Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

The Degradation of Politics

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 21, 2005

The most contemptible article in a Catholic publication I’ve read in quite a while: Tablet contributor Tina Beattie is alarmed by the possibility that the UK might outlaw abortion.

But the Church’s legitimate concern for the unborn child must not be given priority over concern for the millions of women in the world for whom pregnancy and motherhood are far from the romantic ideal that still prevails in the Church’s theology of marriage and family life. The number of women who die for every 100,000 live births varies from an average of 27 in developed countries to an average of 479 in less-developed nations. An African woman is 500 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than a woman in Scandinavia. There are an estimated 20 million unsafe abortions each year and more than 70,000 abortion-related deaths, most of them in poor countries. ...

The full spectrum of beliefs about abortion is represented by MPs in all three political parties. Yet in the cynicism of political debate today, there is a real risk that the parties will chase votes by pandering to the demands of what they perceive as significant minorities, and this includes Catholic voters. It would be to our shame if we colluded in the ongoing degradation of politics by becoming complicit in such strategies.

Pandering to the demands of significant minorities? The degradation of politics?

This is Beattie's line: if members of parliament vote to restrict abortion because of the power of the Catholic-instructed electorate, they would in effect be acting as pimps, not simply acknowledging a change in opinion but degrading the dignity of their office, and it would be to the discredit to the Church if she encouraged political attention to her beliefs about the taking of innocent life.

Beattie signals her own ethical convictions in her riff about "20 million unsafe abortions" (they're all unsafe for the baby, Tina dear), and the same goes for her hand-wringing over "70,000 abortion-related deaths." It's as if Nancy Reagan scored firearm manufacturers for the shoddy quality of revolvers employed in liquor store hold-ups: "Experts estimate handgun users suffered over 450 murder-related eye injuries due to defective chambering." We've rarely seen the progressive Catholic agenda stated so bluntly. This is called "loyalty in difficult times."

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