“Catholic” Group Calls for Free Abortions, But Bishops Slam Abortion as “An Assault on Human Dignity”

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 15, 2016   |   6:37PM   |   Washington, DC

Catholic leaders across the country are speaking out against a new campaign claiming that abortion is a “Catholic social justice value” and calling for taxpayer-funded abortions.

In a joint statement, a group of Catholic bishops said the campaign completely misrepresents the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion and the sanctity of human life.

The pro-abortion group “Catholics for Choice,” which calls itself Catholic but is not affiliated with the church, launched a series of full-page newspaper ads this week to urge Catholics to support taxpayer-funded abortions. The pro-abortion ads have appeared in two dozen newspapers across the country this week. The Houston Chronicle reports the group plans to spend $400,000 on the campaign this year and $400,000 in 2017.

The full-page ad that ran in the Chicago Tribune had the bold heading “Abortion In Good Faith” and the photo of a woman described as a Catholic grandmother and former state legislator. A quote attributed to her read: “I know firsthand that today’s elected officials need to hear your voice so they do the right thing, ensuring that women who are not well off are not financially burdened by the choices they make.” Below was a red banner with the message, “Public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value.” The name “Catholics for Choice” appeared at the bottom.

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Catholic bishops responded to the misleading ads with the following statement: “It is not clear why Catholics for Choice chose a handful of individuals identifying themselves as Catholics as ambassadors for the false premise that refusal to pay for someone’s abortion is an assault on anyone’s God-given dignity. The only assault on dignity in this discussion is the abortion, which ends one life irrevocably and diminishes countless other lives.”

In a column at LifeNews, Cardinal Timothy Dolan also rebuked the group for encouraging Catholics to support the killing of unborn babies.

“CFC’s extreme ads promote abortion as if it were a social good,” Dolan wrote. “But abortion kills the most defenseless among us, harms women, and tears at the heart of families. Pushing for public funding would force all taxpaying Americans to be complicit in the violence of abortion and an industry that puts profit above the well-being of women and children.”

Despite the strong criticism, the group plans to continue its campaign. Jon O’Brien, president of the “Catholics for Choice,” told the Texas newspaper that they plan to run broadcast ads and host community meetings in cities across the country.

O’Brien argued that taxpayer-funded abortions are necessary for women who can’t afford them. He said it “makes absolutely no sense” for abortion to be legal if women can’t afford them.

O’Brien also claimed that the ads are not election-oriented, though the issue of taxpayer funding for abortion has become a prominent part of Democrats’ abortion agenda this election cycle.

In July, the Democratic Party adopted a radical new pro-abortion platform that calls for direct taxpayer-funded abortions through Medicaid by repealing the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment is a widely supported measure that has received bi-partisan support for decades. Even some Democrats called the party “crazy” when it adopted its new stance this summer.

Pro-abortion Democrat Hillary Clinton promised to help achieve the new pro-abortion goal, and her running mate Tim Kaine, a self-professed Catholic who has a pro-abortion voting record, is refusing to say how he would vote on the issue.

The pro-abortion campaign comes as new research by The Economist found that families are suffering because of a lack of resources to help them have and care for children – not access to abortion.

After one of the pro-abortion ads appeared in a Minnesota newspaper, the Minnesota Catholic Conference suggested that Catholics respond by donating to pregnancy resource centers that “care for both mothers and children in a manner consistent with true social justice.”