Obama on Abortion

Thursday, April 30, AD 2009

Probably the most interesting part of the press conference last night.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has an interesting take on it.  Obama remains an ardent pro-abort, but I think he is beginning to realize that while that position may be popular among a majority of his supporters, it is much less so with the country at large.  I daresay all the upcry over Obama Day at Notre Dame is also having an impact upon him.  The Freedom of Choice Act* has tumbled from the “first thing he would sign” at the White House to “not the highest legislative priority”.   The message to the pro-life movement is clear.  Stay active, stay noisy and expose every pro-abort move that this administration makes to the public at large.  Obama is paying attention and he will back down in the face of determined opposition.


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25 Responses to Obama on Abortion

  • “Obama is paying attention and he will back down in the face of determined opposition.”

    I agree with this sentiment. But maybe I am just naively hopeful.

  • Wow. One thing I really find striking is how the rhetoric — the run down is so consistent each time he talks about it. 1. Abortion has a moral and ethical component. 2. Women don’t make these decisions casually. 3. They are better positioned to decide the morality of the matter. 4. We should seek “common ground” and reduce the number of abortions — in other words, not the debate the issue itself directly.

    Every video, every speech I have ever seen or read, this is the precise ordering and talking points. And the “ums” almost indicate he’s trying to remember his lines.


    Well, I’m glad FOCA is not a legislative priority. I wonder how Emily’s List feels about that.

  • I appreciate President Obama’s pragmatism on the subject. It also helps that he has good command of the English language (I cringed each time ‘W’ spoke) as well as a fluid speaking style.

    Though I disagree with his pro-choice/pro-abortion stance, he can easily identify the (and by name) the strong opposition from the pro-life camp.


    Excellent observation. He clearly is trying to remember his talking points, but it sure does help.

  • I hate to rain on this parade, I really do, but some of us were pointing out all along that the whole “first thing he would sign” business was nothing but campaign hype, and that it was a little silly to get so worked up about it.

    It’s better to come late to the party than not at all, and I’m obviously not pointing the finger at anyone here since I wasn’t posting here during the campaign. But the plain fact is that Obama has always been willing to have a reasonable discussion about abortion, even if he will, in the end, not be moved to accept the entire pro-life argument.

    Meanwhile some on our side make it seem as if one of the pre-requisites for being considered authentically pro-life is to hold as an article of faith that all pro-choice Americans are intolerant fanatics who cannot be reasoned with and who have no redeeming qualities.

    We can and must oppose abortion on all fronts, but we must also remember that we live in a world where the majority does not totally agree with us.

  • Couldn’t disagree more Joe. Obama is a total pro-abort. His idea of a reasonable discussion is abortion being legal forever. If he had the power FOCA would be passed tomorrow. That he hesitates is only because of strong pro-life opposition.

  • Donald,

    Well Obama has to be lying to someone here, and from everything I’ve seen and heard from him, I think it is more reasonable to conclude that he was feeding hype to the PP crowd than conclude that he is lying to us today. He’s elected now, he doesn’t need to be the politician on the campaign trail anymore.

    For better or worse, I do think that he has a sincere belief in trying to ‘find common ground’. I’ve never seen him fail to acknowledge at least the bare bones argument of the side he disagrees with, and pay them a minimum amount of respect.

    In today’s political world, where the politics section at the bookstore is filled with titles reflecting anger, cynicism, and hatred, where the pundits have nothing but one-sided takes on important issues, I have to say, I appreciate his approach.

  • I cringe each time I hear 0bama speak. A lie a minute. Um…Err…um…Fluid speaking style? I never understood this assessment of him. He’s looking for the next word like a drunk fumbling for the light switch. All this with a teleprompter. Feh.

  • Such a winning way of approaching the intelocutor/person with which you must deal, as the key political figure pertaining to so many important issues of human life and dignity…

  • Don’t get me wrong Joe. I fully expect Obama to throw the pro-aborts under the bus if it is to his political advantage, in that he will not fight for pro-abortion legislation if he believes that the political backlash will harm him. That is why it is so important for all pro-lifers to assert clearly that there will be a high political price to pay for pro-abortion legislation.

