Buttiglione no longer supports criminalising abortion

Rocco Buttiglione, arguably Europe's leading Catholic politician, has given a very interesting interview to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, saying he no longer believes abortion should be made illegal. The former friend of Pope John Paul II and Communion and Liberation member remains passionately pro-life, but says "everyone" has changed since the 1970s battles over the legalization of abortion.

Those who favoured legalization have discovered, says Buttligione, "that the fetus is not a lump of blood in a woman's body", while those who, like him, opposed legalization, "recognize that we were wrong on one point."

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"Let me explain it theologically. God gives the child to the mother in a very special way, such that to defend the child in opposition to the mother may be an act of justice, but it is impossible. We should instead support the mother, work to free her: the more free she is, the harder it will be for her to give up her child."

While the two politicians may differ in their beliefs, Buttliglione's emphasis on reducing abortions by supporting mothers is pretty much identical with President Obama's. What will the US pro-life movement make of this?

This looks like further evidence that the abortion debate is moving to new ground, away from the stalemate over the law.

Buttiglione also sees another change from the 1970s, when "there was talk of a demographic explosion, and people spoke of the need to give a dignified life to the new-born. Today, the problem is the opposite: within a few decades the population will stop growing, and in many countries it is already declining; the challenge today is to give a dignified life to old people."

The Christian Democrat was rejected as European commissioner in 2004 because of his strong Catholic views. He is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. His pro-family, pro-life credentials are more than impeccable.

Buttligione is creating an international network to reduce abortions, which would call initially for a moratorium on state-sponsored abortion which he is hoping President Obama will back.

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9 years ago
As European citizen, I think that it is perhaps a bit simplistic to say that "[he] was rejected beacuse of his strong Catholic views" even if it is not totally wrong.  He had been chosen by Durao Barraso for the European
Commission with the portofolio of "Justice, Freedom and Justice."
During his hearing before the European Parliament's Committee on Civil
Liberties, Justice And Home Affairs, he stated that "homosexuality is a
sin" but added that his personal opinion would not prevent him from
dutifully administering his office, of which to fight (unjust)
discriminations. The members of the Parliament could therefore doubt about his effective will to prevent
unjust disciminations based sexual orientation, so that the Parliament
had the right to reject the nomination of Buttiglione as Justice
"European minister" but was not opposed to a nomination with another
portofolio such that "Transportation" for instance. The committee expressed eventually some "reservations" about this nomination at a such job. But Durao
Barraso had done a grave political error by wanting to twist its arm: "take him or let drop the whole Commission" ; what pushed the Christian
Democrats of the PE to let Buttiglione drown in order to reaffirm the
prerogatives of the European Parliament. It is inaccurate to speak
about "fundamentalist face of Europe" or of "anti-Catholic bias" as did
some Italian Catholic politicians and church leaders.
 Personnaly, were I MP, I would also let Buttiglione drown in order to reaafirm the place of the PE and also because I could doubt about his effective will.
9 years ago
It seems to me that those who say they are pro-life, but concede that abortion ought to be a free and legal choice of the mother, have compromised their claim that the unborn child is anything more than a disposable lump of blood, and indeed have given in to tacit moral subjectivism. In Evangelium Vitae §4, John Paul II speaks of legalization of practices against life as “both a disturbing symptom and a grave cause of moral decline.” The case of Poland over the last fifteen years supports the view that criminalization does work, at least inasmuch as it reinforces an existing social consensus against abortion. Those who claim that the Polish law is ineffective because large numbers of underground abortions occur can’t (even if we accept their undocumented speculations) show that the numbers begin to approach the levels of abortion in Poland in the 1980s:
 
[url=http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/polandlaw.html]http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/polandlaw.html[/url] .
 
Not every child can be saved, but pace Buttiglione it does seem possible to defend a great many of them. It is hard to be a politician, so perhaps Prof. Buttiglione would benefit from some friendly criticism from those not in the glare of the media spotlight!
9 years ago
I don't know what the pro-life movement will make of this.  But on a Catholic blog, let me remind everyone that what Mr. Buttiglione is advocating is not Catholic teaching.  His inventive "theological" idea of freeing the mother is very creative.  He is not a theologian, he is a politician. Certainly what he and President Obama are advocating is not in line with the Catholic Church. 
9 years ago
It is ill informed for Buttiliogne to invoke a theologocal argument when in the process of making the case he is then at fault in his claim. e.g 'it is impossible' as an act of justice to defend the child against the opposition of its mother. Christ said that 'nothing is impossible to God.' True justice is based on truth. Therefore if it's not possible in justice to defend the child against the opposition of the mother - then the defense of the unborn -the 'poorest of the poor' as Benedict XVI calls them is not just -clearly this is NOT true.
On subject of challenging pro-abortion laws effectively perhaps Mr. Buttiliogne could benefit from a reading of Colin Harte's book "Changing Unjust Laws Justly - Pro-life solidarity with the last and least" CUA Press.
     
9 years ago
As a pro-lifer, this does give me pause. 
So, is Buttiglione arguing that abortion should never be outlawed?  Or, is he just saying that in the presences circumstance in Italy, it is better to work towards reduction and care for the mother?
To me, the former is not how I understand the teaching of the church, but the latter could be depending on circumstances.

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