The Editors: Anyone who recognizes the humanity of the unborn should support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.

(CNS photo/Leah Millis, Reuters)

President Trump’s nomination of D.C. circuit court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat on the United States Supreme Court vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy may furnish the fifth vote needed to overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion in every jurisdiction of the United States. Judge Kavanaugh is a textualist who is suspicious of the kind of judicial innovation that led to the court’s ruling in Roe. That decision removed a matter of grave moral concern—about which there was and remains no public moral consensus—from the democratic process.

Reversing Roe will not make abortion illegal in every jurisdiction. It would simply affirm the right of the people, through their legislators, to make the law, while upholding the right of the judiciary to say what the law is.

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Reversing Roe will not make abortion illegal in every jurisdiction. It would simply affirm the right of the people, through their legislators, to make the law, while upholding the right of the judiciary to say what the law is. Thus more than 40 years after the court ushered in an era of abortion virtually on demand, voters may once again have the right to debate the issue and determine what public policy should govern. This should be a welcome development for the millions of people who in dozens of public opinion polls have registered their objection to the expansive permissibility of the Roe settlement. It should also be welcomed by all those who believe that democracies should settle such matters by argument and voting rather than judicial fiat. The prospect of reversing Roe increases the stakes in this nomination battle. That potential reversal, however, effectively returning abortion politics to the states, offers the way to prevent the issue from continuing to dominate future Supreme Court nominations.

Yet the possibility of a fundamental change in the abortion debate also affords the church an opportunity to reimagine its public witness on this and other pro-life issues. The church should not abdicate its responsibility to bear witness to a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death. But the possibility that Roe might be overturned impels us to consider how we might more effectively use our voice in the public debate that will follow. We should begin by avoiding the intramural argument that has consumed too many Catholics—namely, whether other pro-life issues are as important as or more important than abortion. This argument is itself an artifact of Roe’s removal of abortion from normal political debate, which has led to claims that opposing Roe must override all other pro-life concerns. The truth is that there are grave and important issues for pro-life people beyond abortion, including euthanasia, the death penalty and sane immigration policy. These issues, however, must not be traded off against the defense of the lives of unborn children.

Overturning Roe would save lives and undo a moral and constitutional travesty.

If Roe is overturned, continued Catholic advocacy for a comprehensive medical and social safety net for expectant mothers will be crucial in order to save lives and render abortion an even less appealing choice to the public conscience. At this juncture, anyone who recognizes the humanity of the unborn should support the nomination of a justice who would help return this issue to the legislative arena. Overturning Roe would save lives and undo a moral and constitutional travesty.

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Patty Bennett
1 year 7 months ago

Dear Crystal,
Many people who most strongly support legalized abortion are very wounded people who are hurting badly. They often cling to narratives such as you described above, painting a distorted picture in which the only "solution" to the dire circumstance is that: "Abortion is an absolute necessity, or else the mother will die!" The stories are always vague, and very extreme. Absolutely NO effort is made to explore other options, or discuss details, just an assertion that abortion alone will "save" the mother, and if anyone dares to disagree, or even question, then that person is OBVIOUSLY an uncaring fool who is "at war with women".
I don't know the archbishop you mention, but what is quoted here sounds very cruel and frankly, bizarre. Are you CERTAIN that that wasn't a misquote? That has been known to happen.
Also, what disease did the girl have that would have guaranteed that she would have died in childbirth, but "saved" by abortion? Abortion actually never cures any disease. Perhaps it was her young age that may have made childbirth more difficult than normal. That's a reasonable assumption. Perhaps she lived in an area far, far away from adequate medical care. Could be. In that case, wouldn't it have been better to bring her to a place where better medical care is available? Surely, if she were a stuck in a place far, far away from adequate medical care, bringing her to an abortionist is the WORST thing that could be done for her health! Abortion isn't safe either! Think of the possibilities--hemorrhage, infection, injury...
Any other options? For those who push the abortion agenda, they are blind to ANY other solution. "Abortion" is their only answer to every question. Very sad.
On the other hand, it is the truth that "Jesus Forgives and Heals". For those who are devastated and grieving over an abortion, there is so much help available through the Church, pregnancy resource centers, and ESPECIALLY Project Rachel. Go to:
hopeafterabortion.com
There really is love--help, hope, and healing are available. There are people who have been there and can help you through. This would apply to ANYONE reading this who needs someone to listen and help. And by the way, St. Thomas Aquinas was a very smart man. But since there was no access to ultrasound in the thirteenth century, he wasn't able to see the child's heart beating. We can.

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

Pro-life people seem to not care about facts, about polls, about studies, about women's lived experience. They care about the stories that make them feel good. That's ok for individuals, but the whole country shouldn't have to be at the mercy of a pro-life extremist Supreme Court Judge.

Franklin Cho
1 year 7 months ago

Ha! Like your pro-abortion narrative is all that convincing. What kind of sick individual feels fine and mostly relief after having murdered an innocent baby? There are countless cases of women regretting an abortion. http://www.abort73.com/testimony/

Nora Bolcon
1 year 7 months ago

That it is true on all counts.

