Convincing Catholics That Abortion Is a Sacred Act 

Pro-abortion forces in Ohio have enlisted Catholics and their most sacred images in an effort to pretend that the Church has suddenly become an ally in the war against the unborn.

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As the battle over passing an amendment enshrining abortion rights into the Ohio Constitution escalates, the pro-abortion side has enlisted Catholics and their most sacred images in an effort to pretend that the Church has suddenly become an ally in the war against the unborn.

The latest video advertisement from the pro-choice side tries to reassure those seeking abortion that when making “personal medical decisions…we can rely on our faith to help us make that decision.” And to show us how supportive our Church is, the video features footage of a man kneeling in prayer in a church in front of an oversized image of the Divine Mercy.

The video is intended to convince us that the prayerful supplicant is drawing from his faith to make a decision to abort a child. Although viewers of the video ad can draw their own conclusions about the pro-abortion message, the message is that God understands decisions like this. And the sacred image of the Divine Mercy—with its message of forgiveness and understanding—is intended to reassure us all that God blesses our choice.   

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For faithful Catholics, the portrayal of Divine Mercy has great symbolic meaning. The portrait of the Divine Mercy is one of charity, forgiveness, and the love of God. In the image, Jesus is portrayed as the “Fountain of Mercy,” and we have long been told that Divine Mercy is “when God’s love meets us and helps us in the midst of our suffering and sin.” Containing the message “Jesus, I trust in you,” the rays that stream out from the arms of Jesus in the portrait symbolize the blood of Jesus, who died for our sins, and the water which justifies and forgives all souls.   

It is difficult not to conclude that the intended message of the pro-abortion ad was to reassure a faithful Catholic that as she is deciding to terminate the life of her unborn child, she can be reassured that we are all sinners and that God loves us no matter what we do; so, even if we choose to abort our unborn child, God will continue to forgive us.    The intended message of the pro-abortion ad was to reassure a faithful Catholic that as she is deciding to terminate the life of her unborn child, she can be reassured that we are all sinners and that God loves us no matter what we do.Tweet This

Ignoring the fact that since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights (OURR)—a well-funded pro-abortion advocacy group with endorsements from anti-Catholic groups like the notorious Catholics for Choice—has developed a deceptive yet seductive marketing tool directed to Catholics who may not understand the Church’s teachings on abortion and forgiveness.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is “gravely contrary” to the moral law and that those who cooperate with providing abortion or procuring an abortion are committing a grave evil. Yet there are those who claim to be Catholic who have been cooperating with this evil for decades. The video ad is just the latest example of the ways in which Catholic teachings are distorted to support contested issues like abortion.  

Much of this pro-abortion piety is enabled by political advocacy groups like Catholics for Choice. It is likely that Jamie L. Manson, M. Div, President of Catholics for Choice, may have had a hand in the creation of that ad. Manson has devoted her life to changing Church teachings on life and family issues from the inside. Described as a “devoted Catholic” in a headline at LGBTQ Nation, Manson said that she believed from the time she was 14 years old that she had a calling to become a Catholic priest. 

As a queer woman in Catholic spaces, I had very few chances for leadership. I had all the abilities. I had the skills, but they were just incredibly underutilized. This was the first time I had the chance to be in a Catholic space and be a leader.  

But Catholics for Choice is not a “Catholic space.” This organization has been advised by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that it “clearly does not speak for the faithful…it rejects and distorts Catholic teachings and actually attacks its foundation.” Catholics for Choice is an anti-Catholic organization. It has no membership and is essentially a letterhead funded by powerful private foundations like Ford and Rockefeller to promote abortion as a method of population control. 

Catholics for Choice has proclaimed that “the Buckeye State is a natural location for Catholics for Choice to offer resources to assist with changing hearts and minds around abortion and amplifying the voices of this country’s pro-choice Catholic majority.”

The campaign continues as the pro-abortion side has engaged in a year-long campaign that dishonestly draws on Scripture and sacred images like the Divine Mercy to encourage Ohio’s Catholics to vote in favor of the pro-abortion amendment. They will be difficult to defeat; but if enough faithful Catholics mobilize and respond with the truth, they can be defeated. 

[Image Credit: Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights advertisement]

Author

  • Anne Hendershott

    Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. She is the author of The Politics of Envy (Crisis Publications, 2020).

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