Abortion is proving that the Democratic Party can outdo Republicans in self-destruction

Omaha Democratic mayoral candidate Heath Mello waves to supporters at a rally on April 20.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Omaha Democratic mayoral candidate Heath Mello waves to supporters at a rally on April 20.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

It took a mayoral election in Omaha, of all things, to reveal that the Democratic Party is capable of outdoing the Republicans in self-destruction. Still, the outcome was clear. Abortion is now the single issue defining the Democrats, and Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, is the de facto head of the party. This gives the Republicans a major advantage in holding off electoral losses if the Trump administration continues to founder.

The battle began when Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, along with Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, campaigned on April 20 for the Democratic nominee for mayor of Omaha, part of a “unity tour” that was supposed to capitalize on President Donald J. Trump’s unpopularity. That nominee is Heath Mello, a 37-year-old Catholic who had, as a state senator, supported a bill requiring that women be informed of their right to request a fetal ultrasound before getting an abortion. It is no exaggeration to say that all hell broke loose, at least in the rarefied world of Democratic Party donors and social media activists.

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Ms. Hogue issued a scathing statement about the rally for Mr. Mello. “It tells your most active political base that we’re just negotiable political property,” she said to the Democratic Party leadership. “Since the election, women have been engaged on the front lines of every progressive fight. So what message does it send for the party to start this tour with an anti-choice candidate?”

Surely, there were some pro-life voters on the “front lines” of demonstrations against Mr. Trump’s cruel immigration policies,

The NARAL president essentially conflated “women” with “abortion rights activists,” though the Pew Research Center reported last year that 40 percent of women think abortion should be illegal in “most” or “all” circumstances (the same percentage as among men), a view also held by 42 percent of Catholic voters, 49 percent of Hispanics and 37 percent of voters under 30. Surely, there were some pro-life voters on the “front lines” of demonstrations against Mr. Trump’s cruel immigration policies and his attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. There may have also been some African-American Democrats miffed at Ms. Hogue’s claim that women constitute the party’s “most active political base.”

Almost 40 percent of U.S. adults believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

 

But Ms. Hogue demonstrated that NARAL is at least as powerful within the Democratic Party as the National Rifle Association is within the Republican Party. D.N.C. chair Tom Perez had originally defended the endorsement of Mr. Mello. But, according to Jonathan Martin of The New York Times, after Ms. Hogue’s criticism, he “retreated” and his “aides blamed Mr. Sanders for the event, putting out word that it had been the senator’s idea to include the rally on the tour and criticizing him for not vetting Mr. Mello.”

He then said in an interview with The Times that he respected Democratic candidates who “have personal beliefs” against abortion, but “if they try to legislate or govern that way, we will take them on.” It is unclear what “take them on” means, but it raises the possibility of expensive and bitter primary campaigns against incumbent legislators, akin to the Tea Party movement among Republicans. (As for Mr. Mello, he reaffirmed his support for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing legal abortion.)

Mr. Sanders is far more popular nationally than any Democratic Party leader is, with especially high ratings among blacks and Hispanics.

Mr. Sanders has taken the brunt of the criticism for the Mello kerfuffle. “He’s not even a Democrat!” say many party activists. It is true that Mr. Sanders maintains his independent designation in the Senate, something that apparently does not bother his constituents in Vermont (the sixth-best state for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the best state outside of Hawaii for Barack Obama in 2012). It is also true that Mr. Sanders is far more popular nationally than any Democratic Party leader is, with equal favorability ratings among men and women and especially high ratings among blacks and Hispanics. One would think that a party whose electoral power is at its weakest since 1928, according to the liberal website Daily Kos, would want to piggyback on that popularity.

It is ironic that Mr. Sanders, tagged all last year as an unreasonable ideological purist by Democrats irritated by his challenge to Hillary Clinton in their party’s primaries, is now cast as a squish too eager to compromise liberal principles. Speaking on NPR after the Omaha rally, Mr. Sanders said: “The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That's what politics is about…. We have got to appreciate where people come from, and do our best to fight for the pro-choice agenda. But I think you just can't exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.” He may have been thinking of the 17 or so states where there are more pro-life than pro-choice voters. After last year’s Electoral College fiasco, are the Democrats really ready to fold up shop in those states?

Democratic voters have increasingly favored legalized abortion "under any circumstances."

Indeed, the Sanders quote in the previous paragraph describes Clintonism in a nutshell, extending over three decades from Bill Clinton’s “third way” centrism to Hillary Clinton’s pitch that she was more pragmatic and better able to cut political deals than dreamers like Barack Obama and Mr. Sanders. It is telling that Mrs. Clinton, who last year chose a running mate with a history of backing some restrictions on abortion, has so far held back from commenting on the Battle at Omaha; the woman who praised Nancy and Ronald Reagan for raising public consciousness about AIDS is not well cast as a crusader against political relativism.

