Catholic Cardinal in Canada Under Fire for Opposing Abortion in Cases of Rape

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 18, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Cardinal in Canada Under Fire for Opposing Abortion in Cases of Rape

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 18
, 2010

Quebec City, Quebec ( — A Canadian Catholic cardinal is under fire for saying abortion should still be opposed in the cases of rape and incest because it involves the killing of an unborn child. Over the weekend, Marc Cardinal Ouellet of the Archdiocese of Quebec City made the remarks.

Ouellet applauded the Harper government for its recent stance against using taxpayer funds to pay for abortions abroad.

He then described abortions as a moral crime in every case, including when a woman is a victim of sexual assault. The Catholic Church has long held that there is no justification for killing a baby before birth, even when the child was conceived through rape or incest.

"Why should we push a woman who has been the victim of a crime to commit one of her own?" he said.

"I understand very well that a woman who’s been raped is dealing with trauma and that she needs to be helped. But she needs to do so with respect for the being that is in her womb. It is not responsible for what happened. It’s the rapist who is responsible. But there’s already a victim. Do we need to have another one?" he added.

He said taking a human life "is always a moral crime."

But the Harper government distanced itself from the comments.

"The government did not put forward the agenda for maternal and child health (at the G8) to go get congratulations from the cardinal," Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Josee Verner said in an interview, according to Metro News. "I don’t want to be disrespectful towards him, but this wasn’t our objective."

Verner went on to call the cardinal’s comments "unacceptable."

The comments have sparked an outcry from pro-abortion Canadians, some of whom went as far as posting public death threats against Cardinal Ouellet.

"We’re all going to die," columnist Patrick Lagace said. "Cardinal Ouellet will die someday. I hope he dies from a long and painful illness. Yes, the paragraph I’ve just written is vicious. But Marc Ouellet is an extremist. And in the debate against religious extremists, every shot is fair game."

Richard Martineau, a columnist with Le Journal de Montreal, also condemned the remarks, saying he didn’t understand why "old chaste puritans" were allowed to speak out on sexual abuse issues.

Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Quebec City, told the Metro News that Ouellet was calling attention to a "vacuum on the rights of the unborn in Canada. He’s saying we should question this. He understands the limit between state and church."

"When asked for a pastoral perspective, if he thinks that abortion is OK in the case of rape, he’s saying it’s not a circumstantial thing because we believe that you are fully a human person from the time of conception," Lemieux-Lefebvre said. "If you would be the fruit of a terrible rape, would you be less a dignified person because of this?"

Barbara Kay the editor of the National Post, said she didn’t understand all the fuss.

"He stated what anyone not living in a cave for all his past life already knows: It is Roman Catholic doctrine that abortion is always a "moral crime," even in the case of rape," she wrote today. "Cardinal Ouellette was not suggesting that Church doctrine be elevated to a legislative plane. He was expressing a religious opinion, which is his right. There is no story here."

"But the alacrity with which the media pounced on his remark indicates that there is indeed a burgeoning story on the lack of an abortion law in Canada," Kay continued. "It proves that the absence of a law is by no means evidence that the matter is settled, or ever was, but merely a reflection of the power wielded by a relative handful of left-wing juggernauts, for whom abortion on demand is the litmus test of a properly liberal society according to their radically feminist perspective."

"The same people who think Cardinal Ouellette has no right to call abortion a moral crime think it is perfectly okay to label those calling for a national discussion on abortion moral criminals. Enough with the name-calling. Let’s have that long-deferred discussion, and let’s make it civil," she concluded.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.