By Cassy Fiano-Chesser
The University of California San Francisco (UCSF), one of the nation’s premier abortion training sites, recently held a panel featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Held on Women’s Equality Day, the panel’s focus was promoting abortion, while denigrating pro-life activists as “sinful” for opposing abortion.
Being pro-life is a sin?
Pelosi has frequently touted her Catholic faith as a reason for supporting abortion — so much so that Salvatore Cardileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, barred her from receiving communion. In a transcript of her remarks at UCSF, she repeatedly invoked the issue of “sin” in relation to protecting preborn children from abortion.
“The fact that this is such an assault on women of color and women – lower income families — is just sinful,” she said. “It’s sinful. It’s wrong that they would be able to say to women what they think women should be doing with their lives and their bodies. But it’s sinful, the injustice of it all.”
Pelosi repeatedly has called herself a “devout Catholic,” even though the Catholic Church considers abortion a grave evil. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense.
… The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation… The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined.
The notion that being pro-life is a sin directly contradicts Catholic teaching, as Cordileone pointed out himself in a previous interview. “No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,” he said. “To use the smokescreen of abortion as an issue of health and fairness to poor women is the epitome of hypocrisy: what about the health of the baby being killed? What about giving poor women real choice, so they are supported in choosing life? This would give them fairness and equality to women of means, who can afford to bring a child into the world. It is people of faith who run pro-life crisis pregnancy clinics; they are the only ones who provide poor women life-giving alternatives to having their babies killed in their wombs.”
The “freedom” to take lives
Pelosi also spoke of how the fall of Roe v. Wade is harming women, because abortion — the intentional taking of a preborn life — is, according to her, what gives women freedom.
“Unimaginable pain is being inflicted on women around the country,” she said. “American women today are not as free as their mothers… It’s an injustice that we will not tolerate and cannot stand.”
Ushma Upadhyay, a professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences for UCSF who helped lead the thoroughly debunked Turnaway Study, echoed those sentiments, though she offered little more than rhetoric to back up her claims. “UCSF is nationally recognized for its research on abortion,” she said. “And what the research shows is that the Supreme Court ruling… goes directly against science. Research shows that overturning Roe will be devastating for people and their families for years to come.”
Of course, abortion doesn’t make anyone free; on the contrary, it helps the oppression of women to continue. There is no incentive for educational and economic systems to accommodate women with families when abortion is the preferred and expected ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ of pregnancy. It’s faster, easier, and cheaper to coerce a woman into an abortion than to put systems in place ensuring she can continue her education or thrive in her career while pregnant or parenting.
This has been seen most starkly since the fall of Roe, with major corporations increasing their funding of abortion for pregnant employees, while cutting back their maternity and parental leave benefits.
Meanwhile, the Turnaway Study purports to “prove” that women don’t regret their abortions — and the researchers behind it claim that a lack of abortion will literally threaten women’s lives. Yet Upadhay, who worked with Diana Greene Foster on the study, ignores that the research was inherently flawed.
The sample size was small to begin with, and even then, only 27% agreed to participate… out of the thousands of women asked. In the final year, participation dropped even further to 17%. On top of that, the participants were selected by the abortion industry itself. Under these circumstances, it is impossible to know how many women actually did regret their abortions years later, or to legitimately claim that women who kept their children fared worse.
A biased panel
UCSF has a vested interest in abortion. It is one of the nation’s foremost abortion training facilities, funding and operating over 100 programs across the country. It is also involved in fetal tissue harvesting and experimentation.
Dr. Eleanor Drey, who was featured on the panel, is the medical director of the Women’s Options Center at San Francisco General Hospital, a training hospital run by the UCSF School of Medicine. She has said before that her goal is to “maintain and increase the number of abortions we provide, which has allowed us to increase the number of residents and students we train.” This is despite the fact that the number of abortions committed across the United States had been on the decline until the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing into question why Drey feels it necessary to create more abortionists and increase abortions. In addition, taxpayers are funding the work of UCSF.
Given UCSF’s strident support and promotion of abortion, there was no possibility that this panel, ostensibly on “women’s equality,” was going to be anything but in support of abortion.