A secular blind spot

Much of the criticism of Mr. Sanders centers on his supposed bisection of economic from “social” issues. “It’s not possible to have an authentic conversation about economic security for women that does not include our ability to decide when and how we have children,” said Ms. Hogue in the NARAL statement criticizing the Democratic rally for Mr. Mello.

“The ability to control reproduction is central to women’s social, professional, and economic stability,” wrote Rebecca Traister in New York magazine, “and the women most likely to require abortion services and to be negatively affected by restrictions on access to reproductive health care are poor and low-income women, disproportionately women of color.”

Certainly a lot of Democrats, including some Catholics, sincerely feel this way. But many pro-choice activists are dismissive of the idea that voters can oppose abortion for any reason other than wanting to oppress women. They cannot accept that some of the same men and women rallying for the humane treatment of refugees, for the abolition of the death penalty and for the Black Lives Matter movement also have moral objections to abortion—that the consistent ethic of life is real for many people. They take as gospel the famous quip by former congressman Barney Frank, that abortion opponents “believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth,” ascribing only the most malevolent motives to those on the other side of an issue that a great many people agonize over at some point in their lives.

Many pro-choice activists are dismissive of the idea that voters can oppose abortion for any reason other than wanting to oppress women.

They also ignore that pro-life voters and legislators are often allies on social justice issues—for example, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for women to seek compensation when they are unfairly paid at a lower rate. It would not have passed the filibuster threshold in the Senate in 2009 without the votes of Harry Reid, Ben Nelson, Claire McCaskill and Kay Bailey Hutchison, among others who have also supported restrictions on abortion such as parental notification requirements and a ban on partial-birth abortions.

Many Democrats share a secular blind spot that causes them to needlessly antagonize voters of faith. It leads to ridiculousness like the charge that last year Pope Francis met with Mr. Sanders—the only candidate who asked to meet with the pope—as part of a plot to keep women down. (“Once again, the church’s magisterial muscle is being flexed against the woman candidate,” wrote The American Prospect’s Adele Stan in an article headlined “Is Pope Francis a Bernie Bro?”) When people speak of “identity politics” hurting the Democratic Party, they are not referring to issue stands or policies but to the practice of viewing everything in terms of how it affects the hierarchy of constituent groups—as in NARAL’s claim to speak for the Democrats’ “most active political base,” with veto power over all candidates.

In 1992, Patrick Buchanan delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention in which he eagerly embraced the idea of a “culture war” in the United States over issues including abortion and gay rights. It is widely believed that his divisive, no-compromise speech horrified centrist voters and helped to deliver the White House to Democrat Bill Clinton that fall. The Battle of Omaha is not as high-profile, thanks to the unending distractions coming from Mr. Trump, but it suggests that the Democratic Party has loaded a pistol and is waving it dangerously close to its own foot.

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Crystal Watson
6 months ago

You cherry-picked the info from the Pew Forum - it also stated that 56% think abortion should remain legal in some or all cases ... a majority of Americans are pro-choice, not pro-life.

It is very short-sighted to cast women's reproductive rights as some kind of optional issue. It is incredibly important, not only personally, but economically. It has been shown that women who are denied an abortion are three times as likely as women who were able to get an abortion to fall below the poverty line within two years ... http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/what-the-war-on-reproductive-r…

Dominic Deus
6 months ago

Dominic Deus here--Nothing, absolutely nothing, in political self-destruction compares to the havoc the Church has wreaked upon itself by categorically opposing the single best way to protect the reproductive health of women and prevent abortions--contraception.

It is well known that Catholic women in the United States and in many other nations have utterly and completely forsaken the Church's foolish teaching on the matter, using contraception in exactly the same frequency as their non-Catholic counterparts when adjusted for access and socio-economic status.

What has this to do with a sane and sensible discussion between right-to-life and right-to choose camps in the political sphere? Just this: I have, over the years, spoken with many right-to-choose advocates who have expressed a willingness to search for common ground providing that the two sides first agree to mutually support a woman's right to use effective contraception free of moral condemnation. I have also met many women who are pro-choice but not pro-abortion.

Our Church is the single most obstructive force in the quest for some kind of social consensus on abortion. It could contribute mightily to the the prevention of abortion by declaring safe, effective, freely accessible contraception a human right. The Church sins against the Faithful and women in particular in not doing so. Don't take my word for it--ask the mothers of the Church.

--Dominic

Tim O'Leary
6 months ago

Dominic - you argue that a) contraception is a great good, and b) nearly all women ignore or deny the Church's teaching, so it could hardly be a very destructive teaching if it has no force and no one is following the teaching.

