Conor Lamb is a Roman Catholic.
In November of 2016, at the end of a not previously scheduled year of prayer called the Catholic Jubilee of mercy, Pope Francis said the church should open “the doors of reconciliation and pardon.” Franics said God “does not record evil that has been done or keep score of injustices experienced …let us ask for the grace of never closing the doors of reconciliation and pardon, but rather of knowing how to go beyond evil and differences, opening every possible pathway of hope.” Francis said that even if the “Holy Door” closes and is unforgiving, meaning the church, the “true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us.”
The Pope said after centuries of practice in its staunch anti-abortion position, wherein only bishops could forgive a woman who had an abortion, he extended that power to priests. Abortion was a mortal sin in the church and could lead to excommunication. Francis’ historic edict was in line with the theme of the Jubilee: forgiveness. Francis said the Church and now priests should absolve “the sin of abortion (for) those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”
Still, a mortal sin is a mortal sin. And for the official Church, abortion is that. But Francis has been radically shifting the church and not all Catholics are in step and others think he’s not gone far enough.
So where does Conor Lamb stand on abortion?
1. Conor Lamb Is a Roman Catholic, Brought Up in the Church & Attended Catholic Schools
Conor Lamb’s grandfather, a longtime significant face of the Democratic machine in Pennsylvania, was described in his obituary as being a devout “Irish Catholic immigrant’s son.”
Conor attended the St.Bernard School in Mt. Lebanon and graduated from Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School.
Lamb has agreed that church doctrine conflicts with the law on abortion, but also believes in the separation of church and state and upholding the law of a woman’s right to choose.
2. Lamb May Privately & Personally Oppose Abortion Based on His Catholic Beliefs, But Defends a ‘Woman’s Legal Right to Choose’
Conor Lamb is Catholic, but he’s a lawyer too and was a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice, as an Assistant US Attorney in Pittsburgh. Lamb handled many high profile drug cases as part of his effort to use the law to help fight the heroin epidemic in his state. And on abortion, his position is a legal one he says and a position that uphold the separation of church and state.
From the Ohio border to the south Pittsburgh suburbs voters heard two subtly different positions from Lamb. City & State Pennsylvania asked voters from the more urban to the more rural and the voters from near the city called him pro-choice while rural voters said Lamb is pro-life but also believes in choice. The Lamb campaign clarified in a statement: “Lamb tells anyone who asks that he’s a Catholic who doesn’t think his personal religious beliefs should restrict a woman’s legal right to choose.”
Lamb told McClatchy that for him, it’s about defending the law as it stands.
And Lamb has said, “Once you make something a right, it’s a right. And it’s like that for a reason.”
3. Lamb Opposed the Republican Proposal of a 20-Week Abortion Ban
Lamb said he does not support a ban on abortion at 20 weeks. “I just want to say, I don’t use the term ‘pro-life’ to describe what I personally believe, because that’s a political term. It’s not one that you learn in Catholic school or anywhere else in the church,” Lamb told The Weekly Standard.
Lamb confirmed the church’s teachings but qualified his position.
.“We believe that life begins at conception …but as a matter of separation of church and state, I think a woman has the right to choose under the law,” hence his no vote on a 20-week ban.
4. The Conundrum for Anti-Abortion & Pro-Choice Democrats in a Predominately Catholic District
In January of 2017 Pennsylvania’s Sen. Bob Casey, a practicing Catholic who attended both College of the Holy Cross and Catholic University of America, an affirmed anti-abortion Dem, supported Planned Parenthood when he came out against a GOP move to halt funding for the group. One year later, Casey voted to ban abortions after 20 weeks. He was one of three Democratic senators to do so. Dems were not thrilled. It’s a slippery landscape for Democrats.
Lamb told Dave Weigel of The Washington Post, “I come from a Catholic background, (but) choice is the law of the land.”
But Lamb has avoided answering directly and frankly where he stands politically on abortion. And that’s the difference between being a lawyer upholding the law and a lawmaker, or law changer which is the power granted elected members of Congress. They are not called lawmakers for nothing.
5. Students From Lamb’s Alma Mater Attended the Annual ‘March for Life’ in Washington
A group of students from Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School attended the 45th annual ‘March for Life’ in January.
The school said the students went to publicly display “their belief in the sanctity of life.”
“The theme of the 2018 March was “Love Saves Lives.” It was in that spirit that nearly 50 students and several chaperones journeyed to our nation’s capital and were amongst the tens of thousands gathered together to demonstrate their belief in the sanctity of life, to educate themselves and their peers in current events shaping life issues, and to protest the evils of abortion,” the statement read.
“This years March for Life was a wonderful opportunity not only for our students to bear witness to human life but also to experience the strength of the Pro-life movement,” said CCHS teacher and chaperone Matthew Sczweck.