Pelosi’s Support for Abortion Tells a Larger Story

It’s hardly news to faithful Catholics that the Democratic Party is the evil party for championing abortion and sodomy. And the chief pro-abortion Democrat in this country beside Barack Hussein Obama and his vice president is Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the U.S. House who proclaims herself a good and devout Catholic. Last week, she proclaimed it again. During an exchange with a reporter from The Weekly Standard about Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors in the City of Brotherly Love, she again proclaimed her fealty to the highest sacrament in the leftist church: the mass murder of the unborn. And she is, one presumes, still “a Catholic in good standing.” To the best of anyone’s knowledge, no bishop has said otherwise.

Pelosi’s remarks occasion a reprise of a simple truth about abortion: If it weren’t for pro-abortion “Catholics,” the practice might well be against the law.

What Pelosi Said
Pelosi’s remarks to TWS were nothing new. They were the standard Pelosian nonsense about not turning abortion into a “political question.” The exchange went thusly:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Madam Leader, you mentioned the bill that passed out of the House Judiciary committee. Members who have proposed that bill have done that in the wake of this murder trial in Philadelphia.

 

They argue that there really isn’t much of a moral difference between what someone like Dr. Kermit Gosnell did to infants born at 23, 24, 25 weeks into pregnancy, and what can happen [legally] at a clinic down the road in Maryland where a doctor says that he’ll perform an elective abortions 28 weeks into pregnancy. So the question I have for you is what is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?

PELOSI: You’re probably enjoying that question a lot. I can see you savoring it. [Laughter in press corps] Let me just tell you this.

TWS: Could you answer the question?

PELOSI: Let me just tell you this. What was done in Philadelphia was reprehensible and everybody condemned it. For them to decide to disrespect a judgment a woman makes about her reproductive health is reprehensible. Next question.

TWS: So what’s the moral difference? I just asked a simple question. … What’s the moral difference then between 26 weeks elective abortion and the killing of that same infant born alive. This is the issue that they’re trying to —

PELOSI: This is not the issue. They are saying that there’s no abortion. It would make it a federal law that there would be no abortion in our country. You’re taking the extreme case. You’re taking the extreme case. And what I’m saying to you is what happened in Philadelphia was reprehensible. And I do not think you—

TWS: [Inaudible]

PELOSI: I’m not going to have this conversation with you because you obviously have an agenda. You’re not interested in having an answer.

TWS: [Inaudible]

PELOSI: I’ve responded to you to the extent that I’m going to respond to you. Because I want to tell you something. As the mother of five children, my oldest child was 6 years old the day I brought my 5th child home from the hospital, as a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics. And that’s where you’re taking it and I’m not going there.

TWS [after tape ends]: It was a simple question. You didn’t answer.

Pelosi did not answer the question because she knows what the answer is. It makes her squirm. She has something of a residual conscience, it seems. The lowing herd of worthies from the Fourth Estate “cackled,” as Breitbart.com put it, at the gauche effrontery of the reporter. Anyway, the blogosphere lit up with alarms that the Catholic Pelosi had said abortion is “sacred ground.” That may not be an accurate summation of what she said, but even if it isn’t, most likely, it is what she thinks. Most, if not all, leftists think it. To them, the right to murder the unborn is the most sacred right they espouse. It is a sacrament of the highest order in the leftist church. One leftist scribe wrote of her love of abortion; mere acceptance was not enough. A prominent woman journalist actually said she would perform oral sex on Bill Clinton if he would keep abortion legal. That is how important abortion is to the left.

Anyway, Pelosi merely rehashed here what she said on “Meet The Press” in 2008, a few months before Obama was elected. “This is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition [when life begins]. … St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.”

This was, of course, complete nonsense. She mauled Catholic teaching so badly that bishops had to correct her. Shortly thereafter, and despite ecclesiastical clarifications, then Sen. Joe Biden defiantly burbled the same falsehood. What he and Pelosi willfully ignore is the fact that from its earliest days, the Church has condemned procured abortion, and the debate over “when life begins” to which these two politicians refer was actually a debate over ensoulment; that is, when the body is sufficiently developed to accept a soul from God.

Catholics Keep Abortion Legal
But Pelosi’s eyewash aside, the real import of her remarks is that they remind us of an ugly truth: Catholic Democrats played a significant role in the creation of the contraceptive culture that led to the legalization of abortion. A Catholic, for instance, invented the birth-control pill, and it was Catholic clergy in Boston, for example, who cooperated in repealing the state’s ban on the sale of contraceptives. In 1963, Cardinal Richard James Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, appeared on a radio program and suggested that laws forbidding the sale of contraceptives should be repealed because “I have no right to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do,” a reversal of his publicly stated position in 1948. Cushing was merely repeating what John F. Kennedy told the Houston Ministerial Association in 1960, which also prefigured Catholic New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s famous “personally-opposed-but …” position on abortion.

