Pelosi’s abortion comments provoke Catholic criticism

August 27, 2008

Catholic leaders in Colorado and elsewhere have been swift to react to comments by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the Church itself had long debated when human life begins.

Nancy Pelosi kisses Pope Benedict’s ring in Washington as President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice look on, 16 April 2008//Larry Downing“… I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition … St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose,” said Pelosi, seen at left kissing Pope Benedict’s ring during his visit to Washington in April.

In Denver, the venue for this week’s Democratic party national convention due to annoint Barack Obama as its presidential nominee on Thursday, Archbishop Charles Chaput and his Auxiliary Bishop James Conley said in a statement on Monday that Catholic teaching on the subject was unequivocal — abortion is gravely evil — and that “Catholics who make excuses for it … fool only themselves.” Similar comments came from Washington D.C. Archbishop Donald Wuerl.

In a statement late on Tuesday, Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs said: “Those Catholics who take a public stance in opposition to the most fundamental moral teaching of the Church place themselves outside full communion with the Church, and they should not present themselves for the reception of Holy Communion.”

Pelosi’s spokesman Brendan Daly responded on Tuesday with a statement saying not all Catholics agreed with the Church’s position on when life began.

Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, 23 August 2008/John GressWhile not always mentioned by name, the clerical criticism can also apply to Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, picked as the vice presidential running mate for Obama. Biden is a practicing Catholic who also supports abortion rights and analysts have said he could help woo wavering Catholics into Obama’s fold. But a revival of the 2004 debate over whether such Catholic politicians should be refused communion at Mass could possibly hurt him.

John Kerry, a Catholic who was the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 , provoked stormy debate in Catholic circles about whether or not a pro-abortion rights politician should be able to receive Holy Communion, a key sacrament of the faith. Several bishops said they would not give him communion and the media staked out churches where he attended Mass to see if he received. In June 2004, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — now Pope Benedict XVI – wrote to American bishops restating the Church position that a priest must refuse to distribute communion to a Catholic politician who supported abortion rights.

Catholic protesters against John Kerry in New York, 16 June 2004/Jeff ChristensenAbortion is one of the most divisive issues in U.S. politics and while polls show Americans in this election cycle much more concerned about the economy and Iraq it could prove important in Colorado, a closely-contested “swing state”.

When Colorado voters elect a new president on Nov. 4 they will also be asked to amend their state constitution to define legal “personhood” as starting from the moment of fertilization, a position that would not ban abortion but would create the legal foundation for a possible ban in the future.

This measure could energize the state’s conservative Catholics and large evangelical community — a key base for the Republican Party which its presidential candidate John McCain needs — to go to the polls.

86 comments

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It is encouraging to hear that more and more of our U.S. Bishops are speaking up and out about the scandal that these self defined Catholic politicians bring not only to our Church but to our national social policy agenda. I have been reading criticism from some parts accusing the Catholic Bishops of playing politics and deliberatly favoring the Republican Party with their criticisms. What is not clearly understood is that the Bishops, along with all sincere and well formed Catholics, are morally obliged to protect the near 2000 teachings of the Church which in turn protect and promote the dignity of human life.Political parties come and go with the tides and politicians change with the wind. The Church preaches eternal Truth and that Truth cannot be rewritten or revised to suit an election. Indeed we would all be better off if our elections reflected at least a hint of that underlying Truth that is Eternal.

Posted by Mary McCurry | Report as abusive

I guess the argument of Pro or Con abortion is part of a problem of defining the question.The question really is “a woman’s right to choose” what to do with her body.While life may begin at conception it cannot exist outside the womb for quite some time. Until it can, the ONLY person who can decide what should happen to is it the mother, HER concience and her physican.The government should stay out of it.