You also claim that contraception is the most effective way to prevent abortion and yet, while it has been widely available in the USA for over 50 years, there are still hundreds of thousands of abortions every year. So, it seems no good at eliminating abortion. Moreover, abortion, infidelity, divorce, venereal disease and promiscuous sex have risen in every culture soon after contraception has become widely available (AND, some contraceptives are abortifacients). Furthermore, if the Church is so wrong on such a fundamental issue, and you are right, then why bother being a member of a false church? I think the church of Dominic Deus has a lot of emotion but can't think straight.

Dominic Deus
5 months 4 weeks ago

Tim--I believe we should hold ourselves to a high standard of commentary on these pages. This is Jesuit publication and deserves our best. Here are my best answers to your questions in the order you asked them:

It is a fact that contemporary Catholic women now ignore the teaching of the Church on contraception and that fact has been evidence based for at least two decades and maybe more based on studies by the Guttmacher Institute and Pew. Catholic teaching on contraception has been destructive to Catholic women and families for generations, causing unwanted, untimely, sometimes dangerous, often economically punishing pregnancies, creating hardships within marriages and destruction of the caring pastoral relationship that clergy and the Church are obligated to provide. "Desperation abortions" have been a fact of life for Catholic women for generations. How much more destruction do we need to see? Well, there is the spread of AIDS in Africa, due in large part to the Church's objection to condoms.

Regarding your second assertion, correlation is not causation and at that, there is very little correlation in your list of human travails. There is no factual evidence to support any of the claims you cited as caused by contraception. I know you and millions of others have been told otherwise--frequently by the Church--but you have been told lies. We all have an obligation to check our facts before we publish. The Church doesn't, or what is worse, does, then knowing the truth, hides it from the Faithful. The Magisterium is filled with many very intelligent men who know the truth of contraception and reproductive health as well as I do but they stand silent. They are no less guilty than Peter at the arrest of Jesus but far less willing to acknowledge it.

Abortifacients are what women used for centuries *before* effective contraception was available. Intrauterine devices (IUD's) were once thought to be abortifacient but there is some doubt as to that now. In any event, many faithful Catholic physicians simple refer patients who want IUD's to their colleagues. "Plan B" type hormonal options may or may not be abortifacient--it's difficult to tell. At the risk of proclaiming the obvious, decreasing the use of a Plan B is best achieved by having a Plan A.

I am a Catholic by birth, Baptism and choice. You are right--I could be whatever I choose** but I choose to be Catholic and try to save my Church from the disaster of it's harmful, uninformed teaching and, yes, I label it sin. Those who harm the innocent, increase the suffering of others, celebrate ignorance as wisdom and fail in their pastoral duty to minister to the needs of the Faithful are guilty of sin. That applies with particular gravity to men, clergy or not, who have been blathering to women about sex, fertility, pregnancy and childbirth for millennia. And I might add, men who have no first hand knowledge on any of those topics!

I hope this helps.

--Dominic

**On the matter of religious choice--I am a scriptural scholar studying world religions-- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Next year I start on Sikhism. I was taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame in elementary school. I'm also a physician, deliverer of hundreds of babies, physician to a couple thousand women and father of six sons. I know nothing of daughters but I do have granddaughters so I am learning. No one should accept anything I say as truth, They should examine it for themselves.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 3 weeks ago

Dominic - you rightly say correlation is not causation (but, it is a first step in detecting a causative relationship) but you contradict yourself by claiming that the spread of AIDs is caused ("due in large part") to the Church's objection to condoms. That is not only completely unsubstantiated - it is not even correlated. " African Catholics are no less likely to report using condoms than Protestants, whose religious leaders do not prohibit their use. Condom use tends to be lowest among Muslims even though there is no prohibition against condom use among mainstream Muslim leaders." http://news.psu.edu/story/146773/2012/09/11/religions-play-positive-rol….

You should know, as a doctor, that AIDS spread across the world because of promiscuous and perverse sexual practices, and there is a new epidemic again in the US gay community: "CDC: Gay Men 2% of Population But 67% of All New HIV Cases" http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/cdc-gay-men-2-pop…. Condoms are not a cause of the infection - the promiscuous sex is.

As to the relationship between contraception (and the contraceptive mentality it engenders), extramarital sex, infidelity, divorce, promiscuity, venereal disease, abortion, etc, there is a lot of evidence if you are open to it. I do not have the space to recount those arguments here but I attach some useful articles.
http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/cont…
https://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/05/bitter-pill
http://www.catholicstand.com/contraception-increases-rates-of-divorce-s…

Regarding your religious education, from your postscript, you might be suffering depth for breadth. It is one thing to study a lot of world religions and another to know at least one well. Your rejection of Catholicism's moral teaching (you claim the Church's teaching on contraception is a sin) and your denigration of it 's motives for that teaching show you are not looking at this honestly. The Church has had this teaching since its inception. So, it is either the real Church and you are wrong or you are right and it is wrong. Follow the logic.

Deshawn Washington
5 months 4 weeks ago

Contraception causes abortion, dummy...

