The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Abortion: The Mark of Dystopia

Two of the most preeminent dystopian novels of the 20th century include swipes at one of the most sacred cows of the 21st-century liberal project.

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase.” — Aldous Huxley, Foreword to Brave New World

Many liberals seem to think that dystopian cautionary tales can only be directed against the right, religious or otherwise.  Yet while A Handmaid’s Tale and a few similar works are indeed critiques of cultural conservatism, the best dystopia stories are at the very least ambiguous in their political orientation.  Depicting as it does the social reengineering of language, electronically coordinated hate-sessions, and the insistence that reality is subject to ideology, Orwell’s 1984 applies to today’s digitized left at least as well as it did to, say, Franco’s sleepy Spain. 

For that matter, two of the other most preeminent dystopia novels even include swipes at one of the most sacred cows of the 21st-century liberal project: abortion.

Concerned with the homogenizing and stultifying effects of television upon culture, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 depicts an America that had degenerated into a state of utter inanity, where reading is a lost art and people spend more quality time with strangers on video screens than with their own family and neighbors.  “No one in his right mind,” laughs one character, conveying this society’s inverted values, “would have children!”  The women who do have children automatically turn to Caesarian sections—not for medical reasons, but for convenience and to sidestep the pains of childbirth.

The novel’s protagonist, formerly one of the guardians of the new order, finally breaks free of his conditioning. But his newfound capacity for reflection turns out to be a source of terrible frustration rather than relief, for he can no longer relate to the indoctrinated people around him.  At one point, he attempts to share a poem—“Dover Beach”—with some of his wife’s vapid friends.  When they are horrified by his attempt to draw them out from their shells of entertainment, consumption, and light gossip, he becomes so incensed that he finally explodes at one of them:

Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband killed in a jet and your third husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you’ve had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarian sections, too, and your children who hate your guts!  Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it?

To be sure, no one could mistake the allusion in the preceding rant for a systematic treatise in favor of the rights of the unborn. Yet Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1950, when legalized abortion was still only the fever-dream of a small vanguard of feminists and eugenicists, and the preceding remarks obviously do not push “a woman’s right to choose.”  This is a novel about intellectual and moral decline, after all, so the posited normalization of abortion cannot possibly represent progress. Thus the inescapable conclusion is that Bradbury was using abortion as a mark of dystopia, as a way to signal to his readers just how perverse America has become in his imagined future.

The same mark is found in Aldous Huxley’s classic Brave New World, which depicts a world where sex has been disassociated from family and procreation, religion has been reduced to a form of social therapy, and science is meticulously censored so as to preserve a political orthodoxy. 

The 1932 novel is a darkly-comic prophecy that envisions the rise of a technocratic caste in the wake of a catastrophic world war. To ensure that mankind will never again have to endure such a disaster, the elites forge a sterile yet efficient World State based upon superficial pleasures and consumption. In this new regime of indefinitely sustainable decadence the family has become so obsolete that “father” and “mother” are dirty words, the next generation is manufactured in vats, and advances in hygiene and contraception have reduced sex to a consequence-free recreation.

By far the most vulgar character in the novel is a woman named Linda, who is stranded in a wilderness reservation only to be rescued much later by the protagonists.  Without the benefit of modern technology, Linda has suffered the ultimate indignity during her exile from the cosmopolis:  She has had a baby.  But it isn’t her fault, she explains, for “of course there wasn’t anything like an Abortion Centre here.”  She goes on to reminisce somewhat nostalgically about the brightly-decorated and well-equipped abortion centers near her childhood home—a narrative detail that was no doubt shocking in the 1930s, when Huxley was mocked for his preposterous and alarmist outline of an antiseptic future.

This outline was based upon Huxley’s conviction that the “truly revolutionary revolution” was not the Scientific Revolution, not the Industrial Revolution, nor the French Revolution, but rather the Sexual Revolution initiated by the Marquis de Sade.  This was, in Huxley’s words, “the revolution in individual men, women, and children, whose bodies were henceforward to become the common sexual property of all and whose minds were to be purged of all the natural decencies, all the laboriously acquired inhibitions of traditional civilization.” 

Continuing Huxley’s reasoning, it is thanks to this same revolution that fewer and fewer mothers have inhibitions about disposing of their own children.