    As for pro-lifers, all we would ever get from Obama would be substanceless bloviating as Dr Frank Page on Obama’s Faith Council has learned:


    Obama is only interest in dialogue with us in hopes of making us toothless in our opposition. He will fail in that hope.

  • Joe is right. What I find weird about Donald and his link is that they clearly have not listened to Obama speak on this before. They seem to think this is something new. Instead, the parrot the old FOCA line ad nauseam, clearly influenced more by the right’s talking points than what Obama himself says. No, his answer last night is the same answer he gave whenever asked about this through the whole campaign (with its 254 debates…).

    I might be biased (!), but I’m rather partial to this take: http://vox-nova.com/2009/04/30/obama-addresses-abortion/

  • Tony, I quote what Obama himself said to Planned Parenthood regarding the Freedom of Choice Act. Horse’s mouth and all that. Since you voted for Obama perhaps it helps get you through the night to assert that he is a moderate on abortion. He is not and to pretend otherwise is to engage in pathetic self-deception. If it is to his political advantage, since he is above all a narcissist, he will betray the pro-abort movement, but only if he is confronted with a strong pro-life movement, and not with “pro-lifers” who will vote for him no matter what he does in regard to abortion.

  • Why do you assume Obama is a narcissist? Really, what is the foundation for that belief?

    I’ve known real narcissists in life, and Obama is nothing like them.

    It is true that political concerns will check his ambitions on abortion. I think Obama understands political reality, and is willing to accept compromise on the issue.

    Essentially Donald I agree with you that our stand must be strong and unwavering, and that this will have an impact on Obama. I just don’t think it will have the kind of impact that archetypal heroes have on archetypal villains, but rather the kind of impact that concerned and active citizens have on politicians who have a modicum of interest in serving their constituency.

    In other words, not only is there no need to make Obama out to be something worse than what he really is, it may actually be counter-productive. Until he proves himself unwilling or unable to listen and respond, I’m going to continue giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  • As to his narcissism Joe, the man wrote two autobiographies, the first when he was thirty-four; he has allowed a bizarre cult of personality to develop among some of his followers; his constant use of the royal “we”; his willingness to throw people he claimed were close personal friends under the bus in order to advance his rise to power; his thin skin to any criticism; his belief that he can charm our enemies through personal diplomacy; his reliance on a teleprompter to get every word of a speech perfect; the Obama “presidential” seal that he used during the campaign. Obama is not the first narcissist we have had for President, Bill Clinton this is your cue, but I think he has the worst case of it.

  • From a tactical standpoint on the abortion issue I think it is good that Obama is a narcissist. If he were a true believer above all in the pro-abort cause that would make him a much more effective opponent of the pro-life cause. Narcissists always prize self-preservation, in the case of Obama political self-preservation, and I think that is key in coming up with strategies to counter-act him on abortion.

  • Does the sign on Mr. McClarey’s business shingle read “attorney of law’ or “clinical psychologist”?

    I always thought he was a lawyer.

  • Mr. DeFrancisis the law has more narcissists than any other profession I can think of off hand so I have had plenty of time to observe them in action! In regard to Obama I do not think one needs any professional credentials to conclude that he is a narcissist, merely eyes to see and ears to hear.

  • Donald,

    I don’t buy the narcissist argument. Obama is a self-promoter, yes, but I actually get the sense that he is more insecure than he lets on. That’s the ‘thin skin’ you’re talking about. Narcissists by contrast are immune to criticism.

    Narcissists are almost incapable of simulating what it is like to hold another position or be in the shoes of another person. That’s just not Obama. Obama is able to look at things from other points of view and at least understand the basic principles of his political opponents. Narcissists can only do that with the most excruciating difficulty. Obama does it effortlessly.

    He’s just not a bad guy, and certainly not a narcissist. And, for the record, I don’t think Bush was a bad guy either. When I was a young leftist I hated him like everyone else did on the left, but the older I got the more tiresome all the jokes about his intelligence and speaking abilities became.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    My statement was more a poor attempt at humor than an argument about professionalization as a necessary condition in the discernment of psychological disorders.

  • Agreed Mr. DeFrancisis, and I took it in a humorous way. I took 20 hours of psych as an undergrad and remember mice in mazes and Freud in Vienna, or perhaps it was Freud in a maze and mice in Vienna.