Posted by John Billings | Report as abusive

What is being demonstrated here is the difference between political ideology and practical effectiveness. Ideologues may be able to proclaim that they stuck to their ideals but, if they are ultimately producing the opposite effect of what they intended, are they acting morally or immorally?Frankly, Colorado Catholics have been wondering where our bishops have been. The silence during this election cycle has been deafening since they apparently realized the mistake they made backing the “pro-life-in-name-only” George W. Bush. Bishop Sheridan wrote his counter-productive letter in May last time around and here it is August already and, until today, nothing. I know why. He is embarrassed.I can only imagine the embarrassment felt by conservative bishops and their sheep after watching the daily death toll under the President they escorted into office on the heals of their anti-abortion ideology. While Iraqi civilians die by the thousands, while soldiers remain in harm’s way in the name of a 7-year lie, only to return home to the “thanks” of sub-standard health care, the Bush abortion rate remains higher than during the pro-choice Clinton years.Those of us who told Bishop Sheridan he was wrong in 2004 hoped four years of solid evidence might cause him to grow more politically savvy and to understand empty campaign rhetoric. Apparently not. Evidence cannot hold a candle to ideology, except when presented to the truly wise and humble.I am a fully pro-life (not merely anti-abortion) Catholic who feels morally bound to be effective in protecting life, not simply effective in speaking the correct theological words. The political reality is that neither John McCain nor Barack Obama will outlaw abortion. After 8 ineffective Bush years, voters have figured that out.Catholic voters, therefore, are not faced with the moral choice the Colorado bishops are telling them they are faced with. They are faced with using their vote to reduce the abortion rate, reduce deaths from wars, reduce capital punishment and eliminate reverse Robin Hoodism, stealing from the poor to give to the rich.Our ideological bishops lead us astray when they imply our vote is about overturning Roe v. Wade and nothing else. That naivete, when exercised by persons in positions of authority, is immoral. Our bishops may be theologically correct, but their uninformed political activism causes more deaths than it prevents.I urge genuine pro-life Catholics to join me in voting Democratic in November.

Posted by Timothy Rowan | Report as abusive

The disingenuousness squabblers on both sides of the abortion debate are unbelievable. The do not even address the basic issues (non-issues?). On the one hand, OF COURSE the fetus is a living human being: Does the DNA analysis show that it is Homo sapiens? Yes. Is the fetus alive? Yes. Ergo, it’s a living human being. Quod erat demonstrandum. But on the other hand, why should I care that a fetus is aborted? It is not sentient. Society has invested no time or money in its upbringing. It is just another mammal, the only difference between Homo sapiens and other mammals being that people stand up straight and we’re a lot smarter. And we have used our intelligence in conjunction with our greed to make ourselves the most destructive weed species ever to curse the face of our Planet. The cockroaches, zebra mussels, water hyacinth, kudzu, feral dogs and cats, rats — they ain’t got NOTHING on Homo sapiens and what our species is capable of doing. We are indestructible as a species, but we destroy each other individually, and we destroy our animal cousins: we inflict torture, terror, misery, hate, poverty, hunger — we destroy. We destroy everything we touch, like a race of leprous Midases. Is a human fetus worth more than another lost stand of 2000-year-old Douglas firs or a rain forest or a coral reef or an entire ocean and the entire ecosystem that they create and support? The only answer to that question other than “No!” can derive only from the blind superstitions of bronze-age monotheistic desert blood-religions followed by persons who are, for all practical purposes, lobotomites. If this civilization were laid across a psychoanalyst’s couch, it would be declared clinically insane. In answer to the “abortion issue”, the only ethical thing to say is that the mother has a right to control her own body. She is sentient, and the fetus is not. She is worth more than the fetus.

Posted by quetzalcoatl | Report as abusive

This is why the Catholic Church is losing its followers world-wide and in the United States. I was raised Catholic and went to 12 years of Catholic school, but do not feel that my views nor the views of any one Church should be imposed on those of another. The Catholic Church’s involvement in U.S. politics is unacceptable and unconsititurional – hence, they lost this Catholic and should lose their tax emempt status – as should all other Churches that get involved in U.S. political affairs.

Posted by Lori | Report as abusive

Congresswoman Pelosi failed to comment on Humane Vitae which explicitly stated and ground into Church dogma the sacredness of life from conception and onward.

Posted by Joe Reich | Report as abusive

Anyone who thinks that abortion is a simple issue is mistaken. It is a very complex moral issue. There are millions of compassionate, thoughtful, faithful people who sincerely and honestly oppose any and all abortion.And there are millions of compassionate, thoughtful, faithful people who sincerely and honestly find that there is a necessity for legal and safe abortion in the world.Who’s right? It’s next to impossible to say definitively. It’s a difficult moral issue. Anyone who thinks otherwise is oversimplifying.In the absence of a clear, unifying, convincing consensus, people should have the right to examine their own consciences, make up their own mind on this issue. America is the land of individual liberty and individual responsibility. Let’s not have the government make any blanket statement that is morally repugnant to approximately 50% of Americans out there.

