Saturday, February 16, 2008


Hey, kids, did you know that prayer can help make you a remote totalitarian-wannabe spy for Jesus?

WALLINGFORD, Pa. -- The bell rang and the eighth-graders jumped up, eager to compare notes.

"I named my baby Kyle Patrick," one shouted.

"Mine is Antonio!"

At the urging of an anti-abortion activist, each had pledged to "spiritually adopt" a fetus developing in an unknown woman -- to name it, love it from afar and, above all, pray daily that the mother-to-be would not choose abortion.

"Maybe one day you'll get to heaven and these people will come running to you ... and say, 'We're all the little children you saved,'" activist Cristina Barba said. She smiled at the students in their Catholic school uniforms. "Maybe you really can make a difference." ...

Sorry, this creeps me out -- the notion that, if you're pregnant, some pubescent zealot feels entitled to name your fetus and influence what happens to it. It's a bizarre combination of superstition and fascism. It's also (like so much else in the anti-abortion movement) treating the fetus as what a friend of mine has called a "foetish" -- a fetishized fetus.

The article goes on to cite statistics showing decreased support for legalized abortion among the young. If that's the case, I don't know if it's a harbinger of a real ahift in public opinion, a byproduct of a kind of absolutism that dissipates as people grow older and see more of real life -- or possibly an association of support for abortion with those horrible boomer feminists everyone hates these days. But regardless, the remote-naming-and-praying exercise is just twisted.

(More on Cristina Barber, who's also a virginity activist, here. She's obviously pretty good at getting mainstream press; no doubt her book deal is just around the corner.)

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