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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Michael Barberi
1 year 7 months ago

Tim,

You misunderstood what I said. I was not saying that a survey should include a poll question 'are you a baptized Catholic'?. I was only pointing out that every person who is baptized is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, period. This statement had nothing to do with a poll question or was I suggesting that such a question be a poll question. Nor was I suggesting that a survey should poll baptized Catholics that have left the Catholic Church.

Most surveys poll Catholics who self-identify as Catholics. I believe most pollsters try to improve their surveys every year and try to weed out any bias or poorly written questions whose answers can be misleading. However, many surveys breakdown opinions by various metrics in order to determine trends and differences among sub-groups. Nevertheless, while surveys are getting better, the trends of Catholic opinions have either gotten worse or not materially changed over decades. This is a problem that the Church needs to deal with.

Lastly, there is a difference between faith and morals. You can be a faithful Catholic, one who believes in the tenants of our faith, who believes in Jesus Christ and his Gospel, and disagree with certain moral teachings of the magisterium. In other words, just because a significant percent of Catholics, including those who attend weekly Mass, do not agree with every moral teaching, does not make them bad or unfaithful Catholics. If a baptized Catholic does not believe in Jesus Christ and His Gospel then they have lost their way and would most likely not be interested in participating in a Catholic survey.

I think we are wandering again into side issues. This article was about Kavenaugh and Roe v. Wade. I have made my comments clear, as you have. Let's move on Tim.

J. Calpezzo
1 year 7 months ago

The pro-life racket and their mouthpieces like Kavanaugh will do nothing to halt abortion. Only a change in the human heart will do that. I wonder how many in the pro-life racket spoke out so passionately against child rape in their Church's crime of the century. Or against innocents killed by American drone strikes. Or innocents poisoned by Putin.

Anne Danielson
1 year 7 months ago

"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."
Since every son or daughter of a human person can only be a human person, and being an essence, a human person, does not depend on the ancestry, location, or viability of a human person, then we can know that this statement is in error for the same exact reason this statement would be in error:
Reversing Dred Scott, will not make slavery 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.

Brigid Dunn
1 year 7 months ago

I found this editorial to be extremely disheartening. I realize that by expressing this, I risk being trolled by those who might say that I am not a "true Catholic." Oh, well. I did not expect America to bow to the "pro-life" Catholics who do not value the environment, the plight of the poor, the injustice facing those who have been sentenced to death and the scandals of racism and sexism half so much as the lives of the unborn. Judge Kavanaugh may care about the unborn, but, once they are born, does not care one iota. I have not heard about his advocacy for education or childcare or healthcare because he has not expressed these views. By advocating for these things, and not ending Roe, we might be able to make abortion less frequent. By ending Roe, we only make it less safe.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 7 months ago

Brigid - Most pro-lifers (me included) are for a clean environment, help the poor, and are against racism and sexism. Recall that the pro-abortionists have a very poor record on sexism (Planned Parenthood never seriously objected to the sex-selection or racial abortions, and all those Hollywood types are now found to be covering up sexual exploitation of women) and racism (more black babies are killed by abortion than are born in NY every year - who speaks out about that?). Prolifers and religious people are strong supporters for education and healthcare, provided that people are not forced to teach against their faith or have to pay for things in their healthcare plan that they find morally objectionable. While I haven't seen polls on this, I would even bet prolifers are more against capital punishment than pro-abortionists.

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

America magazine has become mush more conservative since Jesuit Thomas Reese was editor. Reese wrote recently, just after the Irish vote to legalize abortion, about what pro-lifers should do. He points out that most Americans want abortion to remain legal, that even a Supreme Court overturn of Roe will not end abortion completely, and that the only practical thing for the pro-life movement to do is support reducing abortion through the use of contraception ... https://religionnews.com/2018/05/27/irish-vote-shows-need-for-new-pro-life-strategy-on-abortion/

Michael Barberi
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal,

I read the article you referenced. Bravo to Fr. Reese! Great advice including making contraception affordable and available.

