Solidarity & Sexual Shalom

May 1990By Juli Loesch Wiley

Juli Loesch Wiley, an agitator whose home base is Johnson City, Tennessee, is a Contributing Editor of the NOR. The article above is from Confessing Con­science, edited by Phyllis Tickle (published this month by Abingdon Press, a book publishing arm of the United Methodist Church). Copyright © 1990 Abing­don Press. Used by permission.

I was 21 years old in 1972. By that time, a year before Roe v. Wade, I was aware that practically all my female friends — at least those whom I knew well enough to know in­timate details about — had already aborted a first baby. Some, a second.

I had not. But this was not because my sexual behavior was any different or better than theirs: The late 1960s and early 1970s were the heyday of lifestyle experimentation and the sexual revolution, and I was out there skirmishing like much of the rest of my gen­eration. It’s just that I never became pregnant.

I also knew that we were all good wom­en, caring and sensitive, in fact quite biophilic, pacifists or near-pacifists mostly. (“Make Love, Not War.”) We did not act out of malice. And such good women do not commit murder. Therefore abortion could not be murder.

The church of my childhood, the Catholic Church, I had left behind several years before. It seemed to me that the Church had rules for sexuality that bound like iron bands, and rules for war and the military that were more like rubber bands. This apparent inconsistency rob­bed the Church’s “Sanctity of Life” arguments of moral legitimacy in my eyes. I also sided with the secular feminist movement against my Church on virtually every disputed ques­tion.

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