In a zero-sum game, if one gains, another loses. In a letter adopted on November 12, 2019, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that the “threat of abortion” is the “preeminent priority” for U.S. bishops.
One erroneous narrative argues that the Church’s “preeminent priority” combating abortion conflicts with its concern for the other social issues. This narrative treats the Church’s social teachings as a zero-sum game. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Church’s stress on the protection of innocent life beginning in the womb gives strength and cogency to her fight for other social concerns. The protection of life in the womb necessarily entails support for life outside of the womb. Hence, by fighting against the egregious act of abortion, the Church shows her members that she is willing to protect innocent life at every stage without exception.
Just recently, Pope Francis agreed with the U.S. bishops that the protection of the unborn is the preeminent priority. Our Holy Father shows us that we do not need to play a zero-sum game with the Church’s other social issues. In short, the Church’s preeminent priority concerning the threat of abortion strengthens and reinforces her concern with other social issues.