How Trump is able to exploit the abortion issue, and why that’s bad for everyone

President Donald Trump arrives at a rally at Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wis., Saturday, April 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)President Donald Trump arrives at a rally at Resch Center Complex in Green Bay, Wis., Saturday, April 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Trump has again lured the media into sensationalist coverage of his latest outrageous statement. This time, the outrage is over abortion and in response to President Trump’s attack on Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers for promising to veto a bill that would have required doctors to offer medical care to infants who are born alive during an attempted abortion. Mr. Trump laid out the scenario this way:

The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.

This is an outlandishly false description of the rare but very real situations that the bill attempts to address. There is no shortage of outraged pieces and tweets and explanations from pro-choice advocates to let you know that no one is calmly delivering and swaddling babies and then determining whether or not to “execute” them. They are correct about that.

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But they are wrong if they think that their main problem is that Mr. Trump is not telling the truth about abortion procedures. Instead, as he has done before, especially during the 2016 election, Mr. Trump is leveraging the stunning failure of the pro-choice movement to acknowledge Americans’ moral qualms about abortion in order to make this a very effective wedge issue. Pro-life activists should not be proud of Mr. Trump’s willingness to misportray facts nor of how easily some pro-life voters fall for it—nor should they mistake it for any principled commitment on his part to the pro-life cause. Nonetheless, the reason he is able to exploit the issue is that even though this particular outrage is exaggerated, the absolutist position on abortion that has become a litmus test for Democratic politicians is outrageous in itself.

Pro-choice opposition to the “born-alive” bills, like the one in Wisconsin, a similar bill recently vetoed by the Democratic governor of North Carolina or the failed Senate bill introduced by Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, has been stalwart. Opponents have argued that bills are unnecessary because once born, even after an attempted abortion, an infant is a person, protected already by laws against homicide. But this response misses the point of these laws on at least two fronts.

First, there are very real gray areas here that deserve legal clarification. In recent gruesome history, Kermit Gosnell was convicted in 2013 on three counts of homicide for “snipping” the spinal cords of infants born alive during attempted abortions. (He was also convicted on one count of involuntary manslaughter of a patient who died during an abortion procedure.) While this is a case where prosecution under existing homicide laws worked, what if Dr. Gosnell had simply allowed the babies to die of exposure or from lack of routine medical assistance? While such an act should be criminal under existing law, would we ever find out about it? Or would it pass by as the unreported, unremarkable “completion” of a procedure that was never meant to result in a living child? It is worth noting that earlier this year when New York legislated an even stronger guarantee of abortion rights, it eliminated requirements in its public health code that explicitly required care for an infant born alive during an abortion.

Second, there is a purpose to laws that specifically focus on vulnerable people who are already protected by more general laws. One important reason for those laws is that they express a consensus moral judgment. Hate crime laws allow us to say that in addition to violence being wrong across the board, the racism and intolerance that motivate these crimes are wrong in themselves. The Violence Against Women Act—currently expired pending reauthorization by the Senate—not only enhances protections for victims of domestic violence, among others, but also says that these victims matter and deserve the attention and compassion of all Americans.

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The absolutist position on abortion that has become a litmus test for Democratic politicians is outrageous in itself.

The fight over these “born-alive” protection bills is both practical and symbolic. At the practical level, they might only apply to exceptional circumstances during already rare late-term abortions. Those circumstances are important even if infrequent. But at a symbolic level, these laws are a way to say that there is some point at which our society and government can recognize that a child still in the womb has joined the human race and deserves our protection and compassion. Both support for and opposition to these laws are primarily about their symbolic weight.

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Pro-life activists resort to laws like these (or to bans on partial-birth abortions and regulations that make it harder for abortion clinics to operate) not because they are the most important restrictions on abortion but because they are the only ones possible. Roe v. Wade’s construction of abortion as a constitutional right leaves no other avenues of resistance open, except the ongoing effort to establish a Supreme Court majority that might return the abortion question to the realm of legislative power.

Pro-choice activists, on the other hand, are committed to opposing all such laws tooth and nail because of the fundamental fragility of their moral position, which depends on focusing on compassion for women in difficult pregnancies while avoiding thinking too much about what pregnancy really is. Any explicit recognition that abortion ends a developing life—for example, by acknowledging that a late-term abortion that fails will result in a living child—imperils the broader acceptance of abortion. After all, people are most comfortable with accepting abortion when they are able to distance themselves from its concrete reality. That is why “choice” is championed without speaking about what is chosen and why it is easier to talk about a pregnancy being terminated rather than the life of the unborn child that is also ended by the same act.

Pro-life activists can rightly be criticized for rhetoric that suggests that late-term abortions are common or chosen in a cavalier fashion. President Trump certainly deserves to be corrected when he suggests that mothers and doctors are discussing whether or not to execute newborns. (Not least because it sadly muddies the waters of already very difficult conversations about how to offer palliative care to infants and support to families when children are expected not to survive to delivery or to die shortly after birth.)

