In Trump’s America, there has been a recent rise in pro-life candidates within the Democratic Party.
This past April, Rewire News asked why Senator Bernie Sanders endorsed Nebraska State Senator Heath Mello’s Omaha mayoral race if the representative previously supported anti-abortion legislation, including a 20-week abortion ban.
The discussion has since evolved into a more serious strategy to remove abortion from the Democratic party’s platform. According to DAME Magazine, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez met with Democrats for Choice– “the anti-abortion arm of the political left”–in June. The hope of this effort was to reach more voters, including Christians who oppose abortion.
A recent Philly.com op-ed argues the Democratic Party continues to isolate Catholic voters by heavily incorporating abortion into their politics. However, Catholics–like all Christians–are not a monolith. For example, a recent Catholics for Choice survey says 66 percent of Catholics agree abortions should be legal in the United States.
Helloflo spoke with some pro-choice Catholics to debunk the myth all Christians support anti-abortion legislation. In fact, many religious people find abortion access directly linked to their faith.
“Embracing a woman’s inherent dignity, respecting her conscience, and ensuring that she has the means to access the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare is deeply rooted in our theology,” explained Jessie Nieblas, co-founder of New Orleans Abortion Fund.
While abortion isn’t mentioned in the Bible, it does discuss the importance of when a baby’s life begins. The Huffington Post explains that in Genesis 2:7, “The first human became a ‘living being’ when God blew into its nostrils and it started to breathe.” In other words, human life begins and ends with breath. Although a baby does not breathe until their first cry out of the womb, this rhetoric fuels the moral debate around when human life begins.
“There is a lot in the Bible about compassion for the poor, the oppressed and the otherwise disenfranchised or shunned people,” said Mechi Annaís Estévez Cruz, founder of Una Vaina Bien Spanish. “There is just so much going on today, so much suffering, so much pain and all people with uteruses should have a say in whether or not they’d like to bring another life into that suffering.”
Additionally, Jesus had a strong commitment to serving the poor. That shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to reproductive justice for all.
“The aspect of abortion policy that has been most mislabelled is the idea that we should control who has or pays for abortions,” explained Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, Vice President of the Domestic Program at Catholics for Choice, “but the truth is most Catholics understand what healthcare you do have access to and choices you are able to make, based on your own conscience, should not be based upon how much money you have.”
Hutchinson Ratcliffe and Nieblas also both stressed that the bishops, who are ordained ministers and teach doctrine, do not shape how all Catholics interpret their religion.
“The Church is all of us, including women who have had abortions and the people who love and support them,” Nieblas added.