Massachusetts mayor challenges local pro-abortion Catholic politicians

Mayor Koch Mayor Thomas Koch of Quincy, Massachusetts, speaks at the city's "Night 4 Life" rally on Thursday, June 17. | Lisa Aimola

A Massachusetts mayor called out pro-abortion Catholic politicians last Thursday at a pro-life rally in Quincy. 

In his speech at a June 17 “Night 4 Life” rally in Quincy, Massachusetts, the city’s mayor Thomas Koch asked, “Where are the consciences today of our elected politicians – particularly the Catholic and Christian ones?” the New Boston Post reported.

The pro-life rally, which took place at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, was attended by hundreds of participants. 

In an email following the event, Mayor Koch told CNA that "the Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message and I am so proud that our city hosted the Night for Life affirming respect for every human being from conception to natural death." 

Koch, a practicing Catholic, left the Democrat party in 2018 in response to comments by Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez that all Democrats should support abortion rights. Koch is now a registered independent.

Koch’s speech, delivered off-the-cuff, entailed a story of his own failure to rally the local Democratic politicians on a critical pro-life cause. At the end of 2020, the state legislature voted to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the ROE Act, a bill that expanded legal abortion throughout a woman’s pregnancy. 

The ROE Act allows minors to get an abortion without parental consent, allows abortion after 24 weeks in the case of a fatal diagnosis of the unborn child, and strikes down a state law that requires doctors to try to save the life of a baby born alive after a failed abortion attempt. 

The local Quincy state legislators voted to override Baker’s veto. With a population of almost 95,000, the city south of Boston is home to three Democratic state representatives and one Democratic state senator. According to the New Boston Post, local representatives Bruce Ayers and Ron Mariano, as well as state senator John Keenan, all identify as Catholic.

In response to Koch’s speech, Keenan told CNA that he has already expressed his opinion through his vote and declined to comment further. Keenan also declined to comment on whether he was a Catholic.

In his speech, Koch said that he learned how to be “principled” from a young age after watching his father, Richard J. Koch, distance himself from Senator Ted Kennedy. As a campaign aide for Kennedy, Koch’s father spent extensive time with the senator but “departed” the position after Kennedy supported legal abortion.

In his speech, Koch encouraged the crowd to bring the pro-life discussion into the different spheres of public and social life. 

“We are the apostles of our time,” Koch said. “We need to be that light of hope.”

Other speakers at the June 17 rally included the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. Mother Olga Yaqob, founder of the religious order Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, also spoke, as well as former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson and former Planned Parenthood employee Abby Johnson.

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