That is why it is not enough for pro-choice advocates to deny that anyone ever does casually choose to end a viable pregnancy, thus killing a child—it is also necessary to deny that anyone ever should.

But the primary reason for these failures is that abortion advocates pretend that there is no reason, ever, that abortion should be restricted. That position is so far removed from the moral intuitions of most Americans that it opens up a political gap, ripe for exploitation. The fix for this is not merely to correct President Trump’s distortion of what goes on in late-term abortions. The fix is for some defenders of abortion rights—perhaps those who, until recently, argued for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare”—to admit that unborn human life has real value. There are plenty of people who, while not wanting to eliminate abortion entirely, believe in far tighter restrictions on it than are currently possible. Yet absolutism about abortion access has made that position legally and morally invisible. That is why it is not enough for pro-choice advocates to deny that anyone ever does casually choose to end a viable pregnancy, thus killing a child—it is also necessary to deny that anyone ever should.

Whatever consensus about abortion is possible in our society, it will be closer to having some limits than having no limits. As long as the leaders of the pro-choice movement refuse to accept that some limits on abortion are morally necessary, they are in a position very similar to President Trump: saying something they want their base to believe, even though it isn’t really true.

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Crystal Watson
4 months 2 weeks ago

The Democratic position is not outrageous, it's the law as decided by the Supreme Court and upheld against challenges for 40 years. The born-alive bills are unnecessary because babies born alive are cared for, not killed. Gosnell's clinic is not an example of legal abortion. Fetuses are not considered "vulnerable people" or victims of hate crimes to be protected by redundant laws. There are reasons why fetuses don't have the same legal protections as existing people - one of which is that the conflicts would be extreme.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Plus claiming they are legally independent people means that all abortions should be completely legal no matter the circumstance because no individual has the right to attach themselves to another person's body parts to sustain their own life against the will of the person they are attaching themselves to. If you are an individual then you must be self sufficient outside of basic medical care given to all individuals. You can not claim any rights to the use of another person's flesh even to save your own.

This is an ugly topic but one can not claim to be a full individual human being and then claim they are not when it suits their needs, even their needs of survival. You can be one or the other but not both. Pro-lifers are using lies to confuse this subject. I agree no one is killing babies that are able to survive after they are born.

The purpose of these laws protecting abortion providers from being required to offer extreme life saving machines, and always having doctors available to save any failed abortions that are later term abortions (like 4-5 months) are designed to protect access to legal abortion, that is being threatened, due to unreasonable requirements, given the rarity of occurrence of viably born, aborted babies. These laws that Trump is upset about are designed to protect women's rights to have abortions in clinics and by non-physicians, but fully trained, medical staff. This means Pro-lifers can't force abortions to be done in hospitals, by only doctors, and these are restrictions pro-lifers have been desperately trying to push thru, by creating laws, demanding unreasonable requirements given the risk ratio, on non-hospital and non-physician providers, in the hopes these restrictions will limit how many legal abortions can happen.

If an aborted fetus could possibly be viable for a tiny amount of time, after an abortion, while off machines, and if laws demanding care for failed aborted fetuses that might be viable after abortion are passed, abortion clinics and providers have a new legal obligation to offer access to extreme life saving machinery for all abortions, just in case, and therefore all abortions must be performed in hospitals and by doctors, or the provider can be sued for negligence. That is the game these bills, known as “born-alive” bills, are supporting and that is why Pro Choicers have felt the need to make the new laws described in this article fighting off unnecessary mandates. Pro lifers are knowingly not saving any born babies lives by supporting “born-alive” bills. This is just more Pro Life lies to which I respond again . . If your case is so strong why are you constantly having to lie to support it?

Phil.martin87@gmail.com
4 months 2 weeks ago

I’m sorry Nora but you are wrong. Your “attachment” analogy doesn’t work. You’re implying that the child is the one doing the attaching when in reality it’s the mother and father that is attaching the child. Now that you’ve been proven wrong you need to repent because you’re going to Hell if you promote these ideas.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Ah Phil - Maybe you don't realize this but the fetus is not at all attached to its father during pregnancy and if your hang up is that the woman is attached to the fetus, then ok I guess, you can say that she has the right to dis-attach under the same rules of individual equity, if she wishes too.

The point is - if the fetus is an individual under the law, and so is the mother (which we already know she is as an individual citizen) then neither has the right to attach themselves physically to the other in order to save their own lives. If you want to pretend that the woman is the one who will stop functioning after an abortion, you may do so, but I can tell you that isn't how it generally works out. So I guess you have to repent for your sin of being incorrect? or else you will go to hell? What version of Catholicism is that?

