Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Abortion and deportation: not morally equivalent

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 29, 2016

Explaining why he believes that neither the Democratic nor the Republican party deserves Catholic votes, Bishop Daniel Flores sets out a sound moral premise, but then jumps from it to an unwarranted conclusion.

Bishop Flores, you may recall, finds the Democrats unacceptable because they favor unrestricted legal abortion, and the Republicans unacceptable because they favor — or at least their presidential candidate favors—mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. Regarding the latter policy, he says:

In some instances, particularly dealing with the Central American mothers and children, and deportations into some parts of Mexico, we are dealing with placing them in proximate danger of death. I consider supporting the sending of an adult or child back to a place where he or she is marked for death, where there is lawlessness and societal collapse, to be formal cooperation with an intrinsic evil. Not unlike driving someone to an abortion clinic.

If an immigrant who is being deported faces certain death, then, yes, the cases are comparable. But to the best of my knowledge nobody—not even Donald Trump—is suggesting that we should deport people who will be executed when they return to their native land.

Our country offers asylum to refugees who can demonstrate that they would face persecution. Maybe the standards for granting asylum should be liberalized; maybe current policies fail to provide security for people who are truly in danger. If so, those standards and policies can and should be changed.

In practice, however, the people who might be deported would not face death. No doubt they would face rougher conditions. But they would not face certain death when they crossed the border—unlike the unborn children who enter abortion clinics.

Even in the worst possible case, if a refugee’s plea for asylum were wrongly rejected, and he were deported and then executed, the case would not have the same moral standing as a trip to the abortion clinic. It is not the purpose of deportation to cause the death of the refugee.

I am not arguing in favor of mass deportation; in fact I would argue against the policy. But it’s not morally equivalent to the intentional slaughter of the innocent through abortion.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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