Nancy Pelosi stands by abortion comments

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under fire from U.S. Catholic bishops, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not backing off contentious comments about abortion she made during a weekend television talk show appearance.

Pelosi said Sunday on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' that ``doctors of the church'' have not been able to define when life begins. That prompted swift rebukes from Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said Pelosi was incorrect and that Catholic teaching has consistently condemned abortion.

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York voiced similar sentiment Tuesday. Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Doctrine, also issued a statement correcting Pelosi.

Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement Tuesday that she ``fully appreciates the sanctity of family'' and based her views on conception on the ``views of Saint Augustine, who said: '... the law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation ...'

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

Posted August 27, 2008 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. the roman wrote:

He said Pelosi ``agrees with the Church that we should reduce the number of abortions’‘

I didn’t know the RCC had agreed to a previous quota?

August 27, 7:40 am | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

This controversy is delicious, especially in the context of all those pro-abortion Democrats gathered in Denver.  Speaker Pelosi, “ardently Catholic,” insists that she knows better than the bishops of her church, a very un-Catholic position.  Plus, she is relying on ancient speculation rather than modern scientific knowledge, as the bishops are pointing out to her.  She believes what she wants to believe and will not accept science or the teaching of her bishops.

August 27, 7:52 am | [comment link]
3. William P. Sulik wrote:

I find it fascinating that Pelosi relies on an explicitly theological notion - ensoulment - for defending abortion.  On the other hand, are those who see abortion as the termination of human life and rely on science.*  Above you post a story on the dichotomy between the so-called religious creationists and the so-called rational evolutionists - here the positions appear reversed - why is no one raising the specter of a government official imposing religious dogma?

* See, for example, French geneticist Jermoe L. LeJeune:

To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.

- Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, report to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981.

August 27, 7:58 am | [comment link]
4. William P. Sulik wrote:

Color me embarrassed - the note on evolution I was referring to was actually posted on GetReligion, here:

It’s very early in the morning for me…

p.s. speaking of GetReligion, they also have a note on another “devout Catholic” woman here- - regarding porn star Jenna Jameson.

August 27, 8:03 am | [comment link]
5. Words Matter wrote:

Yes, Archbishop Pelosi wants to talk speculations regarding ensoulment, which have varied over the centuries, while the bishops are talking a consistent ethical attitude towards the practice of abortion that has not varied for 2000 years.

August 27, 9:52 am | [comment link]
6. TridentineVirginian wrote:

Ball’s back in the bishops’ court. Time to deny her Holy Communion next time she presents herself.

After so many disappointments at the majority of the American bishops ever exercising their teaching office when most needed, the sharp rebukes have been encouraging. However, notably missing is her own bishop, Abp. Niederauer of SF (who IMO has an embarrassing track record already, for example, the scandal over the drag queen nuns getting communion from him). Apparently he’s going to say something on Sept. 5… all this said, I am still skeptical that the next step will be taken (Niederauer and Wuerl of DC). However, I am praying hard that it will. I can’t think of a better teaching moment, what an opportunity.

I hope the bishops remember that it is for the good of her own soul - lest she continue to eat and drink judgment upon herself. God is not mocked; a little bit of punishment in the here and now goes a long way to avoiding an endless amount in the hereafter.

August 27, 10:29 am | [comment link]
7. WestJ wrote:

An argument could be made that “life” begins at implantation. Before that, conception is “potential life” that will not come to fruition unless successful implantation occurs. This would work around embryonic stem cell research.
Personally, I believe that life does begin at conception and that stem cell research should only involve “adult” stem cells, not embryonic.

August 27, 10:33 am | [comment link]
8. TWilson wrote:

The incoherence (literal) comes through more clearly in the video (here from youtube - note, the introductory material is a bit silly). She’s not very impressive as a thinker/speaker.

Obama’s camp is very concerned about the abortion issue. Not only does he lose his polish and poise when hit with the question, his record (pretty thin in many areas) is very clear on abortion.

August 27, 10:36 am | [comment link]
9. midwestnorwegian wrote:

Can we expect an excommunication anytime soon?  I’m sure she, her views, and politics would be welcomed with open arms by Schlamori and company.  Shalom idiots.

August 27, 11:28 am | [comment link]
10. pamela wrote:

I don’t understand how one could possible be “ardently Catholic” and support abortion. 

That said, it is my humble opinion that they “ardently” support abortion because that is the single most important democratic position.  If you agree on all their other points, but are against abortion… you are done.  You will not be elected. 

Does the word HYPOCRITE fit here?