Planned Parenthood and other opponents of traditional civilization are welcome to the Marquis. Although Bradbury and Huxley were not practicing Christians, they both celebrated the human spirit and recognized its yearning for transcendence, so their work belongs to those of us who cherish that authentic freedom which stems from man’s dignity and an understanding of life based in principled reason, not inhumane convenience.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Jerry Salyer 59 Articles
Catholic convert Jerry Salyer is a philosophy instructor and freelance writer.


  1. The Bergoglian putative papacy will forever be memorialized by the image of the abortionist Emma Bonino, and Bergoglio, beaming into each other’s faces like starstruck sweethearts.

  2. Wow! You’ve written quite the article! It really makes one think.

    ‘This outline was based upon Huxley’s conviction that the “truly revolutionary revolution” was not the Scientific Revolution, not the Industrial Revolution, nor the French Revolution, but rather the Sexual Revolution initiated by the Marquis de Sade. This was, in Huxley’s words, “the revolution in individual men, women, and children, whose bodies were henceforward to become the common sexual property of all and whose minds were to be purged of all the natural decencies, all the laboriously acquired inhibitions of traditional civilization.” Continuing Huxley’s reasoning, it is thanks to this same revolution that fewer and fewer mothers have inhibitions about disposing of their own children.’

    As a pro-life sidewalk counselor for 16 years, I’ve witnessed a lot of lows and tragedies. Each time I think, our world has hit bottom and nothing can shock me anymore, there comes a new low. When abortion was first “legalized” in this country, women and men used to be embarrassed about aborting/killing their own children. Patheticly, now, it seems that “fewer mothers have inhibitions about disposing of their own children” and some are “shouting out their abortions”.

    In regard to those “whose minds were to be purged of all the natural decencies”, one woman told pro-lifers that if she could rip the baby out herself, she would do it. When a young woman going to the abortion ‘clinic’ was told that abortion ‘clinic’ workers dispose of and (some) even sell the baby body parts to be used in science experiments, she said she was happy to hear that her baby could be used for the good of science and then she laughed out loud with the creepy abortion ‘clinic’ escort. Another woman said she didn’t believe in heaven or hell, but hoped her body would replenish the soil and feed the worms.

    When a post-abortive woman was offered papers with information about healing from abortion, as she rushed inside the ‘clinic’ for her post-abortive check-up, she told pro-lifers to give the papers to her son in the car. Pro-lifers thought she had an older son sitting in the driver’s seat and offered him the papers to hold for her. Unfortunately, he was her boyfriend and he said that we should give the papers to her young son in the backseat. The boy looked like a young Opie Taylor and was all excited because he was promised a trip to Chuckie Cheese’ restaurant after his mother got done in the ‘clinic’. Pro-lifers were furious that the mother was so sick. Heaven help that poor little boy.

    On another day, pro-lifers tried appealing to the father of the baby scheduled to be aborted/killed. Pro-lifers told him about the dangers of abortion and how women had been seriously hurt and even killed by abortionists. He was told about the preciousness of each life, including his girlfriend’s and his child’s…and he was told about the loving option of adoption, etc. He looked straight at the pro-lifers and said that he didn’t care. Figuring they didn’t understand what he said, they repeated back to him his own words in a question… He said he honestly didn’t care about the baby or his girlfriend. The smirking young man said that the only one that he really cared about was himself. He was honest, but a complete psychopath who was narcissistic and proud of it. He was chillingly callous.

    One grandmother gave me a similar impression. When I first saw her, she was busy handling her upset, granddaughter at the front door of the abortion mill. The young woman had been on a famous intervention television show for drug-addicts. She was pregnant and did not want to abort, but her mother and grandmother were rushing and pushing her into the abortion ‘clinic’. Pro-lifers got through to the mother of the pregnant young woman and got her to reconsider. Thankfully, the baby’s life was spared. Later, pro-lifers heard the disappointed grandmother, (of the pregnant young woman), grumbling on the phone, saying she knew something would happen to spoil their plans. She was upset, because they hadn’t killed her great grandson! I thought that steel-cold old woman could have been a Nazi guard.

    The clinic escorts and workers were worse. One escort asked me why I don’t leave them alone and go to the IVF places. When I asked her why she said the IVF places, she said because “they kill babies there”, too! She didn’t say they dispose of blobs of cells or embryos, but “THEY KILL BABIES”! She knew.
    Many of them dance and sing and laugh while working as escorts for the killing business.

