The Color Pink and Abortion Glee

Toward Comprehending the Incomprehensible Events in New York on January 22, 2019

For many decades in most parts of the U.S., at least since the 1940s, the color pink was associated with girl babies and cute girly things. In 2017, feminists started wearing cat-eared pink hats as obscene symbols for women’s “rights.” With recent events in New York State, the color pink became even-more-obscenely associated with the legalized killing of both girl and boy babies at any time up to the moment of their birth.

On January 22, the forty-sixth anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all of the United States, many of us learned about the latest news from New York with dismay.

Andrew Cuomo, the nominally Catholic governor of New York, was televised grinning from ear-to-ear and wearing a bright pink tie, before a crowd of men and women from the state legislature, many of whom were also grinning triumphantly and wearing pink. All that gloating and wearing of the pink, ostensibly to show support for women, was to celebrate the signing of the “Reproductive Health Act” (RHA), the most permissive abortion law ever passed.

“In the face of a federal government intent on rolling back Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights, I promised that we would pass this critical legislation . . . and we got it done,” Governor Cuomo exulted. “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health. . . . Whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.” [Emphasis added.]

The killing of babies in their mothers’ wombs is cloaked under the italicized catch phrases, as they claim that abortion is critical for women’s health and that all is being done for the good, for women’s equality.

Gov. Cuomo also ordered the spire on One World Trade Center, which replaced the Twin Towers destroyed on 9/11 and is also called “the Freedom Tower,” to be illuminated in pink lights that night, along with the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany.

“I am directing that New York’s landmarks be lit in pink to celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.”

As Fr. George W. Rutler wrote in an essay published a few days later: “Mark the ironies: the Freedom Tower is at the site of the memorial to the dead of 9/11, and listed on that somber shrine are eleven ‘unborn babies’ killed with their mothers. As for Al Smith’s building, that chivalric Catholic personality would have resigned rather than endorse infanticide.”

The First Governor Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was governor of New York from 1983 to 1994, and some say he invented the “I’m personally against abortion but I can’t force my Catholic values on others” rationalization.

In a speech Mario Cuomo made at Notre Dame University in 1984, he spoke of his own Catholic beliefs and his own adherence to the Church’s teachings on contraception and abortion. But then he went on to argue that making abortion illegal again would be “counterproductive.”

I believe that legal interdicting of abortion by either the federal government or the individual states is not a plausible possibility and even if it could be obtained, it wouldn’t work. Given present attitudes, it would be ‘Prohibition’ revisited, legislating what couldn’t be enforced and in the process creating a disrespect for law in general. . . . Removing funding from the Medicaid program would not prevent the rich and middle classes from having abortions. . . . It would only impose financial burdens on poor women who want abortions.

His arguments seem to make sense — until you think about them. He wouldn’t use weak arguments like those to support the legalization of other forms of murder.

To oppose abortion is actually to oppose the killing of a child in its mother’s womb, and whether some women can afford abortion and some cannot is devilishly beside the point.

How Come Catholic Politicians Today Support Abortion?

When Catholic politicians entered U.S. national life, they reassured non-Catholic voters that they would not force their beliefs on others. At first, Catholic politicians claimed to believe in Catholic teachings, although if you look at their reported immoral lifestyles, you may strongly suspect that they made such claims primarily to keep Catholic voters.

Over time, as more and more (obviously non-traditional) Catholic voters became convinced that it was possible to be Catholic and still support abortion and other practices contrary to Catholic teachings, Catholic politicians more and more openly disagreed with the Catholic Church. As proof of the large amount of support for abortion by voters who call themselves Catholic, statistics now show that women who say they are Catholic are more likely than Protestants to abort when they conceive an unwanted child, and overall they have the same number of abortions as women of other faiths and of no faith at all.