Tim O'Leary
6 months ago

This shows how hollow the idea of choice is in the abortion debate. All Mr. Mello supported was to offer a woman contemplating an abortion to be told about places where she can get more scientific information (i.e. ultrasounds) to assist her "choice." The only possible reason to keep from women the possibility of having an ultrasound is to be pro-abortion, pure and simple. The Democrat party is clearly against any evidence that might lend scientific support against an abortion. They are the anti-science party.

This event should settle the issue for any pro-life Democrat - Leave, if you have any integrity!

ALFRED CHAVEZ
6 months ago

Some of the people I admire the most are anti-abortion Democrats. They are free to stay and fight by acting as the true conscience of the Democratic Party.

By the way "Democrat Party" is bad English. The word is an adjective not a noun. That little shot you like to take by calling it the Democrat Party is petty and insulting.....and unChristian.

Tim O'Leary
6 months ago

Boy, you're sensitive, Alfred. I meant nothing about leaving out the ic, but what is more unChristian - leaving out the ic or supporting politicians who work to keep scientific information away from poor women in the hopes they will choose abortion? It makes as little sense for an abortion abolitionist to vote for a Democrat today as it did for a slavery abolitionist to support a Democrat in the 1850s. Yet slavery lasted so long because some people made the compromise then that you are advocating now.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
6 months ago

I agree, Tim. I just think that little shot should be eliminated when criticizing Democrats. Honey and vinegar and all that.

Tom Maher
6 months ago

Did anyone happen to notice just how radically far left the Democrat party went this last (2016) Presidential campaign just a few months ago especially on abortion issues?

Incredibly against decades old federal law prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions consistently supported for decades by super-majority of voters at above 70% levels the 2016 Democratic Party Presidential Convention for the first time ever endorsed a Presidential Platform for taxpayer funding of abortions -- federal funds for "abortions on demand" which would make federally funded abortions available to all for free on demand. This would greatly accelerate the frequency of abortions in America. To implement abortion on demand the Democratic Party platform also endorsed the repeal of the 40 year old Hyde Amendment prohibiting the use of federal fund to finance abortions. Only the most zealot abortion activist would believe such radical abortion platforms had any voter appeal. In fact these party platforms were obnoxious or at least unacceptable to tens of millions of voters who support abortion rights but do not support federal (taxpayer) money being spent on a new and costly entitlement program to fund abortions.

The mistake abortion activist such as NARAL make all the time is the elite view that all women or even all feminist think exactly alike -- exactly obsessively passionate that abortions are the most fundamental need of women and society. If 53% of the voters are women then they reason women will vote for a women President and any and all "women issues" . This is the fundamental flaw in identity power politics -- large groups will get their way by sheer voting muscle since everyone in the voting group will think and vote in the same way without thought of other issues or other funding priorities. But other very important issues are always in completion to supposed group issues such as abortion rights. In no way will anywhere near 53% of the voters who are women vote in the same way.

Many women who believe in abortion rights and by the way are highly educated , voted for, enthusiastically supported and contributed to Donald Trump's campaign. There were many other issues in the campaign other than abortion. It is completely mistaken to believe that everyone in such vast groups as women, black or Hispanics will all vote for or actively support the same candidates and political issues. The shock of the last election for so many feminists and abortion activists was that more than 44% of all women voters did NOT vote for Hillary Clinton the woman candidate or her abortion on demand platforms.

The problem the Democrat party has is radical feminist do and will have significant control and influence over candidate selection and what issues are important to the Democrat party but radical abortion activist and feminist have very little significant influence or credibility over the overall political issues important to most American voters. The Democrat party has a leadership, issue and policy mismatch with the voting American public as the results of the last election demonstrated.

Dolores Pap
6 months ago

I am a Democrat and my view about abortion is, that they should be safe, legal, and rare. And here’s the thing- there are many people morally opposed to abortion for themselves, yet don’t think it should be out of reach for other people who feel differently. IF a Democrat holds that view, I am fine, but if he/she would work towards limiting the rights of a woman to have control over her body, than we must part company.

Tim O'Leary
6 months ago

Let's test this idea in the next election. No Pro-lifer need Apply. The Republicans should have an ad campaign where they repeat Perez's speech and ask the viewer if they feel excluded from Perez' party. The incredible shrinking democratic party will just get smaller and smaller.

Tom Maher
5 months 4 weeks ago

Something like 38% of the voting population are pro-life. While the Democratic party has been going out of their way to support new radical abortion rights such as abortion on demand with federal funding of abortion the natural the pro-life voters have found a home for decades in the Republican party which actively supports the pro-life politics. These pro-life voters by themselves were a huge part of Trump's large elector college victory. And the pro-life voters consistently do vote at a very high rate, much higher than pro-choice voters.

