Catholic Politician Defends Abortion, Says Catholic Church Doesn’t Think Unborn Babies are People

Opinion   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 23, 2016   |   2:47PM   |   St. Paul, MN

Minnesota state Rep. John Lesch is a Catholic and a politician in the conservative mid-west. He also supports abortions.

Lesch, a board member of the pro-abortion group Catholics for Choice, wrote a column for The Hill this week explaining why he supports abortion and why other Catholic politicians should, too.

“I came of age in a time when we learned to respect a woman’s conscience-based decisions, and we were more cautious of the institutional church’s use of secular government to impose religious adherence on the family and in the bedroom,” the Minnesota legislator wrote.

Lesch spent most of the column criticizing Carl A. Anderson, CEO of the Catholic order Knights of Columbus. Earlier this month, Anderson made some strong statements about the election and urged Catholics to vote only for pro-life lawmakers.

“What political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation? Abortion is different. Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale,” Anderson said during the order’s international convention.

Anderson also compared the legalized killing of unborn babies to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, a statement that angered Lesch.

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The pro-abortion representative responded:

For years, Catholic politicians like me have endured 1980s rhetoric on abortion with growing chagrin. Some folks are all too eager to employ universally recognized historical human struggles, careening recklessly down a political path toward absurdity. To wit, see Anderson’s comparison of the current abortion debate to racism and Auschwitz. It’s not just in poor taste, but also shows that he is dependent on an inconsistent philosophy. Anderson clings to the idea that the church doctrine has always declared personhood begins at conception. It hasn’t.

In fact, the development of this doctrine spans less than 9 percent of the church’s nearly 2,000-year history. Even then, church doctrine has followed St. Thomas Aquinas’s assertion that personhood developed 40 days after conception for male fetuses, and after 90 days for female fetuses. (This has never been repudiated by the church. Awkward.) Science, as any Catholic theologian would tell Mr. Anderson, cannot prove ensoulment, and so we must take it as a matter of faith. That is still a far cry from saying Catholic politicians are obligated to impose this faith on others. Most Catholic theologians, if forced to choose between Aquinas or Anderson, would choose Aquinas. I have no science to back that up, but I take it as a matter of faith.

Lesch also manipulated recent polling data to attack Anderson. He claimed that the Catholic leader was wrong in saying, “‘Pro-Choice’ politicians now impose on the country a view only held by a tiny minority.”

Lesch tried to refute Anderson’s point by referring to Gallup polling: “The view that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances has never had the support of more than 22 percent of any sample, and has consistently had less than 15 percent support among US Catholic voters.”

However, Lesch left out most of the polling data. If he had included it, it would have shown how out of touch his own pro-abortion positions are with the public.

In May 2016, Gallup reported that 29 percent of Americans want abortions to be legal under any circumstances, but 69 percent want abortion to be illegal or only legal under certain circumstances. For decades, Gallup polling has consistently shown that most Americans want abortions to be either illegal or limited to rare circumstances.

That’s not what pro-abortion Democrats like Lesch want. Lesch received a 100-percent pro-abortion rating from the radical group NARAL and endorsements from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. His party’s new platform also calls for unrestricted, legalized abortions for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy and taxpayer dollars to pay for them.

Lesch ended with this accusation, “Anderson … believes Catholic politicians should take their cues from bishops instead of from their own conscience and constituencies.”

But the polling data is clear. Lesch is the one whose radical abortion stance is out of touch with his Catholic faith and most Americans.