Governor Mario Cuomo in 1984 was far from the first Catholic politician who didn’t oppose abortion laws. A former Jesuit priest, Albert Jonsen, described in his book The Birth of Bioethics (Oxford, 2003) how some dissenting Catholic theologians (including Fr. Richard McCormick, SJ; Fr. Charles Curran; Fr. Josef Fuchs, SJ; Fr. Robert Drinan, SJ; and Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ) met with the Kennedys in the mid-1960s in Hyannisport, MA, near the Kennedy family compound, to marshal nuanced moral-theological arguments to justify voting for pro-abortion legislation.

Mr. Jonsen writes that the Hyannisport colloquium was influenced by the position of another Jesuit, the Rev. John Courtney Murray, a position that “distinguished between the moral aspects of an issue and the feasibility of enacting legislation about that issue.” It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians “might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order.”1

Background on the Supreme Court Abortion Decisions

At the January 22, 2019 ceremony before he signed the RHA, Governor Cuomo gave a public service award to Sarah Weddington, who is the 74-year-old Texas attorney who, with her co-counsel, Linda Coffee, at the age of 26 brought the Roe v. Wade case to the Supreme Court and who ineptly but somehow successfully argued that a Texas law against abortion was unconstitutional.

Weddington’s advocacy for easier access to abortion was personal. During her third year of law school, she had conceived a child with the man she later married and then later divorced, and they had their child aborted in Mexico. She never had another child.

The quotes in this section unless identified otherwise are from “From Buck v Bell to Roe v Wade: The Supreme Court, Childbirth, and Choice,” by University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law Professor Douglas O. Linder, JD.2

As Professor Linder points out, when Weddington argued in front of the Supreme Court, she spoke of hardships for women, instead of constitutional issues usually considered by the Supreme Court.

On the substantive question of what provision in the Constitution supported a right to abortion, she seemed unsure of where to point.

After Weddington rattled off a long list of potential economic and psychological harms potentially associated with giving birth to an unwanted child, Justice Potter Stewart tried to steer her to the constitutional text. . . .

“We originally brought the suit alleging the due process clause, the equal protection clause, the Ninth Amendment, and a variety of others,” [Weddington] said [in reply]. Justice Potter Stewart interrupted and asked sarcastically, “And anything else that might be applicable?” “Yes, yeah,” Weddington answered, as many in the courtroom laughed.

Justice Byron White asked whether Weddington was claiming that women had a right to choose an abortion even late in their pregnancies. “Well, do you or don’t you say that the constitutional right you insist on reaches up to the time of birth?” Weddington gave the most radical answer possible, suggesting that the Constitution “gives protection to people” only after birth — until then the woman’s right to choose should be in force.

That way of thinking seems extreme to many even today, even those who falsely believe that abortion is a necessary option for women, but Weddington’s opinions were already common in some circles in the late 1960s and the 1970s. Many college women were radicalized by Marxist feminist ideas about the patriarchal society’s oppression of women and about how women must be freed to express their sexuality without being compelled to have children. An enormously popular tract, Women and Their Bodies3 (later published as a book under the title Our Bodies Our Selves), was written by twelve women who met at a women’s liberation conference at Catholic Emanuel College in Boston, and then began circulating the stapled 193-page book in 1970 with the following claims:

“Unless we can freely decide whether to continue a pregnancy, it is impossible for us to control our lives, to enjoy our sexuality, and to participate fully in society.”

“If we are going to have sex, we must use contraception.”

“Birth control fails . . .”

“When a woman is pregnant, her ‘body has been taken over by a thing and a process which is not within [her] control.’”

“Every baby born should be wanted (there should be free, legal and safe abortions to any woman upon her request alone).”

“The existence of any abortion laws (however “liberal”) denies this right to all women. . . .”

And, the authors claimed, any feelings of guilt or shame or sorrow after abortion are due to societally imposed “shackles of superimposed guilt feelings.”