The answer to reducing abortions is not overturning Roe v Wade. I agree with the suggestions of Fr. Reese and I would add that the States and Federal Government should provide funds or benefits for mothers to take an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy to term and program assistance for adoption. This would give mothers and women who are single and pregnant, a viable alternative to abortion.

As for your claim that most pro-lifers are Republican, this would depend on your definition of pro-lifers. If your definition is those who support overturning Roe v Wade, I would like to see survey results. From what I have seen, most Americans want to see abortion remain legal. Perhaps there are more Republicans than Democrats who want to see abortion to become illegal. However, I don't think you can make a blanket statement that all pro-life Republicans are also anti-environmental or anti-anything else.

I don't believe in abortion on demand for any reason but I do agree that terminating a pregnancy to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest is not immoral. Abortion is a personal moral decision regardless if it is legal or illegal.

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

The question of which political party pro-lifers mostly belong to is answered by the platforms of each party. The GOP's and Trump's stated goal is to save the "unborn" and ro make abortion more and more difficult to obtain (as well as contraception). The stated goal of the Democratic party is to protect women's right to choose.

Michael Barberi
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal,

If you follow politics you should know that there is a big difference between a political party's 'platform' and the reality of following through on the issues. Few politicians follow every plank of their party, far from it. Yes, I do admit that the overarching theme of the Republican party is pro-life and the Democrats a women's right to choose, However, you cannot paint an entire party, meaning every Republican, with a far-right definition of pro-life. This is the problem with politics today. It has become polarized, full of diatribe, exaggeration, hatred and in some case out-right lies. It has become far too emotional without and emphasis on the truth. Take the media and democratic attacks on Trump. If he walked on water, the next day the media and democrats would say 'this only proves that he can't swim'.

I am an Independent and when someone will not enter into reasoned and balanced debate on any issue, I try to turn the conversation around, but when this does not work I eventually turn away.

Crystal Watson
1 year 7 months ago

Nope. Most pro-life people are Republicans, and as can so clearly be seen with this Trump administration, Republicans are hostile to the environment and are hostile to civil rights, including women's rights and the rights of racial minorities.

Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 7 months ago

Crystal, Republicans are perhaps hostile to lowering the abortion rate which fell a total of 11% under Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. The rate dropped over 40% under Clinton and Obama.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 7 months ago

Chuck
More nonsense alleged cause and effect statistics......do you honestly believe that a drop in abortions at any given time had anything to do with who was then president ? The uncontrolled variables in such a period are almost infinite and eliminate any possible "cause and effect " relationship.

Anne Danielson
1 year 7 months ago

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/12/17564048/brett-kavanaugh-roe-wade-views

It is important to note that respect for the Sanctity of human life is not, in essence, a States Rights issue, but a Human Rights issue.

Ancestry, location, or viability, does not change the essence of being a son or daughter of a human person.
Thus, we can know through both Faith and reason that this statement:
"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", is erroneous for the same reason this statement would be:
Reversing Dred Scott, will not make slavery 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.

Anne Danielson
1 year 7 months ago

It is important to note that this statement "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", is erroneous for the same reason this statement, Reversing Dred Scott, will not make slavery 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, would be. Abortion, like Slavery, is a Human Right's issue, not a State's Right issue.

Barry Fitzpatrick
1 year 7 months ago

Our debate over the suitability of Supreme Court nominees has been tainted in my memory ever since the nomination of Robert Bork whose credentials certainly merited a place on the Court, even if one didn't agree with his politics. The debate has worsened and further emphasized the vast divide in our country over major issues that incite our engagement. Your editorial only mentions the "seamless garment" approach to life issues but does not emphasize it, and further the piece seems to contradict itself when measuring the gravity of issues other than abortion in our debate. You state "we should begin by avoiding the intramural argument that has consumed too many Catholics--namely, whether other pro-life issues are as important or more important than abortion." You then go on to argue that these other equally important issues "must not be traded off against the defense of the lives of unborn children." Does opposition to Kavanaugh, because of his "gospel of prosperity" approach to many issues on our nation's plate, mean that one is trading off unborn children?
I think not. I believe, as the editors seem to, that Kavanaugh's record on the bench warrants confirmation. But I don't believe he will be a standard bearer for the very core of the Jesuit education he received, namely, an unabiding and consistent preferential option for the poor. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about that.