Posted by Sue D. Nymme | Report as abusive

She is a nut!!! It’s a shame that news outlet’s give her a Bully Pulpit.Two yrs as Speaker in a Democratly controlled Congress and NOTHING>

John Billings–it should also be noted that life outside the womb cannot exist on its own for quite some time. As that is your reasoning for allowing abortion are you suggesting we let mothers adopt the Spartan practice of staking their children to the hillside if they decide they don’t want their children after they are borm?A child in the womb is no different than a child outside the womb. Both need shelter and food to survive and grow and progress through the various stages of human life. Does the fact that the shelter is the womb and not a house really matter?

Lori– 1. Get your facts straight–the Catholic church world-wide is not losing its followers–it is growing. 2. When you say neither your views nor anyones view should be imposed on another–isn’t that just your view and aren’t you trying to impose it on me? What if someone thinks murder is ok–you know survival of the fittest and all that–hey you’ve got something I want and I’m going to take it–after all who are you to tell me that its wrong. Are you good with that? Thats the logical end to saying no one has a right to impose their view on someone. Why should I have to live in a relativist society where anything goes–just because some people think thats how it should be–they are imposing a relativist ethic on me–why is that ok–but to argue for a different ethic–is somehow imposing my views on everyone? Talk about a double standard.Hey arent are laws against murder based on one of the ten commandments–I guess thats imposing religous beliefs on people–better get rid of those laws.Was Hitler wrong? Was slavery wrong? I think so but can I really say that? Isn’t that just imposing my views on people? Do you see the absurdity in that position? Our rights have to come from somewhere. I don’t think they come from the state nor do I think that would be a good idea–what the state grants the state can take away. I have to go with the author of the Declaration of Independence: we are all endowed by our creator with certain enalienable rights–those rights states should not take away and should protect. But alas today we move toward a society (and the acceptance by our citizens) in which states grant and take away rights regardless of our enalienable rights endowed in us by our creator.

Sue Nymme–When you say lets not have the government make any blanket statement that is morally repugnant to approximately 50% of Americans–would you have made the same statement 150 years ago with regard to slavery? Or should our government have stood up sooner and recognized the worth, value and dignity of those Americans living in slavery? Is it the opinion of the majority of Americans that makes something right or wrong? Or are there somethings or people are government should protect regardless of majority opinion? I believe that is why we live in a Democratic Republic rather than a Democracy–to protect our citizens from the tyranny of the majority. Should woman have been denied the vote simply because 50% of citizens found it morally repugnant? Was America justified in killing Native Americans and taking there land because a majority of Americans found it acceptable?As to “Who’s Right? It’s next to impossible to say definately” While I’m not sure the science supports that statement–after all if its not a human life what is it? But assuming your statement is correct–it implies the possibility that it is a human life–and if that is a possibility–shouldn’t we err on the side of caution and protect that life until we have a definitive answer to the contrary? Isn’t it the governments job to protect its most vulnerable–regardless of the worth the majority of Americans may place on any particular life? Or have we devolved into a society that assigns a value to each given life–based on what the majority thinks–and then determines which lives have a low enough value that we can sanction the taking of that life? Isn’t it the governments job to protect the rights of the minorities and of those who cannot speak for themselves?

Mark — Everyone thinks this is about absolute right vs. absolute wrong. It is not. It is about better vs. worse, a little more gray vs. a little less gray. Theological idealism is nice but it is not going to save the life of one unborn human being. If a candidate calls himself “pro-life,” let him work to reduce killing of both the born AND the unborn or admit he is only “anti-abortion.”If a candidate is truly anti-abortion, let him pursue Roe v. Wade after he is elected. That would be newsworthy as no winning candidate has ever done that. Those promises are the first forgotten. But if he does, and in the miraculous event he is successful, what happens? Abortion rights do not end but become a state issue. Now, your job is multiplied by 50, and will probably take another 50 years. In the meantime, how many people will have died, been tortured, suffered from hunger and unemployment and paid taxes that wind up in the hands of oil companies and arms manufacturers? How many years of an elevated abortion rate will we endure, all because we Catholics were willing to put up with all the other Republican policies in order to get the slight chance of maybe someday overturning Roe?Don’t talk to me about theology; we all agree that life begins at conception and is sacred. Talk to me about who really DOES SOMETHING about reducing the killing. Talk to me about what actually works. Then you’ll see why moral, thoughtful Catholics must vote Democratic.