The Supreme Court took up Weddington’s opinion in spite of her flawed arguments. The final majority opinion, written by Justice Harry A. Blackmun, claimed — without citing any particular passage of the Constitution — that a woman’s right to privacy includes the right to have an abortion. This supposed right was based on a precedent set in a previous case that decided that contraceptives could not be outlawed. “The Court said in Eisenstadt women should be able to choose whether or not to bear a child.” They extrapolated from a supposed right to use contraception to the supposed right to kill a child if it was conceived.

Justice Blackmun: “a woman has a right to terminate the life of the unborn. The unborn have no human status and therefore no legal status that the law has to respect.”

As Professor Linder commented, “Of course, if fetuses were persons within the meaning of the Constitution, abortions would be a gross violation of rights.”

Blackmun’s glaringly false assumption was that the life or death of the conceived child — who, according to his thinking, may at some point during gestation become a person — was inferior to the life of its mother. The right to life is declared in the Declaration of Independence, but the Roe v. Wade decision denied the fetus any rights. This way of thinking, of course, is in direct contradiction to the fact that the child is willed into existence by God, is a human being from the moment of its conception, and that to kill it is murder.

The outrageousness of the denial of the rights of the unborn child is obscured when the proponents of abortion throw around slogans about privacy, freedom, and equal rights for all women, but the reality of the personhood of the unborn human still exists behind the smokescreen.

The wording of the majority opinion shows that the consenting judges obviously bowed to popular sentiment. Justice White in his own dissenting opinion wrote that the court’s judgment was “an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review.”

The ruling permitted unrestricted access to abortion during the first trimester, restricted access to abortion during the second trimester, and prohibited abortions during the third trimester, when they decided the fetus’s potential viability outside the mother’s womb allowed restrictions on the mother’s right to privacy due to the state’s interest in protecting the life of the person “or potential person” that she was carrying in her womb.

The court’s opinion on another case, Doe v. Bolton, which was handed down with Roe, ignored the potential or actual personhood of the child even during the last stages of pregnancy when it decided that the vague well-being of the mother was the only important issue. It said, “The medical judgment [for a late-term abortion] may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

From then on, questions about the constitutionality of any abortion law challenged before the court have been decided not on the rightness or wrongness of the destruction of the fetus’s human life, but instead focused on the possibility that the law in question might unduly burden the mother in her attempt to obtain an abortion.

How to Repeal Wade

Fr. Clifford Stevens, a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha, and the founder of the National Association for Embryonic Law, has written that Roe v. Wade “has serious constitutional and procedural weaknesses that every constitutional lawyer recognizes,” that “the failure to recognize that abortion involves the violent extermination of unborn life is the root constitutional contradiction in Roe v. Wade,” and [as we can see in the passage of the RHA –R.T.S.] “the advocates of abortion are doing all in their power to strengthen the decision reached in Roe v. Wade and prevent any attempt to look the question of abortion squarely in the face.”4

In an unpublished story about his own change of mind about abortion, former 1960s activist Robert Johnson summarizes Fr. Stevens basic message well: “Over the years our Supreme Court has been fallible in the area of human rights, and . . . many important Supreme Court decisions on human rights have been later overturned, when, in the course of time and with proper and persistent litigation, the original decisions were proven to be constitutionally flawed.”

Fr. Steven asserts that “just as surely as the failure to recognize that Black slavery involved the oppression, exploitation and violence done to kidnapped Africans was the root of the constitutional contradiction in Dred Scott, so the failure to recognize that abortion involves the violent extermination of unborn life is the root constitutional contradiction in Roe v. Wade.” The reversal of the Dred Scott and other flawed decisions are inspiring examples of how an erroneous ruling can be overturned.

Provisions of the RHA

The New York RHA decrees that abortion may be performed legally “within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or [if] there is an absence of fetal viability, or” at any time when “necessary to protect a patient’s life or health”.5

The justification of abortion even in the third trimester on the vague basis of “health” can mean anything any pregnant woman and her doctor want it to mean. Many doctors have come forward to assert there is no medical condition in late-term pregnancy in which abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, but they are ignored.