Phillip Stone
1 year 7 months ago

At last, an article I endorse.
In Western "civilisation" the most dangerous place on the face of the earth for a human baby is within its mother's womb.

The entire population of the US who are baptised will need to do more than express an opinion about this, it calls for repentance, persevering prayer and fasting.
Only thus will Roe v Wade be reversed

James Haraldson
1 year 7 months ago

Well it is clear from the way the discussion has proceeded that even Catholic forums have little sense of Catholicism and virtually no consideration or respect at all for the desires of God. A lot of talk about the expectations of pollsters, but God? Well, who is He to challenge our vanity, or even to suggest there could be anything evil about vanity. Also there are those who are annoyed at others who rightfully suggest that Catholics who reject the humanity of the unborn have broken so substantially with a Catholic ontological understanding of creation they have completely abandoned Catholicism, not to mention a large part of their humanity. And then there are the liberal establishment cliché parrots that suggest that the parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, caregivers, lawyers, volunteers, and people from hundreds of other walks of life have never cared for a child after they’ve been born. And I suppose they live on such a Mt. Everest of self-delusion, they can do this and believe this with a straight face.
Well after half a century of pretending there is no such thing as sin anymore, what else can we expect? The Church whose only purpose is to save humanity from sin has spawned a population of “adherents” proud of their willingness to aid and abet the greatest episode of mass murder in history.

There are those who talk about increases of impoverishment with the denial of abortion while ignoring the impoverishment of the human soul that results from abortion and even abstract indifference toward it. Neither do they give any thought at all to the long-term improvements to material prosperity that result from divinely endowed gifts of fulfillment and responsibility rather than the emptiness of self-worshiping ephemeral gratifications. Were liberal “Catholics” not living in denial of their own crimes against humanity, they might begin to care as much about babies “after they’re born” as pro-lifers and witness the transformational nature of God’s gift of life.

Robert Klahn
1 year 7 months ago

To support the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh solely because he might overturn Roe v Wade, with no other superior qualities in evidence, is contemptible. If RvW is overturned, and the end result is to make things worse in this country, increase child hunger and poverty, over strain our schools with no effort to support them, leave them in a medical care system that lets them die at a rate far higher than any other industrialized country, that nomination may backfire.

If things get worse the end result could well be a return of RvW, with the Supreme Court reinstituting it, and the public supporting it even more.
First work on food and housing for all, universal health care, a living wage, full education as far as the individual can go. That is the first step to ending abortion. Without that you are just self righteous fundies calling for a world as you want it, not as Jesus commanded.

Louis Arceneaux
1 year 7 months ago

So sad that the editors of America magazine have joined the bandwagon of one issue people. I am opposed to abortion. I am also opposed to Kavanaugh become a supreme court judge because of his philosophy as it affects so many issues that are significant to Catholic Social teaching and being truly pro-life beyond the life of the unborn. The approach of America on this issue is part of what got us Trump as President. God help us. Peace!

Louis Arceneaux
1 year 7 months ago

Sadly, America magazine is equating opposition to abortion with supporting this Supreme Court nominee. I am opposed to abortion and opposed to Kavanaugh. He does not stand up for many issues that deal with Catholic Social teaching. Sadly, this approach of America is a definite part of the reason we have Trump as our President. We cannot be one issue voters or Catholics. Peace!

Louis Arceneaux
1 year 7 months ago

Sadly, America magazine is equating opposition to abortion with supporting this Supreme Court nominee. I am opposed to abortion and opposed to Kavanaugh. He does not stand up for many issues that deal with Catholic Social teaching. Sadly, this approach of America is a definite part of the reason we have Trump as our President. We cannot be one issue voters or Catholics. Peace!

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