Catholics for Choice, a pro-abortion group that uses the Catholic label but is not affiliates with the church, criticized the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week for urging the Supreme Court to uphold a pro-life Mississippi law.
Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson accused the bishops of dishonesty and claimed that a majority of Americans, including Catholics, support legal abortion.
“U.S. bishops were a primary architect of the anti-choice movement, and for decades, they have spent millions of dollars trying to end legal abortion, control women’s bodies and persuade Americans to oppose reproductive rights,” Manson said.
She claimed the bishops’ pro-life efforts have “failed spectacularly” because a majority of Catholics support legal abortion.
“If the bishops wish to continue their unholy anti-choice crusade, they should at least do so honestly and stop falsely claiming a broad basis of public support that, quite simply, does not exist,” Manson said.
Interesting, however, one of the polls that Manson’s organization cited shows the opposite of what she claimed. It found that most Americans support laws like the one in Mississippi that protect unborn babies from abortions after the first trimester.
Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the Mississippi law, which prohibits abortions on unborn babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
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The bishops said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and “deeply flawed,” and there is no right to abortion in the Constitution. They noted that Roe has “never met with general acceptance by the American public.”
This is true. In Roe and later Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court prohibited states from banning abortions before an unborn baby is viable. As a result, the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Catholics for Choice cited a recent AP-NORC poll to make its case that the bishops are wrong about public opinion, but the poll actually found strong public support for the Mississippi law.
According to the poll, a strong majority of Americans believe states should be allowed to ban abortions after the first trimester – which is what the Mississippi law does. According to the poll, 65 percent said most or all second-trimester abortions should be illegal; the number increased to 80 percent in the third trimester.
Gallup polls also consistently find that a majority of Americans want all or most abortions to be illegal. Another 2021 Marist poll found that, while self-described Catholics are closely split on identifying pro-life (48 percent) or pro-choice (49 percent), a strong majority of practicing Catholics (64 percent) are pro-life.
According to National Review, the poll found that 53 percent of Catholics and 67 percent of practicing Catholics also said they support limiting abortions to, at most, cases of rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life.
After nearly 50 years with Roe v. Wade and almost 63 million aborted babies, polls consistently show that Americans remain strongly opposed to abortion on demand.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in October.