Drenched in Blood

John Allen interviews Cardinal George:

Speaking of new wrinkles, some Catholics argue that being pro-life is not the same thing as seeking the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Is that going to be part of your discussion?

I suppose it is, inasmuch as there are many ways of being pro-life, but none of them has the same priority as the question of abortion or euthanasia.

I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear. What I meant is that some Catholics believe it is possible to be anti-abortion without seeking the overturn of Roe v. Wade. People such as Doug Kmiec argue that seeking to address the root causes of abortion – poverty, inadequate health care, a lack of support for women and children – might be more effective than criminalizing abortion. Will that be part of your discussion?

It could very well be. That would make sense, but I’m not sure that it will be.

I’ve asked other bishops this question, and my sense of what most of you seem to feel is this: While the doctrine of the church doesn’t speak to specific pieces of legislation or court decisions, nevertheless the moral gravity of abortion is so enormous that the church has to work toward making Roe v. Wade no longer the law of the land. In other words, it may not be an article of the faith, but you see it as a clear extension of the faith. Am I reading you right?

Of course.

Therefore, in your eyes it’s not purely a matter of prudential judgment whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned?

It can’t be. If you’ve got an immoral law, you’ve got to work to change that. You’ve got children being killed every day. It goes on forever. That’s the great scandal, and that’s why there’s such a sense of urgency now. There’s no recognition of the fact that children continue to be killed, and we live, therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can’t be something that you start playing off pragmatically against other issues.

Therefore, while you would presumably support better health care and anti-poverty measures, in your mind that’s not an alternative to efforts to outlaw abortion?

Absolutely right.

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