Jay Zamberlin
6 months ago

Mr. Robt. Sullivan: Did you write that with a straight face when you said: "Abortion is now the single defining issue for Democrats." Huh?? I mean, either you're smirking or where have you been the last thirty years? This is exactly the problem with the Catholic left and this rag, complete and utter, continuous denial about the political realities of the United States vis-a-vis the great moral issues of our time. At least in the concrete. Theoretical doesn't really count except maybe when its fund-raising season at St. Ignatius U. Perhaps more aptly named St. Ignoramus.

Thomas Farrelly
6 months ago

The self-destruction of the Republican Party seems like wishful thinking on Mr. Sullivan's part. It may happen, but with control of the White House and both Houses of Congress, the GOP has quite a way to go before destroying itself. The Democrats have many problems besides their exclusion of pro-lifers. The intolerance they show in this regard is consistent with their intolerance of any idea that offends their orthodoxies. Those who disagree are not only ignorant and misguided, they are thoroughly evil. Their hatred and contempt for them is now manifesting itself in the ugly violence seen on university campuses.
Even Jesuit Fordham disgraced itself by intimidating its Republicans into withdrawing an invitation to the provocative Ann Coulter.
Perhaps America should abandon its slavish support of Democratic dogma. Even consider hiring a Republican editor!!!

James Murrray
6 months ago

Can we grow up on the topic of sex? Most priests have no trouble affirming artificial birth control and assisted reproductive technologies. Some likely approve abortion. We won't know because bishops ban opinion polls of the clergy. Enough said.

James Murrray
6 months ago

Can we grow up on the topic of sex? Most priests have no trouble affirming artificial birth control and assisted reproductive technologies. Some likely approve abortion. We won't know because bishops ban opinion polls of the clergy. Enough said.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
6 months ago

Truth be known, neither of the two major parties have appealed to me as a Catholic for a long time. Republicans often fly in the face of two centuries of highly developed Catholic social teaching, while Democrats war on life in different ways. My new party is small now but it offers a place for Catholics weary of the culture wars and the war on immigrants and the poor. Come try it out: The American Solidarity Party. Solidarians are gearing up to play the spoiler.

Michael Seredick
6 months ago

Abortion existed for centuries before it became a religious/political issue. Eliminate RvW and abortions will continue, either self-inflicted, or with back-alley doctors. Trump said "there has to be consequences." What does that mean? Murder is murder, so life sentences for all involved? But wait? Does that include a "LIFE IN PRISON" SENTENCE FOR THE FATHER AS WELL AS THE MOTHER AND DOCTOR? I don't like abortion, but simplistic solutions are not realistic. A women's choice is a lonely choice, commonly without involvement with the father. I don't like, but respect her right to choose. Her decision is a matter of conscience with her God, and none of my business.

ALFRED CHAVEZ
6 months ago

Abortion has never existed anywhere close to the millions of "therapeutic" abortions that have happened since Roe. Yes, abortion will always exist and always will, just like murder will continue to exist. Please don't obscure the issue.

Jim Lein
6 months ago

Abortion rates in some countries where it is legal are lower than in some countries where it is illegal. Estimates based on good data suggest that our rate was higher in tough economic times, like the 1930s and 1890s, than now. One thing Roe v. Wade did is give us a more accurate count. Other studies have shown that the abortion rate is affected more by economics than legality. A higher poverty rate is correlated with an higher abortion rate. Yet many pro-lifers are for cutting government programs (like WIC, SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid) that will result in a higher abortion rate.

Michael Seredick
5 months 4 weeks ago

I rate your post a "thumbs-up" Jim Lein! Again, I don't like abortion, but I'm a realist, it will happen, RvW, or not. Your comments about poverty are correct. Also, your points about lower rates of abortion where it is legal is a proven statistic.

Salvo Signorile
6 months ago

It is not only the DNC that seems intent on self-destruction, but the Jesuit order (and Catholic church in the US as a whole) in this regard. Where was the outcry from the Bishops or the Jesuits when Tom Perez drew his abortion "line in the sand"? Where was the admonition and any "corrective measures"? America magazine just finished a "wonderful" stroke-piece on Perez and his "deep Jesuit connections" without so much as once calling out his overt assault on Catholics and Catholic teaching (i.e. "no faithful Catholics need apply for the Democratic Party"). It's just as well, as the Democratic party has long shed any semblance of caring about any dissenting opinion. But one has to wonder how long the Jesuits will maintain this "whistle Dixie" attitude so they can continue to play star-chasers for their alumni.

