SPRINGFIELD, Va., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- With Congress addressing the question of abortion funding in the recent health care bills and some Catholic Bishops recently reaffirming the denial of communion to Pro-Choice legislators such as Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the debate over legal abortion has once again been brought to the forefront of public consciousness. In his new book, "Is Being Pro-Choice a Sin?" (published by iUniverse), author, retired lawyer and pro-choice Catholic Leonard Belter presents scientific, practical, and religious-based arguments challenging the Catholic Church's demand that Catholics must oppose legalized abortion.
"Is Being Pro-Choice a Sin?" examines the human reproductive process and the numerous official pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church on abortion. Belter points out that the basis for the Church's position, namely the claim that every fertilized human egg necessarily will become a human person, is not met prior to successful implantation. He finds significant additional support for this same conclusion in two undisputed facts. First, far more fertilized human eggs are naturally shed in the reproductive process prior to implantation than are subjected to procured abortions. Second, for up to fourteen days of gestation, every developing human embryo has the potential to become more than one human person or to combine with another embryo and become less than one, thus belying any assertion that an individual human necessarily exists prior to that point.
Belter summarizes where he stands and why. He explains in detail the rational basis for seriously competing views, as well as the Church's own checkered history in its conclusions in the moral arena. "Is Being Pro-Choice a Sin?" details the evidence regarding the practical consequences of re-criminalizing abortion, including evidence respecting ineffectiveness and safety. He argues that the primacy of the individual conscience, particularly in the application of the principle of proportionality in weighing all these matters, undermines any conclusion that a Catholic citizen commits a sin by refusing to support re-criminalization of abortion.
"Is Being Pro-Choice a Sin?" asserts that individual conscience must be respected in any pluralistic society on an issue on which reasonable minds can and do differ. Catholics, as informed citizens, have every right in good conscience to conclude that criminalizing abortion prior to the point of viability is not good public policy, regardless of their personal views and that of their Church.
"Is Being Pro-Choice a Sin?" concludes with a plea for deference to the exercise of individual conscience by millions of Catholic citizens in refusing to support re-criminalizing abortion, and for a respectful dialog in place of accusatory rhetoric and threats to deny communion.
Leonard Belter is a graduate of Columbia Law School and former officer in the United States Marine Corps. He continued his public service as an assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia. He went on to practice law in a private firm and is now retired in Springfield, Va., with his wife.
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