In an interview with Tom Brokaw (Meet the Press, Aug. 24, 2008), Pelosi gave her own account of how she reconciles the Church's staunchly anti-abortion teachings with her own "ardent" Catholic faith. I found the following segment, almost at the very end, most intriguing:
[A] “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. [B] But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. [C] And we want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of abortions. [D] That’s why we have this fight in Congress over contraception. [E] My Republican colleagues do not support contraception. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we must–it would behoove you to support family planning and, and contraception, you would think.”
Let’s take the first sentence, A. By the logic she is trying to employ in that sentence, she could not only find “wiggle room” on abortion, but also, (”as an ardent, practicing Catholic,” mind you!) could do away with the dogma of the Assumption and the validity of the Second Vatican Council. Impressive! What’s more, she undercuts her own appeal to St. Augustine, or any father, since the same “50-year stricture” could be applied to any father, pope, council, dogma, etc., if placed in the right historical window. A single example: St. Augustine’s most fundamental views on grace could be brushed aside in one stroke by saying they were, as of 420, only about 50 years old and thus controversial at that time, so they were more or less trivial in the bigger picture.
Now what about B and C? In B, she immediately rhetorically hedges her moral hedging by trying to add moral gravitas to what she has just tried to explain is morally inculpable. This is also an impressive maneuver.
In C, she reinforces this rhetorical-moral inconsistency by adding even more gravitas-ishness to the, initially claimed, non-culpability of abortion, which now seems to outweigh the offhanded remarks she made in A.
But that is not all that C accomplishes.
The language of C, as well as its logical connection to B, indicates that the gravitas and vague not-so-goodness of abortion has nothing to do with the babies, er, contingencies being deprioritized, and everything to do with the women going for them. A “safe” abortion is just as egregious a euphemism as “safe” sex, since the former term defines safety only with respect to the would-not-be mother, and the latter construes safety only with respect to the would-not-be parents and their STD scorecard. An abortion can only be called “safe” if safety only matters for the woman; it is entirely UNSAFE for the fetal person being killed. But once you deny that fetal persons are "really" persons with rights, lowering safety standards is not that big of a deal anymore.[*] The only reason “we”––a dangerous word––want to keep abortions rare, in Pelositism, or, "Pelosite Catholicism", is because it has potential adverse effects on women. Those harmful effects are tragic, so do not think I am trying to ignore them; but it is already such a fundamental compromise of Catholic morality for the would-be babies to have to earn and justify their human rights over against the possible woes of their abortive mothers. This, however, makes perfect sense in the hall of mirrors that is liberal Catholicism, since infants are regarded as only possible persons, so they, of course, should have less pull than possible woes of actual people.
In any case, D just adds more fuel to the fire, since now an ardent, practicing Catholic not only advocates contraception, but also does so as the next phase in her larger fetal control strategy. The irony is that while Dr. Liccione notes how abortion in earlier ages was seen by the Church as a nasty form of contraception, Pelosi sees contraception as a gilded and glorified form of abortion! It seems that Pelositical Catholicism could not be any more inimical to orthodox Catholicism––or at least not any more parasitical.
[*] A similar dynamic, whereby a contested value is defined out of existence, motivates the idea of “safe sex”, in that the idea of safe sex is based on a degraded view of sex, which fails to respect sey as something that should be KEPT SAFE, and then, not knowing what to do with the atavistic desire for "safety" in such matters, tries to assuage its inchoate unease by at least keeping the roving genitalia "safe". "Safe sex" is, in fact, completely harmful towards sex as a human good, in so far as it eliminates sex as an act of ratifying a lifelong covenant of sacrifice and joy in marriage and reduces it to a clinical melee between the epidermis, various viruses, and lurking social stigma.