Posted by Timothy Rowan | Report as abusive

Congratulations John Billings and Timothy Rowan, you have managed to rationalize your own extermination. Similar thought processes lead to the elimination of Jews by Hitler and Christians by Stalin, not to mention the islamic crazies who kill based upon some similar rationalizations. What if someone decide democrats should be eliminated?A baby is not a “punishment” as defined by the democrats and their candidate. A baby is a BABY moron. Look at the science. DNA of a human beings, 4 dimensional ultrasounds, All prove viability and human status.It is amazing and ridiculus that you think you are Catholic or anyone else who believes like you is Catholic. If you don’t believe as the Church teaches, then you are not a member of the church. That is the way it is for any organization. If you don’t accept the tennants of the Church, why do you want to be part of it. Unless your objective is infiltration for the purpose of undermining the Church like Father Flegher.For those who are whinning about what the Church has not done for them and left, you got what you put into it. If you don’t know the faith, practice the faith, and live the faith, then you are not Catholic and never were. The whole lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink program. If one knows the catholic faith and practices it, one would never go any where else.The Church has an obligation and the right to offer its teaching and opinions to the faithful. Free speach and all. Because the government of this great country, our republic, is by and for the people, the people are responsible for it. As such the poeple of this country and of faith cannot divide themselves for conveninece. One cannot use the cafeteria method to decide which laws, rules, and regulations that they want to follow. Similarly, the faithful cannot be sometimes faithful and sometimes secular.For those that still think Bush lied. How much Serran(SP) Gas does it take to wipe out a city.(Airborne Ounces) They found 500 tons in Iraq. How much yellow cake does it take to make a dirty nuke.(a few pounds) They just removed over two truck loads to Canada from Iraq. They had to keep it a secret and under guard to keep it out of the hands of Ayers like terrorists. It is our duty to protect those that cannot protect them selves. the Iraqi women in rape rooms, the mass graves of Iraqi citizens, and the innocent children being taught hate ideology of islam.Abortion is a simple matter. When one participates in an abortion, one is participating in the murder of the least of our brethern.Just like any other moral evils and social injustices, the Church like our government consists of people. These people have the same rights to speak up and out about the murder of the innocent. Pro Choice begins when one decides to have sex outside of marriage.Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, and Kennedy are not Catholics. they are Democrats. They should be refused participation in every Catholic Church sacrament and ceremony. After watching their performance as civil servants, it is clear that they are only interested in serving themselves, taking care of their own. If you are Catholic, you cannot be a Democrat. If you are a democrat, I question whether you are American.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I noticed that some of you claim to be Catholic, but are voting pro-choice. You can NOT be Catholic and pro-choice. If you are pro-choice, then you have taken yourself out of the Catholic Church. If you don’t believe in the tenets of the Church, then why do you want to stay in it? I have never understood why someone would stay in an organization, group, religion, etc when they don’t share the beliefs of the group or religion.

Posted by Sue Baker | Report as abusive

“I guess the argument of Pro or Con abortion is part of a problem of defining the question.The question really is “a woman’s right to choose” what to do with her body.”Exactly. If we as a society are in the business of valuing one human life over another, then we should apply the same rules to men. Accordingly, if any member of a family (sister, brother, cousin, grandparent, etc.) requires the donation of an organ to survive (i.e., a kidney, etc.), male family members should be required to donate that organ (whether or not it poses a threat to the health of the donating male) as long as both the donator and the donatee have the possibility of survival (i.e., one would not be required to donate a heart as it would necessarily kill the donatee). Why isn’t this a law to save the lives of living people and why do the vast majority of people consider this law repugnant? A society should not impose rules on women which they would not impose on men.

Posted by Emilia | Report as abusive

Well, this article is worthless because it doesn’t even address whether or not there has been debate within the Catholic church over the beginning of life.

Posted by Leroy | Report as abusive

I am sickened by that picture of Nancy Pelosi kissing the pope’s ring. That man does not deserve respect. He merely perpetuates an outdated concept that we as human beings have used as a means of survival in the past, but now only serves to destroy us. If there was such a thing as hell, which there is not, there would be a special place reserved for the religious leaders of the world.As for the abortion debate, well, there’s no reasoning with some people, but I’ll try anyway. Consider this scenario: a doctor tells you that, in order to save the life of another person, he has to be surgically attached to you for 9 months, after which he will be able to survive on his own. Granted, it may not be moral to deny this request, but should it be illegal to deny it? The answer is no. Period. End of discussion.