Tim Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal, with respect, I understand the difficulty involved regarding abortion. But it's the science of biology, not theology, that affirms that a fetus (latin for "young one" and I think it's only reasonable to assume that the young one of a human woman is also a human being) . Also, in 1978 (and I may have the date wrong by a year or two, and I'll gladly be corrected) the first baby was born in Britain by in vitro fertilization, Louise Brown. This quote which I'm paraphrasing can be accessed online. Dr. Steptoe, one of two physicians who developed in vitro fertilization, said words to the effect, "She (meaning Louise Brown) was beautiful when I saw her as a few cells, and she's beautiful now" ( when he saw her as a newborn. I submit biology, not theology, confirms that human life is a continuum that begins when one is a zygote, then an embryo, fetus, infant ( "neonate" to use the technical medical term), child, adolescent, and adult. I might add that as a Special Education teacher and as one who worked in other capacities with disabled children and adults for over twenty five years, a number of my students were severely brain damaged, and some of the adults were profoundly mentally disabled. I might add that one of my students, although she has a feeding tube and sometimes had seizures, was generally happy. I don't mean to be a scaremonger, but in my experience working, knowing, and in some cases being friends with disabled people with different degrees of disabilities, that arguments used to justify abortion based on the immature state of the unborn human could easily be used to justify infanticide or euthanasia for people with severe brain damage. In fact, some philosophers justify killing the newborn who are severely mentally disabled or the severely mentally impaired elderly, such as people with dementia. (I live in a,nursing home, so I know more than a few people with dementia. Sad? Absolutely? But I believe that those of us who are able should care for the "least ones." Regarding the Archbishop who stated that " Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult, " I agree that he's_mistaken. I believe (along with authentic Church teaching) that no human being is more important than any other. So Bill Gates with all his money which he earned has no greater right to life than an unemployed woman, a child, an adult with muscular dystrophy (at one time I worked with a,very intelligent man with the condition), or an embryo. Rape is a horrible crime, but killing an unborn human being won't bring justice to the,rapist, anymore than killing a criminal by capital punishment brings the murdered person back to life. I knew years ago a doctor whose wife-both loving parents and spouses who were active in the pro-life movement -became pregnant as a result of rape. She bravely gave her child up for adoption. Also, the living couple also adopted an infant who was severely brain damaged who sadly died not too long after birth despite their love. Also, years ago my cousin discovered late in pregnancy that her developing baby had anecephaly (most of her,brain was,missing). She was,offered a,legal abortion, but chose to give life to her baby even for a short period of time. I think her courage was admirable and Christ-like. Also, the Church teaches that in rhe,very rare,instances when a pregnant woman's life is endangered, that doctors should provide equal care,to both the woman and the,unborn baby. Again, although such cases are fortunately very rare, no human being is superior in worth than another. Personally, I prefer to discuss biology rather than the Bible regarding abortion, because in a democracy I believe religious beliefs regarding what I see as a human rights issue should yield to science. However,(and my kindle is almost out of power, so I'll have to get back to you) but there are at least two passages in the Old Testament when God refers to the unborn as,being of worth "Truly you formed me in secret..." ). Again, I apologize for paraphrasing and not citing a verse. Also, although Jesus never specifically spoke against the violence of abortion, it's equally true that He,never said anything opposing infanticide (which was still sometimes practiced by the Romans, certainly for disabled babies). Also, Jesus never condemned slavery, although He surely knew that it was practiced by the Romans. Also, although Jesus in my view was a victim of capital punishment, He never specifically stated opposition to the death penalty (although he did tell the repentant criminal that he would be with Him "this day in paradise." The Didache, (or Teachings of the Apostles)which was a. compendium of church teaching written in perhaps the second century (again, I apologize but I have,to get back to you) stated clearly, "You shall not slay the,child by abortion." I would conclude by noting that the Church has always from early times used Tradition as a source of her teachings. After all, there are many matters that didn't exist in the time of Christ that the Church has taken positions for or against. Jesus was both " true God and true man. " I believe that since the Bible tells us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, (these are the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary) that the unborn are also human beings. After all, to put it bluntly, Jesus was literally once a fetus.

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

The question isn't whether a fetus is human - of course it is. The question is at what point does it become a 'person'. The church wants an embryo to have the same standing as a ten year old child or an adult. That can't work legally in our society and it doesn't.

This is different than asking if a disabled person is still a person. I think they are. They are impaired, but still people. An embryo isn't an impaired person. An embryo can't think or feel or or be self conscious, not because it is an impaired person but because it is an embryo and not yet a person.

James Haraldson
1 year 7 months ago

Who the hell are you to make a utilitarian and functional judgment of God's creation?

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal
You are not keeping up with the current biology respecting fetal pain and predictable human reaction to other stimulus.
You engage in the ultimate tautological argument by both starting and then concluding that an embryo is not a person. In addition the word "embryo" is inapplicable after the 8 th week of gestation.
The ultimate legal issue of "personhood" is not yet settled and the last trimester test annuciated in Roe is evidence that the Court is open to additional scientific information on this point.
Perhaps you would care to define at what point you personally believe that "the fetus/child" becomes an entity that you recognize as a person?

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal - you accept that the fetus is human (many on the pro-abortion side do not), just that it doesn't have personhood. That is the difference many proponents of slavery used. But, you argue for the right to kill the human being all the way up to the severing of the umbilical cord, in that you do not want to State to protect any unborn child against the wishes of another human being, the mother.