    Joe, I sincerely hope you are right and I am wrong.

  • As has been pointed out many times, Obama’s genius is his ability to use such thoughtful and moderate-sounding rhetoric even while his actions tell a completely different story.

  • Joe, I agree with you insofar as we’re in agreement — I imagine you are — that dialogue is not at the expense of true progress. One of the immediate tragedies with the horror of abortion is strategy. The gravity and scope of the evil doesn’t lend itself to a timely cultural dialogue, particularly a false one — I’ll clarify this point momentarily. Though, it seems that given the situation, we are obliged to a win-some, lose-some strategy and it requires compromise. But, again, this is hard particularly if the result is generational perpetuation of abortion with the fruit of very slow social and cultural progress on the matter. Again, I’m reiterating so we’re clear, I’m not asserting you’re making this error. I’m just saying it for the sake of clarity.

    It seems to me and this was my reasoning: if the Democratic political machine can win Catholic, even pro-life votes, without any sort of meaningful criticism or opposition, there is no reason for them to change or even rethink their position on legal abortion. Rather, they’ll continue to play “word gymnastics” and say let’s reduce abortions. Now while abortion reduction is a good in the short-term, it cannot be confused as the long-term goal.

    I’m not saying this is your position — you haven’t made it your position — but I’ve encountered too many minds that think we’re going to reach zero abortions through socio-economic means, which is an absurdity. Poland illegalized abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. They went from six figure abortions to a much smaller, but still unfortunate, 300 abortions in a year. That is such a profound difference.

    In some sense, if you look at Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and Catholic Democrats, you get the idea that the pro-life position is solely and only “reducing the need for abortion” and not abolitionist. It’s no more intellectual incoherent than trying to solve the issue of slavery by subsidizing slave-owners so they won’t need slaves and giving contraception to slaves in order to reduce the number of slaves in the country. Now, I know and am fully aware you already agree with this. I just think “dialogue” is such a fine line between relativism and civil debate within a pluralistic society. That’s number one.

    Number two and this is for Don:

    “Don’t get me wrong Joe. I fully expect Obama to throw the pro-aborts under the bus if it is to his political advantage, in that he will not fight for pro-abortion legislation if he believes that the political backlash will harm him. That is why it is so important for all pro-lifers to assert clearly that there will be a high political price to pay for pro-abortion legislation.”

    Well, while I don’t deny this at all, here’s my problem. This mentality lends so much energy and focus toward the “enemy” that when we have a pro-life Congress or Administration, we don’t hold them too the fire in regard to their accomplishments, or lack thereof. This is unequivocally my opinion as a Democrat, so you are free to contradict me, but it seems to me that Republicans really in a lot of ways get a license, or a free pass, to get under the radar of scrutiny.

    If George Bush veteos health care for children it isn’t so much of an outrage. In regard to the wars in the Middle East, we need not even presuppose whether or not they’re just, but rather the management — I think from any perspective — has been far from ideal. So wherever the GOP may be lacking, they have a sort of “immunity” because of the pro-life label.

    It’s clearly more a label than an ethos because I just don’t see evidence for the contrary. If you have nine new Justices that weren’t on the court during Roe, with seven of them being appointed by pro-life Republican presidents (the majority of the pro-choicers appointed under Reagan) with only four of them being pro-life, it’s rather telling.

    I honestly don’t think Catholics should trust a political machine so blindly, let alone think it’s — or its politicians — are our allies. At least, in any sort of complete sense. Now, surely, I don’t think this is your view, but it’s more my concern about a “tendency.”

    Now surely abortion is an issue with very few, if any equals on the moral plane. The whole issue of “non-negotiable” issues is that Catholics cannot disagree on them, remain Catholics, and receive the Eucharist. Now in regard to all other issues, there is room for disagreement among Catholics. However, this (to me) seems to be indicative that these other issues do not regard activity that in and of themselves are objectively evil, therefore, a position on these other issues do not in themselves constitute grounds to bar Catholics from receiving communion.

