In a Pop-Up ‘Church,’ Women Worship Abortion
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has been met with a wide range of responses by pro-abortion activists desperate to maintain America’s status as the country with the most radical abortion law in the world. Jackie DesForges, an artist living in California, created the “Church of Potential Life” where she developed a “new, imaginary religion that sort of worships abortion and female autonomy.”
DesForges told Insider Magazine that after the initial leak of the Dobbs decision, “I was very mad, like a lot of people were.” So, she took the draft of the decision and painted over and rearranged some of Justice Samuel Alito’s words to write a new pro-abortion “manifesto” for women. The manifesto was featured on a several-foot canvas and was displayed as part of an altar. When DesForges showed the work at an art festival, she led a group in a full-length “mass” that worshipped abortion and female autonomy.
Carrie Gress, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote in The Stream that the Church of Potential Life reflected the feminist goal “for women to become like men, or better like gods, without the confines of bodies and human nature. For this to happen, women had to prevent or eliminate their children and live only with potential for human life, not actual human life.”
A former Catholic herself, DesForges’s distaste for authentic Christian teachings is evident. She said that while she used to be “so anti-everything Catholic and everything church,” she’s changed her approach. Now, she “take[s] what [she] need[s] from it” and discards everything else.
The Dobbs decision sparked many intense reactions from progressive women who felt that their freedom and autonomy was under attack. While DesForges chose to channel her anger into creating a morbid shrine to abortion, others expressed their rage in the form of violence against churches and pro-life pregnancy resource centers. A Family Research Council report launched in December 2022, and its supplementary report released in April, have found a substantial increase in acts of hostility against churches since 2018. This includes acts of vandalism, arson, arson attempts, or fires with unknown causes, gun-related incidents, bomb threats, and other acts that took place on church property.
From May 2022 (when the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision was leaked) to March 2023, FRC identified 229 acts of hostility against churches. The months of May to July of 2022 saw the most prominent spike in acts of hostility that was observed over a five-year reporting period. Catholic Vote continues to track attacks against pregnancy resource centers and pro-life groups since the Dobbs leak: they have found 84 attacks. Without a doubt, Dobbs has sparked a renewed rage and antipathy from some progressives against Christianity and those who affirm the right to life.
Many pro-lifers have long asserted that progressives treat abortion with a religious fervor. DesForges’s Church of Potential Life merely does so openly. Worshipping on the altar of abortion and autonomy is the outward, visual representation of what pro-abortion advocates always do: advance a radical vision of individualism at the expense of unborn lives and familial ties.
The religious overtones of the Church of Potential Life clarify the real battle that Christians are fighting in American culture. The foremost social issues of our day — abortion, gender ideology, and human sexuality — are not merely a cultural debate between opposing worldviews and policy prescriptions (though they are that). These issues are also spiritual. Winning these battles will require not only public policy solutions, but also spiritual renewal.
Arielle Del Turco is Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, and co-author of "Heroic Faith: Hope Amid Global Persecution."