The existing law was amended to read as follows: “‘Person,’ when referring to the victim of a homicide, means a human being who has been born and is alive.”

A mostly unnoticed side effect of that wording change is that the killing of a wanted baby who is not yet born will no longer be illegal in the state.

The law also repeals the requirement that abortions be performed by a licensed physician.

Aftermath

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s approval dropped immediately after the act was signed. On February 11, the New York Times reported on a poll showing Cuomo tallying the lowest approval ratings in his more than eight years in office.6 Politicians are often surrounded by like-minded supporters and so may be fooled into thinking that all the voters think like them, similar to how Democrats knew that Hilary Clinton would be elected president in 2016. Cuomo’s spokesman told the New York Times they were skeptical about the accuracy of the poll. After all, they had just passed “popular, long-stalled legislation.” The passage of the bill obviously was not as popular as they thought.

Comments on news articles posted about the event were almost universally negative. Some said the pink lights should have been red, for all the babies’ blood that would be spilled. Another commenter noted that the spire of the World Trade center in pink light reminded her of the instrument used during abortions to scrape the baby out of his or her mother’s womb.

A Pawn in a Game that Harms Women

Not everybody knows that Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff referred to as Jane Roe, did not have an abortion, or that McCorvey later repented of her involvement in the case. In the 1980s, McCorvey claimed that she had been a “pawn” of the lawyers. After she converted to the pro-life position, until her death in 2017, McCorvey did everything she could to try to fight the evil law that was made on her behalf — even petitioning the Supreme Court in February 2005 to overturn the 1973 decision in light of evidence that abortion harms women, but her petition was denied.

Much more can and should be said about harm to all woman and men of the current ideology that teaches it is a great freedom to separate the marital act from love and marriage and from the conception of children and that ghoulishly celebrates abortion as essential to that freedom.

 

This article appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of Latin Mass Magazine. It is used here with permission and with minor edits.

  1. Anne Hendershott, “How Support for Abortion Became Kennedy Dogma,” Washington Post (Jan. 2, 2009), as found in Patrick Madrid, “Sons of Perdition: How Certain Catholic Priests Turned the Kennedys Pro-Abortion,” PatrickMadrid.com (March 17, 2016), patrickmadrid.com/sons-of-perdition-how-certain-catholic-priests-turned-the-kennedys-pro-abortion/.
  2. Douglas O. Linder, “From Buck v Bell to Roe v Wade: The Supreme Court, Childbirth, and Choice,” University of Missouri-Kansas City Faculty Projects: Famous Trials (2018), law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/RoevWadeStory.html.
  3. Boston Women’s Health Collective, Women and Their Bodies: A Course, (Boston: New England Free Press, 1970). In full: ourbodiesourselves.org/cms/assets/uploads/2014/04/Women-and-Their-Bodies-1970.pdf.
  4. Fr. Clifford Stevens, “The Rights of the Unborn: The Constitutional Challenge to Roe v. Wade,” Priests For Life Political Responsibility Center, priestsforlife.org/government/therightsoftheunborn.htm. Also see a compilation of Fr. Stevens’s writings on the topic at “New Perspectives on the Defense of the Unborn as a Constitutional Issue,” priestsforlife.org/government/intro.htm.
  5. Article 25-A of New York State Public Health Law; see legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2019/S240.
  6. Jesse McKinley, “Cuomo’s Approval Rating Drops to Lowest Level in 8 Years as Governor,” New York Times (Feb., 11 2019), nytimes.com/2019/02/11/nyregion/cuomo-siena-poll-approval-rating.html.
Roseanne T. Sullivan About Roseanne T. Sullivan

Roseanne T. Sullivan is a writer from the Boston area who currently lives in San Jose, CA. Sullivan studied graphic design, painting, journalism, fiction and poetry writing while completing a BA in Studio Arts and English, and an MA with writing emphasis at the University of Minnesota. She has a deep and abiding interest in sacred music, sacred art, liturgy, and Latin, and she teaches Latin to homeschoolers. Many of her writings and photographs have appeared in the National Catholic Register, the New Liturgical Movement, Regina Magazine, Latin Mass Magazine, and other publications. Her own intermittently updated blog, Catholic Pundit Wannabe, is at catholicpunditwannabe.blogspot.com.

