Nancy Pelosi "Misrepresents" Church's Historic Abortion Teaching

Carol Platt Liebau

8/25/2008 1:25:42 AM - Carol Platt Liebau
The Speaker of the House proved once more that when the facts are inconvenient to her political ends, she's willing just to make up her own.

This morning on "Meet the Press," Nancy Pelosi was quizzed by Tom Browkaw about Barack's "above my pay grade" response at the Saddleback Forum when he was asked when he believes human rights attach to babies.

Pelosi, who identified herself as "an ardent, praticing Cathlic," insisted that "over the history of the church, [when life begins] is an issue of controversy."  Here are her remarkably bold counterfactual assertions:

REP. PELOSI: And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition.  And Senator--St. Augustine said at three months.  We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose.  . . . As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who've decided...

MR. BROKAW:  The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it...

REP. PELOSI:  I understand that.

MR. BROKAW:  ...begins at the point of conception.

REP. PELOSI:  I understand.  And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that.  So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy. 

Remarkable.  After all, I'm not even a Catholic -- much less an "ardent" one -- and yet I'm crystal clear that abortion rights and the sanctity of life haven't really been too "controversial" in any segment of the Catholic Church.  Ever.

Just in case Pelosi's interested, here is the official statement on abortion from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Perhaps the most relevant part is as follows:

Since its beginnings, Christianity has maintained a firm and clear teaching on the sacredness of human life. Jesus Christ emphasized this in his teaching and ministry. Abortion was rejected in the earliest known Christian manual of discipline, the Didache.

Early Church fathers likewise condemned abortion as the killing of innocent human life. A third century Father of the Church, Tertullian, called it "accelerated homicide." Early Church councils considered it one of the most serious crimes. Even during periods when Aristotle's theory of "delayed ensoulment" led Church law to assign different penalties to earlier and later abortions, abortion at any stage was still considered a grave evil.

If Nancy Pelosi is willing to push such obviously baldfaced misrepresentations of her own Church's teaching for political ends, can anything she says be believed?