Can we dialogue with abortion ideologues?

Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron

Something remarkable happened a little over a month ago. In a mainstream news publication, a Catholic bishop called out pro-abortion Democrats, as Democrats, for their pro-abortion extremism. In current parlance, he named and shamed the Democrat party.  

On June 28, Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, published an op-ed in the New York Post describing a meeting with Democrat members of Congress and staff in which he tried to find any point of agreement on protection of the unborn, or even the recently born.  

The impetus for the op-ed was the outpouring of hypocritical outrage by pro-abortion Catholic Democrat legislators who were shocked – SHOCKED – that the United States Catholic bishops had just voted to consider actually doing something to address their scandalous defiance of Catholic teaching concerning the evil of abortion. These pro-abortion, Catholic, Democrat legislators protested that the proper course for their religious leaders was to engage in “dialogue” with them.  

But, as Bishop Barron related, these legislators have a unique conception of dialogue: 

Would they, I asked, consider the banning of third-trimester abortions? Absolutely not, came the reply.  Would they, I pressed, be open to restricting partial-birth abortion, the procedure by which a pair of scissors is inserted into the brain of a baby already in the birth canal? No way, they said.  

All right, I wondered, would they be agreeable to supporting born-alive legislation, designed to protect the life of a baby who has miraculously managed to survive an abortion? No, they said.  And lest you think this intransigence was peculiar to this particular group, recall that, just a few months ago, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) made a born-alive proposal, and it couldn’t muster enough votes to break the Democratic filibuster. 


Further evidence that this position was not unique to this group can be found in the official Democrat party platform, which celebrates abortion as “vital to the empowerment of women and girls.” Not surprisingly, the platform does not specifically address partial birth abortion, infants born alive following abortions, or other uncomfortable topics. But it makes clear that abortion is to be expanded, celebrated, and publicly funded, and no allowance should be made for those who refuse to participate in abortion, a.k.a. sexists and bigots.   

Bishop Barron describes himself as the “son of a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago Catholic Democrat . . .  [who] would sooner have become a Lutheran than vote Republican.” But coming face to face with the modern Democrat party left him wondering, “[I]f protecting the life of a baby struggling to breathe, after surviving a brutal attack on his life, is a bridge too far for pro-abortion-rights politicians, then I ask again, what are we dialoguing about?”