Posted by polyrhythms | Report as abusive

Decry and condemn as they will, the fact remains that the Catholic church has indeed argued, debated and changed its definitions on when life begins – for hundreds of years. there is no more reason to accept the Vaticans opinion today than to accept the very first one it ever propsed…there remains no supportive evidence for any stance.Want to really stir the Brothers up? Ask them when the new ‘life’ acquires a soul! Their wine consumption and blood pressure rise in accord.

Posted by Didereaux | Report as abusive

Pelosi was responding to a question of when life begins. The responses from Church officials in article are concerning abortion, which the Church is against. That was not the question. They should address the same question as Pelosi, when does life begin. I assume they believe it is at conception, but in the article they avoid saying that.

Posted by Johh S | Report as abusive

Mary McCurry — Not exactly. The teachings of the Church come and go almost as quickly as politicians and their parties. The bishops are actually morally obliged to protect the truth, not the Church’s current understanding of it. Did you know the Church once taught that the entire fetus was present in the sperm and that the woman was merely a temporary receptacle? As science advances, the Church is wise enough to change. Well, at least until recently.The reality is that making abortion illegal is extremely unlikely, regardless of how a Catholic casts his or her vote. The better path is to select a candidate and a party that chooses the welfare of people over that of greedy corporations. That vote will save far more lives than the vote for the candidate with the prettier campaign rhetoric.

Posted by Timothy Rowan | Report as abusive

Michael — You managed to criticize me by name without reading what I wrote. I have waded through your essay and have only two quick questions:1) After behaving in a moral manner and voting for George W. Bush twice, how many unborn lives did you save? You see, had you read my contribution, you would know that my point was not whether Republican candidates affix the proper labels to themselves, it was whether they actually protect the unborn (and the born, for that matter) once they get into office. Bush’s pro-life record is an utter failure. There would be more babies and more adults alive today had Kerry been elected or had Gore’s election been recognized.2) To paraphrase your own question: if a person disagrees with commonly accepted tenets of English spelling and grammar, can he claim to be an English speaker?

Posted by Timothy Rowan | Report as abusive

Speaker Pelosi had only to crack open her copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church – a must-have for any “ardent, practicing Catholic” – to find how sorely wrong she is. St. Augustine was born in about 350 A.D. (or C.E., for you politically correct types), so his medical information was obsolete a millennium ago, whereas paragraphs 2270-2274 of the constantly updated CCC all explicitly denounce abortion and its practitioners and supporters.I’m afraid that I don’t understand Lori’s comments regarding the Church’s involvement in politics. When did it become unconstitutional for a religious organization to excommunicate its members or deny them its sacraments? Shouldn’t its leaders retain their rights to freedom of speech? Or can the Church just have its First Amendment cake in the form of one of these rights (freedom of religion and freedom of speech), but not eat it too, simply on the basis of having an opinion about politics? After all, the Church doesn’t determine United States policy, and its members are free to ignore its teachings (or delude themselves into a false understanding of its teachings, as Speaker Pelosi did) – there just might literally be Hell to pay.

Posted by M. Dixon | Report as abusive

Abortions down under Bush. Just one source follows. Why are Democrats always trying to deceive us? Can’t they win with truth. I guess not. http://www.factcheck.org/society/the_bio graphy_of_a_bad_statistic.html

Posted by carlleigh | Report as abusive

Sue Baker — Blanket statements like yours are seldom 100% accurate. If you are correct that you cannot vote pro-choice and call yourself Catholic, then there are no more Catholic Americans. You see, there are not now, nor have there ever been, pro-life office holders. There are only pro-life candidates. Once in office, these politicians hold life in far less esteem than they appeared to while campaigning. I am pro-life and I recognize the fact that there is no one for me to vote for. I agree with you the the Catholic Church is correct that life is sacred and that it begins at conception.So, what do you recommend? A vote for the “pro-life” candidate who has promised to move even more money from the poor to the rich (and thereby increase the abortion rate) and to bomb Iran? Or a vote for the pro-choice candidate who has promised to make abortion less necessary. In the end, who respects life more? In the end, can it be truly moral to maintain a firm black/white position regardless of all the evidence?

Posted by Timothy Rowan | Report as abusive

we are talking about a womans right to choose vs. a humans right to live…how do people miss this?women everywhere who get abortions are essencially undertakers in their own right.just because they CHOSE to take the easy way out.and I DONT CARE if you were raped.I DONT CARE if it was an accident.I DONT CARE if your having a rough time financially.I DONT CARE bla bla bla.NO ABORTIONS!its as easy as that!pro choice is nothing more than giving woman the option of taking the easy way out.

