November 13, 2008
The nation’s Catholic bishops are about to turn up the heat on Catholic politicians who defy church teaching on abortion. At a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, the bishops say in a draft statement that if the incoming Obama administration enacts its proposed abortion rights legislation and executive orders removing the few protections on unborn life, they will regard that as an attack on the Catholic Church.
Many bishops urged Catholics to make abortion a priority as they voted last week. Many did not.
About the Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has promised to sign, one bishop warned of “devastating consequences” to the Catholic health care system if the act nullifies conscience laws that allow providers and institutions to decline to perform abortion-related procedures. Thomas Paprocki of Chicago said it could force closure of all catholic hospitals.
The Catholic hierarchy appears to be losing its influence. A pew poll found almost half of U.S. Catholics think abortion should be legal in all or nearly all circumstances. Clearly that Church has a lot of work to do.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.