Incremental Steps to Limit Abortion the Way Forward for Now


In the last election abortion was on the ballot in several states. In many cases pro-life legislation failed to pass. For example, in Kentucky, which consistently votes Republican, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution denying the right to abortion in all cases failed to pass. Polling suggests that many Americans agree with having some restrictions on abortion, but not outright banning it.
It should go without saying that the Catholic Church opposes abortion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (No. 2271): “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion… Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” At the same time our legislative opposition to abortion can include incremental acts that seek to limit abortion. In “Evangelium Vitae,” Pope St. John Paul II noted that there can be legitimate progress in limiting the evil of abortion if we cannot outright ban it at the time.
We do not want to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Politicians and voters have an obligation to mitigate evil as much as they can, even if they can’t perfectly eliminate evil. This last election showed us that our pro-life fight needs to include strategies that push back in meaningful ways against radical pro-abortion legislation. While it may not be perfect, we can prevent greater harm by incrementally restricting abortion until we convert the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans.