Any reasonable person, Catholic or not, would acknowledge that being pro-life on the issue of abortion is a non-negotiable teaching for members of the Catholic Church. Even so, yet another Catholic politician has made a Faustian bargain on abortion, and his recycled excuses haven’t aged well.
“I just want to say, I don’t use the term ‘pro-life’ to describe what I personally believe, because that’s a political term. It’s not one that you learn in Catholic school or anywhere else in the church,” said Conor Lamb, who is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district. This was his response to a question about whether he would vote for a bill to ban late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy.
Terminology aside, is Lamb really suggesting that the Catholic Church is not pro-life or that it sees no use for pro-life laws? In either case, he ought to go back to Catholic school — and we know just the teachers to educate him on the responsibility of being a public servant faithful to the teachings of the Church he claims to be a part of.
First is Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who recently issued a much-needed corrective to Illinois senator Dick Durbin, telling him in no uncertain terms not to present himself for Holy Communion until he repents of his support for late-term abortion. Sadly, Durbin used to be pro-life and has abandoned those principles.
Second is Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast spoke truth to the those attending in Washington, D.C., about the war being waged against our smallest brothers and sisters when she said, “The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Next is Pope Saint John Paul II, who wrote in Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) that laws permitting the destruction of innocent human life are “radically opposed” to the common good. They cannot be excused with appeals to democratic freedom, and elected leaders — just like everyone else — have a moral duty to stand against them.
Finally, Lamb could take a lesson from the current generation at his own high school, Central Catholic in Pittsburgh, which sent an envoy of students and faculty to Washington, D.C., for this year’s March for Life. Unlike Lamb, these students are not confused about the need to protect vulnerable unborn children and their mothers.
Based on his comments, Lamb would also have failed biology and civics: “We believe that life begins at conception,” he said, “but as a matter of separation of church and state, I think a woman has the right to choose under the law, so I would vote against” a ban on abortion after 20 weeks. A unique human life does begin at conception — that is a scientific fact, not an article of faith — but what does conception have to do with a five-month-old unborn baby? As WebMD tells us, at this stage the developing baby’s “eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails, and hair are formed. . . . Your baby can even suck his or her thumb, yawn, stretch, and make faces.”
Doctors perform astounding surgeries right in the womb, using anesthesia as standard procedure for unborn infants after 20-weeks gestation. Premature infants born at this age increasingly have a fighting chance of surviving and thriving with proper care. Just ask the family of Micah Pickering, who once was a sickly baby battling for life in intensive care and now is a healthy, happy little boy.
One recent study showed that five-month-old unborn babies kick with 6.5 pounds of force. But abortionists describe a different force — the force it takes to tear them apart in the womb with surgical implements. In the words of one former Planned Parenthood medical director, “Oh, I have to hit the gym for this!” Sometimes, the doctor explains, the abortion doesn’t kill them and she has to “worry about [her] staff and people’s feelings about it coming out looking like a baby.”
It’s no wonder that only seven nations — including North Korea and China, two of the most notorious human-rights violators — allow abortion-on-demand after five months of pregnancy. More than two-thirds of Americans want to get the United States out of this shameful minority of countries. Voter support for the legislation is especially high among millennials (78 percent), African-Americans (70 percent), and Hispanics (57 percent). Even 51 percent of Democrats support it.
Abortions at five months and later are barbarically cruel.
Abortions at five months and later are barbarically cruel. Anybody who has difficulty drawing the line at this point is not a moderate, but an extremist, and Catholic Church teaching provides no cover for this kind of indefensible practice.
Lamb’s position is not “separation of church and state” — it’s separation of politician and spine. It’s the maneuver of a man who dares not offend the Democratic party, which is increasingly united in lock step with the abortion lobby. If he won’t learn from giants of his own Catholic faith, from science and reason, or from the young survivors of America’s abortion-on-demand regime, only a sound schooling by the voters will get through to him.
Robert Kania Jr. is a resident of Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district. Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.