The lack of consensus on abortion shows no sign of easing. Each side points to their favorite outrages. Pro-life people point to this case, where a living infant was tossed in the garbage. Pro-choice advocates point to this story. A nine-year old child, raped by her step-father was given an abortion. The Brazil Catholic Church has excommunicated the child's mother and the doctors that performed the abortion.
I won't comment on the former case, since I am generally pro-life. I will comment on the latter, in order to correct some of the distortions and hate I see on the pro-choice side.
I agree with the Church's stance in this manner. In the Church's view, performing an abortion or assisting in the procuring of abortion warrants excommunication, because it is clearly and unequivocally the deliberate taking of an innocent human life.
I think in this case, the Church has correctly described the father's crime as heinous. The Church's position is that a later C-section would have allowed both the children and the mother to live. The left wants the mothers health to be a justification for abortion, but any anxiety or discomfort can be always be characterized as a health issue. This effectively means support for all abortions at any time. The Church's position is that killing a child is only justified if it is a true, unintended side effect of efforts to save the mother's life.
Some on the left even believe the nonsense that the child herself was excommunicated, which justifies even more hatred.
There is a paradox in the reaction to this.
By excommunication, all the Church is saying is that from the perspective of Church offices these people are to be shunned. They are not asking that they be burned at the stake. They are not saying that they should be personally be shunned by Catholics. They are not asking that they be denied love, empathy and support from other Christians. They are just saying that in the absence of repentance they should be denied the only real benifit of formal Church membership: the sacraments. Excommunication is not permanent. Excommunication can be lifted, and access to the sacraments can be achieved by repentance.
What I find paradoxical in the reactions to this is the claim that it is somehow brutal and draconian, while at the same time claiming that there is no value in the sacraments, because they are merely anachronistic religious drivel.
Most people seize on the seeming unfairness of not excommunicating the step-father. It isn't at all clear that he is even a Catholic, hence excommunication may not even be relevant. Even if he is a Catholic, excommunication is not intended as a remedy against all sinners - otherwise the Church would be empty. It should not be supposed that the Church approves of all people and their acts who are not excommunicated.
This is clearly a hard and extreme case, as this little girl's life has been a true horror. From my perspective as a Christian, evil acts like these call for Christian love as a response, not death.
This story will surely be used as another another justification for Obama's Freedom of Choice Act. Like most bills, the name itself is a lie, because it may take away the choice of health care providers to refuse to perform abortion. The story will be cast as "look how shallow and brutal the Catholic conscience is!" So if you are a nurse or a doctor in any public health facility, any claim of conscience will be seen as bigotry, and so you will have no right to refuse to perform an abortion.
My pro-life position is this. I have no desire to outlaw abortion, and to jail mothers and doctors who perform them. At the same time I will not support any politician or party who advocates using the public purse to fund or subsidize abortion, and who uses the power of the state to promote it.
The left loves to cast such positions as patriarchal, as motivated by what they characterize as the need to control woman's bodies. But it is the left that seeks control over bodies, because they want to compel people to perform abortions and to pay for them against their will. While there is some disagreement on whether the language of the law will eliminate conscience exemptions, I have no faith in the legal system's respect for conscience in this matter. No one thought that the Civil Rights laws would result in favoritism, but they did.
To me the only possible response to the Freedom of Choice Act is for Church-owned hospitals to refuse to comply, refuse to perform abortions, and to allow the inevitable siege of lawsuits to put them all out of business.