point) and ushers women past pro-life sidewalk counselors. She is there to guard these women against pro-lifers’ offers of help and support, offers of information on fetal development, warnings about abortion’s risks, and appeals to their consciences.  She rushes the women past those who would help her carry her pregnancy to term, those who would offer her a chance to see her baby on an ultrasound machine, and those who would tell her the truth about abortion she is unlikely to hear in the clinic. 

As a former Catholic who has severed all ties with the Church, it is not my place to decide what Catholics should and should not believe.

But I can’t help but notice that Sister Quinn’s interpretation of the story of Mary and Jesus (assuming she agrees with the Unitarians) is quite different from the stories I heard growing up. I hope that Live Action readers will forgive me, then, for pointing out that something seems rotten in the state of Denmark. The Catholic Church has always been a driving force in the pro-life movement. From the very beginning, Catholics were opposing the killing of unborn children. In fact, it was as a Catholic CCD student that I first heard that abortion was wrong.

The concept of a pro-choice Mary who exercised the first abortion decision by agreeing to bear Christ is bizarre and disturbing. The Virgin Mary as a pro-choice icon? Most of my Catholic friends would disagree.

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