Are pro-lifers really pro-life?

The real complaint from abortion supporters on the left is that many people opposed to abortion also oppose a welfare state designed to ensure the well-being of every mother and child.

Demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington July 9, 2018. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

People who don’t like the pro-life movement often say it can’t really be concerned about the baby. Its concern stops at birth, they say, so it must have a hidden agenda, like oppressing women—especially poor minority women.

Taken literally, the complaint makes no sense. The pro-life movement says there is no right to destroy babies before birth, and the same applies after birth. The whole point is to have the same rule in both cases. And why would a movement supported by women more than men devote itself to oppressing women? Don’t people have other things to do? And why is opposing the abortion of poor minority babies anti-poor and anti-minority?

So the rhetoric can’t be taken at face value. The real complaint is that many people opposed to abortion also oppose a welfare state designed to ensure the well-being of every mother and child. And that, it is thought, proves they don’t really care about babies, mothers, or poor people.

For many the complaint goes farther. They say that the true pro-life cause is “woke” progressivism. After all, in a progressive utopia abortion would disappear, along with inequality, poverty, and prisons. And how pro-life can it be to force women to be pro-life? So non-progressive people obviously can’t be pro-life in any real sense.

As such, the complaint reflects beliefs common on the left.

First, it reflects the belief that forbidding abortion is extreme. Progressives don’t believe there is an essential human nature, and man is what we make of him. In its earliest stages a baby doesn’t look like a baby, and it can be troublesome to treat it as one, so they see no reason to do so. That makes it hard to decide when to start treating it as a baby, so they put it off until it’s born and they can look at it and decide what it is. To do otherwise, they believe, would be fanatical.

That’s certainly a non-Catholic view, so Catholics influenced by it need to reconsider their position. And non-Catholics should ask themselves whether they really want to make respect for human life depend so much on current appearance, abilities, and visibility. We need a solid understanding of human dignity. Can the progressive view supply one?

The complaint also reflects the belief that opposition to progressive measures must be motivated by greed, hatred, lust for power, and so on.

Among its most ferocious proponents, that belief is no doubt based on projection. Haters think everything is hate. With most people, though, it’s the result of incomprehension. Progressives find it hard to understand how their opponents see things. As a result, when they think something is good, they conclude that those who oppose it simply favor evil.

So the real issue is whether a comprehensive welfare state is obviously good. If it is, then there’s something wrong with the position of pro-lifers who don’t favor one.

For progressives the point is beyond argument. They accept the technocratic outlook now taken for granted in public life. That outlook tells them that rationality consists in the organized and technically efficient use of resources to satisfy human preferences. And that’s what the welfare state tries to do. Ideally it would create a system that takes care of every human difficulty that seems remediable.

As such, its construction is part of the modern attempt to turn the world into a sort of industrial process for maximizing satisfactions. It is also supported by the democratic (or perhaps totalitarian) tendency to identify government action with the action of all the citizens. For government to do something and for me to do it are the same thing.

For progressives any limitation on the welfare state is a rejection of the rational and effective way for each of us to help people in difficult situations. They believe it’s obvious what should be done, as obvious as turning up the thermostat when the room is too cold. And rejection of the obvious solution means indifference or malice.

For thoughtful Catholics the point hasn’t been so obvious. Servant of God Dorothy Day, for example, looked askance at “Holy Mother the State” and called “the social security legislation now hailed as a great victory for the poor and the worker … a great defeat for Christianity.” And Saint John Paul II famously condemned bureaucratization of social welfare in Centesimus Annus:

By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients.

One reason they said these things is that they rejected the technocratic view that turns social life into the workings of a machine. Many people say that instead of banning abortion we should abolish the conditions that make abortions happen. That would work if we knew how to abolish human choice.

But we don’t. People act on their own and with those around them. They respond to experience, habits, incentives, social ideals, and what they see, but mostly they do what they choose. Hence the traditional concern for subsidiarity and for personal responsibility. Circumstances can mitigate responsibility—some abortions are hard cases for the mother—but they can’t remove it without removing our humanity. “Thou shalt nots” are necessary to a life worthy of a human being.

