Kissling excommunicated from the abortion movement

Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for a Free Choice, has been disowned  for not being consistent in her pro-choice stand. According to LifeSite News:

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the largest abortion provider in the United Kingdom, has “excommunicated” U.S. abortion philosopher Frances Kissling from the abortion movement, calling her a “former pro-choice advocate” because she is not defending a woman’s “right to choose” abortion from conception all the way to birth.

The occasion for this excommunication was Kissling’s refusal to defend unlimited abortion rights when Kermit Gosnell’s horrific late-term abortion practice in Philadelphia hit the news:

The Gosnell story has provoked a debate within the abortion movement about whether unrestricted late-term abortions are proving toxic to the public’s acceptance of legal abortion; Kissling, the former head of “Catholics for Choice,” recently publicly affirmed that they are, in a column for the Washington Post.

In that column Kissling wrote, “we must end the fiction that an abortion at 26 weeks is no different from one at six weeks.” “We need to firmly and clearly reject post-viability abortions except in the most extreme cases,” she said.

But people like Furedi believe Kissling’s position is unprincipled, arguing that abortion must be a woman’s choice for the entire length of her pregnancy:

“Personally, I believe early and late abortions carry the same moral burden because I believe that all abortions end a potential human life. And further to that, I believe that the moral responsibility of decision-making, whatever the gestation, should rest with women and their doctors, because they most understand their circumstances and the results of their actions,” she said. “Others, Kissling and Saletan among them, seem to believe that early abortion is okay but late abortion is not because the early embryo is less of a human.”

Furedi has a point — a principled stand would be to either defend human life no matter what its age or size, or to say that the unborn child has no rights until it emerges from the womb. Kissling, instead, seems to be making distinctions about the value of human life based on its gestational age — with “viability” the defining factor in the right to life. This, it seems to me, is the majority pro-choice position. 

(Hat tip: Kamilla)

Zoe Romanowsky


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

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