The Catholic role in repealing the laws on contraception is only part of the story. As Phil Lawler reported in his book, Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture, the scheme to legalize abortion took place not in a candle-lit basement where Satanists celebrated black masses, but at the home of America’s leading Catholic family, the Kennedys.

In 1964, Lawler wrote, leftist Catholic priests Robert Drinan, Charles Curran and other theologians convened at Hyannis Port, Mass., with the brain trust behind the Senate campaign of Robert F. Kennedy.  They concocted the teaching that abortion could be justified if it were the “lesser of two evils” and that “a blanket prohibition might be more harmful to the common good”  because political leaders might  “impose their own private views on public policy. …The skillful operatives of the Kennedy family would round up the votes to end restrictions on abortion and eventually provide public subsidies. The Jesuit theologians would provide protective cover” and sabotage Catholic teaching in the universities. “Thus, the basic lines of ‘pro-choice’ rhetoric were sketched out by Catholic theologians, at the residence of America’s most famous Catholic family, nine years before the Roe v. Wade decision.”

It was natural and logical for a society that accepted contraception to eventually approve abortion. Firstly, the cultural race to the bottom coincided with the concomitant success of the Sexual Revolution and the population control movements, which flowered in the 1960s. Secondly, the moral decline followed the premise behind contraception: a child, the natural end of procreative sex, is unwanted. If some children were unwanted, legalizing their murder in the womb was a predictable next step. Though appointed by Republican president Dwight Eisenhower, leftist Supreme Court justice William Brennan orchestrated the legal denouement of what was begun by the Hyannis Port mafia. The renegade Catholic not only invented the “privacy” doctrine that invalidated Connecticut’s law forbidding the sale of contraceptives, but also excogitated the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the slaughter of innocents. Brennan’s reasoning in Roe v. Wade is accoutered in the language of “privacy” and “rights,” but it flows from the same polluted well as Cushing’s: A Catholic does not have the right to “impose [his] thinking” on those who believe differently. And yet, Brennan’s defiance of Catholic teaching was not considered serious enough to deprive him of a funeral mass at the Washington D.C. Cathedral of St. Matthew in 1997.

Now, consider simple demographics: Nearly 25 percent of Americans, 75 million people, consider themselves Catholic. According to the Catholic News Service, Catholics are still the largest single denomination in Congress, and have been such since 1960. In 2013, 163 members of Congress are Catholics, with 136 in the House of Representatives (75 Democrats, 61 Republicans) and 27 in the Senate (18 Democrats, 9 Republicans). Six of the nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are Catholics. Add to this group the influential Catholics across society: judges, doctors, state legislators, county councilmen, etc.

On top of this heap sits Madame Pelosi, certainly one of the most powerful Catholic politician in America. But then there is also House Speaker John Boehner. In other words, nine of the most politically and legally powerful Americans are Catholics. The political arithmetic here alone leads to an ineluctable conclusion: If they all conducted themselves as faithful Catholics, abortion would be against the law. Then again, given that a majority of American Catholics twice voted for Barack Hussein Obama, perhaps the most rabidly pro-abortion president in history, part of the blame for the state of the union lies squarely on their shoulders, too. (While a majority of white Catholics voted against Obama twice, a high percentage of Hispanic Catholics voted for him, skewing the overall numbers in his favor.)

This isn’t to say, of course, that all Catholics who voted for Obama share his rabidly anti-child ideology, or that all Catholic legislators and judges share the opinion of Pelosi or the late Brennan. They don’t. But the numbers are not encouraging. According to Pew Center figures, most Catholics don’t accept Church teaching on contraception (85 percent) and abortion (51 percent). If those figures are extrapolated accurately across the country, then 71 million Catholics ignore the teaching on contraception, while another 38 million think murdering the unborn is acceptable. These particular figures do not distinguish between practicing and non-practicing Catholics. However, the fact that there are so many who don’t according to the Pew study is further evidence of the Americanization of the Church and, sadly enough, of some clergy. Many Catholics have accepted the idea that a vote determines objective moral truth, and that the magisterial teaching of the Church is just one opinion among many. So they, like Pelosi, think they can believe and do anything they wish and remain faithful Catholics.

Which invites two questions. First, where does this leave the Church? Answer: In trouble. Second, what can be done about it? Answer: The bishops must step forward and lead, principally by demanding sound catechesis and formation of the faithful, and then by correcting Pelosi and her ilk, if necessary by enforcing Canon 915. They are shepherds. They must feed their sheep.

The rest of us must do our part. Above all, we must pray—without ceasing.

R. Cort Kirkwood

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R. Cort Kirkwood is a journalist who has been writing about politics and culture for 25 years. He is a graduate of Boston University and Loyola College in Baltimore and the author of Real Men: Ten Courageous Americans To Know And Admire.

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