A group of "Catholics" have sent Stephen Harper a letter to try and get him to include abortion in our maternal health initiative:
Right off the bat, "Catholics" do not support abortion, so saying "we as Catholics...urge you to reconsider this position and remedy it at the earliest possible opportunity" is an illogical sentence, so it must be thrown out.
Then the group quotes some US undefined study saying 97% of Catholics use contraception, but no reference to who did the study or when. So we can throw that out too.
Their letter then states:
"Bishops around the world have reaffirmed the right of Catholics to follow their consciences on the birth control decision. In the wake of the Vatican’s 1968 declaration on the impermissibility of contraceptive use, Canadian bishops released a statement saying that Catholics who tried ‘sincerely but without success’ to follow the teaching ‘may be safely assured that whoever honestly chooses the course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.’"
This comes from a Winnipeg Statement issued in 1968 by Canadian Bishops. But in 2008, a pastoral letter by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops called Liberating Potential was issued, and was in conformity with Humanae Vitae:
It invited all to "to discover or rediscover" its message and then stated:
"Abortion, sterilization and contraception are in opposition to the Creator’s intention at the heart of sexual intercourse, preventing, if God so desires, the creation of a unique soul for the unique body that the spouses help to form."
This pastoral letter supersedes the Winnipeg Statement, so again, we can ignore the part that says that Canadian Bishops support contraception.
But then the letter writers make the inevitable pro-choice magical leap from contraception--which was just a red herring that these "Catholics" hoped we wouldn't notice---to the heart of what this letter is really all about, abortion:
"Maternal mortality can be alleviated through wider access to comprehensive reproductive health care services. It is a basic human right and a matter of social justice to provide women and men access to family planning and abortion services and information to prevent unplanned and high-risk pregnancies. "
So we’ve come full circle. Since Catholics don’t support abortion (as I pointed out at the outset), we--and Mr. Harper--can confidently throw out the whole letter without even breaking into a sweat.