Experience with welfare systems, social programs generally, and Roe v. Wade itself shows how difficult it is to eliminate human mishaps. Legalize abortion and contraception, and unwed motherhood increases, because the links among mother, father, sex, child, and mutual loyalty disappear. Strengthen the welfare system, so it seems to deal with everything, and other systems—family life, mutual aid, personal responsibility—deteriorate. How could they not? The net effect may or may not be an improvement.

The point applies to other progressive demands. Every system has its own logic, and in today’s world the logic of a state system won’t be Catholic or even humane. A state system of education is a system of indoctrination, and state systems of medical care are turning into branches of the biotechnology industry devoted to maintaining human resources, scrapping them when surplus, and providing consumer goods—children, abortions, sex change operations, extended lifespans—when demand, money, and political support are there.

The modern state doesn’t care about the good life, its actions are not the actions of the people, and it can’t know what is going on in individual cases. So should Catholics want people’s lives to be ever more integrated with state systems of social welfare? If we’re concerned with the well-being of mothers and children aren’t there things we should be doing instead of promoting such systems?

Many people in the pro-life movement try to respond to that need. Crisis pregnancy centers are one example, and in my area the Sisters of Life are very active in the effort. And then there is, of course, adoption. Do Catholic critics of the pro-life movement do as much?

Not everybody can do everything. Life is complicated, people are busy, and you can oppose an obvious gross evil without offering solutions to all related problems. You can oppose a military invasion without proposing solutions that will be accepted to the security and other concerns said to motivate it. Why isn’t something of the sort true of abortion?

People—especially leaders—need to think about the total picture, and we all need to do more out of love of God and neighbor. But that applies to everybody and every issue. So why so much hatred and outright slander on this one? Progressivism now tells us that the key to a better world is replacement of traditional arrangements by a flattened-out globally administered order that looks after all human concerns. That can’t possibly be right. And if you disagree, that hardly means you hate babies, women, minorities, and the poor.


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About James Kalb 128 Articles
James Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism(ISI Books, 2008) and, most recently, Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It (Angelico Press, 2013).

41 Comments

  1. The human soul is more than an appendage to an expendable cluster of cells. The “technocratic” mindset misses all this, because any particular person becomes simply a dot in time along a progressive trajectory–in the same way that any scientific discovery is forever at the mercy of later discoveries.

    The thing about the Incarnation, and our elevated human nature, is that the eternal doesn’t fit inside of time…

    Our non-technical or poetic, and then theological understanding does not devalue or even abort the eternal in time. Even the social scientist, Max Weber (who had no patience with metaphysics) still asserted that “a work of art [unlike the, yes, useful scientific method] which is genuine ‘fulfilment’ is never surpassed; it will never be antiquated;” and that “because death [has become] meaningless, civilized life as such is meaningless; by its very ‘progressiveness’ [!] it gives death the imprint of meaninglessness” (“Science as a Vocation,” 1918).

    With Doctor Seuss (whose works are forbidden! Replaced by gender theory.), “a person is a person, no matter how small.” People become Pro-Life because we also still understand at this late hour that death, too, is not meaningless.

    And, as for the “welfare state,” we actually do support a state that fosters the “welfare” of its citizens–by sustaining a political and economic environment (more broadly, the “culture of life”) wherein human persons and families and all of society’s members, in this life, can flourish together (Subsidiarity and Solidarity).

    What we reject is the meaningless Death Star which by another name is not the “welfare state,” but the terminal Provider State.

  2. For some time it has been difficult for me not to think that “pro life” equals “pro fetus.” I have read a bazillion articles on the evils of abortion, but many fewer (close to none) written by “pro life” advocates on the evils of poverty and the possibility of abuse faced by poor mothers and their infants. If “life” really is a “seamless garment” that continues from conception to death, it would seem to be long overdue for those who profess to be “pro life” to demonstrate their recognition of this proposition through publications such as this one and
    through helpful actions designed to support life after birth.

