Part of me sympathizes with Nancy Pelosi. Really. This is a rather bizarre question to be asked, and is obviously designed to set her up. If I were giving a press conference and someone came at me out of the blue with an odd-ball question meant to entrap me, I'd be tempted to blow them off, too.
But here's the thing. What makes the question so bizarre is its obviousness. Can you imagine someone asking an horticulturist, "If a tomato seed grows into a tomato plant and bears fruit, is that fruit a tomato?" Or asking a veterinarian, "If my dog breeds with my neighbor's dog, are the puppies also dogs?" The questions strike us as ridiculous because the answers are so self-apparent.
Sadly, it has become necessary to ask such obvious questions of our policy makers when it comes to human life. Yes, questions like this are meant to entrap and embarrass -- and they work. If Pelosi had said "no," that an unborn baby with a human heart and human liver is NOT a human being, she would have looked like a self-deluded fool. On the other hand, if she had said "yes," that the baby is a human being, then she would have been forced to address the real elephant in the room -- why is it permissible for us to end the life of that human being?
In refusing to answer the question, Pelosi does more than evade the issue. She shamefully invokes her faith and her motherhood. "I am a devout, practicing Catholic," she asserts. "I have five children . . . I think I know more about this subject than you."
I cannot judge Pelosi's devoutness, because I do not know Pelosi's heart. But to invoke her Catholic faith while at the same time defending the practice of abortion is a grave scandal, as horrific a thing as invoking her motherhood while defending the practice of killing children in their mother's wombs.
Lest anyone think that the Catholic Church condones this practice, this is the official teaching of the Catholic Church, directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which any devout, practicing Catholic should have in their homes and refer to often).
- "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).
- "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable" (CCC 2271).
There is no nuance here. No advanced degree in moral theology or philosophy is required to understand that the intentional killing of an innocent human being is grossly immoral. No advanced degree in biology or medicine is needed to know that the living product of human reproduction is a human being. All that is required is common sense -- an open mind, open eyes, and open heart.
Asking ridiculously obvious questions like the one posed to Pelosi today may just help us to shine the light of common sense on this issue. May God help us to become a society that will no longer condone the killing of its children.