5.12.2022

Pro-choice Catholics Need to Speak Out on the Importance of Maintaining Reproductive Rights

St. Peter's Basilica
Image by Mauricio A. from Pixabay

Tired of hearing about Roe and the leaked Alito draft yet? I'm not. I'm curious why we haven't been hearing more than we have. At least, I'm curious why we haven't been hearing more from certain people. People like President Joe Biden, for instance. And then it hit me. Could this be a Catholic thing? Might President Biden be more reluctant to speak out because of his Catholic beliefs? Even if he's pro-choice, could he have decided to hold back?

If Roe falls, the Catholic Church deserves much of the blame. It has been a central part of their agenda for as long as Roe has been with us. And yet, it is important to remember that most Catholics in the United States support reproductive rights. Most Catholics want abortion to remain legal. There is a gap between what most Catholics want and what conservative Catholics want.

I turn your attention to this post in Religion Dispatches by Dr. Mary E. Hunt. She reminds us that many religious groups support reproductive rights. She identifies herself as one of the Catholics who supports these rights. She has some good suggestions for other Catholics who do so.

The part of her article that caught my attention was this:

Still, it is shocking in a religiously pluralistic society that not only are seven of nine justices Catholic by tradition and/or practice, but that the solid religious grounding of many other faith traditions is simply ignored.

The United States is religiously pluralistic. Why are almost all of our Supreme Court justices Catholic? How did that happen? Why does it seem like Catholicism exerts a disproportionate influence on our legal system? How is this fair to the non-Catholic majority?

Dr. Hunt adds:

Yet these and the views of non-religious pro-choice people are apparently trumped by the conservative Catholic formation and allegiances of the majority of the justices.

It is nice to see her recognition of "non-religious pro-choice people" alongside those of religious pro-choice people. This still isn't something I'm used to seeing. We non-religious are part of this pluralistic society too. Why should we be subject to the whims of the Catholic Church?

Dr. Hunt calls for Catholics who have not been vocal on this issue to enter the debate.

I welcome Catholics who support reproductive freedom to join in these efforts and others we can imagine together. We have a special responsibility to counter the democracy-destroying tendencies of the current Catholic hierarchs who would pretend to speak in our names unless we make clear that they do not.

This is where it makes sense to circle back to President Biden. He's in a great position to take on the "special responsibility" she refers to. I realize he's got his hands full, but he needs to make this a higher priority. If he's indeed a pro-choice Catholic, now would be a great time to speak out. Potential voters are waiting.