    In regard to such matters, we aren’t all right (as much as we’d like to be). There isn’t a sudden moral neutrality. We can intellectually disagree, but arguably some position, some consideration is more fully (objectively) in accord with the Gospel, more reasonable, and more rational — it is truthful and most plausible in the context of a situation.

    I’m not sure why there is this sort of relativism that is prevalent because of the issues that call for “prudential analysis”, e.g. abortion is a paramount evil; Catholics can disagree about the war in Iraq and, say, capital punishment. This sort of talk almost paints the latter two issues as “non-issues.” Just in language, it can come across as saying, “Well, that’s not relevant right now. Abortion first.”

    I don’t think it’s entirely a matter of different degree of issues. I can’t recall any talk in the Catholic blogosophere [perhaps I simply overlooked it] about the massive spending increases and “big government” policies of the last eight years in any substantial way.

    So, admittedly, I think there’s a double standard and a bias. I don’t think it’s fair and I’m not sure if it really helps Catholics, of all political perspectives, to find a solution to our moral and social challenges. Rather it sort of puts us in camps and I think that’s what we’re watching play out.

    Just my two cents. Not sure how coherent it is.

  • Well, now that Justice Souter is retiring… I can’t wait to see who Obama thinks will be wonderful black-robed priest of the Constitution.

    Of course, maybe he’ll make a “mistake” just like Bush I did with Souter!

  • He’ll use a pro-choice litmus test and say he didn’t.

    Are there any pro-life judicial activists? I’d like to strike a deal…

  • On the narrow issue of Obama’s alleged “first thing” promise, I have to side with Joe, that it was somewhat overblown by the pro-life side.

    That statement to Planned Parenthood was made in response to a direct question about what he would do to protect abortion rights. I always took his reply to mean that signing FOCA was the “first thing” he would do in relation to abortion — not necessarily a literal promise that it would be the very first bill he would sign after taking the oath of office. His answer, taken in context, did not rule out the possibility that other issues (e.g. the economy) would take precedence over abortion.

    That being said, I do still believe that Obama is the most pro-abortion president since Roe, and if not for the determined and vocal opposition of pro-lifers, he probably would have gladly signed FOCA by now.

    I also partly agree with Joe with regard to Obama’s level of narcissism. Ex-Gov. Blago was and is a textbook example of hard-core narcissism (he too had ambitions of running for president). Obama is not nearly as far gone as he was. However, just about any successful politician is narcissistic to some extent.

  • Eric,

    Here’s the thing. Ideally, I would love for the US to do what Poland did, and just ban it, no ifs, ands, or buts. On say, 95% of issues, I’m more than willing to follow our Constitutional procedures. When it comes to protecting the right to life, however, my first preference would be an outright ban with or without the approval of individual states. This is a philosophical question, an ontological question, that cannot be decided by a majority vote.

    But that just isn’t going to happen. No president will do it, no Congress will do it. Thanks to the Blackmum court, we are now in a situation where we have no choice, ironic as it may seem, but to be politically pro-choice while being philosophically pro-life.

    What do I mean by that? I mean even the states rights, overturn Roe v Wade approach is ultimately a pro-choice position, no matter how anyone tries to spin it. You can say that you’ll vote pro-life when the time comes to decide whether abortion should be legal or illegal on a state to state basis. And that’s great! It’s certainly what I will do.

    But we’re still forced to accept that the ontological status of a human being can be decided by majority vote, if we’re going to stay within the confines of the political system. That is, in its essence, pro-choice, even if we personally choose pro-life.

    When presented with this undeniable logic a lot of ‘states rights’ pro-lifers admit that their position is a pragmatic one, and they think it is the best one. That’s fine. But the pro-life Obama voters also have a pragmatic approach – to reduce abortion through economic policy. There’s little if any moral difference between these positions, but the illusion is that there is a great difference.

    I think we should do the following: a) continue to work on overturning Roe, b) continue to work on reducing abortion through economic policy, c) continue what I see as the more valuable and effective work of building the culture of life, and d) strive for pro-life unity and recognize that both the anti-Roe and abortion reduction pro-lifers are pragmatists doing their best within the political system and the prevailing culture of death.

    I hope that makes sense.

Trust Us, We Were Lying!

