Can You Be Pro-Choice and Catholic?

Have you ever heard or have you been told

  • “You can’t be pro-choice and Catholic.”
  • “Life begins at conception.”
  • “You have excommunicated yourselves.”

The truth is, you can be pro-choice and Catholic – and indeed, most Catholics are. Catholics can, in good conscience, support access to abortion and affirm that abortion can be a moral choice.

Join us for an interactive workshop with staff from Catholics for Choice to learn the truth about Catholics, Catholic teaching, and abortion. Pro-Choice Catholicism 101: Listening to Your Conscience will outline how it is possible to be both pro-choice and Catholic – and how the vast majority of Catholics support comprehensive reproductive healthcare services. 

Included in the workshop will be time for participants to share their own experiences and to ask questions of staff. Whether you are Catholic or not, Pro-Choice Catholicism 101: Listening to Your Conscience will help you to be a better advocate within your community on issues of reproductive healthcare.

Join Us!

Tucson: Friday, March 4th, 5:30-7:30pm
Ward 6 City Council Office (3202 E. First Street) – East Conference Room

Phoenix: Saturday, March 5th, 1:00-3:00pm
Planned Parenthood Administrative Office (5651 N. 7th Street) –Boardroom #1

Please RSVP by March 1st.

14 thoughts on “Can You Be Pro-Choice and Catholic?

  1. Actually, no they can’t. If they believe in the right of a woman to have an abortion, they are excommunicate. Meaning they are no longer Catholic. They could call themselves “Catholic” with the quotes, but they are out of communion with the church. If you can’t agree with the basic beliefs of the Church, why would you even consider yourself Catholic?

    • And yet, according to the bible, the punishment for working on the Sabbath is death. Should I shoot my husband when he mows the lawn on a Sunday?

      • If that’s true, then why wasn’t Jesus and all his followers arrested when they ‘worked’ by picking the ears of grain on the Sabbath, or when Jesus healed people on the Sabbath? Why weren’t they killed there and then? It would have been justified.
        Jesus understood what was meant by that. We’re to worship our Lord every week. Usually if you work every day, you forget what you’re working for.

        Working on Sunday is now understood as necessary, and as Jesus did so, we may do so. What does that have to do with being pro-choice and Catholic??

        • David, I think you missed the sarcasm of Valerie’s comment. I think her point (not that I’m trying to put words in anyone’s mouth) is that the Bible has many parts in it that people do not follow today. People pick the parts of their faith that feel right to them.

          Valerie, please feel free to correct me if I’ve taken your point out of context.

      • The whole point of Jesus coming was to make the law whole. So it was no longer required not to work on Sunday. I caught the sarcasm just as I did Martin Sheen’s as the POTUS when he sarcastically beat someone over the head with out of context quotes from the Bible.
        But just because people choose to ignore parts of the Bible doesn’t mean it’s not still there to teach us how to live. Jesus’ coming also abolished the laws of dietary cleanliness, meaning we can eat pork and shellfish and not be sinning against the law.

        Understanding what the Bible says and means is not a straightforward thing-it takes more study time than most people have today. Catholics have an advantage that we have people to do the legwork for us, all we have to do is agree and follow, if that’s what we choose. If that’s not what we choose, we can always do our own legwork, and then found our own little church of our own belief.
        Right is right, even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone does it.

      • The ability to compare the two are why this country is so screwed up. Hate to break it to everyone but mowing the lawn on Sunday and the life of a human being are a universe apart. Let’s just cut through it. First, people don’t care about other people. So why would they care about their unborn child? The whole thinking behind the Catholic stance is that as Christians, we believe that Jesus came and sacrificed himself for us. In short, he died so that we could live (spiritually when we die). That’s why all REAL Catholics take a stance of life rather than death. “Catholics” who are pro-choice are not Catholic. To try and be both is hypocritical nonsense.

        • As a Catholic, I morally do NOT believe in abortion. It is wrong and in regards to *myself*, I am “pro-life”. However, I believe in a woman’s right to choose because I have come to terms with the fact that not everyone is Catholic or believes what I believe. To force my religious beliefs on such an intimate and personal aspect of one’s life is not fair. It is absolutely not my right to tell a woman that my religious beliefs should dictate whether or not she can make her own decisions about her body. Abortion is morally wrong in most cases–but a woman has the right to make that moral decision. God is the only true leader, and he would not want us to assume power over others.

