Friday, October 17, 2008

A Response to Doug Kmiec’s opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times

Let us take Obama at his word. After all, words have meaning. Doug Kmiec in his opinion article in The Los Angeles Times on Friday October 17, 2008 cites Obama’s words from the third debate.

“Abortion is "always a tragic situation," he said, and we should "try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred ... and providing options for adoption and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby. ... Nobody is pro-abortion. ... We should try to reduce these circumstances."

A person should examine the meaning of these words. Abortion is a “tragic” situation. Why? Abortion is not a tragic situation according to Planned Parenthood, one of Obama’s biggest supporters. It is simply a back up choice for failed birth control.

Is it a tragic situation because a baby’s life is ended due to an abortion?

Is the loss of life what makes abortion tragic?

Then why not oppose the act of abortion?

Why not address the means of preventing unintended pregnancies not only by providing education and support and options for adoption, but also by recognizing the sanctity of human life?

Why is respecting the person so difficult for Barack Obama?

As for Doug Kmiec, he misstates Catholic teaching in this regard. Catholics cannot support someone who openly supports child killing, just as Catholics cannot support someone who openly supports slavery or racism?

The claim that Obama is simply pro-choice is a lie. Obama told Planned Parenthood that the first bill he would sign into law is the Freedom of Choice Act. FOCA would serve to increase the number of abortions this country. Obama has voted against any and all laws that would provide meaningful regulations to the abortion industry. Non of these measures would have made abortion illegal. Yet Obama voted against every one of them. How is that being simply “pro-choice?”

As a Catholic I am outraged at Kmiec using his previous status and prestige as a Catholic professor to influence others to do wrong. I can imagine how people felt when arguing against slavery and being told that abolition would never work and we must concede the future to the pro-choicers. After all the pro-slavery politicians told abolitionists that they did not have to own slaves, but they should support another’s right to choose.

Fortunately we have the teachings of the Church to assist in understanding the duties we Catholic citizens face when going to the polls. We are told to form our conscience and know what is right and what is wrong. We are told to examine the issues and compare the candidate’s positions with the teachings of the Gospel. We can accept and agree that the protection of innocent human life is the first role and purpose of the family, of the community, of government. What does the Church say?

Here is part of a joint statement by two Catholic bishops from Dallas and Fort Worth, recently released in light of this effort to confuse Catholics.

"Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good... It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop..." (The Gospel of Life, 72; 101)….

Therefore, we cannot make more clear the seriousness of the overriding issue of abortion – while not the "only issue" – it is the defining moral issue, not only today, but of the last 35 years.…

As Catholics we are morally obligated to pray, to act, and to vote to abolish the evil of abortion in America, limiting it as much as we can until it is finally abolished. …

No matter how right a given candidate is on any of these issues, it does not outweigh a candidate's unacceptable position in favor of an intrinsic evil such as abortion or the protection of "abortion rights."

As Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship states:
"The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed." (28) …
…there are no "truly grave moral" or "proportionate" reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year.

To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or "abortion rights" when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil – and, therefore, morally impermissible.

Clarity and honestly require that one denounce Kmiec’s pandering on behalf of Barack Obama for the Catholic vote by misstating the Catholic Church’s position on voting for pro-abortion candidates. What is tragic is that he knows better. But because his candidate Mitt Romney did not get the nomination, he has decided to jump ship and abandon the cause that would defend human life. Even if Doug Kmiec had some secret promise from Barack Obama that once elected he would “see the light,” I cannot understand how one could believe someone who has voted against a bill to protect children who survive a late term abortion. Gianna Jesson survived a late term abortion. Was her life not worth protecting in law, Doug?

Catholics have a duty to defend life. Indeed such a duty is not limited to people of faith. We all are called to respect and protect the weak and defenseless. In your article you capitulated on this duty when you wrote
Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on abortion, the common political ideal may consist only of that space. This does not, of course, leave the right to life undecided or unprotected. Nor for that matter does the reservation of space for individual determination usurp for Caesar the things that are God's, or vice versa. Rather, it allows this sensitive moral decision to depend on religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual's voluntary embrace of one of many faiths.

It sounds nice, until one considers that the “sensitive moral decision” means that a child’s life will be snuffed out.

And yet, Barack Obama’s position on abortion is not even that simple. He wants to pass FOCA. He wants to spend tax dollars to pay for abortion. He wants to continue to fund Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider.
So spare me your efforts to justify your betrayal of the children. If you really opposed abortion, then you would act like it.


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