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Month: June 2019

Catholic Theological Society of America Plenary Address: “Another Pro-Life Movement Is Possible”

Friday, June 7, 2019
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“Another Pro-Life Movement Is Possible”
Respondent: Dr. Nichole M. Flores, University of Virginia


In this address, I argue that another pro-life movement is possible. My paper follows the conference theme in three steps: 1. Violence: We need to untangle patriarchy from the pro-life movement; 2. Resistance: We need to resist patriarchy and the related mindsets of double standard morality, oversimplification, and single-issue politics; 3. Transformation: We need to practice what we preach in an expanded pro-life movement. I do not challenge the magisterial teaching that there should always be a presumption against taking human life. Instead, I ask what that means for Catholic participation in political life and pragmatic discernment about how to foster a culture of life most effectively. I encourage us to center the experiences of women, including women who have experienced pregnancy loss and abortion. I hope that our conversation this morning can move us forward as a church community to create more spaces for wrestling with moral complexity and ambiguity, accompanying people facing difficult discernments about responsible choices regarding fertility, and at the same time living out the joy of the gospel and our hope of new life in Christ.

Check out NCR’s coverage of the CTSA here.

On Women’s Health and Women’s Power: A Feminist Appraisal of Humanae Vitae

First Published November 30, 2018


Catholic feminism has flourished in the decades following Humanae Vitae. Still, Catholic women do not speak with one voice on the issue of birth control. I argue that Humanae Vitae has had far-reaching damaging effects on many Catholic women and their spirituality, moral agency, and fertility. Nevertheless, any feminist critique of the document must also take seriously the experiences of Catholic women who express that practicing natural family planning has brought empowerment, good health, and increased spousal intimacy. Further ecclesial discernment is needed, with special attention to women’s leadership on this issue.

© Emily Reimer-Barry, 2019