Catholics for Choice Calls on President Biden to Protect Abortion Access as a Catholic social justice value–Statement by Jamie L. Manson, CFC President
As an organization representing the majority Catholics who believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, Catholics for Choice welcomes Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as our country’s first prochoice Catholic president, and we call on him to protect and expand abortion rights in the first days of his presidency.
President Biden has consistently connected his care for the poor, the sick and the vulnerable to his Catholic faith. As someone who is a longtime champion of women’s rights and the rights of marginalized people, Mr. Biden surely understands that policies like the Global Gag Rule, the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Amendment inflict disproportionate suffering on the poorest of the poor, those afflicted by illness related to reproductive health, those in rural areas with limited resources and those who find themselves in states of profound powerlessness.
President Biden has dissented from Catholic teaching on issues related to marriage equality, transgender rights and contraception because he realizes that the church’s teachings on these topics do not reflect the church’s greater call to justice, equality and human dignity. We call on him to use his conscience and his commitment to human rights in the same way by acknowledging that abortion access is a Catholic social justice value and working to improve access for those who need it.
We are unsure why Mr. Biden has delayed signing an executive order on the Global Gag Rule, something U.S. presidents have done on day one for decades. Overturning this policy is a matter of life or death for the countless women and people of marginalized genders who are desperately poor, sick and sick-unto- death because they were not given access to basic reproductive health care and were denied the ability make reproductive health decisions for themselves and their families.
As someone formed by Catholic education, Mr. Biden should hold in his heart two fundamental Catholic teachings in his approach to abortion rights. The first is the primacy of conscience, which teaches that Catholics must use their reason and individual consciences in all moral decision-making. The second is the Catholic belief in a preferential option for the poor, which states that caring for the well-being of the most disadvantaged must be our first priority. Access to abortion care is deeply intertwined with and exacerbated by systemic racism, economic insecurity and immigration status. For these reasons, we ask Mr. Biden to prioritize protecting abortion access as part of these other priorities identified by his administration.
At Catholics for Choice, we understand that abortion can be a complex moral issue. But perpetuating the U.S. bishops’ strategy of making abortion a taboo topic only exacerbates the harmful stigma the church has attached to it for far too long. As one of the 60% of U.S. Catholics who supports abortion rights, Mr. Biden has the opportunity to demonstrate to this deeply divided country that people of faith not only can support abortion rights, they do so as an expression of their commitment to justice that is grounded in their religious belief.
Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.