Pro-choice is Not the Equivalent of Pro-Abortion

For the good of the Democratic Party it is important to state that being “Pro-Choice” is not the equivalent of being “Pro-Abortion.”  I do not speak for -- but I am one of -- the tens of millions of Democrats who believe elective abortion is the unnecessary taking of human life and is a sin.  Our numbers include elected officials like Congressional Representative Matt Cartwright.   We support the Democratic Party, therefore, not because it is Pro-Abortion, but because it is Pro-Choice.  Our presence in the party of the “big tent” can make the difference between winning elections and losing them.  In fact, Catholics form 61.9% of the faith-confessed voters of Monroe County and our voices need to be heard.

Because “Pro-Choice” does not mean our party opposes parenthood, we ask our fellow Democrats to avoid statements that could be interpreted so as to deny that motherhood is one of the most sacred of blessings in the human experience.  Motherhood is included in -- not rejected by -- the definition of “Pro-Choice.”  We do not deserve bias or condescension as if we were second-class Democrats.  We are modern and tolerant people who know the difference between abortion as a necessary medical procedure that saves lives and elective abortion for less weighty reasons.  We recognize that Roe v. Wade prohibits abortion on demand and that the Hyde Amendment reconciles issues of public payment and individual private choices.

Please do not dismiss our concerns with open-ended slogans like “A woman should control her own body.”  The issue of abortion is not about the woman’s womb alone but about the new life within her.  Some people believe the unborn child is part of a mother’s body, and we do not attack anyone’s right to substitute private faith for scientific facts.  However, we substantiate our protection of life in the womb as a basis for law on the certainty that the genetic makeup of a fetus is different from that of the mother.  This fact of modern science is why we view abortion as a moral decision and not a whimsical one.

As Democrats in favor of choices for life, we rejoice that since President Obama took office in 2008, abortions in the United States have dropped by 11 percent.  We rejoice that the Affordable Care Act includes insurance for pregnant women who are too poor to purchase this coverage on their own.  This provision will allow more poor and women of color to choose motherhood.  In sum, we are the Democrats who oppose abortion, but also oppose big government deciding which women must have children or which may not.  Pro-Choice is the only viable civic stance within the American democratic system.

Abortion is different from birth control.  We are Democrats who favor responsible parenthood.  Birth control is not only a right, but a moral obligation if families are to exercise responsible parenthood.  Many religions, such as Catholics, (see the Catholic Catechism: #2368) Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians uphold birth control as a private decision necessary for responsible parenthood. 

Most Democrats of faith uphold present laws that allow freedom for individuals and families to choose the method of birth control that best fits their circumstances.  We oppose so-called “personhood amendments” not because we doubt the sacrality of human life, but because we are against theocracy.  Precisely because the method of birth control is a private decision, we oppose legislation like the Republican-sponsored Blunt Amendment that would have taken away freedom to access medically safe means of birth control.   While some religious persons advocate governmental intervention by the courts into this private matter, we do not.  They may be Republicans: we are true-blue Democrats.  The character of democracy upheld by our party prevents both the imposition of a particularized religious belief on all of the American people, and simultaneously allows people of faith to follow their convictions.  We praise Pope Francis I because he has reminded Catholics and other people of faith that we were instructed not to judge lest we ourselves be judged (Mt. 7:1-3). 

As Democrats who choose life, we know our party is ended the Iraq War and prohibited torture of prisoners; Democrats protect the environment as stewards of God’s creation; Democrats adopt the social justice teachings of many faiths to support for those unemployed, to extend food stamps to the needy, health care to the sick, housing assistance to those without shelter.   Christians among us are mindful that in the 25th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus told us that those who refuse to be keepers of their brothers and sisters, and who refuse to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or shelter the homeless -- can go to Hell. 

In conclusion, we are the kind of Democrats who believe that if He were here now, Jesus Christ would be a Democrat.  Join us.

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