Catholic Leaders: Pro-Life, Pro-Obama Groups Have Wrong Abortion Approach

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Leaders: Pro-Life, Pro-Obama Groups Have Wrong Abortion Approach

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 21
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Two Catholic leaders are responding to groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, whose efforts have blurred the pro-abortion record and policies of Barack Obama. The bishops say the groups have the wrong approach on reducing abortions.

The groups claim Obama has the best approach to abortion because he will supposedly provide support for pregnant women, even though he has yet to put forth any concrete policies to do so.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, issued a joint statement today saying the long-time approach of the pro-life movement of both providing help to pregnant women and passing laws to directly reduce abortions is the right approach.

"Our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies,” the pair say in the statement sent to

The Catholic officials issued the response to arguments that the Church should accept the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on abortion as a “permanent fixture of constitutional law” and should concede that the only way to reduce abortions is to provide more government support for pregnant women.

They also warn that laws to reduce or end abortions aren’t sufficient as well — something the pro-life community recognized decades ago when it began a network of thousands of pregnancy centers to help women facing unplanned pregnancies.

“Providing support for pregnant women so they choose to have their babies is a necessary but not sufficient response to abortion. Similarly, reversal of Roe is a necessary but not sufficient condition for restoring an order of justice in our society’s treatment of defenseless human life,” they said.

The bishops also noted that “in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision knocked down laws against abortion in all 50 states, fabricating a constitutional ‘right’ to abortion that continues to haunt and divide our society."

"Roe v. Wade is a clear case of an ‘intrinsically unjust law’ we are morally obliged to oppose. Reversing it is not a mere political tactic, but a moral imperative for Catholics and others who respect human life,” they said.

The Catholic leaders added that legalizing abortion had greatly increased annual abortions in the United States. Obama has repeatedly said he favors keeping the ruling, which allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy, to stay in place while John McCain has said he thinks the decision was flawed and should be reversed.

“The law is a teacher, and Roe taught many women, physicians and others that abortion is an acceptable answer to a wide range of problems," they said.

They also drew attention to the many lives saved by the modest laws and regulations to limit abortions and voiced concern that the pending pro-abortion “Freedom of Choice Act” that Obama supports would overturn those laws.

“Bans on public funding [of abortion], laws requiring informed consent for women and parental involvement for minors, and other modest and widely supported laws have saved millions of lives. Laws made possible by reversing Roe would save many more,” they said.

“On the other hand, this progress could be lost through a key pro-abortion proposal, the ‘Freedom of Choice Act,’ which supporters say would knock down hundreds of current pro-life laws and forbid any public program to ‘discriminate’ against abortion in providing services to women,” Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy said.

“By protecting the child’s life to the maximum degree possible, improving life-affirming support for pregnant women, and changing the attitudes and prejudices imposed on many women to make them see abortion as an acceptable or necessary solution, we will truly help build a culture of life,” they concluded.

The Catholic officials urged Catholics to study the teaching of the Church, rather than rely on statements and materials from outside groups and individuals.

Cardinal Rigali chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Bishop Murphy chairs the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Related web sites:
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops –

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