Comments

  1. Avatar Francis Etheredge says:

    This is a marvelous account of the American situation and, of course, much more could be added to understand what is happening in our society (cf. Dr. Elizabeth Rex’s “End Word: A New Beginning”, which concludes a forthcoming book: “Conception: An Icon of the Beginning”: http://enroutebooksandmedia.com/conception/). The question that emerges, however, is whether or not it is time to advocate a new expression of the meaning of being conceived; indeed, to be conceived is to be conceived-in-relationship: the language of parent and child seems to have lost its significance. Just as we cannot understand ourselves except as a being-in-relationship, so we cannot begin to appreciate the wondrous reality of personhood if we do not begin with what we have in common: that each one of us is a gift. Therefore being a gift establishes a universal equality between us all. Thus we need a new language to help people understand that a beginning is what we have in common; it is integral to our humanity and entails, as it were, a right to the completing development that follows on coming into existence. What universal expression, then, of this common human reality. will awaken the conscience of the world today?

    • Avatar Rudolph I Ramirez says:

      Conceived-in Relationship? Realy? Where is this in the case of rape or incest? This notion would seem that these women/victims wanted this abhorrent ‘relationship.’ The true focus of Catholic teaching focuses on the inherent (based on the mystery of the Incarnation) dignity of the unborn person.

      A word about Ms. Sullivan politically motivated essay. What gives her the right to label Gov. Cuomo, as “nominally Catholic.” Is she the Governor’s confessor? Her Trumpish character assassination of the Cuomo family undercuts her politically laced argument. Better had she advocated things like free maternity care, free child care, a ‘living wage’ (Rerum Novarum), paid maternity leave, etc. These would be in line with Catholic social teaching and would significantly reduce the abortion rate. And being such a stanch Scholastic, does Ms. Sullivan know St. Thomas Aquinas’ estimation of when life begins? It is different for male and female. By the way, Gov. Mario Cuomo received a solid Catholic education (not homeschooled) being a graduate of a premier Catholic high school in NYC.

      • You think this get’s you upset Mr. Ramirez. You should read my article published by HPR last January. It will really get you going. Ms. Sullivan’s article is an honest account based upon the egregious nature of what NY is doing and that Mr. Cuomo is at the forefront in spite of his having gone to Catholic schools is all the more the reason to lambast him, not with political inuendo but the truth that he trashes all he learned for the sake of the false sense of justice. Rerum Novarum? You have probably never read it and have your sense of it from the biased modernists’ hermaneutic mantra that social justice trumps all as far as corporal works of mercy.
        Read my article and get your underwear further twisted into a knot: https://www.hprweb.com/2018/01/dr-curtis-boyd-abortionist/

  2. Avatar Francis Etheredge says:

    Dear Rudolph I Ramirez, The Peace of Christ. There is no question of women wanting an ‘abhorent relationship.’ Nevertheless, the reality of human conception is that the human person does not come to exist without at the same time coming to exist in relationships: firstly with God and then with his or her parents and their families and friends. Just as God does not will evil but that good comes of it, so there is no detraction of the good of human life even if a child is not conceived through love. God loves us first and He wants His love to be fruitful in us. God bless, Francis.