    • Just like those who profess to be against slavery aren’t really against slavery unless they take in enslaved families? Similarly, would you agree that you cannot be against rape unless you do X, Y, and Z for rape victim? As I pointed out recently, “an objectively true and morally upright stance is not invalidated or swept away because Pro-Lifer Smith doesn’t do X, does Y, or fails to pay lip service to Z.” But, on this issue, apparently you have to be Mother Theresa, walk on water, and spend 25 hours a day doing things that few if any liberals/progressives do, even while they demand it of pro-lifers.

      Not only are there numerous pregnancy crisis centers run by various Christians groups, there are countless individuals who help young mothers in all sorts of ways. You rarely hear about this sort of work, I’m certain, because not only is it “boring”, it doesn’t fit the dominant narrative of pro-lifers as being only “pro-fetus”. But that narrative is not only cliche, it’s also convenient, as it is employed to undermine or even malign good people doing good things in a culture too often fixated on sensationalism and political targeting.

    • Mr. Williamsen, what you’re saying makes perfect sense.

      But you’re not including the fact that many pro-lifers fail to floss their teeth, insist upon tipping their waiters less than fifteen percent, and allow their children to go outside to play before making their beds.

      So — quite obviously — you should be allowed to kill as many babies as you like, whenever and however you like.

      It’s only logical.

    • The real “seamless garment” runs from abortion, to Pelosi’s infanticide, to half-way house civil unions and then gay “marriage,” then to “gender theory” imposed in primary schools, and then transgenderism; and of course, then the German “synodal way” using their sexual abuse crisis as a fig leaf to promote their entire agenda overturning the Church (and inborn natural law) teaching on sexual morality between human beings. Next on the agenda–the “rite” to rape as unilateral outreach, and to absolutely (!) non-discriminatory bestiality?

    • What kind of discussion do you want?

      There’s no disagreement on the evils of abuse and involuntary poverty, so there’s not much discussion on that point.

      There’s a great deal of disagreement on how they come about and what to do about them.

      Progressives tend to want programs of social reconstruction that would sweep them away. That’s one of the points of my piece. If that’s your view it’s easy to write articles for opinion and general-interest publications describing what the right program would be. So it’s not surprising progressive publications publish a lot of articles doing just that.

      Others think how people deal with each other and how they end up in life are complicated and impossible to control in any detail. People, after all, have agency. They note, for example, that crime and family disruption shot up, and long-term progress reducing poverty stopped came to an end, in the wake of the progressive reforms of the 1960s.

      That was another point of my piece.

      So non-progressive publications are much less interested in grand schemes to deal with such problems. They’re more likely to worry about improving education, family stability, and the general level of opportunity – hence the interest in cultural issues and in economic freedom – and sometimes in particular personal and local projects like crisis centers and adoption.

    • Regarding your last sentence, Mr. Williamsen, very many of us actually DO support mothers, children, and families after birth. But when the “welfare state”, as it exists today, seeks to eliminate fathers for the single mothers to get even more welfare, it is clear that the “welfare state” certainly doesn’t care for families, but only exists to marginalize families – the building block of society itself, which begins with – you guessed it – children.

    • Preening you are, Sir. And to no good purpose. Drawing several respectful responses here is more respect than you deserve. Your post does, however, clearly illustrate the point of Mr. Kalb’s.

    • So you’re planning to say to God at your final accounting, I found a way to laugh off and do nothing to stop the greatest holocaust in human history, 6against the little infants You created, and insult and indulge feelings of superiority towards those who try, because we never got around to engineering the utopia on earth that even You couldn’t create without violating Your Covenant of free will? Do you seriously believe that’s going to fly with your Creator?

  3. Does James Kalb’s defense of pro-life Catholics really need to paint Catholics into a corner where we must reject the ethical basis of Social Security? Please, let us not go there! Or to pass laws based on what some of society, even perhaps a majority, believe to be absolute moral principles that cannot be justly enforced in a democracy but only by dictators or monarchies? Or can only be enforced by a Stalin-style turn in your neighbor who is not a true Communist?