Posted by sara | Report as abusive

I’m with you Pelosi. These guys used to condemn people to hell for not believing that that the sun revolved around the earth. It took them over 300 years to finally acknowledge that they got it wrong. They really aren’t as well connected (neither is the Religious Right) as they like to have us believe. They are into power and control of the masses. Do your own thinking.

Posted by Marc from San Diego | Report as abusive

This whole flap is just the press trying to manufacture controversy. Everyone knows where Pelosi stands on abortion and where the Catholic Church stands on abortion… this is not a surprise. The truth is that the Church’s teaching has stayed the same, basically, but how this teaching has been applied has changed with modern technology.

Posted by Bosley | Report as abusive

Well the Catholics are getting more kids (Mexicans) to molest in their personal pews. Holy incest! Getting that organized religious nut off instead of at least practicing what your given to preach.

Posted by Campbell | Report as abusive

“After watching their performance as civil servants, it is clear that they are only interested in serving themselves, taking care of their own. If you are Catholic, you cannot be a Democrat. If you are a democrat, I question whether you are American.”michael, i loved your post. i could not have said it better myself.if you can see the fetus growing in you through modern technology…isnt that enough proof that it is a living human being? what more do we need to know.so pro choice is really…hey theres a baby in there lets kill it.ORhey theres a baby in there…what am i going to tell my parents? haha.we should all take a lesson from JUNO and start a major ADOPTION revolution!

Posted by Billy | Report as abusive

Our Church always taught against abortion. According to the “Declaration on Procured Abortion”, Pope Paul VI said, that this teaching “has not changed and is unchangeable.” The document further maintains, “In the course of history, the Fathers of the Church, her Pastors and her Doctors have taught the same doctrine…about the illicitness of abortion.”

Posted by Mark da Silva | Report as abusive

In this country, policy should be debated as a secular matter, not as a religious matter. A secular debate includes the entire time from conception to the moment of birth, whereas the religious debate in particular from the Catholic perspective is a non-debate. The answer to this has already been figured out, as are many of the claims made by all religions but are not proven and are not compelling to thinking people.The constitution assures us there is to be no religious test for holding office, and the entire basis for life begins at conception and induced abortion from that very moment onward, is equally as reprehensible, immoral, and unethical as dismembering an 8.5 months old in the woman through a partial birth abortion. Both are mortal sins. The Catholic vernacular is simply not equipped for rational discussion on the matter, for a partial birth abortion is in my view (atheist, anti-theist) reprehensible and equivalent to the pre-medidated murder of 1 day old, 5 day old, 5 year old, child.The legitimate debate is at what point does this occur? And are there gradated sanctions that can be imployed in the course of fetal development. I have few problems with abortion in the 1st trimester. I have serious problems with it in the 3rd trimester. And in the 2nd trimester there is a real debate and there may not be a fair answer. Perhaps one day technology will give us the ability to detect a moment of sentience and it’s likely that point I would dry the line in the sand.

Posted by nomoreclintonorbush | Report as abusive

The bishops made clear the teaching of the Church. Unlike other faith communities the Catholic Church reduce their beliefs to writing. For those who claim to be Catholic and do not respect abortion as the foundational life issue check out your catechism. We are free to disagree on things like the death penalty and war, but “never” abortion–40,000,000 murdered babies is hard for any reasonable person to justify. This disagreement means those who do not agree with the Church are not “in communion” with the Church. This is the reason politicians who profess such views are warned not to present themselves for Holy Communion. It is called scandal–that means they are leading others into sin and possibly jeopardizing their salvation. Personally, I do not understand why these people stay in the Church. Is someone forcing them to stay in Christ’s Church?Regarding the separation of Church and State argument–I recommend a course in government 101.

Posted by rita | Report as abusive

Dusty — So, apparently, you are not familiar with the concept of the Presidential veto.

Posted by Timothy Rowan | Report as abusive

We know for sure that at birth there is life. We know for sure at some point there is life in the womb (heart beating, movement, ultrasound evidence, prenatal operations, etc.).It is evident to me that life must begin at conception. For those in favor of abortion who say they cannot know for sure when life begins, all the more reason for why they cannot support abortion as they are not sure whether that which is aborted is alive or not.