Phil.martin87@gmail.com
4 months 2 weeks ago

St. Paul’s (Rom 1:32) or maybe St. James’s (Ja 5:20)
I’m sorry but I am not very articulate so I think you may have misunderstood my point. If I understand you correctly your analogy implies that it is ok to kill someone that attaches themselves to you, i agree with this but this doesnt represent the relationship the relationship between a mother and her child. So the analogy should be more like this; A man an a woman do some act that results in an innocent pesrson’s life being dependent on the woman’s. The woman doesn’t have the right to hire an assasin to have this innocent person dismembered because her and her accomplice are the the ones responsible for the victims current state. Also a child is just as dependent on their mother after they’re born, why isn’t it ok do kill them after?

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Hi Phil,

I want you to know that I appreciate your tone is one that shows a willingness to at least consider medical and legal facts to some degree. Many pro-lifers are so emotionally consumed about the issue of abortion there is simply no platform to begin a sane discussion.

First of all, I don't think it is OK to kill anyone. Nor do I believe it is "OK" or right or godly to get an abortion in almost all cases.

However, I also don't believe keeping one's own body parts or use of those parts from someone else who needs them constitutes killing them, even if the other body will die without them.

Another words, I don't believe and neither does our current law state, that if I refuse to donate a kidney to someone who needs it to live, or if a person refuses to allow an embryo to stay attached to their womb, even if the embryo will die if dis-attached, constitutes one person killing the other. In both cases the individual in need simply dies a natural death for lack of what the other individual could offer but chose not to. In both cases the godly act, or right moral reaction, or "ok" thing to do is to offer what the other person needs to live.

So that is not the question, what is moral for person number one to offer but instead what is moral to demand by law, at risk of taking the first person's freedoms away, if they don't offer to help, as a penalty for not helping. That is the only question on the table when we are deliberating a possible criminal reaction to the abortion dilemma. Can such a law be made where all involved retain equal liberty compared to each other and to other citizens of our country not involved since it is always immoral to give one group of citizens greater freedom over another group.

This discussion for me and many pro choicers is about the question of ethical remedies, not is abortion itself a moral thing to do.

Is the criminalizing of the immorality of abortion a wrong, damaging, inequitable choice of remedies to deal with abortion?

I have come to the conclusion that criminalizing abortion is not a Christian or moral choice of remedies to deal with the immorality of abortion for several reasons. One of them is the one we have been discussing which is a law can't be just if it gives rights to one group of individuals over another group by allowing the first to take rights from the second based on circumstance.

Pro-life has failed to give an example of any law criminalizing abortion that does not take freedom from women that is never taken from men, given similar circumstances and no law that shows men's bodily privacy stripped from them, as such a law as this would demand to prevent women from breaking it or in order to investigate and prosecute if the law was suspected to ever be broken. There is no way to criminalize abortion without taking equal liberty from women that we don't take from men and give greater rights to the unborn by taking rights from the mother.

Also, what you are saying can't be legally justified, even under current laws regarding individuals, and that was my point. Pro lifers argue that embryos and fetuses are complete human beings and therefore should have the same rights all individuals have under the law. My argument is they already do.

Factually, sperm attaches to an egg which fertilizes the egg which has already been released by mom's ovaries. So at this point mom and dad have finished their active role and the embryo takes over and attaches to the wall of the mother's uterus or there is no pregnancy. Mom and Dad only ever start the process, after that the embryo must attach itself to the mother's womb and then it takes from the mother's uterus and other organs what it needs to grow and survive.

Since legal individuals do not have the right to take what they need or want from the body of other individuals, despite by whom or how their life journey began, i. e. A child can't legally demand their father give them one of his life saving matching kidneys even if he needs it to live, and even though dad chose to have sex with mom to start his child's life.

On the other hand, if we claim that embryos and fetuses are not full independent human beings yet, then they can't claim the rights individuals have under the law and therefore the right to decide what can be done with the unborn inside the women must go to the women. This is because if the embryo or fetus is only partly complete an individual while in the womb, then its other part must be still mom so she should have rights to do with her body as she deems fit.

One cannot be both legally an individual and not one under the law. They can only be one or the other.

Most abortion procedures pull out the embryo or fetus, and all pregnancy matter in one complete effort or action, without any need to tear anything apart physically, or pills are given that cause the embryo to dis-attach from Mom which causes a miscarriage.

Also, you are off the facts that newborn infants can't survive without their mothers. They definitely can the moment they are born and many babies have had to depend on other people because the mother died or gave her child up for adoption.

The biggest point for me is that since every country of the world that has criminalized abortion has much higher abortion rates than the U.S and all other countries with easier access to legal abortion and birth control, the answer should be obvious to all:. We need to stop trying to pass laws against abortion but instead work, pro-lifers and pro choicers, together, to enact other sociological - economic remedies we already know work better at lowering rates across the globe.

Pro-lifers and our church hierarchy seem completely unwilling to take the legal remedy off the table which keeps pro choicers from trusting them or wanting to work with them.