    • Your point is a good one, that morality cannot be absolutely legislated…

      On the other hand, abortion need not be dolled up as a Constitutional right, by executive and judicial fatwa, and then subsidized with tax money extracted from a captive and divided citizenry. Pharaoh (a kind of “dictator and monarchy”) was wrong to execute the male Hebrew children, although today the acceptable sex-selection seems to favor male babies over females, and one color over another. The Dobbs case will simply restore your debating points to the legislative arena, at the state level from when it was usurped in 1973.

      As for the real and accurate nature of the abortion controversy, get a life.

    • Saying a Catholic (like Dorothy Day) can legitimately dispute the ethical premise of social security is not saying we all must oppose it. And total eradication of murder would require a regime of total control. You can want to forbid murder without wanting that kind of regime. Similarly for abortion.

      One point I make in the article is that politics always involves uncertainty and compromise. It’s not direct pursuit of the absolute.

      • Dear mr. Kalb I see your point and I agree with you, but as a father of a disabled son I have been a witness of the benefits of a welfare state. What is your opinion about this matter?

        • It’s good to get pointed questions!

          The comprehensive welfare state means you can say in advance what the solution will be to all problems – you go to the appropriate government office and they’ll handle it. Sometimes that does works, and it sounds like it does for your son.

          If you don’t have that kind of system it’s harder to say in advance what the arrangements are going to be. You can imagine lots of possibilities. There can be government involvement, Church involvement, family involvement, informal community involvement, involvement by organized charity, involvement by professionals who sometimes feel called upon to provide service gratis or at reduced rates, whatever. But there’s no advance blueprint for who will be doing what.

          Either approach can fall down. What the article says is that rejecting the first doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s legitimate to think the latter will work better on the whole, in part because it draws more people into the action in different ways.

    • Would your thoughts on Social Security (I am going to assume are positive) change if this article on the matter has an accurate analysis of Soc. Sec’s harms?
      .
      https://mises.org/library/making-kids-worthless-social-securitys-contribution-fertility-crisis
      .
      (I believe public educatio–or as I call it “other education–is partly responsible for this mess.)
      .
      Our social systems have slowly but inexorably ripped our families apart. I know a lot of “younger” folks (late 20’s, 30’s) who have no intention to have children and see no need to do so. They just cannot fathom that police and firefighters and grocery workers and tech support and doctors won’t be there in the future.
      .
      I would not say these folks are pro-abortion, but they do seem very short-sighted.

  4. The real complaint is that many people opposed to abortion also oppose a welfare state designed to ensure the well-being of every mother and child (Kalb). This anomaly reveals the kinds of utopia perceived by Progressives and that of prolifers. An error of many prolifers is embedded in political conservatism that cast anathema on social programs FDR’s social security LBJ’s medicare and medicaid as radical socialism.
    We are our brother’s keeper. John Paul II repeated the moral principle of this moral principle more often than any other: We are our brother’s keeper; our brother’s burdens are our own; and all men are our brothers. While the utopia of prolifers is heavenly there’s moral responsibility to come down to earth. Progressives have it right insofar as their complaint against prolifers. A true respect of life for both requires an in depth coherent articulation of our humanness, that achieved more in the revelation of the Son of Man than natural law.

    • All this health care wouldn’t be so bad except there is so much waste, and fragmentation.

      It’s already being rationed, and not just with youth

    • I oppose abortion and the welfare state. “Welfare” is the proper duty of the Church (or Temple or Mosque, etc).
      .
      The social programs you mention are extremely inefficient, corrupt, and allow for gov’t control over people’s doings (or non-doings). The gov’t has no reason to protest people’s glutony, sexual excesses, and family fragmentation. Indeed, it is strengthen by those things. And gov’t can raise taxes and print money out of thin air to pay for the programs. The majority of us are all being impoverished because of it, while those in power continue to thrive.
      .
      No parish, which relies on voluntary donations, can long support parishonners who take up with whomever (or several whomevers) and have many children that they themselves cannot, or will not, clothe, feed and educate. Or who decides again and again to hit the bottle, crash the car, run up ER bills due to intoxicated excesses.
      .
      Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t over-eat, no sex out of wedlock, don’t abort, don’t divorce: that isn’t just “moral advice,” it is extremely sound financial advice. It protects people as individuals, families, and the community at large.
      .

