How do I refute this article i saw called "The Catholic Case for Abortion Rights"?
The Time magazine commentary you cite is from the notoriously misnamed group “Catholic For a Free Choice” (CFFC). Its longtime leader was Frances Kissling, and it has more recently been led by Jon O’Brien. It has never been and never will be recognized as an authentically Catholic entity, and its gets major support from groups that oppose the mission of the Catholic Church.
O’Brien commits several errors in his editorial. For example, he mixes truth with lies in saying the Church’s teaching that “a human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience” (CCC 1790) provides moral justification for an individual to choose abortion. In the process, he conveniently overlooks that a Catholic is obligated to form his conscience particularly with the teachings of the Church (CCC 1785) and including these basic moral rules:
- One may never do evil so that good may result from it
- The Golden Rule: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."
- Charity always proceeds by way of respect for one's neighbor and his conscience: "Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ." Therefore "it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble" (CCC 1789, footnotes omitted).
Choosing abortion clearly violates all three rules. Thus, one can never have a truly certain conscience and choose abortion. In attempting to make his argument in 2015, O’Brien cites the unreliable theologian Fr. Richard McBrien. In addition, as Vatican II makes clear, conscience does not give individual Catholics arbitrary veto power over any and all Church teachings they don’t like. Rather, in evaluating decisions in their conscience, Catholics are faced with an objective, divinely given law (see Romans 2:14-16) they must obey, not one they can override or rewrite:
In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged (Gaudium et Spes 16).
In addition, the Church never based its teaching on alleged seventeenth-century scientific findings that purportedly saw “fully formed animal fetuses” through the lenses of “primitive microscopes.” O’Brien provides no citation for this spurious assertion.
Instead, precisely because of deficient science in previous centuries, the Church was not sure when ensoulment of an unborn child occurred. And yet, as O’Brien correctly notes, the Church has always taught that abortion is the gravely wrong destruction of human life (CCC 2271). In addition, because of advances in science, the Church can today confidently teach that “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person, among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life” (CCC 2270). And Pope St. John Paul II definitively reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on abortion in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (57).