Take this legal threat off the table and I believe we could find many more ways to lower rates even more than we have.

We already are at a lower rate than when it was illegal due obamacare giving many poor women better access to free reliable birth control. There is still plenty more we could do but it can't happen without trust between the two groups and without pro-lifers and our church leaders placing the saving of lives of the unborn over the desire to control women's sex lives by threatening women with criminalizing abortion laws and thru keeping necessary birth control access from women which is the leading cause of all abortion rates being high everywhere in the world.

CE User
4 months 2 weeks ago

Peace be with you.
The Supreme Court is not infallible (think Dred Scott).
It is of course not in the realm of possibility, but consider this a sort of gedanken: if an unborn child were able to murder its father and if there were DNA based evidence of the murderer, the mother, if she were to come under suspicion for the crime, would be exonerated by that DNA evidence of course because the baby's DNA is different from that of both parents. If that doesn't qualify an unborn child as a distinct human being with an inalianable right to life.... well then there are no absolutes and our universe is a horrid nightmare from which none of us will awake.
Regards

Peter Schwimer
4 months 2 weeks ago

Yes well since that is biologically impossible I am not sure where you are going with that.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

CE the fact that you need to use an impossibility to support your case is all most people need to tell you your case is based on complete falsehood and nonsense. Find better evidence to support your argument or accept you have failed to prove any point at all.

Will Nier
4 months 2 weeks ago

In all charity I hope you are not Catholic. You place yourself in excommunication. Please for the sake of your soul recant or leave the Catholic Church. You still will be wrong and answerable to Christ but at least you are free to believe what you wish.

Crystal Watson
4 months 2 weeks ago

Catholics are not excommunicated for being pro-choice. That would mean that a majority of US Catholics should be excommunicated, because a majority of them are pro-choice.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Thanks Crystal!

Sha'Pearl Jones
4 months 2 weeks ago

The majority of faithful Catholics who attend mass at least weekly are pro life. Those who call themselves Catholic but attend mass infrequently and hold positions contrary to the church, like being pro abortion, are Catholic in name only. They'er no more Catholic than Osama bin Laden.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Excuse me but first off no one is Pro Abortion - like it was something fun to do. And if you mean Pro-Life in the sense that a person must believe for the criminalization of abortion, then you are wrong in your statement.

I go to mass every Sunday and often on weekdays. I agree abortion is immoral and would never suggest a woman should ever abort. However, I believe that criminalizing abortion is equally immoral, if for no other reason than the fact that in every country of the world where it has been criminalized, abortion rates and maternal death rates are dramatically higher than those in the U.S. which offers it fairly liberally.

This is proof a legal remedy is no remedy at all, and the church needs to reconcile itself to the fact it has been pushing greater death rates, over the last decade, of the unborn and of women-both, more than all the Planned Parenthoods put together. There are other remedies that have already been proven to lower abortion rates so there is nothing un-Christian or un-Catholic in choosing to pursue those ways instead of a legal remedy. This breaks no church law.

AND THE EVIDENCE IS:

From Guttmacher: Abortion and Birth Control Stats.
(Notes from my other research on this topic - bottom)

REGIONAL INCIDENCE AND TRENDS:
• The highest annual rate of abortion in 2010–2014 was in the Caribbean, estimated at 59 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, followed by South America, at 48.
The lowest rates were in Northern America, at 17, and Western and Northern Europe—at 16 and 18, respectively.
• Across regions, Eastern Europe experienced the largest decline in the abortion rate, from 88 in 1990–1994 to 42 in 2010–2014. Despite this decline, there is a persistent gap in rates between Eastern and Western Europe (42 vs. 16) likely reflecting lower use of effective, modern contraceptive methods in Eastern Europe.
• The overall abortion rate in Africa was 34 per 1,000 women in 2010–2014. Subregional rates ranged from 31 in Western Africa to 38 in Northern Africa. There has been little if any change in abortion rates in these subregions since 1990–1994.
• For Latin America, subregional abortion rates range from 33 in Central America to 48 in South America. Rates have increased slightly since 1990–1994, but not by statistically significant amounts.
• Abortion rates in Asia have also fallen since 1990–1994, although not significantly. Asia’s subregions all have rates close to the regional average of 36 per 1,000 women.
• Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. When countries are grouped according to the grounds under which the procedure is legal, the rate is 37 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age where it is prohibited altogether or allowed only to save a woman’s life, compared with 34 per 1,000 where it is available on request, a nonsignificant difference.
• High levels of unmet need for contraception help explain the prevalence of abortion in countries with restrictive abortion laws.

