Just in time for an election where the Hyde Amendment is at stake, Catholics for Choice has launched an ad campaign, deceiving about tenets of the Catholic faith (something at which they have a long history). If supporters of the Democrat Party Platform (excluding pro-life Democrats) and Catholics for Choice got their way, the Hyde Amendment would be repealed and taxpayers would be forced to fund elective abortions.
The campaign shares stories from Catholics who support abortion, and the group claims, while inviting visitors to their website to “Stand Up for Social Justice,” that “public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value.”
If one goes by the Catechism — a reliable source on Catholic teaching — this statement could not be further from the truth. The Catechism’s section on abortion mentions in part that “[s]ince the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law….” The Catholic Church also says that “[f]ormal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.”
Pope Francis, the head of the Church, has also spoken extensively about abortion and affirmed the Church’s stance. In writing about the ad campaign, Sheila Liaugminas shared a February quote from the Pope:
Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil.
It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.
As a result of Catholics for Choice’s ad campaign, Catholics and Catholic leadership have been speaking out. In a statement, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Pro-Life Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called out the ad as “deceptive.” His statement also read in part:
As the U.S. Catholic bishops have stated for many years, the use of the name ‘Catholic’ as a platform to promote the taking of innocent human life is offensive not only to Catholics, but to all who expect honesty and forthrightness in public discourse.
CFC [Catholics for Choice] is not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way. It has no membership, and clearly does not speak for the faithful. It is funded by powerful private foundations to promote abortion as a method of population control.
The organization rejects and distorts Catholic social teaching — and actually attacks its foundation. As Pope Francis said this summer to leaders in Poland. . . “Life must always be welcomed and protected… from conception to natural death. All of us are called to respect life and care for it.”
CFC’s extreme ads promote abortion as if it were a social good. 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.
Cardinal Dolan also points to a July Knights of Columbus/Marist poll which shows a majority of Americans of various demographics and beliefs are against taxpayer funding of abortions.
Catholics for Choice claims otherwise in their press release for the ad. “While members of the Catholic hierarchy might tell policymakers and the media otherwise, Catholics don’t agree with the Hyde Amendment or its offshoots,” it says. Unlike Dolan, however, Catholics for Choice does not cite any research to support their claim.
There are other abortion activists who have claimed Americans are against the Hyde Amendment, but they’ve used biased and loaded language in their polling questions, skewing the results.
Catholics for Choice president Jon O’Brien slammed Dolan and the bishops for their statement. It’s not the first time that Catholics for Choice has made Catholic bishops the focus of their attacks, further calling into question the pro-abortion group’s Catholic bonafides.
The ad campaign is a multi-year project.