Wednesday, December 3, AD 2008

One of the arguments I’m starting to get very tired of is that when Senator Obama addressed Planned Parenthood and promised that the first thing he would do as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (thus cementing a more drastic pro-abortion regime than has ever existed in the US to day) he was obviously just scoring partisan political points, and that Catholics are not only ill advised to worry about FOCA passing and being signed but that if they do so they are actively behaving in bad faith by accusing Obama of supporting something he never really meant to do.

I don’t think it’s news to anyone that politicians often pander, and to anyone who doubted it in the first place it’s increasingly clear that the only difference between Obama’s “new politics” and the old kind of politics is that the “new politics” involves Obama being president. But even if it’s common knowledge that one of the good ways of knowing that a politician is lying is to see if his mouth is moving, I don’t see how we can even discuss politics if we don’t assume that the promises which a politician expressly makes on the campaign trial represent something which the politician at least thinks would be a good idea.

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9 Responses to Trust Us, We Were Lying!

  • It is an odd phenomena. A candidate makes a campaign promise, the promise is cited, and then the people citing the promise are accused of dishonesty for repeating the promise.

    At the same time, I would say there is a hierarchy of plausibility in campaign promises, and the promise to sign FOCA is on the lower end of that spectrum. It was made 1) To a particular interest group once (rather than repeatedly), 2) When Obama still was scrambling for the nomination by running to Hillary’s left. Additionally, Obama, as far as I can tell, is a pragmatist. He wants to be re-elected, and knows that whatever marginal increased appreciation from his base he received from signing FOCA would more than likely be outweighed by a backlash among moderates.

    BTW nice turn of phrase about the ‘new politics’. I’ve thought the same thing but hadn’t seen it phrased that way.

  • I agree that FOCA is probably fairly unlikely to pass. Now that Obama is out of the left-wing bubble, he’s having to find ways to please more than just the sort of activists one runs into in Chicago politics.

    I’d see the most likely situation for it doing so being a situation in which flagship administration priorities are going down and it finds itself in need of shoring up its base. Then we could potentially see a certain amount of cultural left stuff rammed through.

    But it was a massively stupid promise to make in the first place. (I have difficulty thinking of a GOP example extreme enough to give a comparison, but I think the “Pure America Act” suggestion comes close.) I suppose now that we’re stuck with him as president we must hope that he’s gaining wisdom, but color me unimpressed.

  • Start the betting line in Vegas- which bishop is first to close the Catholic health care institutions in his see. Chaput is always a favorite. Brusky of Nebraska, natch. I could even nominate our Cardinal Rigali of Philly- got on phone with City Council in a flash over some meaningless Pro-Choice City Proclamation, removed next session. Been reading that our hospitals constitute one-third of U. S. of A. health care institutions. Would not be a good idea to institute nationalized health care with swamped public and other E.R.’s. Ball’s in your court, Mr. Obama. FOCA or hospitals- choose.

    (Also- can’t wait for first video of bishop dragged off to jail on FOCA protest charges- at hospital, abortuary, etc. Can cut to sound of air flying from balloon, signaling end of Obama Presidency if it occurs.)

  • I’d say the election in Georgia makes passage of FOCA much less likely, and not just because there is one more vote to sustain a filibuster. A President is never stronger than after he is first elected, and the defeat by a wide margin of Martin in the Senate runoff makes the election of Obama seem a bit less like a realigning election and a bit more like a fairly natural party switch after a two term presidency, especially with the economy in the tank. As a President is perceived more as a conventional politician and less like a political tidal wave, his influence diminishes. However, I do think there will be an attempt to pass FOCA, even if it appears unlikely to prevail, and I do anticipate that the Obama administration will always be a staunch foe of the pro-life movement, as they will amply demonstrate by Obama’s judicial picks. The election of Obama was a disaster of the first magnitude for the pro-life movement, and pro-lifers who voted for Obama obviously have, for them, much higher priorities than seeking to stop the legal slaughter of children within the womb.

  • The promises we make speak of who we are.

  • Appointments matter – to the S. Court and lower courts obviously, but also throughout the federal branch. There are a whole host of policies that need advancement and protection…notification, military bases, wait periods, federal funding, forcing clinics/professionals to do or provide x or y……

  • You cite a blog I write for, I would hope you would honest about us.