What I have researched from other appropriate sources agrees with Guttmacher but also indicates the below information on this subject:
The World Health Organization Research agrees with the Guttmacher Research. Their results are almost identical.
However, neither the W.H.O. or Guttmacher can give us a solid conclusion, due to lack of evidence, as to what happens when countries offer easy access to quality birth control but make their abortion laws stricter. This is due to the fact that most countries either are lenient on both issues or they are strict on access to both abortion and birth control.
We could make some confident speculation, based on the global evidence that does exist, that in countries, currently, where laws are strict for both abortion and birth control or where both are criminalized, that were these countries to loosen up laws on birth control access alone and not on abortion, the abortion rates would come down more, and likely closer to where the Western and developed nations are at. However, these countries are not necessarily or likely to get quite as low as the western, industrialized, countries since there does exist evidence that the mere difficulty of access to abortion alone lends, especially in certain cases, to higher abortion rates by itself.
Unfortunately, in the countries where the laws for abortion become much stricter than in the past, such as may exist in the U.S. for the future, the amount of abortions could increase quite a bit even if birth control access remains easy and free. One of the reasons this is true is due to the fact that, in these countries, many women who get pregnant in their later years, 40s or older, often now seek to get an amnio to see if their fetus is healthy. They can only get this during the late part of the 3rd month or beginning of the fourth month of their pregnancy. With stricter laws, some of these women may decide they don't want to take the chance the fetus is unhealthy or has downs syndrome, and instead may opt to get an early abortion thru more easily, anonymously obtained, although perhaps illegally obtained, abortion pills. These pills become not an option in later months, and testing would put women in a position to not be able to deny they are pregnant, publicly, if they wait, so this puts the women at risk they could be charged with a crime if abortion becomes illegal. (Please note: I am not suggesting this is right or moral or Christian behavior but only that the reality exist and I personally know quite a few women who would fit this category, today, in the U.S. despite anyone's opinions or beliefs)
A horrible side effect of the above situation is this: 50% of all downs fetuses naturally miscarry in the first trimester, and 40% that make it to the 2nd trimester miscarry then. Fetuses that have other severe health issues often miscarry, naturally, within the first three - four months of pregnancy as well. The amount of downs fetuses that become born infants are very small amounts even for older women. This illness is still quite rare overall. This means many women could end up aborting perfectly healthy fetuses, by the thousands, each year, or more, to avoid the possibility of having an unhealthy baby, and this number increases if women already have other children. One way some western countries avoid this issue is that they keep early abortions legal and allow later abortions into the 4th and 5th month if the fetus has tested unhealthy or the woman's life is in real danger if she remains pregnant. Many married older women think they aren't fertile when they still are and stop taking birth control.
Lastly, there is no existing evidence that easy access to abortions, even throughout pregnancy, equates to more abortions, in any country, that has free and easy access to birth control. In fact, countries with easy access to abortion and also free easy access to birth control have the lowest rates in the world, and these rates lower even more when those countries offer mandated longer paid maternity/paternity leaves, free quality universal health care, and free, quality, public daycare. (The only exception to this seems to be Sweden. Despite Sweden's similarly ease of access to both abortion and birth control and it's offering many of the benefits listed above that other Western European Countries offer, it still has quite a high abortion rate. However, there is no evidence suggesting that tightening Sweden's existing laws would lower its rate for abortion and doing so would likely only raise it even higher.)
The evidence we do have seems to indicate, on a global scale, that despite what seems reasonable in theory, i.e., harsh abortion laws will lower abortion rates, is completely false when put to the test in reality. It just may be that easy access to abortion, and lenient abortion laws, help more to reduce abortion rates than having strict laws against abortion, in any country. Perhaps some morality issues simply cannot be solved by force or threat but must instead be dealt with by respecting the situation of the people involved and helping them out of their place of fear or desperation, with physical and material protections and emotional and spiritual support. We could do much more perhaps by encouraging a choice for good, and for life, without attempting to control women. We could choose to help women in real ways, instead of trying to corner them into doing the Christian thing.

Helen McCaffrey
4 months 2 weeks ago

However the deliberate killing of an innocent ,non-aggressing human being does.

Helen McCaffrey
4 months 2 weeks ago

However the deliberate killing of an innocent ,non-aggressing human being does.

Michael Bindner
4 months 2 weeks ago

Telling the truth about abortion rights is not a sin. Ever. Recommending abortion in a specific case or stating that it is a positive good for society or young women is what is prohibited. Indeed, going against Church guidance in some cases in late term pregnancies is more befitting natural law reasoning and Christian charity than the knee jerk prohibition of all such cases.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

I gotta tell you Will I don't sense any Christian Charity in your comment.

First off I am against abortion morally. This means I would not seek one for myself, neither would I ever recommend a women get an abortion, and I also support being taxed for social programs to help women facing difficult pregnancies and poverty so they have alternatives to abortion such as universal health care, longer paid maternity and paternity leaves, free and easily accessible artificial birth control which has already been proven, on a global scale, to be the largest and best preventative measure working against abortion demands, and public quality day care for all infants until they enter 1st grade. I wonder if you support being taxed for these reasons since most Trumpetts and republicans do not.

