The Politics of Abortion, The Chickens Come Home to Roost

In my November 5, 2008, column I wrote:

Politics is not about the truth but rather about marginalizing the truth in order to gain advantage with voting blocs. It happens in every election. The Democrats scream that the Republicans are going to take away Social Security and Medicare benefits even though it isn’t true. And the Republicans scream that the Democrats are going to raise your taxes even though — well, that one is true.

“But this year hit a new low in marginalizing the truth and it involved the Catholic Church.

“There were two persistent rumors that traveled the political circles regarding the presidential race. The first was that the Democrat platform was more “pro-life” that that of the Republicans. The second was that the Church had declared that it would be a mortal sin to vote for John McCain. Neither was true.”

These rumors were promoted by the politicians for whom being loyal to the Democrat party is more important than the teachings of the Church and was sporadically given credence by a small group of priests for whom liberation theology is more important than their vows of obedience. (There has always been a spattering of renegade priests who gain national attention by defying the Church — Michael Flager and Daniel and Phillip Berrigan for instance — in pursuit of political agendas.)

As a result over sixty percent of Catholics voted for Barack Obama and his Democrat colleagues. (Because, historically, the human rights positions of the Democrat Party have been more aligned with working class Catholics than those of the Republicans, generations grew up Democrat by default and have ignored the fact that the Democrat party has moved substantially away from those positions in pursuit of its goals of abortion on demand, fetal stem cell research and euthanasia.) And now the chickens are coming home to roost.

One of the first pieces of legislation to be considered by the new Democrat Congress will be the so-called Freedom of Choice Act. Despite its high sounding name it is simply the penultimate “abortion on demand” legislation. President Bush — a Republican — has routinely threatened to veto the legislation and, therefore, it has not progressed. President-elect Obama, a Democrat, has promised to sign it and, therefore, it is on a fast track to be on his desk immediately after his oath of office.

Isn’t that great? The first piece of legislation by the President of Change We Can Trust is designed to insure that minor children can receive an abortion without parental knowledge or consent. Isn’t that great? Doesn’t that just make your heart sing? The first thing the Democrats do is secure abortions on demand for even more people. Apparently a million deaths a year is not enough.

Under current law, you cannot give a child an aspirin in school without parental consent. But you can counsel and deliver a child to an abortionist to terminate a life without either parental knowledge or consent in this new piece of legislation that is about to become law.

But that isn’t the only thing the Freedom of Choice Act will do. It also will deny an “act of conscience” to Catholic hospitals and Catholic medical professionals. In other words, under the provisions of this Act, the licensing of medical facilities and personnel will be at risk if they refuse, as an act of conscience, to perform abortions on demand. That’s the kind of Change we Can Trust. This country has always permitted “conscientious objections” to war but, apparently, we are not going to permit it for the all important abortion on demand.

For those of you who are Catholic and thought you were voting for Obama to end the war, guess again. Vice-President-elect Joe Biden (another ostensible Catholic who has an unbroken string of pro-abortion votes) has just assured the Afghanistan government that we will continue to be engaged in the war there and will increase our troop commitments. The cabinet appointments by Obama indicate that he intends to give little attention to foreign policy or defense (strong appointments) but rather will focus on domestic policy (“Yes” men and women appointments). And true to his word, given to Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007,

“The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.”

Obama will be given that opportunity.

At a time when America faces a well-financed and determined terror threat here and abroad, when the economy is failing at every turn, where its cornerstone institutions are floundering from a pattern of greed and poor management, where virtually every state and local government is on the verge of bankruptcy because of decades of irresponsible spending beyond their means, is the first thing we need to do is broaden the spectrum of abortions? Is this the “HOPE and CHANGE” you yearned for?

And, perhaps, before Catholics swoon over the possibility of yet another generation of Kennedy’s ascension to the United States Senate, someone — anyone — ought to ask Caroline Kennedy about her position on abortion, about partial birth abortion, about parental knowledge and consent for abortions on demand for minors, on fetal stem cell research, on euthanasia. It will be a good test to determine whether it is more important for her to be a Democrat official than a Catholic, because you can’t be both.

  • John Fairplay

    My view of this is that Catholic politicians who vote against their religious beliefs and voters who support politicians who vote against their religious beliefs are going to answer for these actions. They don’t have to answer to me, but they will have a chance to explain themselves to God, and then they can look forward to an eternity of torment that will make Gitmo look like a Sunday School picnic. I wish them well.

  • Kathryn Hickok

    Thank you for your lucid discussions of these grave issues, Larry, here and in November. The Catholic bishops of the United States strongly oppose the Freedom of Choice Act and are asking the Catholic faithful to oppose this legislation. Opposition to FOCA and to any other attempts to dismantle current legal protections for human life from conception until natural death, for vulnerable girls and women, and for the consciences of health care providers were discussed passionately and at length at the fall meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops last November. The bishops’ official website is and contains the official position of the Catholic Church on the life issues and the public policy and legal issues surrounding them.

  • Harry

    There are people of faith who adhere to their religious beliefs.

    And then there are people of politics who want to (need to) appear as people of faith, mainly for their political health, but also for their mental health. These types adhere to their political beliefs more strongly than to their religious beliefs.

    Both of these types call themselves Catholics (or protestants, jews, muslims, etc), but only one of the above holds real convictions about their beliefs. The other holds religious beliefs that are changeable depending upon their political situation and calculations.

    But, again, both claim to be Catholic (or other religions). But one can fairly easily tell the two apart, by their actions about their beliefs.