Bishop Barron: I Balk at Democratic Party’s ‘Extreme Position’ on Abortion

In a video message related to recent op-ed, Los Angeles shepherd calls out pro-abortion politicians for refusing to ‘dialogue’ about abortion or support restrictions of any kind.

Bishop Robert Barron has been outspoken on the stance of pro-abortion-rights politicians.
Bishop Robert Barron has been outspoken on the stance of pro-abortion-rights politicians. (photo: Photo courtesy of DeChant-Hughes Public Relations/via CNA)

In a video message, Bishop Robert Barron is calling out pro-abortion politicians for refusing to “dialogue” about abortion or support restrictions of any kind.

Bishop Barron, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, released a video asking, “Pro-Abortion Politicians: Can We Actually Dialogue?” 

If politicians can’t even agree to “protecting the life of a baby writhing on the table having survived an abortion procedure,” he asked July 1, then “what precisely are we dialoguing about?” 

He remembered speaking with members of Congress and Capitol Hill staffers about abortion a couple of years ago. The topic came up during a meeting with Independents, Democrats and Republicans in a “more conversational setting.”

While Bishop Barron identified himself as the “son of a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago Catholic Democrat,” he challenged today’s Democratic Party for “this very extreme position that they’ve taken on abortion.”

“That’s where I just really balk,” he told them.

In response, the politicians stressed the importance of “dialogue” and “the dialogue between the Church and pro-abortion-rights politicians.”

Bishop Barron agreed to dialogue.

While the Church opposes abortion, and “we’d love to see a complete ban of abortion,” he stressed, “we’ll dialogue if you’re willing to set some restrictions. ... We’ll get behind bills that would restrict the taking of innocent life.”

But the bishop found dialogue difficult when he “began sort of testing the waters” to find common ground with the politicians. He started by asking, “Would you be willing, for example, to limit third-trimester abortions?”

When they said, “No,” he followed up by asking about “so-called partial-birth abortion” or the “procedure by which a child basically in the birth canal is killed.”

When they said, “No” again, he asked about born-alive legislation or “laws that say we should protect a child who is somehow, by a miracle, managed to survive an abortion procedure.” 

They said No for a third time, which led Bishop Barron to ask, “What exactly are we dialoguing about?” 

“In any real dialogue, it seems to me, there‘s a kind of give-and-take,” he explained. “There’s a willingness to each side going a few steps in the other direction.”

That’s why, he said, “I pressed the matter with the politicians.” 

“Are you willing to give on this question at all, if protecting the life of a baby writhing on the table having survived an abortion procedure – if that’s too much – again, what precisely are we dialoguing about?’ 

He ended with a “very blunt and specific” message. 

“I would say to Catholics, especially who are supporting the right to abortion, ‘Okay, are you willing to support this born-alive legislation as a first step?’” he emphasized. “Are you willing to say, ‘Yes, we should protect the lives of a child that survived an abortion procedure?’ If you‘re not, again, I don’t know exactly what the point or purpose of the dialogue would be.”

“I think that‘s why, to some degree, we’ve come to an impasse on this matter,” he concluded.

The video complemented a recent New York Post opinion piece by Bishop Barron in which he challenged “pro-abortion-rights Catholic politicians.”

“If you’re truly interested in dialoguing with the [C]hurch on this crucial matter, show a little profile in courage and support born-alive legislation,” he wrote. “If you can take this small step in the direction of protecting innocent life, I’ll know you’re serious about the conversation.”

Dr. John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, discusses religious freedom at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 16, 2013.

Catholic University’s John Garvey (Sept. 25)

Catholic University of America’s president has announced he is stepping down at the end of the school year. John Garvey’s time at the university has widely been recognized as a period of strengthening Catholic identity and shoring up the academic offerings in the Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition. His work has paid off: student retention has increased and fundraising goals have been topped at record levels. President John Garvey joins us today to tell his story about not only about building up a university but about falling in love with Catholic U.