All that is required by church law is that I don't seek an abortion for myself, or encourage others to do so. I don't encourage others to get an abortion and I believe over all that abortion can be very traumatic for women who get them. Jesus never told any follower to make any laws in any country regarding anything, including actual murder. The church hierarchy has the right to declare abortion a sin but no spiritual right or business seeking to make its' morality a matter of law in our secular societies. The separation of church and state protects both from corruption. When our hierarchy seeks legal governmental remedies and influence to push its morality, it becomes a seeker of worldly power at the cost of spiritual power. One cannot not obtain power from the world and from God. If one seeks the first they lose the latter automatically on account of their foolishness in striving for what is lesser.

The above rather helps to explain why God has allowed our hierarchy to turn into the child abusing, self destructing, women hating machine that they are. They still insist on seeking power from the wrong places.

Michael Bindner
4 months 2 weeks ago

Brava. Anyone who votes for a party that resists a living wage for workers and their families, especially in fear of the kind of Democratic socialism professed by Catholic doctrine should be the ones who are considered excommunicated, as their economic policies force families into abortion.

Jacqueline Baligian
4 months 2 weeks ago

Brava indeed! So many ways we can work to decrease the rate of abortion. I know NO ONE who ever "supports" it or is "for" it. Which is why the term, "pro-abortion" is just abhorrent.

Sha'Pearl Jones
4 months 2 weeks ago

Those who are truly pro choice are those who are pro life because the only choice is life. Death is never an acceptable choice. Those who believe that abortion is a choice are indeed, therefore, pro abortion. Thanks!

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Then you should demand Roe v. Wade stay as it is since every country in the world that has strict laws against abortion has the highest abortion rates and maternal death rates - BOTH. Those are the facts Madam! The U.S has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world due to its liberal laws providing necessary, quality, artificial birth control to women and access to legal safe abortion.

Michael Ward
4 months 2 weeks ago

Implying that the Supreme Court could not decide something "outrageous" is a non sequitur. They have frequently in the past.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Here we go again.

Peter Schwimer
4 months 2 weeks ago

Yes here we go again. Another antiabortion article written by a celibate Male. What's really outrageous by the way is that the average person who identifies as prolife doesn't give a hoot about the living.

Chris Dorf
4 months 2 weeks ago

That is the standard line that was even used against Atheist, pro gay rights, pro feminist, Village Voice writer Nat Hentoff whom merely stated that the unborn are obviously how our species begins.

Monica Doyle
4 months 2 weeks ago

Peter, I knew when I read this someone will bring up the author is a celibate male. Well, I’m here to tell you I am a married woman with children, and this author is spot-on. In your two sentences you state two stereotypes, which attempt to simplify and dismiss such a serious issue. What average pro-life person are you talking about? Have you met the ones who have adopted special needs, multi-racial, hard-to-place older children? I have. Have you met the ones that financially support crisis pregnancy centers, especially for homeless women? I have. Have you heard of pro-all-life, caring for all from womb to tomb? I have. Respectfully, I ask that you put yourself in a position where you can get to know people outside of tribal politics so that you’ll see how outrageous your two sentences are.

Abu Tom
4 months 2 weeks ago

[Removed for violations of comment policy]

Gail Sockwell-Thompson
4 months 2 weeks ago

I’m just here for the comments and you did not disappoint, Abu.

Michael Bindner
4 months 2 weeks ago

Abortion has always been with us. It was a standard part of being a midwife. Abortion law never existed until obstetrics was the province of doctors. Where you find Satan is in the capitalists who pay too little for families with children to support themselves and their Republican cheerleaders. Not paying a family wage such that abortion is necessary should make that employer as culpable for that abortion as the doctor performing it. Catholics who do not pay an adequate wage should consider themselves excommunicated.

Chuck Kotlarz
4 months 2 weeks ago

Michael, perhaps it’s the unborn who can’t live without a living wage. The abortion rate declined a combined 11% during Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. Abortion rates fell 23% with living wage Clinton and another 26% with living wage Obama. During Reagan’s term, the number of billionaires quadrupled from tax cuts. GOP pro-life has not been effective if not an outright scam.

Joseph S Harrington
4 months 2 weeks ago

I'm new to America and consider myself to be greatly enriched by its thoughtful content. As for this topic, I ask Fr. Sawyer and his readers: If abortion were illegal under criminal law, would you report a woman who had an abortion, especially one under distressing circumstances, to the authorities for prosecution? If not, would that make you "pro-abortion"? I certainly don't think so.

Is it possible that elective abortion can be absolutely wrong, yet not properly subject to temporal prohibition? (Certainly all medical care must be subject to some regulation, but a banned procedure wouldn't be.)

