The new Texas law banning most abortions in the state was welcomed by many religious leaders who helped support the anti-abortion movement. However, some people in American religious circles who oppose abortion are cautious about the law and question the current direction of the movement.
This caution is partly related to the most novel feature of the law, which some critics believe is an invitation to policing defenders: it does not provide a law enforcement role for public officials, but instead authorizes ordinary citizens to sue anyone they believe is aiding abortion. , And it is possible to earn $10,000 in the process.
Charles Camosy, Associate Professor of Theology and Social Ethics at Fordham University, supports stricter restrictions on abortion nationwide. He said the law “has serious shortcomings” and indicated that anti-abortion activists are willing to adopt “Desperate and extreme strategy”.
The Catholic Camosi said via e-mail: “Because it seems to be playing a legal game to bypass the Federal Court’s ruling, the law encourages people who support lives to have no false narratives of public opinion.”
Senate Bill 8 prohibits abortion after a medical professional detects cardiac activity, usually around six weeks. One of its senior reporters, Michael Sean Winters, recently criticized it in a column in the independent online news media National Catholic Reporter.
Winters wrote: “I am very worried that the early implementation of this truly strange law will be the historic beginning of a backlash against the underprepared anti-abortion movement.”
He said that the provisions of the law encourage “a kind of obligation justice that we all believe is entrusted to old Western movies” and warned that the implementation of the law may prompt some women to resort to illegal and potentially risky abortions.
Winters writes: “I support life as much as possible, but I hate the pro-life movement because of its short-sightedness, moral short-sightedness, and viciousness.” “The pro-choice movement is now full of vitality in a way that has never been seen in years. “
In the anger at SB 8, the Catholic Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, issued a broader criticism of certain elements of the anti-abortion movement, suggesting that they were pursuing their own careers while ignoring other pressing social issues. .
“Those who strongly oppose legal abortion but are not interested in providing basic medical care for pregnant women or children in need, who do not care about refugee children or who lack quality education and have no hope of getting rid of poverty cannot truly claim to respect life,” Stowe said. Specially wrote.
Among the staunch supporters of the Texas law, there is a certain degree of contempt for abortion opponents, who described the measure as a strategic error.
“Births who opposed Texas SB 8 played and lost – or rather, they played the role of a controlling opposition, verbally speaking to the unborn child, but in fact it was not like real life. Every day is in danger,” said Chad Pekonod, associate professor of theology at the Catholic University of America.
“No matter what happens to Texas SB 8, it will be remembered as the moment when professional players start to fight for victory,” Pekonod added via email.
The implementation of this law pleased many Supreme Faith leaders who have opposed abortion for many years in Texas and other states, including many bishops of John Stowe.
“We celebrate every life saved by this legislation,” said the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents the 20 bishops serving the state.
“Abortion does not help women,” the bishops said. “Abortion has never been the answer. It has always been the violent capture of innocent human lives.”
The Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, and the chairperson of the Pro-Life Committee of the American Catholic Bishops’ Conference expressed their appreciation for this statement.
Nauman acknowledged that the law caused controversy, but criticized President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi for “responding with radical commitments” to block the law and other harsh anti-abortion measures.
Like Naumann, some prominent Southern Baptist pastors in Texas welcomed the law while also noticing its controversial aspects
“I do believe it is reasonable to ask if we really want third parties to get financial benefits from reporting other people’s crimes,” said Pastor Robert Jeffries of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.
“In general,” Jeffries said via email, “I am very supportive and thankful to our Texas legislators for the strong affirmation of the value of life.”
Phillip Bethancourt, a former senior public policy officer at the Southern Baptist Convention and now the chief pastor of the Central Church in College Station, Texas, pointed out that the law “in the end is “Good or bad” is controversial.
He said via e-mail: “But there is a community that will generally thank it: this law means life, not death, for those unborn children.” “We need to see more legislation, rather than doing it all across the country. Legislation that can protect lives.”
Another Baptist pastor, John Elkins of the Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Brasoria, Texas, said he welcomes the law and hopes that it completely prohibits abortion. He hopes that members of the congregation who share his views can find ways to help unmarried mothers in the community.
Among the vocal supporters of SB 8 is Marjorie Dannenfelser, a Catholic who is the head of the famous national anti-abortion organization Susan B. Anthony List.
“The goal of the anti-abortion movement has always been to make abortion illegal and unthinkable,” she wrote in a column in the National Review on Wednesday. “Texans are doing this, ignoring the undemocratic stifling of debates by the Supreme Court years ago.”
Carol Tobias, chairman of the National Committee on the Right to Life, said her organization supports “any legal strategy to protect the unborn baby.”
“Too many state attorneys general failed to defend protective laws, or judges overturned them when they did,” said Tobias, who belongs to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Bishops Conference. “Texas’ approach is novel and it is worth using established legal procedures in court.”
Michael New, an abortion opponent who teaches social studies at the Catholic University, called the law “unconventional” and predicted that it will face multiple legal challenges. It has become the target of abortion providers and the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuits.
Nevertheless, New stated that he is happy that SB 8 has taken effect.
“Supporters have identified a strategy that has successfully provided legal protection for thousands of unborn children, at least in the short term,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, SB 8 was attacked by clergy members of faith groups that support abortion rights. Among the plaintiffs filed in July are the senior pastor of the Dallas First Monotheistic Church and Pastor Daniel Kanter, the past chairperson of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Committee.
The Jewish Public Affairs Committee, which represents more than 140 national and local Jewish organizations, condemned SB 8 and other anti-abortion restrictions as “dangerous measures” and should be blocked by federal legislation.
The Associated Press’s religious report received support from the Eli Lilly Foundation through The Conversation US. The Associated Press is solely responsible for this content.