Rape victim says saving baby ‘right decision’
By Tom Strode
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Roman Catholic bishops in the United States continue to refute public statements by pro-choice politicians from their church and have announced they will address the “practical and pastoral implications of these serious matters” at their semi-annual meeting in November.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) made the announcement Sept. 10, a day after correcting Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden about comments he made on abortion. The public rebuke of Biden followed by barely two weeks one given to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The continuing question of whether Catholic public officials who support abortion rights should take communion would appear to be an important part of the bishops’ discussion.
Biden said on the Sept. 7 telecast of NBC’s “Meet the Press” he is “prepared to accept the teachings of my church” but would not impose that belief on others.
“I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception,” Biden told Tom Brokaw when asked about the beginning of life. “But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”
Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, refuted Biden in a written statement Sept. 9, denying his claim “the beginning of human life is a ‘personal and private’ matter of religious faith, one which cannot be ‘imposed’ on others.”
The Catholic Church teaches conception is the beginning of human life not “as a matter of faith” but “acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact,” Rigali and Lori said. It also teaches every human being “should be seen as having fundamental human rights,” they wrote.
“Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice,” Rigali and Lori said.
After affirming Rigali and Lori and reasserting the church’s consistent view on the sanctity of all human life and the “evil of abortion,” the USCCB’s Administrative Committee said Sept. 10, “As the teachers of the faith, we also point out the connectedness between the evil of abortion and political support for abortion.”
Pelosi contended on the Aug. 24 telecast of “Meet the Press” the Catholic Church has been unable to define through the centuries when life begins and has only in the last 50 years determined it starts at conception.
Joined by several bishops who spoke individually, Rigali and Lori rejected Pelosi’s view of the church’s stance on the beginning of life. The church “has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion” since the First Century, Rigali and Lori said.
San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer announced Sept. 5 he had invited Pelosi to talk with him about the issue. The bishop of Pelosi’s home diocese, Niederauer discussed in a column for a Catholic publication the withholding of communion to Catholics who willfully violate the church’s teaching on such issues as abortion. Although he did not declare a position on a pro-choice Catholic politician taking communion, Niederauer said it is his responsibility to deal with the issue.
Rape victim says saving baby ‘right decision’
Elizabeth Cameron never regrets choosing life for her daughter, even though her conception came as the result of a violent crime.
Cameron, a virgin who was only 16 years old at the time, was forced into a van one day in December 2005 and raped by three men. Weeks later, she learned she was pregnant.
“Everyone, save for mum, thought I should have an abortion,” the resident of the South Coast of England told the Daily Mail, a British newspaper. “My dad even made an appointment at the clinic, and they showed me the little blob on the scan, I presume, to convince me that it was just a mass of cells and the whole thing would be over quickly.”
Elizabeth, however, had always been opposed to abortion. Nothing about her situation changed her mind.
“[I] couldn’t go through with it,” Elizabeth said. “At school, my friends – most of whom didn’t even know about the rape – couldn’t understand why anyone my age would want to have a baby rather than an abortion.
“And the few I did tell about what had happened were even more horrified that I would want to go through with the birth.
“But I did. And I don’t regret it for a moment.
“Every time I look at Phoebe, I know I made the right decision,” Elizabeth told the Daily Mail. “I never wanted to end my baby’s life just because of how she came to be.”
Phoebe turned 2 years old Sept. 15.
Elizabeth did not want her father to be near his granddaughter initially, yelling at him, “You wanted to kill her!”
“But, in time, I saw that he wanted to make amends, too, and he adores her now,” said Elizabeth, now 19 and studying at a university to be a school teacher.
The names have been changed for legal reasons, according to the Daily Mail.