On June 21, 2017, the far-left group Catholics for Choice put an unsavory, anti-Catholic ad on the cover of The Washington Post tabloid Express, falsely accusing Catholics of “discrimination.” The aim of the ad is clear: coerce Catholic institutions into paying for abortion-inducing drugs by lying.
The ad featured a caricature of a cardinal in pre-Vatican II clerical garb, pointing at viewers. A printed inscription below the image ran “We want YOU to help us discriminate.”
The ad listed the various ways Catholic institutions supposedly ‘discriminate’ - not providing contraception at Catholic universities and workplaces, only placing adoptions with married, male-female couples, and not providing abortions at Catholic hospitals.
In The Baltimore Sun, Jon O’Brien - president of Catholics for Choice - wrote an op-ed that compounded falsity upon falsity - particularly when he made a non-existent allegiance between Donald Trump and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops seem like fact. Just a day before that ad appeared in Express, O’Brien wrote the following:
“...we’ve seen over five years [the USCCB’s] real intent: to galvanize the Catholic hierarchy around an agenda to discriminate against and impose their beliefs on Catholics and non-Catholics alike. And their persistence has paid off, despite very little support or attention from everyday Catholics. Why? Because they found a benefactor unlike any other. President Trump has rewarded the bishops handily for their loyalty during the elections.”
Yet no real loyalty - in fact, no real relationship whatsoever - exists between the Trump Administration and the USCCB. Before the election, many clergy of all Christians denominations were wary of a Trump presidency. O’Brien also asserted that the so-called Trump-supporting clergy are out of touch with “everyday Catholics”, but according to a poll from the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Catholics voted for Trump.
O’Brien listed various ways Donald Trump has supposedly “rewarded” Catholic “loyalty” - denying “funding to any organization abroad that speaks about, advocates for or refers patients to abortion services, including providers of HIV/AIDS assistance.” Yet the only federally-funded organization that provides the services listed above is Planned Parenthood, and their reach in developing countries is comparably miniscule.
O’Brien also described Trump’s proposal to repeal the universally-criticised Johnson Amendment. Not naming the Amendment, O’Brien wrote on Trump’s plans to lift “restrictions that prevent tax-exempt houses of worship from engaging in partisan political activity.” Repealing the Johnson Amendment would, in reality, simply give religious and non-profit organizations the ability to speak out against any law they would find to be morally reprehensible, including legalized abortion.
O’Brien also bemoaned Trump’s move to lift the HHS Mandate - which requires, under penalty of crippling fines, that religious organizations provide abortion-causing drugs to their employees and students. Catholics for Choice clearly forgets the Catholic Church opposes abortion in all forms - including abortifacients.
The Washington Post had printed the same anti-Catholic ad back in 2015. Clearly, this far-left group finds it ethically acceptable to blatantly lie about Catholic leadership, teaching, and the convictions of “everyday Catholics.”