Posted by Francis | Report as abusive

I am so sick of hearing what the Catholic Church and the Evangelicals say about abortion-I mean lets face it,the fetus better stay unborn because once it is born they dont care about it.Our politicians are being forced to defend their position if they dare to admit that they are for a womans right to choose and so many of them will not tell these religious nutcases to shut up!When are we going to start caring about the really important issues-poverty,healthcare and this never ending war instead of dissecting the issue of when human life begins?Abortion should be private and legal-it is absolutely NOBODIES business what I do with my body.I am overjoyed that Joe Biden a ‘catholic’ who has always stood up for a womans right to choose has joined this ticket and it is because of that, that Obama will be getting my vote.By the way,I am Catholic and I dont care about whether a bishop will allow me to take communion-its laugable that anyone even listens to what they say after the behavior of the last few years.Nancy Pelosi has said the first sensible thing Ive ever heard her say!

Posted by Catherine | Report as abusive

I am tired of the PRO DEATH so called catholics as do not practice the faith. There is a choice when it comes to having a child. Do not have sex out of marriage if you can not accept the fact you may have a child! I would like to see more responsible people in this world.Just be glad you mother did not have an abortion.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

It’s not a big suprise that the head pimp for the fictional invisible supernatural space wizard myth is anti-choice. Since all of those mentally defective believers in the myth want to get involved in politics, then they should start paying taxes. A fetus is just that, a fetus. A baby doesn’t become a baby until it has left the womb. If you get pregnant, you have the choice to keep the baby. Beyond that it’s none of my or anyone else’s business. Your narrow minded dogmatic views mean nothing. If you want to live in a theocracy, I suggest you move to Iran or Israel, oh, but wait, abortion is legal in Israel isn’t it…..

Posted by BillG | Report as abusive

Abortion is not an easy decision for a woman. It’s very lonely and very frightening. Sadly, some of the children born into this world are dead on arrival because of the circumstances of their birth and their parents. Unfortunately, the church is not there to protect them. I guess hope for them is not an option.The failure of church leaders to recognize that not every woman is mentally capable of rearing children is a tragedy. In the ideal world, every parent wants their child, but reality certainly says otherwise. I wish the Catholic Church was as aggressive in dealing with their pedophile issue as it seems to be in addressing the most personal issue of the majority of its members — women.Yes, Yes! Abortion is something that some women live to regret and that is where God’s, not the church’s, grace and forgiveness is sought.

Posted by Anne Arkey | Report as abusive

God created man and woman and he devised the way that the human species will continue in existence. The woman conceives and carries the baby in her womb until it is developed enough to exist outside her body and she feeds her milk naturally produced in her breasts.This is God’s design. The ‘choice’ they say they have a right to is a big lie from the father of lies (satan).You don’t have to be a scientist or theologian or a learned philosopher to know that life begins at conception and that life is the same species. Nancy Pelosi was a human being when she was conceived and not a piglet, wouldn’t you agree?Most of the animal kingdom (99.9999999999999999999%) would protect their young. Only man/woman has the ‘choice’ to kill them in the most sacred of places, the womb!!!!! what a travesty!!

quetzalcoatl – It would be alright with you then if your mother decided to abort you?

Posted by Romeo K. Escuyos Jr. | Report as abusive

Bottom Line if you are for abortion at any stage of a fetus that is absolutely healthy and the woman’s life is in absolutely no danger (as in normal preganancy) you advocate abortion rights you are not Roman Catholic and should not receive communion. Become a muslim or whatever your REAL faith is. And a woman always has control over her body that would be avoiding sex. And for all the rape and incest appologists, the percentage of abortions that are because of either of those two reasons are infintisimal and the infant is innocent of the father’s sins anyway. Bishops should excommunicate priests that willfully or knowingly give communion to politicians that advocate abortion rights period.

Posted by GIJOE | Report as abusive

In response to John Billings that “life may begin at conception it cannot exist outside the womb for quite some time.” John, the same can be said for small children. Could a 2-year-old survive without it’s parents? No, it could not John. That’s a pretty weak explanation that you make in your definition of what life is. Also, you speak to a woman’s right to choose…what about the child’s right to choose life. This is not about religion, this has everything to do with something that is morally wrong. According to you, John, we are only life if we can survive on our own. How Darwinist of you!

