Always willing to entertain the odd heresy, the National Catholic Reporter has published a piece urging Catholics to embrace “reproductive justice” as championed by Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who identifies as a Catholic.
Columnist Jamie Manson gives away in the game in just the second paragraph, describing pro-life Catholics as those who “oppose the right to access abortion care.” As Manson surely knows, such Catholics would deny both that abortion is a right and that it is care at all, because every successful abortion procedure results in the death of an unborn human being.
This biological, medical fact appears nowhere in the article, nor does Manson so much as acknowledge that this is why pro-lifers, Catholic or otherwise, object to abortion. In fact, she does the opposite, arguing that abortion opponents disagree with “bodily autonomy,” which she defines as “a women’s right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term.”
But for the pro-life person, abortion is not, first and foremost, an issue of female autonomy. Virtually all pro-lifers would agree that women have equal dignity and freedom and, consequently, should never be coerced into sex, i.e. the activity that often naturally results in the creation of a new human life. Pro-life people object not to the reality that a woman has control over her own body but rather to the sinister notion that her God-given freedom grants her authority over the body inside hers, allowing her to choose death for the distinct human being in her womb.
Like most Catholics who defend legal abortion, Manson entirely ignores reams of Church doctrine that explicitly condemns abortion as unjust killing and a grave moral evil that harms both the unborn child and the mother. Instead, she relies on an argumentum ad populum fallacy, citing Pew data to show that 56 percent of U.S. Catholics believe abortion should be legal.
But, of course, the poor catechesis or willful rebellion of any number of Catholics neither alters nor disproves the fundamental teachings of the Church, which has for millennia been the world’s most stalwart defender of every unborn human being’s right to life. NCR’s latest ill-conceived effort to elide that fact will do nothing to change it.