There are many democratic positon that I now hold, but I could NEVER vote for that party as that is the most important litmus test for them When you listen to their discussion, (rants) all you hear is how important this election is regarding the supreme court nominees.  They don’t want another PROlife candidate,  period.

It is a sad commentary on a party that includes half of our country’s population.

August 27, 11:37 am | [comment link]
11. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:

I am with Mother Theresa on this. Abortion merely robs mothers of the ability to love their children and fathers of the need to take responsibility. Any society that endorses abortion teaches that it is acceptable to use violence to bring about your desired outcomes in life.

Or pus more simply. Murder is no less disgraceful when the victim is still in the womb. Anybody wanting to deny such babies validity might consider the visitation of Elizabeth and Mary. Whereby the child John ‘leaped in the womb’ as Christ ordained his ministry from Mary’s womb. A blessed place.

You cannot be Christian and pro-abortion.

August 27, 12:02 pm | [comment link]
12. phil swain wrote:

If implantation of the embryonic human being does not occur then the embryonic human being dies.  If a new born infant were not fed he would die; we don’t say that the infant is “potential life” that will not come to fruition if he’s not fed.

August 27, 12:29 pm | [comment link]
13. stevejax wrote:

As Peggy Noonan says says so bluntly in her August 22 Declarations article, “Everyone who ever bought a pack of condomns know when life begins.”

August 27, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
14. Rick in Louisiana wrote:

William Sulik nailed it. On the one hand we are told that pesky Catholic and all must not impose their religious beliefs on others. On the other hand we hear people defend legal abortion using arguments that are explicitly religious - “ensoulment” and all that. So… uh… what was that about basing public policy on religious convictions? I am a Baptist pastor and I ain’t sure I believe in “souls”.

August 27, 2:30 pm | [comment link]
15. Observer from RCC wrote:

Pelosi is ardently a Democrat: politics is her “god” and “what gets you elected”  shapes her beliefs.  Sadly, there are all too many so-called Roman Catholic politicians at every level of government that follow her model ... which was set by John F. Kennedy.  The American bishops (as a group) have failed the Americans RCs on a regular basis with the usual results when a church does not follow God’s ways.  I have some hope that a few bishops will continue to hold her accountable, but I will not be too surprised if that does not happen.  It is the lay RCs who are passionate about Life issues that drive the defense of the sanctity of life in any way that they can.  (That is not to say that there are not bishops, priests and other religious that lead and dedicate their lives to this effort ... more and more, in fact ... but there are still far too many who don’t.)  I love my Church, but sometimes the leadership just makes me weep.  What I hold on to is clearly defined doctrine that guides the core of the RCC through time and provides a path back to the essential truth of God no matter how many times we stray.

August 27, 2:52 pm | [comment link]
16. Chris Hathaway wrote:

All talk of concern for the poor and needy is but show and subterfuge when abortion is accepted and defended. As a young democrat I came to that decision back in ‘84. I will never go back to that party while it remains in the grip of such satanic ideologies. Obama talks about “care for the least of these” while he supports infanticide.  Lies, heartlessness and hypocrisy.

This is evil. Pure and simple.

August 27, 3:30 pm | [comment link]
17. Pam C. wrote:

I am amazed at the hypocrisy of supporting the health of women and children while also advocating abortion. Don’t they see the disconnect?

August 27, 10:45 pm | [comment link]
18. Little Cabbage wrote:

Good for the Speaker!  I’ve always found it bizarre that conservatives don’t want ‘the government or judges’ making our economic decisions, but want to allow them to make this very personal decision for a woman (and man).  Keep the government out of the picture!  Otherwise, someday, the government will be able to order a woman to undergo an abortion against her will!  The government has absolutely no business in this intensely personal decision.  Go ahead and debate it on Christian grounds—but leave the government out of it.  Otherwise, be intellectually honest and capitulate your stand against government involvement in the economy, public safety or torture issues!

August 27, 11:55 pm | [comment link]
19. Words Matter wrote:

Little Cabbage, about what other form of murder would you make those arguments?

August 28, 12:15 am | [comment link]
20. montanan wrote:

Little Cabbage - I’m stunned by your argument.  #19 made the next very logical step.  Sure it’s personal.  But we’re talking about someone’s life.  The personal nature of the woman’s or the couple’s decision pales in comparison to the personal nature of having the individual’s life (the baby’s) intentionally ended.

August 28, 3:24 am | [comment link]
21. rugbyplayingpriest wrote:

19 + 20- yes but that would then force parents to sacrifice and take responsiblity and that goes against everything our hedenistic, self glorifying, choice loving liberal society endorses.

Which might also explain why they hate orthodox Christian teaching so much. Just a thought.

August 28, 6:58 am | [comment link]
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