Fr. Sawyer is right in saying that unrestricted abortion "is so far removed from the moral intuitions of most Americans . . ." and that ". . . Whatever consensus about abortion is possible in our society, it will be closer to having some limits than having no limits. . ." But who do Americans expect to enforce those limits? State authorities or morally informed women?

Sam Sawyer, S.J.
4 months 2 weeks ago

Thanks for the question. Of course the details would be determinative in a hypothetical question like this—concerning what the particular legal penalties are, how justly they are likely to be applied, etc. Most pro-life legal proposals to restrict abortion would aim penalties at the person who performs the abortion rather than at the woman—precisely because there are so often implicit (and sometimes, sadly, explicit) pressures on a woman to have an abortion. But there are lots of reasons that even if one judges the abortion to be morally wrong, one could also judge that legal penalties in a specific case would only add more injury.

So I certainly don't think a refusal to turn in a woman who had an abortion would necessarily make someone pro-abortion.

I think the more realistic means of enforcement would be preventing abortion clinics from functioning (or regulating and auditing them to guarantee that they're not performing abortions past whatever is set as the legal limit). Much of Europe has far stricter restrictions on abortion than are possible under Roe v. Wade, without falling into intractable enforcement dilemmas.

Therese Mary Alburger
4 months 2 weeks ago

I cannot understand why a news source that claims to be pro life and Catholic , no less, would publish. Are you pro life? Or are you anti-Trump.

J Jones
4 months 2 weeks ago

Therese, I disagree with the author on some points AND I think this is the least manipulative, most honest "pro-life" piece of writing I have read anywhere. Which is why it takes the most manipulative, most dishonest president in history to task.

Lisa M
4 months 2 weeks ago

Glad to read pro life for all, that is what being a Catholic means.

james belna
4 months 2 weeks ago

There is nothing at all false about President Trump’s comments. He didn’t say that it is common for children to survive attempted abortions. He didn’t say that any mother and doctor ever made a casual or easy decision to terminate the life of the child. He simply stated the obvious fact that the child who is now living outside of the womb would be wrapped in a blanket (do you think it would be wrapped in newspaper?) and that the mother and doctor would then decide what to do next. Do you dispute that a decision has to be made, or that anyone other than the doctor and the mother will be involved in making it?

As the column obliquely and almost apologetically concedes, there is no principled distinction to be made between the intentional killing of a newborn child who survives an abortion attempt and the killing of one who survives a normal delivery. They are both acts of infanticide, whether the killing is effectuated by surgical execution or by the deliberate withholding of nutrition and medical care. Abortion advocates understand exactly why these born-alive statutes are being proposed, and why they must defend the legal right to kill born alive infants who survive abortion. They know that once they concede that it is immoral to kill an innocent child who is outside of the womb, they will then be asked to explain why it is any less immoral to kill a child which still has its little toe in the birth canal, and so on. That is a line of moral inquiry which abortion advocates dare not respond to. Jesuits should be eager to do so.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Existing laws do not allow for any child born alive outside the womb to be killed or refused readily available medical care, and that is not what this law is about. Pro-life wants to mandate that all abortions take place in a hospital and by drs so they can make it difficult to obtain legal abortions.

Trump is pretending this law is about the right to keep born alive babies intentionally away from machines that can save them if they are born alive and have a good chance of living but that is not the purpose of the law being discussed.

For abortions to be readily available to most women who legally have a right to have one, they need to be allowable out of hospitals and in clinics and elsewhere with trained medical staff that are not necessarily drs. That is what this law is about: making certain that abortions can take place where no machines exist for extreme life saving measures just because a fetus might be born alive for one minute. Having this availability of life saving machines legally required, would make accessing the right to abortion too difficult because too many hospitals and drs have been threatened and harassed out of wanting to have anything but extreme cases of pregnancy aborted in their care. Having no extreme life support machines legally necessary means nurses, mid-wives and other trained staff could perform abortions, and in more private locations. This also creates a reality where protesters will find it increasingly difficult to pin down abortion providers and where they are located, to some degree freeing providers from harassment and threats. This is likely to result in increasing provider numbers and variety overall which expands the access and availability to legal abortion.

james belna
4 months 2 weeks ago

In most late-term abortions, there is some risk that a child in the womb who was supposed to be killed will survive the procedure and be born alive. Any abortion clinic which undertakes the foreseeable risk of delivering a living child after an unsuccessful abortion, and which has taken no precautions to provide the necessary medical resources to keep the child alive post-partum, is essentially committing infanticide. You apparently believe that it is more important to allow born-alive children.to die by preprogrammed neglect than to marginally make it less convenient for women to have the children in their womb legally killed. It’s really that simple.

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

James,

For starters I believe almost all abortion is immoral .

I also believe all men and women need the right to choose how their own body parts will be used to be free people.

I don't believe women should be forced against their will to gestate a pregnancy anymore than I believe a man should be forced to give up a kidney or donate marrow to someone who will die without these things. No person should be given greater rights over another person's body than that person has themselves. I do not believe God cares more for the unborn than the born.

