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Peace & Life Connections #30 - October 8, 2010


Helen Prejean Speaks

        Sr. Helen Prejean, CL Endorser and best known as the author of Dead Man Walking and energetic death penalty abolitionist, spoke on "Embracing a Consistent Ethic of Life" on October 4 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Derwood, MD. CL folks who went to hear it report that it was a great evening.  She gave a plug for CL at the beginning of her talk.  Quite a few people came to our table.  There was quite a crowd, and Sr. Helen gave a wonderful talk. We’ll let you know when the video is uploaded to our youtube channel.
        The photo below shows in order from left to right: Bill Samuel, CL president; Paul Magno, CL Advisory Board member and former staff person; Helen Prejean; and Rob Arner and Tony Masalonis, both on the CL Board of Directors.


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 CL at the Peace & Justice Studies Association (PJSA)

        Consistent Life again had a table and a full-page program ad at the annual PJSA conference, held this past week in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Rachel MacNair, the director of our research arm – the Institute for Integrated Social Analysis – presented on a “Research Agenda for Abortion from a Peace Studies Perspective.” Anyone interested in either the PowerPoint or the full paper (still in development) can send a request to

        Pictures from the conference have Rachel with Michael Nagler, who wrote Chapter 17 – “Connecting the Dots – Nonviolently” in our anthology, Consistently Opposing Killing (coming out soon in paperback) and is director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education; Chris Hansvick, professor at Pacific Lutheran University who does coordinating work for those teaching Peace Studies courses; and Barry Gan, Director of the Center for Nonviolence at Bonaventure University.


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Direct Connection of War and Abortion

        The paper that came in the same session as ours at PJSA was about North Korean women who escaped or were trafficked into China and then sent back. They’re put in prison camps, and if pregnant, forcibly aborted to get rid of the “dirty Chinese seed.” The presenter pointed out that in Bosnia, Serbs had used rape as a weapon of war to “plant Serbian seed” on Bosnian soil. While abortion itself didn’t come up at the plenaries, these themes were carried through: world-wide, the young women and girls most vulnerable to being manipulated or forced into trafficking – that’s a euphemism for slavery with serial rapes – are the ones in war zones. Poverty-enforced prostitution is also more common there. Rape as a form of low-cost war-time torture is widespread because the perpetrators get away with it under male-dominated systems. Abortions that result are either forced, just as the initial sex was, or the result of violence inflicted that would make a cruel joke of “choice.”  

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Quotation of the Week 

Joseph Bernardin, address to the Woodstock Theological Center, 1990 

        “[T]he consistent ethic . . . is helpful in that it illustrates the consequences on a range of issues when we fail as a society to protect the sacredness of every human life.  A moral vision which does not have room in the circle of the human community for unborn children will inevitably draw the circle of life too narrowly in other decisions of social and economic policy . . . There must be a connection . . . between our lack of moral vision in protecting unborn children and our lack of social vision in the provision of basic necessities for women and children.” 

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