THOMAS Heyman
6 months ago

I will make this brief as possible.. I am in accord with the positions reflected in the comments of Crystal Watson , Dominic Deus and similar ones. My sadness is that America does not assist in finding common ground. Under your present editorial leadership you have not taken on to a sufficient degree or in any significant way the one issue leadership of the USCCB whose drumbeat on this issue drowns out entirely what should be the principal message of our Institutional Church and for us who are the true Church, social justice and equality for all irrespective of their race religion color and gender identity. We are not merely the Church of the unborn but also for the living. USCCB and America seem to have forgotten that and today in the White House and the halls of congress we are paying a terrible price.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 4 weeks ago

Thomas - You say the Church is "not merely" for the unborn. Of course, but it must include them. Sadly, it is you (and Crystal and Dominic, Pelosi and Perez, and all the leaders of the Democratic party) who want to Exclude them. The Church has a preferential option for the poor and forgotten, those under most threat. The unborn fit exactly into that category. The Democrats have already betrayed the weakest of our community. The Church cannot if it is to remain Christ's Church. "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." Deut 30:19.

Rick Fueyo
6 months ago

This is an unfortunate development which troubles me, but is really a product of the now perfect ideological sorting parties. Parties, including the Democratic Party, simply respond to electoral incentives. It used to make sense to be more open on this issue, because there were still many Democrats that were pro-life. But one need only look at what happened to Bart Stupak, who attempted to find the "common ground" that so many plead for here, to help understand why we are where we are. Stupak was purged for supporting health care in exchange for the Executive Order. One can argue as to the sufficiency of elements of the compromise, but it led to a purge of many of the pro-life Democrats, led by the pro-life movement, that leaves the party little incentive to compromise on the issue. It's just a matter of electoral math. There's not enough support to be gained to outweigh what would be lost
I would also note that Harry Reid was rhetorically pro-life. Many noted that that his rhetoric was not reflected in his ultimate votes. Fair enough. But in terms of comparing the flexibility between the parties, it's hard to imagine a Republican in a high leadership position that could even provide rhetorical support to the other side. This latest episode notwithstanding, the Democratic Party has been slightly more flexible on this issue, though still horribly inflexible

Jim Lein
6 months ago

One can certainly be pro-life and pro-choice, as many Democrats are, including me. We are for reducing the number of abortions by other than a legal mandate, which is more of Caesar than of Jesus. We follow Pope Francis in supporting those who are for increasing rather than decreasing the government safety net.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 4 weeks ago

Jim - do you follow Pope Francis??? "In an interview with the Italian Catholic media outlets TV2000 and Blu Radio to mark the end of his jubilee Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis described his anguish at meeting a mother who lost one of three children, and he called abortion a "horrendous crime" and "very grave sin." https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2016/11/20/pope-francis-calls-abortion-horr…

Jim Lein
5 months 3 weeks ago

Yes I do. That's why I'm puzzled that so many Catholics are for cutting the safety net. The hatred of government programs seems to outweigh concern for the poor, including the unborn who need a nourished womb for survival. I have yet to hear a coherent reason for this. Yes, private charities are good. But 95% of all food for the poor comes from government programs.

John Linton
6 months ago

Good lord, America raises the moral question of abortion in these PC pages, a rare gift.

Gary Labowitz
5 months 4 weeks ago

I may be simplistic, but whether or not I believe abortion is immoral or moral has no bearing on a woman deciding she wants one. (I think it is immoral, however.) But that is between her and her sense of what life means. MY point is that I don't want to pay for her having one. That's my choice. Aside to alcoholics --- I don't want to pay for your drinking either.
As long as your actions don't affect me, I don't really care what decision you make for your life. Just don't try to get me to pay for your decisions when you harm yourself.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 4 weeks ago

I'm sorry Gary, but your indifference to the killing of others astounds me, especially when you know that it is wrong. It is the opposite of the Gospel. Would you say to a child abuser "As long as your actions don't affect me, I don't really care..." But, abortion is the ultimate child abuse!

Carolyn Mahoney
5 months 4 weeks ago

Do you all note that only two women has replied to this post. The majority of these comments are by men saying that they are "pro-life". I don't think so - I think from your comments you are anti-abortion which is not necessarily "pro-life".

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 months 4 weeks ago

Carolyn
I agree: being anti abortion is not necessarily "pro life" but it is a hell of good starting point!......probably even an essential starting point.

Jim Lein
5 months 4 weeks ago

If we men were really pro-life we would not be responsible for unwanted pregnancies and we certainly would not abandon the woman we impregnated or even worse pressure or coerce her into having an abortion. It can fairly be said that men are responsible for all unwanted pregnancies and thus all abortions. We need to step up or shut up about the problem. Our irresponsible behavior is the problem.

Lisa Weber
5 months 4 weeks ago

I also noticed that few women have replied to this article. Men arguing about abortion is a bit like women arguing about erectile dysfunction. Men are certainly affected by abortion, but not to the same degree that women are. For that reason, men should consider the idea that perhaps they know less about the issue than women do. Men might also acknowledge that the issue involves power. Men would like to have power over women and their bodies. Discussing abortion without discussing the issue of power is dishonest.

It would be nice if we could abandon the polarized discussion and look at it from the standpoint of what we agree on. I think both pro-life and pro-choice factions would like to see abortion minimized. Certainly one way to minimize abortion is to make sure contraception is readily available and inexpensive. It is insane to imagine that one can minimize abortion by withholding contraception.

