CLC states in their statement that the Bishops said this:
“We are particularly relieved that the gestational approach has been rejected. The concept is offensive and unprincipled because it presumes that human life is more worthy of protection at one stage than at another".What CLC doesn't say, is the other pertinent statements about the Bishops' thoughts on gestational legislation. All emphasis are mine.
"While Catholics may not favor abortion or any proposal which seeks to weaken existing legal protection of the unborn child. Nor may they advocate that there be no legal protection. However, when it is the only available or feasible political option, support may be given to legislation which attempts, if only imperfectly, to restore protection or strengthen existing protection. In this case, they must continue to work for complete protection and to express publicly their opposition to abortion.As we already know with our current 9 month abortion law, a gestational law of any length, although "imperfect" would be "feasible".
The Bishops continue:
Questions as to the feasibility and whether the legislation improves or worsens the legal position of the unborn child, are always matters of prudential judgment where certitude is not possible.
In a country as diversified as ours, in matters of religion and ideology, Catholic politicians must assess the legal and political realities they face and work for the law which will provide the maximum possible protection for unborn children."This is exactly what a gestational law would accomplish: the "maximum possible protection for unborn children" given that a total ban on abortion would not be accepted by the country.
"We urge your Committee to draft a law which will protect the unborn child to the maximum degree possible. It is understood, however, that as bishops, it is not our role to suggest in detail the best possible legislative solution..."
Now this is interesting. At the end of the Bishop's statement, CLC/AFLO makes its own comments on Bill C-43, saying this:
"Finally, Bill C-43 sets no time restrictions on “terminating pregnancies” and is, therefore, worse than a Bill which would have restricted abortions to 12 or 16 or 20 weeks of gestation. In fact, Bill C-43 is the worst gestational law possible.
CLC is saying they would prefer (at that time in 1991) a limit at 12 or 16 or 20 weeks gestation over no limit. Yet we have no limit today. Therefore CLC should (by their own words) accept a 12 or 16 or 20 week limit. In fact, the reality is that today, we already have a gestational law. And that gestational limit is the point in gestation when the baby is born, i.e. at the end of gestation, and so a 12 or 16 or 20 week gestational limit is far preferable than our current gestational limit of 40 weeks.
Then CLC ends with this self fulfilling prophesy:
"In view of these facts, the pro-life groups said, it is better to continue without a law while working for a pro-life one, with government help, or otherwise by means of private member bills, or through elections. In the meanwhile pro-lifers can maintain a conscience untarnished by surrender or submission to evil. And from the point of view of political tactics, supporting this bill is equivalent to ending pro-life legislation for the next 10-20 years or more, because every politician in the country will claim that it was the best attainable and refuse to do anything more."
Well we've surpassed the 10-20 years, in fact it will be about 24 years and counting...
Right now abortion is already legal for all nine months. Gestational legislation is a lot better than what we have now. According to CLC's philosophy, we are guaranteed to wait forever for something to change.
On the whole of it, I believe that CLC has taken the Bishop's statements on gestational legislation out of context.