Dorothy Day and Abortion

This year’s election campaign has featured the usual claims by some Democrats that being “pro-choice” on abortion is a necessary corollary to being a “social justice” Catholic.

Dorothy Day didn’t agree.

The foundress of the Catholic Worker movement had no tolerance for the assumption that people like herself, who had dedicated their lives to the cause of social justice and to serving the poor and the marginalized, must support abortion rights.

And, as this entry at the Houston Catholic Worker website notes, she wasn’t shy about letting other social justice advocates know her views on the matter.

At a meeting about women’s rights in May 1971, Day was introduced by the young woman in charge as someone who “understood a woman’s right to choose, and that abortion was very much at the heart of empowering women.”

The outraged Day immediately set the record straight.

Recalled the Catholic friend who took Day to the event, “Dorothy, who was sitting in the front row, rose out of her chair to her full angular forbidding height, shook her finger at the speaker, and angrily scolded her on the falseness of such a belief, on the dignity of women and the child’s right to life.”

— Tom McFeely