          Furthermore, if a woman wants an abortion, in most cases she is going to get it, legally or illegally. No one just decides on a whim to abort a child. If a woman is in a desperate enough position to have decided to end her pregnancy, most of the time she is going to find a way to get the abortion. The funding of Planned Parenthood is essential because, without it, we open the gateway for young women to receive dangerous and illegal abortions. Not only that, but abortion only constitutes 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.

      • David, your claims are generally based on premises that I don’t accept. Taking them one by one, first you say that “people don’t care about other people.” Wow! Misanthropic as I can be at times, even my outlook is not that pessimistic. At the very least you’d have to admit it’s a gross overgeneralization. I wouldn’t characterize most people as uncaring.

        You state that Christians “believe that Jesus came and sacrificed himself for us” and then state that, because of that belief, Catholics “take a stance of life rather than death.” This is a nonsequitur — hard to see what one has to do with another. I could just as easily assume that Catholics are more interested in death (crucifixes, Passion plays, etc.), an interest that arises directly from their beliefs about the meaning they attach to their messiah’s death.

        The thing is, though, is that most advocates of abortion rights aren’t framing these issues as life vs. death, but in terms of a person’s right to bodily autonomy. They don’t frame the issue as one of people being either caring or uncaring about embyros or fetuses, but as caring about women’s quality of life and right to self-determination. Personally, my strong beliefs in favor of abortion rights are guided by my strong conviction in the value of the fundamental human right to have control over our own bodies. I don’t think a fetus, embryo, blastocyst, or eggs or sperm have rights that supersede those of grown, conscious people.

  2. I appreciate the encouragement to spend time with like-minded individuals, but as the Catholic Church defines direct abortion as an ‘intrinsic evil’ – something that is evil in and of itself, always and in every circumstance – unfortunately, this sentiment falls short. One can identify as Catholic and also identify as pro-choice, but one would not be considered a Catholic in good standing (that is, one would be unable to receive any of the Sacraments of the Church without repenting, changing one’s views, and confessing).

    It is painful for those of us who find that we are pro-choice to accept the fact that Catholicism simply cannot accommodate this view, but it is the reality. Those of us who are pro-choice are not in line with Catholic moral teaching, plain and simple.

  3. I’m looking forward to attending this workshop. I think it’s important to acknowledge the important role that many Catholic clergy have played in the reproductive rights movement. Before Roe, it was often up to clergy members to help women access abortions. It just goes to show that the dogma from the top is very different from how clergy and lay people interpret things.

    In light of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix recently losing its affiliation with the Catholic church because it provided a life-saving abortion to a patient, I think this workshop is very timely.

  4. You CANNOT be pro-choice and Catholic. You have no business speaking for the Church, and misleading people. In fact, how dare you?

    • So when someone you disagree with says that one can be Catholic and pro-choice, they are “speaking for the Church,” which they have “no business” doing; yet when you say you can’t be Catholic and pro-choice, it’s OK because you apparently do have “business speaking for the Church”? This strikes me as a double standard.

      In truth, I don’t think either of you are “speaking for the Church” — you’re both voicing your opinions. You can check out our follow-up post on these workshops if you’re interested in more perspectives.

  5. There is actual Catholic belief and then there are those who believe that they can interpret the Bible and Jesus and God and Mary and so forth any way that they see fit or that suits their argument. The two have nothing to do with each other. You can without a doubt be Catholic and also be pro-choice. One could make an argument that Jesus was suicidal which if you adhere strictly to certain individuals’ dogma would be a grave sin. That it’s ok to have mothers die and have the lives of there children ‘saved’ by pro-lifers be ruined by drugs and crime and institutionalization (don’t believe me, look at the statistics). The bottom line is that anyone that says that you cannot be both is speaking for Jesus and for God and that is truly disturbing to me. I am a Catholic and I am pro-choice and there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of us that feel the same exact way. Learn to truly follow Jesus teachings and accept this fact.

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