I have issues with “a woman’s right to choose.” Particularly when the said “right to choose” becomes the only yardstick of morality, that is, the standard against which we measure whether things are right or wrong. As we wave “the right to choose” furiously nobody seems too concerned about what the choice is about. As a result, we – that would be the royal “we” – become righteously indignant when our “right to choose” is threatened rather than when the options that substantiate that right are threatened.
Don’t understand what I am referring to? Go and read the Ottawa Citizen’s ongoing coverage of Catholic Archbishop Terrence Prendergast’s statement that pro-choice Catholic politicians should be denied communion in the Catholic Church. Today’s front page article present reactions from Catholic politicians although to what extent these politicians are “in communion with church’s teaching” is highly questionable. Regardless, reactions fall into two categories: those who recognize that the Archbishop is giving Catholic politicians a choice and those who think he is attacking choice, be it in their political careers or in women’s lives.
Members of Parliament who accuse the Archbishop of blackmail and bullying don’t realize that they do have choices. Plenty of them. They can support abortion laws – or lack thereof – on the Hill. They can also walk from their offices to the nearest abortion clinic if they want to. They can get four selective abortions if they need to. In fact, they have more choices than pro-life activists in just about any setting . To that long list of choices, Archbishop Pendergast has added one more: they can receive Catholic communion or not. What these self-proclaimed pro-choice Catholics want is not so much choice as choice without strings attached. But that can hardly be called choice, can it?