Tim Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

With due respect, Crystal, those of you who favor the so-called abortion rights argument have frequently changed your arguments. You support Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton. Justice Harry Blackmon who authored Roe, said that the "judiciary could not make a decision" about when human life begins (a very imprecise way to state the issue) because no one, nor any branch of human knowledge (biology, sociology, theology, and so on) could make a deternination. I commend you for your honesty in affirming that a fetus is human. I assume that you're statement is based on the indisputable biological evidence that a new human being comes into existence at fertilization. The question, who is a person isn't at all clear cut, as you seem to believe. I'm glad that you agree that a disabled person is a person, but that's merely your opinion as an individual. There are various philosophers and scientists who hold that who is a "person" is a matter of opinion. For instance, the late philosopher and ordained Anglican priest Joseph Fletcher who later in his life taught at the University of Virginia (and may have become an agnostic --I did check his biography online, but frankly don't recall his ultimate religious status) clearly taught that being a "person" was determined by an individual's IQ level. Therefore, in his view, those whose intelligence quotients meant that he or she (or "it) was an individual who was profoundly mentally impaired (or to use an archaic term, "retarded", which was improper even when I got my degree in (Special) Education in 1989) was not a "person." Also, Dr. Francis Crick, a prominent geneticist, believed that it should be legal to deliberately kill a severely mentally impaired infant up until ( I believe) 30 days past birth. I respectfully submit that each human being's life is a continuum, from being a zygote, to an embryo, fetus (latin meaning "young one," ) infant ( "neonate," to use the technical medical term ), child, adolescent, and adult. I submit that a newborn infant, although no longer dependent on his/, mother for sustenance (,through the amniotic sac or later the umbilical cord) is largely dependent for the care of an adult or he or she will soon die! An excellent infant must be fed, given nutritious liquid, shelter, and have her most intimate needs cared for (having a diaper changed quite frequently). I also submit that a newborn infant can't_make any rational choices. Are newborn infants "thinking beings?" I'm _no scientist, but I doubt it. I believe that infants, although it's_known that he/she can hear voices late in her prenatal life, otherwise are operating primarily on an instinctual level: the instinct to be fed, kept warm. True, there is evidence that young children suffer from "separation anxiety& when their parent/caregiver is absent. But the fact is that I know many individuals with whom I live in the nursing home who, in the view of an increasing number of people, are no longer "persons" because ofc(for instance) dementia. I also believe that the life of a "normal" embryo is "superior" to that of the life of an individual with schizophrenia. (And I disdain referring to one human being as being "superior" to another individual ). Again, I have some personal experience. I know two people(?) with schizophrenia. One woman has frequent delusions that she has a husband who is in the army (sadly, false) or at times that her husband is talking to her on the television, or has appeared in public billboards, or at other times that her husband is a movie star. Sad. She also (falsely) believes that she has children. To add to her sad difficulties, she doesn't even know her birthdate. My brother-in-law 's late brother heard voices at different times urging him to kill himseof. He did take medication for his disease, but it made him extremely lethargic and often unable to socialize with other people. Are these individuals really conscious of themselves? They certainly aren't_thinking rationally, and in the case of my brother-in-law 's late brother, he frequently teetered between a life of some suffering and suicide. My other friend (the woman) is clearly and frequently delusional, and very dependent on being cared for by others (usually paid government employees). I certainly believe she has the right to such support, but sadly I believe two things: an increasing number

Tim Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal, with due respect, I believe two crucial points: that there are a number of individuals (those who are schizophrenic and have delusions and talk to imaginary people or "see" imaginary beings, or in the case of my brother-in-law 's_late brother, who heard voices urging him to kill himself, plus had diabetes (a double "whammy", so to speak) who are so dependent on other adults for their daily care, that in some ways their lives are similar to human embryos. Both are very dependent (,especially my friend who sadly believes she has a husband who is in the military (false in both cases), children (sadly false) or that her husband is a television star who "appears" to her on television programs or is featured on public billboards (all sad delusions). I don't_know that it's_realistic to hold that such people are rational. I nevertheless believe that they deserve support to live to the fullest. Unfortunately, I feel that an increasing number of Americans, particularly as the median age of our population continues to rise, will be unwilling to fund government social and mental health programs. As with the increasing number of people (especially I believe women) who have dementia, several of whom I know, live with, and tried my best to befriend at the nursing home where I live, will be seen as burdens by what Pope Francis has rightly decrided as members of a "throwaway culture." Vulnerable human beings are increasingly seen as burdens in the Western World, where rampant materialism exists. By the way, the late Nat Hentoff, who was a journalist with the liberal Village Voice, a self-described Jewish atheist , and a former Board Member of the New York Civil Liberties Union, was not only in favor of legal protection for the unborn from the violence of legal abortion, but was coming evinced that legal abortion without restrictions would lead to a society where infanticide for the severely disabled, and euthanasia, would not only be accepted but possibly legal. We already have physician assisted suicide in several states. I think this is not only immoral but sad. A close friend and co-worker of mine in 1994 committed suicide; she had been depressed for many years.

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

We can only really argue about the merits of the current situation. Conservatives often create future boogymen as arguments against current issues, like saying that if gay people are allowed to marry it may lead to incest marriages or polygamy, or saying that doctor assisted suicide for the terminally ill will lead to euthanasia for the disabled. Legal abortion will not lead to the killing of actual people, whether they are disabled or not .... the issues are not related.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal - when do you believe the fetus becomes a person? If a pregnant woman who wants her child is hit by a drunken driver, can she claim manslaughter?

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

I don't know. The later the pregnancy, the more the fetus seems like a person. There are many restrictions on when someone can get an abortion and late ones are usually only for fetal deformities or the mother's health. About 90% of abortions happen in the first 12 weeks. Only about 1% happen after 20 weeks.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

If you don't know, don't abandon them. You say 10% of abortions occur after 12 weeks - that's over 60,000 killings every year after 12 weeks (6 million since Roe v. Wade). At 12 weeks, the fetus has smaller parts of all organs. She has an identifiable face, sleeps, wakes, curls hand around things, exercises her muscles. Yet, you and your supporters deny her personhood and any legal protection. Why do I feel I am arguing with a person from a pre-1860 southern state?

