The Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision soon on Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, and it’s sending pro-abortion advocates into a tizzy. Terrified that abortionists will actually have to take women’s safety seriously, they’re shouting from the rooftops that women will surely be doomed to… well, who knows exactly, but whatever it is, it’s bad!
The latest is Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, domestic program director of Catholics for Choice. In an op-ed for Time magazine, Ratcliffe ominously proclaims that the decision “looms over American women like an incoming tidal wave.” Why? Well, abortion restrictions make women safer, yet abortionists completely refuse to abide by them, which therefore means abortion clinics will close down… which somehow, is bad for women. Because what we need is more shoddy, Gosnell-esque abortionists running around, right?
How did we get to this point? Unjust and repressive abortion laws are not reflective of overall American attitudes toward abortion. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 56% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Interesting that she mentions polling on American attitudes towards abortion. Polling also shows that the number of pro-life Americans is increasing, while the number of pro-abortion Americans is decreasing; furthermore, a majority of Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong, and an overwhelming majority — 69% — believe that abortion should either be illegal, or only legal under strict circumstances. This is in line with most polling on abortion. It’s also not just Americans; we’re one of only a small handful of countries that allows abortion on demand, at any point during pregnancy. Abortion laws around the world are much, much stricter than laws in the United States. Americans, including women, support 20 week abortion bans, parental notification laws, waiting periods, and numerous other restrictions. But of course, why would Ratcliffe point any of that out? It doesn’t fit in with her agenda.
Ratcliffe continues on, lamenting that increased restrictions makes it harder for poor women to obtain abortions, because clinics often close, rather than comply with increased restrictions. Yet it somehow doesn’t occur to her to place the blame where it belongs: on abortionists operating in shoddy clinics. No, instead she wants women to go to these unsanitary, unsafe clinics, because evidently abortion is just that sacred to her. Why not demand an explanation from the abortionists themselves as to why they would rather close their clinics than pony up the money to make the clinics safer?
Ratcliffe also fails to point the finger at one of the biggest culprits responsible for abortion clinics closing: none other than Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood comes to town, opens their new mega-clinics, smaller clinics can’t compete, and they end up shutting their doors. Why not demand that Planned Parenthood stop making it impossible for smaller abortion clinics to practice? Again, it simply doesn’t fit in with her agenda.
But the most disturbing part is when Ratcliffe uses her faith as a Catholic to push for abortion:
As a Catholic, I have been taught that social justice and caring for the poor are central to my faith. It’s appalling that so many women face obstacles to an essential and legal health-care procedure, especially when I consider the role that a minority faction of my church has played in passing laws to make it difficult or impossible to access abortion and contraception.
I am far from the only one. Only 10% of U.S. Catholics agree with the Vatican’s position that abortion should be illegal in every case, and Catholic women have abortions at the same rate as other women: according to a 2010 Guttmacher survey, 28% of women who had an abortion self-identified as Catholic, compared to the 27% of all women of reproductive age who have had an abortion. Catholic bishops who collude with anti-abortion groups to promote these restrictive laws are betraying their own flock and leaving poor women—Catholic and non-Catholic alike—floundering in a stormy and inhospitable sea.
It’s not the first time Catholics for Choice has put their pro-abortion agenda before their Catholic faith; it likely won’t be the last. But it doesn’t make it any less shameful.
The simple fact of the matter is that Texas’ abortion restrictions were sorely needed. Abortionist Douglas Karpen has been called “the Texas Gosnell” because of the claims of infanticide leveled against him. Scores of abortion facilities in Texas were found to be in filthy condition, including the eponymous Whole Woman’s Health, where staffers were found using expired medications and rusty equipment. These increased restrictions were needed because abortionists cannot be trusted to keep their clinics in safe, sanitary condition. Widened hallways are useless, people like Ratcliffe claim — except when an emergency occurs, and paramedics need to be able to fit a gurney through the hallways in order to get the patient out as quickly and safely as possible. Hospital admitting privileges? Interestingly enough, even the National Abortion Federation used to support that, once upon a time. They said women needed to find providers who could transfer patients to a hospital no more than 20 minutes away in case of an emergency. But now, that’s evidently no longer needed, because it is politically inconvenient. Let’s be real: it’s not women these people are concerned with.
But here’s the problem with her argument: truth isn’t subjective. It doesn’t take a majority vote. Many Catholics may disagree with the Church on abortion; a small number of them may even have them. That doesn’t make it right. Once upon a time, the majority of people thought that slavery was acceptable. A majority of people allowed the Holocaust to take place. There are people who think that it’s just fine to rape, murder, and steal. Does that make any of those things right? No, it doesn’t — because it doesn’t matter how many or how few people find abortion to be acceptable. The truth is what it is.
And you cannot be Catholic, and be pro-abortion. It would be really nice if these people would stop using the Catholic Church as a tool to push their pro-abortion agenda.