Posted by JASON GIGLIOTTI | Report as abusive

If I was a nazi, promoted nazi politians and judges, yet claimed as for myself, that I was personally against exterminating jews, I’d be laughed at,and rightfully so by these same democratic politians, pelosi, kerry, biden, casey, etc. that want to be catholic for the votes in this world, but not be catholic enough to drive away the voters that are indifferent to evil or just don’t mind dancing with the devil.

Posted by ambrose korn | Report as abusive

To BillG the point is the Catholic faith does not agree with abortion period, the matter is about claiming to be catholic and recieving communion so you can garner some votes FROM CATHOLICS OR CHRISTIANS of which you are neither and those politicians are not either. Nothing more………..I did not read where they said Nancy P cannot run for office she has every right to do that. She just does not have every right to recieve catholic communion period…..called freedom of religion not available in Iran where frankly your point of views on religion are the majority…….

Posted by GIJOE | Report as abusive

It would appear that as a Catholic one does not have freedom of conscience – either one accepts the church’s (current) position on a particular issue or you are, by definition, no longer a Catholic.

Well, ABORTION, people here are talking about whether to abort or not a to be coming life, life that GOD created and we are discussing to demolish it.Hmmmmm, pretty interesting, but why not first go through the circumstances that take us to the inevitable option of ABORTION.As everybody knows that family values are vanishing in USA culture gradually (Americans plz don’t mind, but what is true is true). Why not give your kids the education of having SEX after marriage because before it is a SIN. Why not asking your kids if they really want to have SEX get married and have as much as you can. If they (specially girls) really want to bring a LIFE in this world just think hundred times before enjoying the fantasy of SEX, that could result in ABORTION.Yes we have no right to bring a LIFE to an end that GOD created. Please, instead of fighting on to get ABORTION legalise first improve your family values, trends, customs, where having a boyfried for a girl is a must to do thing. Obviously if you put together fuel and fire this will be the result.

Posted by Bobby | Report as abusive

If you don’t agree with abortion, then you shouldn’t have one. The goverment should not be able to say that women cannot get one. It should be a free choice to make.Yes there are other options. Yes some women have emotional issues afterwards. Women who give their children up for adoption have emotional issues afterwards also. Its harder when you carried the child for almost a year to get rid of it.A friend of mine killed herself after giving her child up for adoption. So yes, the baby’s life was saved but her’s wasn’t. Is that fair? No.A woman should get to choose what to do with her body. And if it is a couple, then they should get to choose together. Religion should not be involved unless the people are religious. Agnostic and atheist people should not be forced into a law created by Catholic ideas.

Posted by pro-choice!! | Report as abusive

The question everyone should ask within his/her innermost is: If I am in the womb of a woman, having been conceived two days ago or two weeks ago or two months, and this woman want to abort, would I offer myself to be eliminated forever happily?Going one step forward you may ask yourself: If I am in the womb of a raped woman, having been conceived two days ago or two weeks ago or two months, and this woman want to abort? Would I offer myself to be getting rid of forever happily?

Posted by Aureo | Report as abusive

Is there any catholic democratic politians out their who will speak out against the grave evil of abortion? And explain how they can justify being both catholic and a member of a party that endorses abortion on demand? The only conclusion I can draw from Biden is that he will toss his core beliefs abourt abortion for a few moments in the spotlight.

Posted by ambrose korn | Report as abusive

I am sickened by that picture of Nancy Pelosi kissing the pope’s ring. That man does not deserve respect. He merely perpetuates an outdated concept that we as human beings have used as a means of survival in the past, but now only serves to destroy us. If there was such a thing as hell, which there is not, there would be a special place reserved for the religious leaders of the world.As for the abortion debate, well, there’s no reasoning with some people, but I’ll try anyway. Consider this scenario: a doctor tells you that, in order to save the life of another person, he has to be surgically attached to you for 9 months, after which he will be able to survive on his own. Granted, it may not be moral to deny this request, but should it be illegal to deny it? The answer is no. Period. End of discussion.- Posted by polyrhythmsFunny how the condescension in your tone reveals just how brilliant you think you are. Unfortunately, you and everyone else using this argument are too brainless to observe that if you were the reason the person’s life was in danger in the first place, then yes, it makes a lot of sense to force you to rehabilitate them back to health. It is a rare case that it is not a decision made by a pregnant woman that makes her so.Because most people attempting murder become financial charges of society, however, we wouldn’t legalize forcing the public to pay for a stabbing victim to be attached to a criminal, we just put them in jail.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive