The Catholic Church Has No Moral Argument on Abortions.

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The Catholic Church Has No Moral Argument on Abortions.

If you are going to get your information regarding abortion from anyone, perhaps it is best not to get it from an institution that has no women in its higher orders, and is keeping women as sex slaves.

Like, for instance, the Catholic Church. This week Pope Francis admitted there has been clerical abuse of nuns, including sexual slavery. The BBC reports, “He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was ‘still going on.'”

Holy shit.

For anyone who says, “What does that have to do with abortion?” Well, abortion is an issue that concerns women’s right to self-determination, a key issue in human rights that women make choices regarding their own bodies. The Catholic Church, given it now admits to forcing some nuns to be sex slaves, doesn’t seem well positioned to lecture on what women should or should not do with their bodies. Honestly, the Church seems to have a terrible track record in that regard, whether we’re looking at this week’s scandal or the relatively recent horror of Magdalene laundries.

But this will not stop some Catholic higher-ups, like Cardinal Dolan, from remarking that New York has made abortion “dangerous, imposed and frequent” in reference to the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, which allows for abortion after 24 weeks if the fetus is not viable or the health and life of the mother is at risk. It also allows qualified individuals such as nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and licensed midwives to provide care to those in need of abortion.

But then Cardinal Dolan might be too busy to know that, as he’s recently been trying to block a key provision of the Child Victim’s Act which extended the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse and allowed them a look-back period—which Dolan said would be “devastating to the Catholic church.” I suppose he’d know.

In 2013 The New York Times reported that “Cardinal Timothy Dolan, while archbishop of Milwaukee, moved $57 million off the archdiocesan books into a cemetery trust fund six years ago in order to protect the money from damage suits by victims of abuse by priests.”

Given that these deeply horrific scandals keep piling up, you’d think the Church might want to devote some time to cleaning house, and creating an institution people would feel comfortable bringing their children to, rather than demanding that women have children against their will.

At the very least, they might consider talking about lessons regarding abortion we might learn from the Bible itself.

Because if you think there’s anything in that text explicitly forbidding abortion, well, that’s incorrect. That’s neither because abortion was uncommon at the time (it wasn’t, it’s been around since Ancient Egypt) nor because the Bible is hesitant when it comes to laying out laws for ways people were to conduct themselves (for instance, adulterers, like Trump, are to be put to death.)

Anti-abortionists often cite Jeremiah 1:5, which states “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” They don’t always include the final part of that statement which states “I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” That seems to imply that this is more of a prophecy specific to Jeremiah than it is something that generally applies to everyone.

What seems to apply to a great deal more people is the prescriptive in Numbers 5:11-31 in which Priests are supposed to test whether or not a pregnant wife is unfaithful by giving her a brew which will cause an abortion if she’d been adulterous. Specifically, “When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.”

But then, early Catholics didn’t consider a fetus to be ensouled until it had begun to quicken—or move about in the woman. There was a brief prohibition against all means of contraception in 1588 under Pope Sixtus V, however, it was ignored by both the clergy and the commoners, and repealed immediately following Pope Sixtus V’s death. Pope Gregory XIV remarked in 1591 that the ensoulment of the fetus happened around 24 weeks, which coincidentally is the cut-off for abortions in many American states.

“The idea that personhood begins at conception doesn’t date back to the time of Christ. It barely predates light bulbs.”

It was only in 1869 that the fetus was considered ensouled since the moment of conception, and excommunication was considered a punishment for all abortions. In other words, the idea that personhood begins at conception doesn’t date back to the time of Christ. It barely predates light bulbs.

So, when people like Cardinal Dolan opine on profound evil of abortion, that’s not a fundamental church teaching. It’s a relatively new notion. And repeatedly discussing it now makes it almost seem as though they’re trying to distract from something. Like, for instance, those nuns that were being kept as sex slaves, exploited by bishops and priests. They made them get abortions.