I am beginning to think that the Church will not be able to talk knowledgeably about sexuality until it recognizes that spirituality and sexuality are as alike as a pair of gloves, and the Church has married women and men in leadership. Until then, we will be having inane discussions among the uninformed.

Dominic Deus
5 months 4 weeks ago

"I also noticed that few women have replied to this article. Men arguing about abortion is a bit like women arguing about erectile dysfunction. "

Well said Lisa! Although I post frequently on this topic in several venues one of my common refrains is that it is amusing to find so many men so certain about maternal reproductive health, having had no first hand experience with it.

--Dominic

Thomas Farrelly
5 months 4 weeks ago

Lisa, feminist cant aside, why do you think so few women choose to comment? And by the way, unborn males are just as affected by abortion as unborn females, at least in the Western world.

Lisa Weber
5 months 3 weeks ago

I think few women choose to comment because discussions about abortion in the Catholic Church tend to be polarized and somewhat pointless. The Church categorically silences women at its primary liturgy, so we never have an opportunity to hear what women have to say about Scripture, to proclaim the message of Jesus from a feminine (not feminist) point of view. Most of what passes for discussion in a Catholic forum is a matter of men telling women what to think. Every now and again, some woman whose job depends on approval from the Church will write an article that says, "Listen to him, he's right." That kind of comment is not persuasive. Often these women are celibate and have about as much likelihood of getting pregnant as a man does.

I doubt that anyone can understand what it is like to be pregnant unless they have been pregnant. It costs around $200,000 to raise a child, to say nothing of the time and effort it requires. Carrying a pregnancy and raising a child is something that a woman does for a man she loves, a man who is committed to the woman and the child. Pregnancies in which the man is not supportive and the woman is not deeply in love with him are in a great deal of peril - this is the fact that is overlooked in discussions about abortion. (If the pregnancy has no value to the man involved, it is very likely that the woman will consider it valueless as well.) All the moral arguments in the world are mostly irrelevant when compared to the answers to the questions "Does she love him?" and "Is he committed to her?" Until you can influence those answers, you will have little success in influencing a woman's decision about abortion.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 3 weeks ago

Lisa - women telling men they should leave opposition to abortion to women is about as legitimate as men telling women they have no right to discuss or oppose war because men do the vast majority of the fighting and the dying. Most polls show women are more pro-life than men and the majority of pro-life activists are women (see the SBA list, NRTL, the annual March for Life, etc.). Men blog more than women in general - it's not the topic.

Lisa Weber
5 months 3 weeks ago

Men can discuss abortion all they like, and hold whatever opinion suits them, but they have no right to unilaterally dictate to women on the subject of abortion. In the Church, men unilaterally dictating to women is a common occurrence.

I have no idea what your comment about blogging is about - I agree that it is not the topic here.

Dominic Deus
5 months 3 weeks ago

Dominic Deus here.

Paternalistic cant aside, Lisa is doing a far better job of presenting her case than are her critics. I appreciate all of you however because this thread is much better than reality television--a low bar, admittedly, but a pretty solid populist standard these days.

Allow me to re-reply. This is becoming a long thread...

Stuart--I appreciate your post but I respectfully suggest that you and most of the other male posters have to take your game up a notch or two. Specifically, I am referring to the men's collective tendency to go offpoint and not even address the issues that Lisa brings up. Instead, they focus is on "correcting" her or claiming to see foolishness in her opinions that is somehow characteristic of women or feminists. You will not convince anyone by discounting her arguments. You have to explain your own. Not "mansplain" --*really* explain-- you not her.

Do you guys do this in your marriage or with your daughters or women friends? If you do, I have news for you: they don't like it; their women friends don't like it and yes, they talk about you as ignoramuses. Don't be an embarrassment to our sex. There are enough of us doing that already.

You have opinions. Express them. Explain them. Justify them. The fact that you are "a man with an opinion" doesn't mean squat. In part that's because men, in general, are poor communicators compared to women but also in part because of the sheer ridiculosity of the idea that men are qualified to talk about everything having to do with women, sex, pregnancy, contraception and abortion. On these topics, compared to women, men don't know sh*t! Part of the reason you see fewer women commenting is that they think it's hopeless trying to reason with patronizing men.

So keep posting but suck it up buttercups. I'm not seeing your "A" game here.

--Dominic the Professor

Tim O'Leary
5 months 3 weeks ago

Lisa - I meant that women blog less than men, no matter what the topic (including abortion). You are right that men have no right to unilaterally dictate anything. But, murder is not up for a vote. And, Catholic women know that just as much as Catholic men. If you think the Church is just arbitrarily opposing this type of killing just because they are men, you are being disingenuous. Many men think abortion is in their interest (reduces an obligation or obstruction to their sexual choices). Maybe, you think no one has the capacity to see objective right and wrong, or work against their interest for the sake of a moral good. I'm sorry you have such little faith in the Church.