By the way, marrow donations, and other more complicated procedures than abortions are performed in clinics, and by mere nurses, physician assistants, and are dangerous too but they don't have to be done near extreme life saving machines just because a slight possibility exists they could need them. When emergencies arise, like with viable babies who survive an abortion, they are treated as emergencies and sent, by ambulance, to the hospital for extreme care. This is appropriate given the rarity a truly viable baby survives these abortions. This is correct care despite the fact it does not give pro life activists the restrictions they want to harass women.

Even though I can't imagine any reason, I could justify to myself, to ever abort, I do believe that the right needs to remain and that harassing women seeking abortions is not at all constructive.

Also, and most importantly, it has already been well proven, on a global scale, that criminalizing abortion only increases its rate of occurrence in every country along with substantially increasing maternal death rates too.

Jacqueline Baligian
4 months 2 weeks ago

VERY well said Nora.

Lisa M
4 months 2 weeks ago

Nora- "No person should be given greater rights over another person's body than that person has themselves." Is it just me that finds this statement confusing, if not shockingly indifferent to one of the person's body?

Nora Bolcon
4 months 2 weeks ago

Hi Lisa,

I don't know what is confusing about it. If you need a kidney and I have a match, and you will die without me donating one of my kidneys, and I refuse to donate it, should I be jailed because I did not donate it? No - It is moral and Christian to offer to donate flesh parts to others who need them but we do not mandate any one individual must give of their flesh to save another's life if they do not wish to do so.

A fetus when aborted is cut off from the use of their mother's body and organs which causes the fetus to die. Why should she be forced to use her body at great risk and permanent change if we don't demand the guy, running the bank down the street from her, offer his extra kidney or bone marrow to anyone who might need it to survive, by law?

I will tell you why - No man would ever pass a law allowing others or the government legal rights over his vital body parts - especially his reproductive organs. Why then should this be demanded of women? Neither God or the law of the united States ever mentions the unborn as more important lives than the born.

Michael Bindner
4 months 2 weeks ago

Catholic medical ethics do not mandate extraordinary measures to save anyone, including the Unborn
To say differently is baring false witness and an intrinsically evil act requiring confession.

Randy Watts
4 months 2 weeks ago

We Virginians have difficulty reconciling the recent on-air remarks of our Governor and Crystal Watson's comment that the born-alive bills are unnecessary because babies born alive are cared for, not killed. The Governor's remarks and Gosnell's practices are a reality that no amount of talk or wishing can change. If abortion advocates can't at least resolve the issue of when a live birth occurs, then we are in for a long debate about the "extreme conflicts" that Crystal Watson mentions.

Michael Bindner
4 months 2 weeks ago

A few facts are important. The unborn have the same right to life vis-a-vie the federal and state governments as anyone else. They cannot be executed without due process of law. If their mother is pregnant, she cannot be executed. If they are killed in a violent crime against their mothers, the perpetrator cam be prosecuted. What they do not have is a right to protection from their mothers. Doing so would violate the rights of women as a class, which is prohibited under the 14th Amendment. The Congress, nut not the states, can grant them personhood or allow them to be aborted. Indeed, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act mow being debated specifically recognizes a right to abortion.

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
4 months 2 weeks ago

Sam Sawyer, get real! President Trump has done more in a bit over two years to promote Life and bring awareness of the Pro-Life position than the bishops have in the last 50 years. Cardinal McIntyre proposed the first Pro-Life organization in America in 1969, the Right To Life League of Southern California. He insisted it be ecumenical and not a Catholic organization. Rev. Robert Schuller was a co-chair for Orange County. Did any other bishop take the lead as His Eminence did? No, most of them were too busy trying to ignore Paul VI's wisdom and leadership by denying Humanae Vitae.

Michael Bindner
4 months 2 weeks ago

Most Republican Pro'lifers would reject any such measures to provide the kind of living wage by employers or the government by the Magisterium of Pope Pius XI. These are not optional teachings. Indeed, opposing such measures amounts to supporting abortion. If such measures are socialism, then make the most of it! It is still wrong to do so and it proves that the pro-choice movement is correct when they claim that the pro-life movement is anti-woman. The Church needs to probe that contention wrong by condemning those who would oppose living wage measures. It should also celebrate all pregnancies, even among Catholic high school students. Shaming these young women for their sexuality is anti-life. It leads to abortion to cover such activities. You can't fight for life and condemn sex without, again, being correctly charged with being a misogynist.

Michael Bindner
4 months 2 weeks ago

Born alive bills that require extraordinary measures for any child, whether born in an abortion procedure or naturally cannot require extraordinary measures. These can never be required at any stage in life. Natural death is what happens when such measures are mot used. Abandoning Catholic doctrine for political purposes is particularly shameful.

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