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

The attempt to link abortion to slavery isn't valid. It also isn't valid to link abortion to Nazi eugenics or any other horrible thing from the past in which people took advantage of other people. Embryos and zygotes and fetuses are not people with human rights who are being taken advantage of, they are part of a woman's body and she has a right under the constitution to decide what to do with her body, restricted by when the fetus is viable. Read the arguments from the Roe decision.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Of course, you would say that Crystal. You accept that the unborn are human but you deny them human rights. The easiest way to discriminate against a class of humans is to deny they are fully human persons with equal dignity of other humans. That is what the Nazi's did, what the slaveholders did and what you are doing. Blacks and women are bigger victims of abortion than others. See here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/lets-talk-about-the-black-abortion-rate-1531263697)

Even Jane Roe (Norma Leah McCorvey) agreed that she was taken advantage of in the Roe v. Wade decision. She is an example of how one can be enlightened and turn away from exclusion of part of our human family. I hope it happens to you and Nora.

Nora Bolcon
1 year 7 months ago

Actually, the Pro-Life groups and our church want the embryo to have more rights than the born woman who is a citizen and therefore she has less rights over her own organs than the unborn fetus or embryo, and all men, and all non-child bearing women. We do not force men or anyone to give blood or donate an organ they don't need to survive to others in our country who will die without those organs. This is true even if the person who will die is a baby. We don't even make dead American's donate their organs to save people or born babies' lives. So how is it just to force women to gestate a pregnancy, against their will, which merely amounts to women having to allow another person to use their organs until they are able to use their own.

Truthfully, I feel abortion is immoral but I believe forcing only women to give of their personal organs and deal with permanent scarring and possibly risk dying when we don't force men to offer their kidneys or blood to save lives is also unjust and immoral. Either we make everyone give of their flesh equally or we don't force anyone to do so. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Justice means same treatment for all.

Henry George
1 year 7 months ago

Nora,
Justice does not mean the same treatment for all.
If a child needs food and a grown person needs food to survive, we don't give them the same amount of food.
Justice is giving the person what they need.
Does the Women in question need to have an Abortion.
In some case the Medical situation is such that many would say that she needs a medical abortion.
Others may say that the psychological states of the women may necessitate an abortion.
Less than 10 % of Abortions are, as far as we can, tell needful via medical conditions.
If the woman was not raped, then she agreed to participate in coitus and the result of that act
can be pregnancy.
She might not have wanted to get preganant, but now she has a baby in her womb and that baby
has a much of a right to live as any of us - that is the only Just decision.

It is not another person, it is her own child and it is exactly how she came into the world and how all of us came into the world.

Anne Danielson
1 year 7 months ago

At the moment of conception we existed in relationship as a beloved son or daughter; every son or daughter of a human person from the moment of our creation, when we are brought into being at our conception is a human person. You have existed as a son or daughter from the moment of your conception. You have always been only you, not a place, or a thing, but a beloved son or daughter, who can only be, in essence, a human person.

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

It seems odd then that God would allow so many of those sons and daughters to be miscarried.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal - we all die. We are not all killers.

Paul White
1 year 7 months ago

The hypocrisy of a lifelong philandering dope like Trump claiming to be pro life and considering the nomination of only staunchly pro life Supreme Court nominees is as ridiculous as most of his utterings.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Paul - what could be worse or more hypocrital - that "a lifelong philandering dope like Trump claiming to be pro life" or a lifelong Catholic being pro-abortion. It seem the latter is far worse.

James Haraldson
1 year 7 months ago

So repentance for past sins is ridiculous, and exercising value judgments that effectively save vulnerable lives is "ridiculous" in your version of Christianity?

Stephanie Hampton
1 year 7 months ago

This is such a painful issue, so personal yet so public.

The danger I see in the right to life movement is that it has been harnessed in a partisan manner so that it becomes the single issue upon which people spend their passion, money, and votes. Twice now His Holiness Pope Francis has written that those who protect the unborn widen their focus so that they care for those who also are the face of Jesus such as the immigrant and the poor whose right to life is equal to the unborn. Yet, during Trump's border crackdown on those immigrants seeking asylum which cruelly separated children as young as nursing infants, the "Right to Life" organizations were silent or excused themselves by prioritizing this "first right" to the extent that they ignore all save the dying and the unborn. This is not Catholic (Universal) social doctrine. This is simply conservative politics devoid of any corporal act of mercy.

I love that my Church helps those women who decide to either keep their babies or give them loving homes; these actions upon the poorest of Americans (children of single parents) is an act of mercy. However, acting politically to forbid the occasion of sin is controverting the will of God who gave humankind free will to chose Life or Death.

Franklin Cho
1 year 7 months ago

Completely agree with you that helping the poor/needy should be on equal footing with opposing abortion but what's wrong with acting politically to forbid the occasion of sin, especially the murder of babies? Romans 12:8, Ps 119, Proverbs 24:9, Hebrews 1:9. Love what is good and hate what is evil (sin).

Palin Smith
1 year 7 months ago

No change. Addition of another justice making it a 6-3 court will start the change. Democrats have a chastity belt of the mind. No free thought allowed.

Vincent Gaglione
1 year 7 months ago

I certainly agree that your broad definition of pro-life issues must be the political strategy taken. You are voices shouting in the desert. The comments here, however, prove how intractable some anti-abortion hardliners are on that strategy.

