The former Associate Director of the U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Office, a self-described “pro-life Democrat,” said Saturday he grieves “for the disastrously wrong turn of my party.”
Richard M. Doerflinger, who worked for the Catholic bishops’ conference for 36 years, said that the Democrats’ stand on human life is the most obvious but not the only issue in which the party has gone radically wrong.
“The growing hostility of many Democratic leaders to religious freedom and rights of conscience is equally appalling,” Doerflinger told Crux, an online Catholic news outlet.
The “courageous few who remain active in politics as pro-life Democrats” are “more likely to be found at the state and local than at the national level,” Doerflinger noted. “But it’s been a long time since I saw a national Democratic ticket I would feel happy to vote for.”
“A landmark moment for the debate whether abortion is protected by the Constitution, a divisive issue in itself, is happening at a time when our politics is more polarized and divisive than I have ever seen,” Doerflinger said.
“If Roe v. Wade is reversed, abortion will not end but become an issue of political debate in every state and locality as well as in Congress,” he noted.
He went on to note that the pro-abortion movement has become more and more radicalized, abandoning “its old emphasis on ‘freedom of choice’ and now fixates on maximum ‘access’ to abortion – which means an insistence on public funding, a campaign against conscience rights for health care professionals, and even an attack on clinic regulations trying to protect the life and health of women.”
“The movement’s flagship legislation, the ‘Women’s Health Protection Act,’ is promoted as ‘codifying Roe’ but would attack hundreds of modest laws that are valid under Roe,” he added.
“This new extremism may attract public opinion or, as I hope, it may backfire and turn off many Americans, just as the movement’s fervent defense of the grotesque partial-birth abortion procedure did over a decade ago. It’s too soon to tell,” he said.