    • The problem is that the government welfare system has gone far beyond social security, medicare, and medicaid. The problem began with LBJ’s “war on poverty” that made it profitable for the father to leave the family. Today in the black communities, over 70% of children are born into fatherless families. Fatherhood has been replaced by gangs. The ghettos have become the ‘new plantation.’

      Taxpayers have no control over how their money is used. Thus, we have funding of Planned Parenthood. and other organizations that are in conflict with fundamental Catholic moral teaching. For example, Catholic adoption agencies have been denied government funding tfor refusing to place children with same-sex couples.

      There are problems with medicare. To begin with the system is bankrupt with money being replaced by government IOU’s. That money is being paid back with taxpayer funds. Too many funds were used for purposes other than those originally stated when medicare was put into effect. Many people are reluctant to give to charities because they pay taxes and they believe government is a taking care of charity issues..

      Yes, we are our brother keeper, which means we have a responsibility to use our “time, treasure, and talent to support those in need, not pass it on to the government.

      I am not completely dismissing government involvement, but it should be limited and follow Catholic social teaching that requires the problem to be addressed at the lowest level of competence, which is very often local and state governments. The federal government is too often the highest level of incompetence with its heavy bureaucracy and endless rules.

    • With what data do you find fault with pro-lifers rendering personal material aid to unwed mothers not having an efficacy more conducive to a repaired life than social welfare? All our clothing and furniture and baby formula and financial support has helped a lot of women, but it is true that we could provide a good deal more. Hoping for aid from local parishes achieves a not so infrequent response from pastors complaining that we have “no compassion” for not having allowed women to achieve “their right” to get rid of “their burden” in the first place. They often refuse us the opportunity to speak after Masses as well. But they’ll never refuse the local LGBTQWHATEVER group. It doesn’t require any vision of “utopia” to expect Catholic Christians to be pro-life themselves and be Catholic Christians and honor their doctrine of subsidiarity.

  5. The argument that Pro Life must mean pro Welfare State is a red herring. The progressives or more accurately Marxist throw whatever mud against the wall to see what sticks. There are various aspects to the welfare state. One can argue that Social Security and Medicare are pre paid insurance programs. The Democrats instituted help for unwed mothers through various programs, resulting in a disaster – destroying family structures and creating a culture of dependency. Marxist programs just don’t work. Suggest reading Hayek’s the Road to Serfdom for a complete explanation why mandated welfare programs can lead to disaster. The anoited bureacrats can never factor in the untended consequences of their feel good programs. Another person worth reading on the subject is economist Thomas Sowell. All his books are interesting and touch in one way or another on Hayek’s theme. Books by Sowell pertenent to this article are Blacks, Rednecks and White Liberals, Vision of the Anoited, Basic Economics: A Common Sense to The Economy. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One and many more.

    • Social Security is bankrupt with its funds being replaced by IOU’s, which are being paid off with tax payer money. Social Security funds were used for some purposes other than those set-up in original legislation.

  6. The well-being of mothers and children comes from the employed husband with a sufficient wage. To be opposed to the latter is to endanger the former.

    It is likely that those who are pro-life would have issues with being “pro-employment.” Republicans – who are almost always pro-life – typically appear to embrace a “dog-eat-dog world” understanding of employment. On the other hand, Democrats would be more open to state-supported daycare. That is what they mean by “supporting the mother and the child.”

    Catholics know that subsidiarity is the relevant principle here. Rather than “the dole,” the state must guarantee good enough employment. Rather than daycare, the state must ensure that wives take care of their own children – while being supported by their husbands. Neither of these are impossible. It is merely the corrupt, ignorant, and/or otherwise evil politicians who are the problem.

    The Church has known at least since Rerum Novarum that a breadwinner has a natural right “to win his bread.” But the efforts of business have proven – so far – insurmountable. The love of money is the root of all evil.

    In fact, it even appears (AFAIK) that the judiciary is corrupt. One would think that as a last resort a person could turn to the courts. But this appears – to me – to be in doubt. For those who haven’t managed to find justice in the courts it is recommended by some that they turn to “the fourth box” (i.e. the ammunition box).

