Analysis

Pro-life organization aims to help women better understand their bodies

A new pro-life women’s health care organization, Feminae Vero, is on a mission to decrease abortions by reaching women’s hearts with the truth about the goodness and beautiful design of their female bodies.

Founder Mary Kate Knorr, who previously served as executive director of Illinois Right to Life and as strategic director for Students for Life Action, told the National Catholic Register via email that pro-lifers need to have a frank conversation about what women’s health care is and isn’t in order to effectively counter the societal narratives that lead women to choose abortion. She told the Register:

Working in the pro-life movement made me realize two things: First, that the issue of abortion is not just a logic problem — it’s also a heart problem. I realized that if we truly want to win people over on the issue, it doesn’t simply call for convincing arguments or winning debates. It calls for transformation and conversion. And, second, I realized that we could not adequately address the abortion issue if we weren’t also addressing with veracity the false definition of “reproductive health care” that has been allowed to impress itself upon Americans.

She stressed that authentic “reproductive health care” must be understood as “restorative and healing, rather than damaging” to the female reproductive system, as happens with hormonal birth control and abortion.

Tackling a sometimes-controversial topic within the pro-life movement head-on, Knorr denounced “the artificial hormonal birth control pill’s use for seemingly every female issue,” from acne to painful periods. Knorr also decried a trend towards recommending “abortion as a response to pregnancy complications or certain genetic test results.”

She observed, “In general, our culture approaches women’s reproductive gift as a burden or an illness.”

READ: Activism training camp equips 100 pro-lifers with skills to prevent abortion in their communities

Feminae Vero, which means “true femininity” in Latin, takes a polar opposite perspective from the fertility-as-burden mindset. While the organization recognizes unequivocally that “[women’s reproductive capacity] comes with great challenges and mysteries,” they also understand that “this is true for so much in life.” Knorr wrote, “My organization uses the term ‘solutions-oriented health care’ because we want to stress that the goal is to identify problems and seek real, authentic solutions — not Band-Aids. The pill and abortion are not sufficient approaches to treating reproductive and hormonal ailments. We absolutely must stop treating them as such.”

In contrast to a Band-Aid approach, Feminae Vero states, “We believe that the woman’s period is good and necessary, and that her cycle is her body’s fifth vital sign. We believe that period problems are often early indicators of a deeper issue, and that working to heal her cycle is a gesture of love for the woman.”

According to the website, Feminae Vero seeks to “serve, educate, and evangelize.” They first serve by “addressing [women’s] immediate physical needs by gathering information about their symptoms and making a medical referral to a doctor in their area.” Secondly, they “use this point of connection to do some basic educating on how their bodies are designed to work, what the reproductive cycle means for a woman’s health, and how the pill, Plan B, abortion and some other approaches have the potential to do harm.” The third piece of their work is to evangelize women who are open to having a conversation about “how all of these biological truths reflect the truths of our Christian faith.”

Links on the website offer to connect women with a “period advocate,” a “birthing doula,” or a “nutrition specialist,” depending on women’s particular needs or interests. The organization plans to serve women specifically through retreats, which will address both the personal and spiritual aspects of women’s health issues, as well as
through advocacy to health care professionals and elected officials, education on women’s health issues, and outreach.

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