    • Avatar Rudolph I Ramirez says:

      Dear Francis, my brother in Christ, there is nothing in your comment with which I would disagree. Your comments return the discussion back to where it belong, God-centric. Relationships, based on the mystery of the Trinity, is what Christianity is all about. Ms. Sullivan’s article denigrates that by forcing the issue to fit her political agenda. May I also comment on your powerful statement; ” …there is no detraction of the good of human life EVEN if the child is not conceive through love.” How true! Yet there is the practice in Catholic high schools of forcing (if not by outright expulsion) to leave the school. What kind of a message does this sent to our young Catholics on the joy of a new life? I would like to hear from you on the second part of my comments dealing with Catholic social justice. Dona Pacem.

  3. Avatar Francis Etheredge says:

    Dear Rudolph, The Peace of Christ. Where ever we are, whatever the situation, the path between the cross and the resurrection is the path of the Lord; and, therefore, whether we discover ourselves or another to be on it, it is where we will meet Jesus Christ. In the practicalities of our lives, then, we are either an obstacle to that encounter with Christ or an expression of it. What, then, out of loving prudence is a help in any situation only prayer and love can tell; but, in a word, our sinful reality is what we have in common, remembering which hopefully makes our helping humbler when we meet another wounded walker. God bless, Francis.

  4. Rudolph I Ramirez: You wrote that this is a politically motivated essay. That’s a blatant misreading. How you can jump to that false conclusion is a mystery to me. My essay is religiously motivated. I am speaking in harmony with the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church.

    This essay is about the appalling fact that many Catholics support abortion, in clear contradiction to the teachings of the Church to which they profess to belong. It’s about the history of how dissent to the Catholic teachings on abortion came to be the norm for many. And it’s about how we Catholics who haven’t been blinded by pro-choice rhetoric might go about trying to overturn the infamous and badly written Supreme Court decision that made it possible to justify the slaughter of millions of babies in their mother’s wombs, the place where they should be most safe and protected and loved.

    Even though there was some debate among some of the early Church fathers about when the soul enters the body of the conceived child, the Church has always taught that abortion was a grave evil. Those who claim the Church did not always prohibit abortion or that Catholics can form their own consciences ignore the fact that even when there were speculations about when a fetus became a human being, and when there were at sometimes different penalties for abortions depending on the time after conception at which the abortion was done, the Church has affirmed that every procured abortion is a moral evil, a teaching that the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares “has not changed and remains unchangeable.”
    I have written a whole article with quotes from the Bible and early church against abortion that I could send you, if you would like to learn what the Catholic Church teaches on these matters. A few excerpts follow.

    The Letter of Barnabas is an early Christian work, ascribed by tradition to St. Barnabas, the Apostle. The letter was regarded as Scriptural by some early Christian communities, but is not included in the Bible.

    “Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born.”—Letter of Barnabas, 19:5. (c. 100 A.D.)

    Tertullian (c. 155–c. 240 A.D.) was an early Christian author from Carthage.

    “Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does—Tertullian: “Treatise on the Soul,” Chap. 27.

    St. Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.-) was Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He was a great humanitarian and theologian who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed Arianism.

    “A woman who deliberately destroys a fetus is answerable for murder. And any fine distinction as to its being completely formed or unformed is not admissible amongst us.”—St. Basil the Great: “Letters,” 188.

    About Gov. Mario Cuomo’s solid Catholic education at a premier Catholic high school in NYC. We all know that many so-called Catholic schools are teaching dissent from Catholic teachings. If that’s where Gov. Cuomo developed his ideas on abortion, that does not speak well for the “solidity” of his Catholic education.

    You criticized me because I labeled Gov. Cuomo, as “nominally Catholic.” I don’t need to be his confessor to make that observation. His public life witnesses it; his life style contradicts Catholic morality. He is living in sin with a woman in the governor’s mansion and he loudly and gleefully celebrated the passage of a law that allows babies to be killed in their mothers’ wombs at any time until birth for any reason.

    May God guide us and lead us all into all Truth on these matters.

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