  7. It is increasingly obvious that no matter what the right to life side does, it will never be enough. Just like Saint Mother Teresa was attacked for not being able to end all poverty. Evil is always using deceptions. It did so in the Garden of Eden, and it attacked Christ, even accusing him of allowing a woman to “waste” expensive oil to anoint Him, when it could have been sold to give to the poor. These tactics of Evil are always using deceptions. The pro-abortion side could give a wit about funding poor women. It’s all fake concern for the poor. Just look at the pro abort’s personal donations. They give very little to the poor. Every pro-lifer could give all their money away, and still you would be attacked for not doing enough. It’s all a fake argument. They don’t mind spending other people’s money by way of taxation. But they never give their own money away. The real issue at hand is a complete attack against God. Many pro-aborts are upset that women have to bear the burden of pregnancy. They think that it is not fair and that men got off easy. They are angry that men don’t have to carry babies and give birth. God has not treated them as being equal in their eyes. The only way to fix this injustice and to remove the burdens of childbearing is the right to abortion. Period. No matter what the pro-life side does, or says, it will never be enough. It’s not really about hard cases. It’s not really about poverty. It’s about creation. At its core it’s a rebellion against God’s created order. Their real anger is at God. And it is pure Evil at its root. Debating those promoters of abortion will get you nowhere and is a waste of time. As Christ said, some Evil is only driven out by prayer AND FASTING. Yes, we must make sure women and children who face poverty are taken care of. But not out of any appeasement of the pro-aborts, but out of our obligation as Catholics, to feed the poor, and take care of the widow and orphan.

  8. As one who has worked daily with the poor and disabled for 35 years, I have always found Pro-Lifers to be more compassionate toward the marginalized than the social workers and “professionals” paid to help them. And, by the way, Pro-Lifers, not the media or Church, get to designate who is Pro-Life. They have earned that abandoned authority.

  9. The “New Pro-Life Movement” is neither new nor pro-life. It is a bunch of old-fashioned cultural and material Marxists who oppose all restrictions on abortion. We have had many dealings with these people and their hostility to Franciscan University. They are frauds, and quite unsophisticated about it.

  10. Before you can redistribute wealth via a welfare state you first have to create it. Completely statist economies like the USSR could not match the capitalist economies, thus its collapse. Even the CCP of China has adopted parts of marketplace capitalism under state control. The problem is always concentrations of unaccountable power. How accountable is the welfare state? How do you rid the system of incompetent, and/or corrupt bureaucrats? Under Biden America’s store shelves look like those of Venezuela. How pro-life is the baby formula shortage? I’ve never seen such blatant economic illiteracy. The CCP appears to be the ruling class establishment elite’s aspirational role model.

  11. The piece says none of the things Joe K. says it does. Ideologues believe everyone is an ideologue. I touched on that problem with standard-issue progressivism toward the beginning of the piece.

    What it does say is that a bureaucratic welfare system that takes over responsibility for the comprehensive well-being of every individual is going to cause serious problems. The JP II quote, in itself, in its immediate context, and in the context of Catholic social teaching, supports that. Dorothy Day, a sort of anarchist, would have gone much farther.

    Which leads to the real point of the piece, that failure to prescribe how a world should be brought about that would work better for mothers, fathers, children, and families does not demonstrate pro-life hypocrisy.

    That’s an extraordinarily difficult question in a world as radically adverse to such things as our own, and good-faith answers will differ wildly. That’s why a movement that dedicates itself to a single obvious point – stop the killing – makes sense.

    • Surely if the Speaker of the House really cared about Matthew 25 she would find it imperative to propel wider and easier availability and accessibility, to and by the American public, of the array of general and advanced medical options and services available in the USA, with broader methods and subsidizing techniques in paying for them.

      Also, I see a sinister aspect involved with those who pitch complex issues along the lines of a binary choice. Particularly when it hobbles the messaging in the media forum while the its proponent is channeling its own conclusions in the log rolling forum.

      Where the conclusions being crafted are well less than desirable; and hardly anything like optimum.

