At the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday, officials announced plans to expand Project Rachel, the post-abortion “healing” ministry of the Catholic Church. Despite a comprehensive study by the American Psychological Association in 2008 providing evidence to the contrary, Project Rachel asserts that women suffer psychological implications post-abortion. Reuters reports:
The move came a day after the bishops said religious freedom had been whittled away by same-sex marriage, abortion and healthcare legislation, and vowed to ramp up efforts to protect it.
Officials at the annual meeting said two new pilot projects based in Boston and Washington would train priests in building more Project Rachel ministries around the country.
This is clearly an attempt to convince the American people that abortion is bad for women. You see, focusing on the personhood of the fetus is only one aspect of the anti-choice framework. Lying about the physical, mental, and emotional impacts of abortion on women is a key part of a larger strategy to restrict reproductive freedom in the name of women’s health. This maneuver conveniently flips the debate from a narrow focus on the rights of the fetus, to the well being and health of the woman as well.
In addition to co-opting the language of the pro-choice movement, this particular tactic also operates as an effective recruitment strategy. In other words, if you can convince people to believe that abortion is bad for women’s health, then you can effectively disguise an agenda that is inherently anti-women as one that is in fact protecting women.
What’s especially irritating is that despite a large number of pro-choice Catholic men and women, the Church hierarchy continues to perpetuate an anti-choice message that harms women and their families.
Andrew (AJ) is a vehement progressive, youth activist, and reproductive justice organizer. When he's not busy with the movement, you can usually find him dancing in the club or watching trashy reality tv.