There are many ways to perform an abortion: pills that expel the baby’s body, suction vacuums, injected drugs that cause cardiac arrest. But there is only one result: death. This death is worth celebrating, according to one abortion activist. And, she says, God is still “cool” with her.
Viva Ruiz, an artist-in-residence for abortion group Shout Your Abortion [SYA], recently created a music video for her “Thank God for Abortion Anthem.” The video, released on October 13, stars Ruiz as an “abortion pope” inside a church, complete with a choir and twerking dancers. In response to her efforts, media outlets from Jezebel to Bust magazine applauded Ruiz.
Ruiz isn’t new to abortion activism: she has served as a panelist for Planned Parenthood, participated in abortion art exhibitions in New York City, and founded her own group, “Thank God for Abortion” [TGFA], in 2015.
In an SYA video earlier this year, Ruiz said that her “divinely guided” project began because “I was upset about people being offended by this idea of God being all right with abortion when I know that it is true that God is all right with abortion.”
Raised Catholic and having had multiple abortions herself, Ruiz infuses personal experience into her work and “repurposes Catholic ritual and dogma to bring spirituality and faith to people having and providing abortions,” according to SYA.
That’s exactly what Ruiz tries – and fails – to do with her latest project: “the world's first Reggaeton pro-abortion pop video.”
“It’s about my body,” Ruiz chants with a choir in her music video. “We demand sovereignty. Abortion rights, safe and free. Legal, safe, and free.”
The video opens with “antis,” or pro-lifers. Actors posing as pro-life Americans squawk indistinguishable sounds while holding signs with messages like “I am the pro-hate generation” and “God hates you.”
That changes when they are enticed by abortion dancers to enter a church, where the altar cloth proclaims, “Thank God for Abortion.” The dancers, wearing rompers reading “Legal Safe Free,” lead the pro-lifers to “pope” Ruiz, who appears with a papal mitre, crucifix, and vestments also reading, “Thank God for Abortion.”
“God is cool with me,” Ruiz sings, adding “f*** the state they can’t take it” and “f*** the church, they only fake it.”
Amidst twerking dancers, she later performs an “exorcism” on the pro-lifers, moaning “God oh God” and “the power of Christ compels me” until the spirit of “patriarchy” escapes them. The video ends as a big party, with everyone dancing together in the pews.
“TGFA is bringing joyful abortion to the masses and this is the soundtrack,” the song description reads. Ruiz adds in the YouTube description that “TGFA is a spiritual mission to affirm the sanctity of abortion having people.”
“I have had 2 abortions, am Latinx, queer, fluid, and Christian,” she added. “We know that God loves us and we are blessed. Blocking access to abortion is racist, is classist, is ableist, is gender based violence.”
Some in the media agreed with her message: abortion isn’t violent, but blocking it is.
Women’s magazine Bust celebrated the anthem as a song “we need when taking a break from the Amy Coney Barrett hearings.” Writer Olivia Simonds recommended the song as a “palate cleanser” and a “powerful display of solidarity with the Pro-Chice [sic] movement.” And if listeners purchased the song, their money would directly support an abortion fund, she added.
Paper Magazine ran the headline “You Can Be Religious and Believe in Abortion” on October 21. Ruiz, writer Jhoni Jackson urged, “confronts the elephant in the room that is religion in the fight for reproductive justice.”
On October 13, women’s site Jezebel highlighted the “Vision of God That Wants People to Access Abortion.” Staff writer Shannon Melero covered the anthem that “extols the gospel of reproductive rights for all and the sanctity of bodies who have gone through an abortion.”
She reported Ruiz saying that “People who have had abortions are more holy” and that “Abortion providers are doing Jesus-work.”
Ruiz “is on a mission to reclaim the god concept,” she wrote.
“[The religious right] and their [anti-abortion stance] hinge on the pregnant person being invisible,” Ruiz said. Instead, she wanted to “shine a light on the pregnant person” because “That’s who God loves, no matter what.”
Yes, God infinitely loves every human being. But it’s because of this that abortion – the destruction of a human person in the womb who is equally beloved by God – constitutes a grave offense according to Church teaching. Even then, Christian and pro-life ministries offer forgiveness and healing to post-abortive women, with ministries like Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More Awareness. They also offer resources to pregnant women and moms in need.
Ruiz gets the pro-life movement wrong and, when it comes to abortion, attacks the wrong demons.