One can arguably make the case that the Congress will never pass abortion legislation because the nation is riven on the issue. I remain skeptical that the Republican Party will ever abandon its alleged “pro-life” policies. In spite of the fact that they never deliver the legislation to accomplish it, their platform wins them too many votes, not the majority in the USA, just in the districts that they have gerrymandered for themselves. In the meantime, they eviscerate policies that provide food for the hungry, economic supports for the elderly, disabled, and poor, and heap more wealth on the grossly comfortable. What pro-life commenters here would give up their single-issue advocacy for any of the issues which I just mentioned and advocate with equal intensity and fervor? It gives me pause to be sure.

So we are ultimately left with a riven populace, a fractured court, an immobile Congress. What exactly does the Church offer to us as guidance except an annual march in DC against abortion?

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 7 months ago

Vince
The Roe decision improvidently insulated the legislators from their State voters ....as such it was an enormous relief to the legislators who can preen and prance about supporting or not supporting the outcome without ever having to take a stand with a vote. This is the natural result when the Supreme Court starts dealing in the "penumbra of the Constitution" where the Court discovered this Abortion right. When the Court dabbles in creating legislation it in turn becomes political .....a result the Founders certainly never intended......the Court was the only non political branch/no votes for Judges.
While Roe stands , the Congress is relieved of the need to legislate and expose itself to accountability.
The interesting part of the Kavanaugh nomination is that the Democrats are now casting this advise and consent vote as a vote for or against abortion .....thereby exposing Manchin , Donnelly, Heitkamp etc to accountability to their voters....with an unknown result.
The rest of your screed about alleged Republican policies is just your usual Democrat balderdash.

Vincent Gaglione
1 year 7 months ago

Hey Stuart,

Why did I know that you would respond? You didn't address the editorial. You'll miss me for a few days? Attending a union convention this weekend.

Vinny

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 7 months ago

Vince
I try not to disappoint😇.....enjoy your Resistance meeting.
As to the Editorial: I believe I addressed it squarely: ....the abortion issue was always a political legislative issue improvidently seized by the Judiciary. So to that extent I agree with the final paragraph of the Editorial without necesssarily agreeing with the Editors details.
But I also believe that Roe will not be overturned....I think the Court will permit legislative pruning as additional scientific evidence comes in respecting in vitro pain and earlier viability dates.The issue will then come down to the competing rights of "a woman's choice" vs "the fetus/infant "right to life".