      I don’t mean to diminish abortion. Abortion has to be established as intrinsically evil regardless of whatever anyone tries to scale it against; and it could be that the pro-life side in the log rolling forum has been regularly naive or inconsistent or too easily coyed or it is just too softy-softy.

      You must not trade on abortion. Never. What you have to do is jawbone things on their own terms.

      Welfare state is an archaism. The left might be able to achieve some good things in the welfare rolls but this area is getting more challenging and it can’t be addressed with generalizations. In the public forum the generalizations should get called out more and more by specifics within the subject matter.

      For example, I see nothing in principle standing against people having more than one medical insurance plan with mixtures in self-pay, group plan, tax credits and partial subsidy direct/indirect, etc.; where multiple separate and different medical resource groups are open to them.

      At which point the problem with the killing of children in utero would still be the problem of evil!

  12. If “pro lifers” were really pro life, would they be content with singing hymns on the sidewalk outside buildings where infants were being dismembered alive?

    • Are you familiar with the concept of peaceful, non-violent protest, like that practiced by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Any trespass onto private property would be spun negatively by the media. The 2020 “Summer of Love” rioters had the media on their side to cover for them. This negative media could used to greatly curtail pro-life demonstration rights on public right of way in front of the abortion clinics. Just look at how differently the Jan. 6 people are being treated when compared to the 2020 SOL rioters, that had greater loss of life and much more massive private property damage than took place on Jan. 6. It’s been a case of it being more blessed to give than to receive.

    • And on what basis do you presume the power of God to judge what “contentment” occurs in the hearts, minds, and souls, of people you do not even know, especially those who routinely suffer the slings and arrows of the presumptuously arrogant who do nothing at all to aid their unrewarded efforts?

    • I’m not sure what you have in mind. Adoption, crisis pregnancy centers, Sisters of Life etc. are certainly additions to singing hymns.

      But your language suggests using force. Here it seems we ought to be able to satisfy something like the requirements for a just war, including serious prospect of success and the likelihood of a better overall outcome. I doubt those conditions are satisfied.

      Also, it seems the decision ought to be made by an authority charged with defense of the common good rather than each of us individually. But that’s not there either.

  13. “The real complaint is that many people opposed to abortion also oppose a welfare state designed to ensure the well-being of every mother and child. And that, it is thought, proves they don’t really care about babies, mothers, or poor people.”

    The welfare state is a system that enslaves people to a socialist/communist form of government, as the system makes participants dependent on government handouts. This is a system devised to buy votes with taxpayers money, The ghettos have become the new plantations. Taxpayers have no control over money confiscated through the tax system. Government money goes to organizations that are in violation of Catholic moral teaching, such as Planned Parenthood. In addition, government funds can be used in attempts to force Catholic organizations to violate their moral principles in order to receive funds. A prime example is attempts to force Catholic adoption agenciesoro0r to place children with same-sex couples or be denied government funds.

    People who don’t like the pro-life movement often say it can’t really be concerned about the baby.”

    This is unrealistic. We have two very strong organizations locally that council women who are considering abortion, accompany them throughout their pregnancy, as well as after the child is born depending on the circumstances. There are such organizations nationwide.

  14. Since most (not all!) so-called “Pro-Lifers” are in fact only “Pro-Birth” or for “Anti-Abortion” only, they should not be called as such. This confusion of terms needs to be corrected with the the term, “Pro-Whole Life,” which is what the Bible and the Church teaches especially in the Social Teachings of the Church. It is embracing and encompassing all life issues and fighting against all death-dealing forces that inflict pre-mature death to all life from womb to tomb. Most of the so-called “Pro-Lifers” focus only on the womb.

    • Catholic Social Teaching advocates appear to have a love affair with governmental solutions. Pretty much an idolatrous fixation with the use of compulsory governmental power to achieve their objectives. Concentrations of unaccountable power so great that it ends up corrupting those who wield this power. A government that becomes the people’s totalitarian master. The U. S. Constitution is structured to decentralize power and create the separation of powers to safeguard the people from such governmental usurpations and abuses of power.

    • Human life typically begins in the womb and ends in a tomb.