    One of the abortion ‘clinic’ “nurses” asked me if any of the women who changed their minds ever chose adoption. I explained that when they find out about the concrete, practical help, including financial aid, they keep their babies, but we always try to tell about the loving option of adoption. I asked her why she asked. She said her friend wanted to adopt, but she couldn’t find any babies to adopt! I wanted to scream. I kept calm and asked her why she works in a place that kills children, when there are people looking to adopt the babies!?! She quickly retorted, “It’s the woman’s body!” I looked right into her eyes and said, “You know better than that! You’re a nurse!” “That baby is not the woman. The child is not its mother! It has separate DNA.” I told her that I like to ask the men out in front of the abortion mill if they were their mothers when they were inside their mothers’ wombs. Also, I asked her why would a woman go through an abortion/(killing), if it was just her own body!?! After just a few minutes of talking to her, the “nurse” said, “Well, that’s one thing we agree on…,(meaning the pro-abortion people and the pro-lifers), it is a child!” So I told her, “Well, then, don’t kill it!” In her rationalization of the terrible evil killing, she said she was there to help the women. I told her she needs to get out of there, since she’s helping to kill innocent, helpless babies and she’s only hurting women, because we pro-lifers see the sad hurting women after the abortion/killing. Some hurt for decades…some turn to drugs/alcohol or put up with physical abuse…some become severely depressed and suicidal,…and some commit suicide.

    After all of the women who have come out to say they regret their abortion, evil planned parenthood pushes the “shout out your abortion” campaign. Talk about a dystopian world! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they are in league with the devil.

    Evil begets evil, however love begets love. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing. It’s time to pray and work hard doing God’s will… help support life…support the pro-life cause in many wonderful ways. We pray for the babies and their parents. Also, we pray for pro-abortion people to become pro-life. Thanks be to God, many have converted and become solid pro-lifers and have helped to save lives.

    Former satanist, now solid Catholic, Zachary King said that satanists are involved in abortion and abortion is a serious spiritual battle. We need to pray hard and have Masses offered for the end of the evil scourge on our world, which is abortion. Please, offer Masses for the end of abortion, euthanasia, and all attacks on life. Evil ends in death and hell. Love is life-giving and leads us to Heaven.

    • You don’t mention any of the ACTUAL laws that the anti choice people are passing. How do you feel about possible criminal investigations of miscarriages to ensure there was no aborting going on? Or do you keep things on a higher spiritual plane where you don’t have to worry about the actual problems of real people?

    • Wow! You’ve written quite the comment! I was absorbed reading both the article and your comment – I salute you, and join with you in praying for an end to the greatest evil of our generation. Keep on doing what you do !

  3. I think something people fail to realize is that oftentimes women don’t go out into the world hoping to get an abortion. It’s not usually something women put on their bucket list as I fun recreational activity. Women do this because they have to. Maybe they have medical problems, they can’t financially support a baby, they wanted it at first but changed their mind, etc., etc. There are dozens of reasons a woman might get an abortion, all of them valid, but getting one “for fun” is not usually one of them. One thing I do agree with that was said in the comments is that the path of a women’s life is oftentimes (but not always) riddled with addiction and depression. With that being said, I think the goal of Christians, Catholics, and pro-lifers should not be shaming women for getting or trying to get an abortion but instead helping to support them. These women need empathy. I am pro-choice, and I hope this doesn’t make me seem like an evil person. As someone who used to be Christian (not so much anymore due to circumstances), I enjoy looking into different perspectives on controversial topics such as this one and try my best to understand, but in terms of abortion, my opinion is pretty firm. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one. But you shouldn’t deny another woman of that right. She knows what’s best for her and her family, not the government or religious people. I understand why someone wouldn’t want to get an abortion, being a parent and having a child can be and is a beautiful thing. But that is not what many people want or can have themselves. Please learn to put yourselves in her place and have sympathy. Inform her all you want on the risks, but don’t pressure her or shame her, it will make her feel worse than she likely already does. Thank you for being respectful in the comments, I expected them to be a little harsher than they were. Have a great day!

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Abortion: The Mark of Dystopia -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.