Tim Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

I'm a former long-time Democrat, who registered at age 18 and remained in the party until about 2011. I then registered as an Independent because neither party fully represented my views. About four years ago, I reluctantly registered as a Republican, although I largely disagree with typical Republican policies. It would be tedious for me to state all my views. But I oppose capital punishment (I'm a pen pal with a man serving life imprisonment for a serious crime and occasionally send him modest contributions for his personal needs), support stringent gun control laws (when I discovered a handgun in my late Dad's safety deposit box in 1994, I immediately turned the gun into my local police department) and support reasonable laws and regulations to protect our environment (I occasionally make modest contributions to the Catholic Climate Covenant). I also favor reasonable government assistance to the millions of Americans in need. Among other people, these include the disabled (I'm a retired Special Education teacher who instructed children with brain damage), the homeless, senior citizens (my loving Mom is 83, and at age 56 I fortunately live in a quality nursing home/rehabilitation center where many of the residents are very elderly or have dementia), the mentally ill (several of my friends are mentally ill, and a late in-law had schizophrenia), people addicted to drugs, either illegal or legal (years ago I was acquainted with a kind man I met in the hospital who was a drug addict whom I visited twice in a drug rehab-unfortunately we lost contact) and the seriously ill (both my dear aunt, who had brain cancer, and my loving Dad had congestive heart failure, and diabetes, and peacefully died after being comatose). When I worked in a group home with disabled men, several of my co-workers were immigrants from Liberia who had fled from a brutal civil war seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Of course, I'd prefer that immigrants enter our nation legally. However, I support a path to citizenship for all immigrants. It would be impossible and I believe unjust to expel millions of usually hard working, law abiding immigrants. Although I'm not a pacifist, I admire their convictions. I favor war only after all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted. Civilians must never be deliberately targeted, and nuclear weapons must never be used. I'm acquainted with several Muslims (one of whom was my supervisor) and from both personal experience and reading an excellent book, "A Brief History of Islam," I believe that most Muslims are decent, peaceful people . The notable exceptions are terrorists of the Islamic State (ISIS) which I believe is fortunately declining in both numbers and "influence" as well as Boko Haram, a terrorist group primarily based on Africa that may be more dangerous. Frankly, I'm not sure how to defeat terrorists. Perhaps economic development, humanitarian assistance, and educational assistance aimed at certain Third World countries would be useful in decreasing support for terrorism, if people have hope that their lives can improve. This is becoming too lengthy, so I apologize. Regarding the Middle East, I believe that both Palestinians and Israelis must compromise. Jerusalem is a city that has sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. While I can understand that many Jews for religious and historical reasons believe their nation's capital should be in Jerusalem, I believe it would be best if the capital was in another city. However, Palestinians must renounce terrorism and affirm the right of Israel to exist. Israel in my view must give up some "occupied" territory , and support the establishment of a Palestinian state, with Israel maintaining secure borders. This peace process will undoubtedly take considerable time, and the cooperation and perhaps some degree of material assistance (increased trade with a Palestinian state and humanitarian assistance) from the stock's international community. However, I fully support overturning Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Because of these Supreme Court decisions, the violence of abortion is legal for any reason up until the time when the unborn infant (or fetus, which is latin for "young one" ) is viable. Four final points. In an excellent book which I read by Professor Mary Ann Glendon, "Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse," she notes that even some legal scholars such as Professor Laurence Tribe who support legal abortion agree that Roe was a poorly reasoned decision. Other supporters of legal abortion agree. To name but one: Justice Ruth Bader Gingsburg said years ago words to the effect that Roe went too far in its reach. In another excellent book which I read , "Rites of Life: The Scientific Evidence for Life Before Birth," by Landrum Shettles, M. D., an obstetrician/gynecologist, provides a compelling case that abortion kills a human being, and that the life of a human being begins at fertilization. Incidentally, Dr. Shettles isn't Catholic, and favors legal contraception (but not abortive methods). Although I favor the teachings of Humane Vitae as an individual and very imperfect Catholic, I do support legal contraception and sterilization (but not abortifacients) for adults. Dr. Settlers noted that former Planned Parenthood president, the late Alan Guttmacher, M.D., agreed that a human being comes into existence when a sperm fertilizes an ovum. Guttmacher later reversed his position, but as Shettles points out (with good reason, I believe) he apparently changed his mind based on sociology, not biology. In 1963, in a pamphlet titled "Plan Your Family for Health and Happiness," Planned Parenthood stated, " An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. " However, less than ten years later, Planned Parenthood reversed it’s position (based on biology) and now performs over 300,000 abortions out of the almost 1 million abortions performed annually in our nation. Faye Wattleton, Planned Parenthood 's president from 1987-1992, admitted in an interview with Ms. Magazine (May/June 1997) that abortion "kills a fetus." Another compelling book that I read was "Aborting America" ( 1979) by Bernard Nathanson, M.D. Nathanson at that time was an atheist of Jewish heritage, and for about 18 months in New York City was the medical director of the largest abortion facility in the Western world, where 75,000 abortions were performed. He personally performed about 5,000 abortions. Dr. Narhanson also was a co-founder of what is now NARAL Pro-choice America. Nathanson admitted that he knew, and believed that his colleagues knew, that the number of pregnant women who died from illegal abortions had been greatly exaggerated. Why? To influence lawmakers. Of course, any time a woman does Dr M an illegal abortion it's tragic. But about 30,000 or more people due from gun violence each year in our nation, either from murder or suicide. Also, tens of thousands of people for annually in our nation from using illegal drugs (heroin, cocaine, etc.) and legal drugs ( opoids prescribed as painkillers, which at times are overprescribed by doctors, or people abuse the drug). Although I favor legalized medical marijuana, I think it would be unwise and dangerous to legalize other drugs. Perhaps education about the dangers of drugs (both illegal and legal) may be helpful, just as education and legal restrictions on cigarettes have reduced the number of young people now smoking. I'll end with two points. There are many hundreds of alternative -to-abortion agencies nationwide. If all people who oppose the violence of legal abortion contributed to a group, much good would result in my view. When I'm able, I occasionally make modest contributions to the Mother's Home in suburban Philadelphia, a shelter for pregnant women and their babies that also provides other practical, compassionate services. I also on occasion make modest contributions to Mom's House, a network of about six homes which provide low-income pregnant women with free quality day care so that they can complete their education. Finally, I do have sympathy for women who have unplanned pregnancies. My best friend at age 19 while in college found out that his 17 year old girlfriend who was a senior in high school was pregnant. Despite the difficulties involved, his girlfriend (with whom I became good friends with as I was very happy to help them care for their baby) gave birth to a son one month after she turned 18. My friend became a civil engineer, and in time his wife (they were married nine months after their baby was born-ironic, no?!) became a pharmacist. My friend's older sister had an unplanned pregnancy some years before she did, and sadly chose to abort her unborn baby. Although, I firmly disagreed with her decision, I didn't (and don't) harbor feelings of "hatred" towards her. I certainly have frequently committed immoral acts. We, both enjoyed helping to babysit, but some clothes and toys as we were able, for her nephew (who called me his uncle, which gave me great pleasure). My friend's sister in time have birth to a baby girl, and raised her as a single mother. The Church has a,ministry for women who've had an abortion, Project Rachel. I'm sure that other faiths also provide post-abortion counseling.

Stanley Kopacz
1 year 7 months ago

I'm not concerned about what Kavanaugh is going to do to Roe v. Wade. I'm worried about what a corporate toady is going to do to the air I breath, the water I drink, the food I eat. Other people's embryos are more important than that? Well, my spermatazoa had nothing to do with the situation. And I never shop vac'd out an embryo or assisted in the procedure. So why must I and all the other people who never had anything to do with abortion , including innocent children, have to suffer poisoning to save someone else's embryo from that someone else?

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 7 months ago

Stan
The point you make is certainly independently important. But your dialectic is flawed: Substitute the word "child" where you have written "embryo"......and then read it out loud......The result is a rather offensive. Kind of like the Lifeboat Captain yelling "Women and Embryos First".

