How Does One Converse With a Catholic Politician on Abortion?

COMMENTARY: The reaction among many Catholic politicians to the possible overturning of ‘Roe v. Wade’ makes clear their conviction that truth must be set aside so that unreason can be given a place of primacy.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined by 'pro-choice' advocates, speaks during a press conference May 13 about the leaked Supreme Court draft decision on 'Roe v. Wade' at the US Capitol in Washington.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined by 'pro-choice' advocates, speaks during a press conference May 13 about the leaked Supreme Court draft decision on 'Roe v. Wade' at the US Capitol in Washington. (photo: Stefani Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images)

In our age of division, which is the sharpest of its kind in America since the Civil War, there is one thing that is commonly agreed upon, namely, that there is a critical need for social reform. However, this unanimous call for reform immediately degenerates into division when people, especially politicians, cannot agree on how to begin engineering this reform. 

The beginning of any reform is the recognition and acceptance of truth. Conversely, truth is the first casualty of war. Peace demands the recovery of truth. We are now engaged in a Culture War in which we are divided about the reasonableness of accepting truth as the starting point for this critically needed reform. 

The reaction among many baptized Catholic politicians to the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade makes clear their conviction that truth must be set aside so that unreason can be given a place of primacy. Consider the reactions of the following high-level politicians concerning the possible demise of Roe v. Wade. They firmly believe that partisan ideologies should overturn the very Constitution that provides America with its unifying moral standard. 

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: “The Republican-appointed justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history” — May 3, 2022 

 The choice of the word “abomination” is curious since the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2271) states, "Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.” (Gaudium et Spes, 51). Does she now believe that it is the opposition to abortion that is abominable? How does one maintain a Catholic status given such contradictory interpretations of an important Church document? Perhaps Vatican II must be overturned, as well as all of Scripture. 

Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz.: “It’s outrageous the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn the right to an abortion” — May 2, 2022. 

There is no “right” to abortion in the Constitution. That is the point that Justice Samuel Alito is making in his leaked draft opinion. Scrutinize the Constitution as you may; it says nothing about abortion one way or another. The 1973 decision was, as Justice Byron White stated at the time, “an exercise in raw judicial power.” No one saw such a “right” for nearly 200 years. Justice Harry Blackmun’s claim that it was “implied in the penumbra” was more than a stretch. It was an unwarranted invention. 

Gov. Gavin Newsome, D-Calif.: “Our daughters, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers will not be silenced. The world is about to hear their fury. California will not sit back. We are going to fight like hell.” – May 2, 2022.  

It is more than presumptuous to declare that all females oppose the overturning of Roe v. Wade. There are many organizations of women who strongly oppose abortion and are delighted to learn that this erroneous decision may be overturned as other bad decisions, including the Dred Scott ruling have been overturned. These women will not be silenced, but will cheer the Court for its courage and perception. One may fight, but, more importantly, will fighting convince? 

Gov. Paul Murphy, D.-N.J.: “A truly dark day in America with news reports that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.” – May 2, 2022.  

The simple truth of the matter is that the Court is correcting a mistake. That does not constitute a “dark day”. It should be regarded as a day of enlightenment. It would be a dark day if an egregious error was affirmed and perpetuated. The word “truly” is interesting since it displaces truth with a lie. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y.: “For anyone who needs access to care, our state will welcome you with open arms. Abortion will always be safe and accessible in New York.” – May 2, 2022. 

Abortion is not a form of “care.” It is lethal for the unborn children and very often damaging to the mother both physically, mentally, and spiritually. The adverse effects of abortion to the women are well documented. Furthermore, no one can truthfully predict that all abortions, in New York State or anywhere else, will always be safe. Many other forms of care for women will remain intact for women in New York. 

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.: “If true, this draft opinion that circulated last night would end a half-century guarantee that reproductive rights are protected by our Constitution” — May 3, 2022. 

“Reproductive rights” is a sweeping term and does not include a constitutional right to abortion. Such rights were never included in the Constitution. The point is that Alito recognized that Roe v. Wade was a mistake and required a judicious correction. Abortion “rights” were never there. Consequently, they could not be taken away. 

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.: “In this moment, I want women in NJ and across the country to know that I will never stop fighting for your right to choose” — May 3, 2022. 

The “right to choose” is based on the assumption that there is such a right. There is no moral right to kill an innocent human being, even though that being resides in the womb. “Choice” is an incomplete moral statement because it conveniently excludes what is chosen. We do not have the right to steal, loot, slander, and defame, even though such choices are often made. Moreover, the choice to abort is preceded by several other dubious choices, including the choice to ignore the humanity of the unborn and the damage done to the mother, to the integrity of marriage, to the family and to society. These are all negative choices that exclude the positive choices to love, care for, and protect.  

Christ is Truth. The assault on truth is also an assault on Christ. The Constitution has served the American people very well over a course of more than 200 years. Its recent possible decision should not be overturned by politicians who remain ignorant of the undeniable fact that the U.S. Constitution makes no provision for abortion. They should be applauding Alito and his colleagues on the bench who agree with his careful judgment. A rejection of the Constitution is essentially un-American as well as a rejection of the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. No society can be deemed civilized if its founding principle is to kill. If politicians cannot accept truth, they have no business being politicians.