Lisa Weber
5 months 3 weeks ago

I have said that I think abortion is wrong. The problem is that it cannot be controlled. I have had this conversation with you before and am aware that it soon becomes circular. You say it's wrong. I agree and say, "but it cannot be controlled." And that is the cue for you to say "It is wrong." So I will limit myself to this repetition, I think abortion is wrong, but it cannot be controlled. If you have some idea on how it can be controlled, that's fine. I have not yet seen a way that it can be controlled. The whole discussion would move forward a bit if we all accepted our lack of control over what women decide to do with their bodies, including ending a pregnancy.

Wilfreda Marcella Rey
5 months 3 weeks ago

Lisa wrote:

Lisa Weber2 days 1 hour ago
"I also noticed that few women have replied to this article."

US Education Secretary Mrs. Betsy DeVoss, US Presidential Counselor Mrs. Kellyanne Conway, Vice Presidential Second Lady Mrs. Karen Pence.... are prolife women who proabortionists denounce in spite of their gender as womwn.

"Men arguing about abortion is a bit like women arguing about erectile dysfunction. "

Then there is the hypocrisy of what pro-abortion womyn did to "New Wave Feminists" by EXCLUDING them from the Washington DC "Womens March" in January 2017 by using their POWER to marginalize women who do not share your pro-abortion views. Talk about hypocrites!

"Men are certainly affected by abortion, but not to the same degree that women are. For that reason, men should consider the idea that perhaps they know less about the issue than women do. "

Like pro-abortion womyn being hypocritical for excluding women who are pro-life.
Justin Beiber was villified by Joy Behar (who also villifies Caitlyn Jenner) for daring to have an opinion on abortion.
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/justin-bieber-abortion-…

Open minds are like parachutes- they only work when they are open.

Hows that for idiocy?

"Men might also acknowledge that the issue involves power."

Power indeed...you use it against the most vulnerable of all God's creation...the unborn.
Face it, Lisa, your arguments are tired, worn and you do not speak for women but just a fringe group

"Many would say that the fetus is actually the most vulnerable member of the human family and yet, because it is smaller, weaker, and can't tell us to stop, we've decided it's okay to dispose of it however we see fit." - New Wave Feminists
https://www.newwavefeminists.com/about

Have you no shame, Lisa?

Mrs Heidi Cruz, Mrs. Callista Gingrich, Former First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush, Mrs. Marjorie Dannenfelser President of the Susan B. Anthony List, Star Parker, Mrs. Sarah Palin, Ms. Laura Ingraham, Mrs. Jan Brewer, Mrs. Nikki Haley, Mrs. Michelle Bachman, ad nauseum ad infinitum, all pro-life, all accomplished women

"Women Deserve Better" - Serrin M. Foster

• Three out of four women who have abortions say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for a dependent.
• 69 percent are economically disadvantaged.
• 61 percent are already mothers.
• Women of color are disproportionately at risk of abortion.
• Half of all abortions are performed on women who have already had an abortion.
• 44 percent of all abortions are performed on college-age women.

http://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2015/01/07/feminist-case-against-a…

Give it up, Lisa. You are the face of the Democratic Party imploding due to it being led by oppressive, power hungry, opportunist leaders who take advantage of disadvantaged women of color and defenseless children.

Lisa Weber
5 months 3 weeks ago

I am not speaking for anyone but myself. I would like the discussion to move forward so that we can talk about what we might actually do to reduce the incidence of abortion. Making it illegal may or may not reduce the incidence of abortion. Education within the Church might possibly be helpful, but it would require that the Church allow women to speak - and that seems to be a more horrifying thought than the idea that women have abortions.

I am not advocating for abortion. I am advocating for a more honest dialogue about it.

Women tend to devalue what women like Kellyanne Conway says because she is a pathological liar just like her boss. Betsy DeVos is in a job she is not qualified for simply because she is married to a billionaire. Sarah Palin is another woman that women have little respect for because the "mama grizzly" line is so idiotic. Just because a woman has an opinion does not make it an intelligent, honest, or informed opinion.

Telling me to give it up is only another way of saying that I should shut up. That hardly furthers the dialogue.

Wilfreda Marcella Rey
5 months 3 weeks ago

No surprises here that Lisa now pivots AWAY from the gender paradigm she posited when she sees the names of women (at last glance) she dislikes vehemently.

Zero credibility and not even almighty Zeus, Deus, Thor or whatever your sidekick throws at these boards. DD is no more a physician than Robert Sullivan is a Tea Party member.

Senators Claire McCaskill and Kay Bailey Hutchison send their regrets you are on the dark side.

Beth Cioffoletti
5 months 3 weeks ago

Lisa speaks for me.

Beth Cioffoletti
5 months 3 weeks ago

Lisa speaks for me.

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