Stanley Kopacz
1 year 7 months ago

I'm not sure child is a valid redefinition, especially in the case of one cell or 16 cells. Embryo is a proper designation for a human being in a womb in development. And even if child should be applied, those on the right don't seem to be big cheerleaders for programs that cover the medical care and feeding of other people's children. But, to get to the bottom line, if they want to get rid of Roe vs. Wade, fine. But why should people who have had nothing to do with abortion have to be poisoned as well? But get a justice who won't go down on the corporations for everything and anything. If something could be taken from me to save the lives of 1000 14 week embryos and leave me dead or sick, would I be obligated to provide it? Would you? Just asking.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 7 months ago

Stan
As I indicated above, the points you made are independently valuable...but the use of an "embryo"/ abortion as a springboard to make your points is distastefully gratuitous at best.
In answer to your final question: the issue deserves serious consideration but I suspect the answer is simply that the doing the heroic would be commendable but not required. Same question could be asked if your neighbor needed a new kidney.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Stanley - I am for a clean environment and believe the free market will get their faster than command economies. Example: the greenhouse gas emissions are falling under Trump in the USA, whereas they are rising in the EU. So, worry about Europe.
https://www.weeklystandard.com/tony-mecia/u-s-greenhouse-gas-emissions-falling-under-trump-european-emissions-rising

Stanley Kopacz
1 year 7 months ago

Stuart,
I was just seeking to be exact. When I think of child, I think of someone you can play with on the floor. "Child", especially when applied to a first trimester human, seems stretching it for propaganda purposes. For the record, I don't believe a 16 cell blastocyst is without moral weight. I am not prepared to call it a child.
Thanks for your answer to my question.
Tim, I would have to read the report but one must consider that often these reductions reflect further deindustrialization while the carbon footprint of the US is moved offshore. In other words, the foreign fossil fuel power plant is powering the factory where they make our Star Wars action figures. Whatever environmental good that occurs during the Trump administration is in spite of it. Addressing the problem is now occurring at the local and state level. It has been pointed out that NRA members are more likely to have solar panels. It could be the survivalist mentality. Seeing what happened to Puerto Rico, not a bad idea.

Patrick Byrne
1 year 7 months ago

I continue to be surprised that America expresses such strong legal opinions on this matter. I wish that I could be charitable, but the legal aspect of this article reads like it was written by a high school student who googled a few wikipedia articles on abortion law and then pulled an all-nighter. If Roe is a constitutional travesty then so has been almost every other substantive due process case, including Griswold, Moore, Obergefell and McDonald. I do not remember reading such strong objections when the court recognized the right to same sex marriage.

Moreover, abortion NEVER left the legislative arena. In this case, abortion has been robustly regulated at the state level well before and well after 1972. At the federal level, it is not fair to say that abortion must return to the legislative arena, because the fed never legislated on it in the first place. Nevertheless, nothing ever leaves the legislative arena. This is high school civics. If they wanted to, Congress could propose a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion tomorrow. Gee, I wonder why they don't? Maybe it is because over half the country thinks that abortion should be legal in some cases, and has since 1972.

I expect better from America than overused rhetoric.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 7 months ago

Patrick
The only thing I could take exception to is "...nothing ever leaves the legislative arena". Legislators like nothing better than to have a Court taking over a hot potato political issue so they don't have to cast a vote. ...a so called "Supreme Court preemption exemption". Legislators are left with only having to meddle with the margins where the political risks are far more limited.
The Editors unwillingness to understand , address or at least not to confuse or to ignore the governing law is inexplicable. It seems to stem from their everchanging stance on when it is appropriate to mix politics and a moral point as a matter of tutoring Catholics. Adding to or qualifying their thoughts with references to the existing legislative or judicial interpretations of law just create hurdles to their freewheeling approach.

Patrick Byrne
1 year 7 months ago

Stuart,

I agree that the courts can and do set effective limits on what states can do, so much so that it might seem to the uninformed observer (e.g. these editors) that the issue is beyond legislation. Also agree that federal legislators do not seem to want to touch the abortion issue with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole: there is no hotter political potato. We also seem to be more or less on the same page that the editors at America are amateurs at best when it comes to legal analysis, and that they should stick to moral arguments. It is intellectually irresponsible to peddle this sort of rhetoric and pass it off as sound legal reasoning.

Be well!
-Pat

Aileen Meehan
1 year 7 months ago

Troubled to see the immediate reaction on the part of America to applaud the potential, and likely, overturning of Roe v Wade. Wondering when one of the authors of this editorial might have had a loving sexual experience that could lead to an unplanned pregnancy and endured the ensuing turmoil . Perhaps none of you, but what about your female sisters, cousins, nieces? I note (which I favor) a much more empathetic, compassionate and ( in my view ) more kind and appropriate response regarding the issue of gay marriage.

Aileen Meehan
1 year 7 months ago

Troubled to see the immediate reaction on the part of America to applaud the potential, and likely, overturning of Roe v Wade. Wondering when one of the authors of this editorial might have had a loving sexual experience that could lead to an unplanned pregnancy and endured the ensuing turmoil . Perhaps none of you, but what about your female sisters, cousins, nieces? I note (which I favor) a much more empathetic, compassionate and ( in my view ) more kind and appropriate response regarding the issue of gay marriage.

Michael Barberi
1 year 7 months ago

Roe v. Wade may or may not be overturned in the future. If it changes, it will be based on the Constitution of the U.S. and its laws, not based on the teaching of a Church. For Catholics, it is both a legal and a moral issue.

I seriously question whether moral credibility about abortion or any teaching on sexual ethics should be based on some type of test like if the person attends weekly Mass or not. Recognize that only about 22% of Catholics attend weekly Mass. Weekly Mass attendance is not a litmus test for being a good Catholic, moral enlightenment or doing the Lord's work. What these polls tell us is that a significant percent of Catholics don't agree with many of the sexual ethical teachings of the magisterium. Even among weekly Mass attendees, a significant percent of them disagree with many of the moral teachings of the magisterium. Granted, polls don't determine the truth or a teaching of the Church. Polls often reflect a failure of the Church to put forth a convincing moral theory in support of its teachings.

