Opinion

Pelosi drafts Pope Francis into Planned Parenthood funding push

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Ready for the most preposterous manifestation yet of Nancy Pelosi’s pro-abortion devout Catholic shtick? On Thursday, the House Democrat Leader invoked pro-life Pope Francis in the name of her pro-abortion agenda:

Republicans are moving forward with a GOP reconciliation package that once again lays the groundwork for another Republican government shutdown. It’s a waste of time. It will go nowhere in the Senate. It will be their 61st vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and they will of course be wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, destroy the Affordable Care Act, dismantle newfound health security for millions of Americans.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Instead we could be working together recognizing a Republican Congress, a Democratic president, the ability for Democrats to use their leverage legislatively to have compromise for the good of the American people. That’s what Pope Francis told us to do. He said leaders should have transparency. That would be wonderful – openness, he said. He used the word openness and pragmatism, and he said we have to move forward for the good of the people. Let’s in the spirit of Francis do that.

Yes, Pelosi has devolved to arguing that the Pope wants politicians to accept a budget that gives millions of dollars to the abortion industry. Let that sink in a minute.

Still with me? Good. Naturally, Pope Francis said no such thing in the speech to which Pelosi refers. He made general statements about “good political leaders […] with the interests of all in mind, seiz[ing] the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism,” and “cooperating generously for the common good”—generic statements of responsible governance that can’t possibly be construed as prescribing what the federal budget should and shouldn’t include. I could just as easily say cooperation and pragmatism compel Barack Obama to sign a budget that doesn’t fund Planned Parenthood.

Of course, the even more basic problem here is that it’s inconceivable that Francis would urge promotion of something his religion clearly marks as a grave evil. It’s hard to claim your invocation of a religious leader should be binding when you’re so selective about which of his and the religion’s dictates you honor.

As we discussed a few weeks ago, Pelosi’s public remarks on abortion are so cartoonishly vapid because she’s never faced enough of a challenge to force her to put actual thought into it, and this is easily the most over-the-top example yet. Unfortunately, there are two reasons why she gets away with it.

First, because Republicans let her. Pelosi’s been in Congress for almost thirty years, and you mean to tell me none of her colleagues on the other side of the aisle ever gave her a real confrontation in that time, along the lines of Rick Santorum challenging Barbara Boxer on the Senate floor in 1999?

That exchange is dear to many a pro-lifer’s heart, but in a better political world it actually wouldn’t stand out — not because it wasn’t fantastic, but because every lawmaker who got into office claiming to be pro-life would do the same every day. That something, which should be the norm, is considered so exceptional ought to be a wakeup call.

Second, we have to revisit Pope Francis’ relative silence on abortion during his U.S. visit. The generic nature of much of his comments, lack of discussion of the preborn, and his willingness to get specific on lesser political issues combined to form a blank slate onto which non-Catholics and cafeteria Catholics felt free to project their own notions of “good” and “compassionate.”

Even factoring in her hubris, it is inconceivable that Pelosi would have pulled this if the Pope had made the murder of preborn children an issue during the trip. Had he stood up before Congress and lectured them about abortion at least as passionately and strongly as he did on, say, climate change, she would have known that any mention of the Pope would remind people that he intensely disapproved of her actions, too.

The more outrageous an abortion advocate’s public statements are, the longer a leash the opposition has him or her on. What pro-lifers need now is not to tut-tut at Pelosi and move on, but to have a serious talk about what more our political and religious leaders should be doing on holding them accountable for it.

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