      Aborted human fetal tissue, on the other hand, may end in a lab where, preserved in extremis, it may undergo (sans ‘choice’) scientific testing and observation, including but not limited to interspecies genetic manipulation. It may also end in the medical waste incinerator.

      Aborted human fetal tissue has no tomb or funeral where Catholics could honor its life and untimely death so as to perform a work of mercy. Mercy.

      Catholics are blamed for wanting a child to be born alive. Then Catholics are accused, preemptively and hypothetically, of not rendering due charity to the lives of other fellow human beings. Lord, have mercy.

  15. “The social programs you mention are extremely inefficient, corrupt, and allow for gov’t control over people’s doings (or non-doings). The gov’t has no reason to protest people’s glutony, sexual excesses, and family fragmentation.” Kathryn,
    I agree.

    The early Christians reputedly shared much in common with ONE ANOTHER. It is highly doubtful that they shared with Herod or Caesar and Herod and Caesar likely didn’t share with them (as they would rather have them dead). Jesus himself distinguished between giving to Cesar and giving to God (Who Is Charity). Peter says to have charity “among yourselves” (1Peter4:8).

    Government-sponsored social ‘welfare’ programs create more ill than they claim to solve.

    Has anyone ever heard more than a rare note of ‘thanks’ from government beneficiaries? We do often hear: “We need more.”

    Does anyone have anything left to give? What’s the current level of US debt? How much does each citizen now owe? How much does each tax-paying citizen owe? How long will it take to pay that off? Meanwhile, who holds the debt? China claims about 10%. That’s a lot of imported stuff which the US can no longer produce…what if they chose to cut off our supply of antibiotics or face masks in the wake of a global pandemic?? Meanwhile, US farms can only grow such many soybeans in exchange.

    Recessions fuel levels of debt….and the US is said to be on the brink of one.

    SJWs: Awake to what you wish for.

  16. Surely if the Speaker of the House really cared about Matthew 25 she would find it imperative to propel wider and easier availability and accessibility, to and by the American public, of the array of general and advanced medical options and services available in the USA, with broader methods and subsidizing techniques in paying for them.

    Also, I see a sinister aspect involved with those who pitch complex issues along the lines of a binary choice. Particularly when it hobbles the messaging in the media forum while the its proponent is channeling its own conclusions in the log rolling forum.

    Where the conclusions being crafted are well less than desirable; and hardly anything like optimum.

    I don’t mean to diminish abortion. Abortion has to be established as intrinsically evil regardless of whatever anyone tries to scale it against; and it could be that the pro-life side in the log rolling forum has been regularly naive or inconsistent or too easily coyed or it is just too softy-softy.

    You must not trade on abortion. Never. What you have to do is jawbone things on their own terms.

    Welfare state is an archaism. The left might be able to achieve some good things in the welfare rolls but this area is getting more challenging and it can’t be addressed with generalizations. In the public forum the generalizations should get called out more and more by specifics within the subject matter.

    For example, I see nothing in principle standing against people having more than one medical insurance plan with mixtures in self-pay, group plan, tax credits and partial subsidy direct/indirect, etc.; where multiple separate and different medical resource groups are open to them.

    At which point the problem with the killing of children in the womb would still be the problem of evil!

  17. In what follows I assume Catholic Social Teaching is the best possible guide and I also assume that all Catholics have an obligation to receive its continued developments with the submission of mind and will of which the Catechism speaks about the ordinary magisterium:

    (1) In each of the two major U.S. parties there is a union between elements of Catholic Social Teaching and that which opposes it.

    (2) Catholic Social Teaching opposes legal abortion, supports legal protection of innocent human life, supports school choice, opposes same sex marriage and gender ideology. This is clearly a problem for many Catholic Democrats.

    (3) Catholic Social Teaching does not oppose things like social welfare systems, worker unions, welcoming of immigrants, progressive tax rates, climate change concerns but requires a judicious and prudent implementation and support which involves the complementary principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. This is clearly a problem for many Catholic Republicans.

    (4) The willingness of individual Catholics to prefer their political allegiance above their Catholic seems to me a pervasive moral and spiritual evil.

    Thank you for your consideration.

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