June 28, 2023
Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515

To the 31 Catholic members of Congress who issued the “Renewed Statement of Principles” (on your continued support for abortion rights) on June 24, 2023, I have received your letter. However, as someone who is also Catholic, I am confused by many of the points made in it.

First off, your letter does not make any reference to “babies in the womb,” the “unborn,” or “pre-born persons.” Was this intentional?

Furthermore, your letter also says…

  1. …sixty-eight percent of Catholics support legal protections for abortion, and sixty-three percent think it should be legal in most cases? Doesn’t Congress typically use footnotes when it cites studies and data? What is your source for this information on the positions of your fellow Catholics?

  2. …helping the “disadvantaged” is at the “heart of Catholic social teaching.” Since the unborn cannot speak for themselves, or escape from the womb in order to avoid their destruction, wouldn’t they qualify as “disadvantaged” from the perspective of the Church?

  3. …helping the “oppressed” is also at the “heart of Catholic social teaching.” Isn’t death for the unborn (as a result of abortion) the ultimate form of oppression? Can you think of anything worse? I can't.

  4. …“protecting the least among us” is an important Catholic social teaching. If the poor and the marginalized are the least among us, where does that leave the unborn? Are the unborn somehow greater than those two groups? Wouldn’t the unborn actually qualify as “poor,” since they generally don’t have any wealth at this stage in their lives? Since the unborn and young children are completely dependent upon other human beings for their lives, wouldn’t they potentially also qualify under the category of “the least among us”? If no, why not?

  5. …“As Catholics, we believe…” In making this statement, are you speaking on behalf of all 1.34 billion Catholics across the globe, or just those in the United States? On what or whose authority are you speaking?

  6. …Catholics are “free to make personal decisions about their bodies.” What is your understanding of the Church’s position on abortion and/or suicide? Doesn’t both abortion and suicide involve your body?

  7. …Catholics are free to make personal decisions about their families. What is your understanding of the Church’s position on divorce and/or same-sex marriage? Don’t these topics both relate to the family?

  8. …no person should “impose a single religious viewpoint into law or regulation.” What about the practice of polygamy? Are you saying that we should immediately repeal any laws that relate to this practice?

  9. …the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “a human being must always obey…his [or her] conscience.” What does your conscience tell you? Are the unborn human in your opinion? If yes, do you consider them to be “human non-persons” similar to how slaves were once viewed in this country (and by the Democratic Party) before the injustice of slavery was corrected?

Your letter references a very famous and well-known Catholic, whom you refer to as “Pope John Paul II.” Are you aware that the former pope was canonized on April 27, 2014? As Catholics, wouldn’t it have been more appropriate for you to refer to him as “Saint John Paul II”? Do you dispute his sainthood? Why did you quote him? Are you aware of his views (Evangelium Vitae comes to mind) on life and on abortion ?

While not a Catholic-specific issue, I note that your letter references “fifty years of precedent” from the Supreme Court cases of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. How is this relevant? Given that the evil of slavery also had many years of precedent in the U.S., what is your point here?

And in another non Catholic-specific issue, your letter says that the Dobbs decision “stripped women of their right to abortion.” Have you read the Dobbs decision (or possibly a summary of the case)? Doesn’t Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization make clear that the abortion issue is for individual states to decide? Have you spoken to any of your contacts in places such as New York, California and Illinois about women being stripped of their right to abortion? Oh and, just for clarity's sake mind you, in your opinion, what is a woman?

As a final point, I note that your letter references the respect and protection of “the decision if and when to have children.” What does this have to do with abortion? If a woman births a child and becomes tired of the baby after a few minutes, is there a right to end its life from your perspective? Please explain.


Bradley W. Shumaker (an interested member of the Catholic Church)

Photo Credit- Georgetown Right to Life