Make no mistake about what I am saying. I don't believe in terminating a pregnancy except to save the life of the mother that is threatened with death by a pregnancy, or in cases of rape and incest. The exceptions I am talking about are infrequent but most Catholics agree with such exceptions. I am against terminating a pregnancy for any reason at any time (e.g., before viability). I hope the abortion law changes but I don't believe it will become illegal.

Nevertheless, classifying the opinions of Catholics in terms of weekly Mass attendees versus those who self-identiy as Catholics but don't attend weekly Mass, polarizes and divides us regardless of the moral issue under consideration. It's the wrong argument.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Michael - I am glad that you are mostly pro-life, and we could discuss the rare exceptions of life of the mother and double effect, etc. But, where do you get the idea that one can be a good Catholic while not bothering to attend Mass? It is a grave sin to miss Mass intentionally, without some extenuating circumstance. This is the very problem with polls. Even well read people do not know what the Catholic Church teaches. Here is the Catechism (No. 2181): “The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants). Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.”

Michael Barberi
1 year 7 months ago

Tim,

It has been a long time since we last corresponded. I hope you are well.

There are a lot of reasons why most Catholics don't attend weekly Mass. Some attend Mass monthly while others attend twice a year. Many don't attend Mass at all. However, the failure is not simply the fault of the person or a deliberate turning away from God. As one of my moral theological mentors told me one day, many people are disadvantaged so don't be quick to judge them. Some come from broken families with no adequate Catholic education. Some disagree with certain moral teachings. However, it has been my experience that many Catholics who do not attend weekly Mass often pray and strive as best they can to do good. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Tim, I understand what the Church teaches and it is easy to simply say 'they are all living in sin'. While you might be technically correct, this type of stone throwing and judgment is not the answer. After all, we only see a partial view of the truth and life is complex. We don't know the circumstances our neighbor face every day.

While I always attend weekly Mass and participate in a ministry to the Feed the Homeless, I don't believe I am closer to God than my neighbor who, for various reasons. does not attend weekly Mass. In fact, many people I know that don't attend weekly Mass are, in my opinion, blessed by God and a better person than I. They pray often, are kind, compassionate, merciful, helpful, and for the most part a good neighbor.

No one knows how God will judge us, so I am not going to judge anyone or shout from the rooftops that everyone who does not attend weekly Mass is committing a grave sin. I would rather pray for the conversion of sinners and the reparation of sins....and by the grace God, we will all be saved especially those most in need of God's mercy.

God Bless.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

God bless Michael. None of my comments are meant to judge the person's soul, just the facts, the actions and the crimes. One can always repent, even on one's deathbed, So I remain hopeful for everyone, including myself. Perhaps, many are saved through ignorance (Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34).

As to the "scientific" question (as best as the weak social sciences are) of what Catholics believe about an issue, it is critical that an accurate definition of a Catholic is used. There is the perennial teachings of the Church (best recorded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church - no one denies that that is what the Church teaches) and there is the-man-next-door or one's local priest, or the man-in-the-street, or the woman-who-answered-the-phone who was raised in a Catholic family long ago, or a politician. They may all say something about Catholicism (even a Buddhist can have an opinion on what Catholics believe) but they do not represent what believing practicing Catholics believe. I urge that a 2- or 3- question test be evaluated by pollsters and compared with a more lengthy interview in a small test subset.

Michael Barberi
1 year 7 months ago

Tim,

As you know, all who are baptized are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Accordingly, they are Catholic. However, to define Catholics as good or faithful by whether they attend weekly Mass or abide by every moral teaching of the magisterium is not what most priests and bishops would do...in my opinion. We are faithful if we believe in Jesus Christ and His Gospel. If someone says that the hierarchy has not contributed, in part, to the division within the Church over many moral teachings would be sticking their head in the sand.

I do agree that opinion surveys of Catholics often do not ask the right questions and some answers to questions can be misleading. However, many surveys breakdown Catholic opinion by age cohort, weekly Mass attendees, etc. From the surveys I have seen, the trends among all Catholics, including weekly Mass attendees, have gotten worse or have not materially changed.

If we defined a good Catholic according to a narrow definition such as abiding by every moral teaching and whether they attend weekly Mass, we would be talking about a very small percent of Catholics. Even among weekly Mass attendees, a significant percent of them don't agree with many moral teachings.

You can disagree about moral teachings, such as contraception, women ordination, and terminating a pregnancy to save the life of the mother and remain a faithful Catholic.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Michael - your definition (e.g. "were you baptized Catholic") would not do for any polling, as it would include all self-identified ex-Catholics, many atheists, agnostics, some Mormons, Buddhists and sundry protestants. It would be like relying on Richard Dawkins when polling Anglicans, Karl Marx for Jews, Nietzsche for Lutherans, Stalin for Orthodox, etc. An ex-Catholic is not even a bad Catholic, just something else. A bad Catholic is someone who knows what the Church teaches but doesn't desire to follow the teaching, just like a bad doctor is one who engages in malpractice. There are Catholics who don't know all the Church teaches, but they still try to follow it. They would not necessarily be bad, per se, but would not meet the "faithful" definition, per VC II's Lumen Gentium. There, faithful is defined in the description of the "sensus fidelium," or sense of the faithful: "By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority,... receives... the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. ...The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life." (LG 12; CCC 93). I also accept it could be small, following Jesus's warning: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Mt 7:13-14). I also know that Jesus died for all people, including bad Catholics: "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" (Mk 2:17)

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