    I have always admitted that Barack Obama is pro-choice and that I disagree with him and consider it a legitimate reason not to vote for him.

    I am all in favor of opposing pro-abortion legislation and supporting pro-life legislation.

    You make the statement “FOCA is probably fairly unlikely to pass.”

    That is all I have said as well. And certainly there have been others who do not agree with us and make claims that passage is days away.

    Equally there is no right to lie about what FOCA would do. The great bluster was by the bishop of Arlington suggesting civil disobedience. To do so would first require his diocese to actually open a Catholic hospital, a ministry he has heretofore not maintained in his jurisdiction. Second, using the most extreme possible understanding of FOCA, he would have to file false Medicaid claims. Really, not the TV action that is suggested.

  • Kurt,

    So tell me again why you support Obama (and vote for him)?

  • Obama just signed today a reversal of the abortion policy, now forcing our tax money to fund international abortions. So, the Obamanation has sadly begun. And sure, I’ll bet Hillary will make it a pre-condition that countries seeking aid be willing to provide this murder service. God have mercy.

Canonical Options For Dealing With FOCA

Sunday, November 23, AD 2008

With President-elect Obama assembling together the most anti-life and anti-family radicals imaginable for his upcoming administration.  In addition to ignoring the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) statement* (November 12, 2008 AD) to reconsider not signing the misnomered Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).  Along with other abortion related executive, judicial, and legislative acts, the options to combat this evil are becoming fewer for American Catholics.

With American Catholics being left to their faith for sustenance, our shepherds, the Catholic Bishops (USCCB), may need to review their canonical options for dealing with Catholic legislative support for FOCA.  The USCCB will have to engage the issue of well known “Catholic legislators supporting a specifically and gravely evil bill” as Dr. Edward Peters, a well respected canon lawyer, stated today on his blog.  Dr. Edward Peters sees four (4) canonical options in “dealing with these Catholic legislators who support FOCA” (emphasis mine):

1. Canon 915. Make plain, by public announcement and/or private contact, that a legislator’s support for FOCA qualifies as (probably formal, but certainly proximate material) cooperation with objective grave evil and that such conduct, in this case, would render one ineligible for reception of holy Communion under Canon 915.

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3 Responses to Canonical Options For Dealing With FOCA

  • As Prof. Dr. Peters outlines, numerous options for our shepherds in case FOCA gets Mr. Obama’s John Hancock. The one possibility for prevention is that other issues command his attention, particularly the economy. If not, the bishops are in a significant bind. Many bold and freeswinging letters, documents, interview quotes were issued before November 4. Oops- the majority of our brethren voted with the understanding that economic issues trump the lives of unborn babies. Some quick and fast evangelization may be needed to reinforce opposition to FOCA. Never a very good idea to call for battle with no troops behind the generals.

  • Forget the troops! Be true shepherds and defend the magisterium regardless of the flock. The Bishops are wholly responsible for 54% of Catholics voting for evil by their equivocating in their ‘Faithful Citizenship’ Document. They must now act and act boldly. Forget the economy, the rich progressive benefactors, and lead, or resign. Also, the Vatican needs to be more selective when it chooses Bishops. The time for gentle politics is over. Act now and act decisively! This will seep back into what little is left the Church if no action is taken.

  • COLUMBIA, S.C. – A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and

To Pray, To Engage, and Fight Like a Maccabee.

Friday, November 21, AD 2008

I confess I am disappointed to see one of my colleagues at American Catholic dismiss the “Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama” as only so much “fruitless and pointless rhetoric”.

In response, permit me to explain what led to my own signature of the letter in question.

Readers of Catholics in the Public Square are no doubt aware that I have emphatically disagreed with Henry and those contributors at Vox Nova who supported Barack Obama throughout the 2008 election.

At the same time, to say Catholics shouldn’t have cast their vote for Obama is not the same thing as asserting that they were prohibited from doing so. This, at least, seems to be the conclusion drawn from the USCCB document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”:

There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position [on abortion] may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

Suffice to say I was among the those who did not believe a “grave moral reason” existed that warranted voting for Obama. And if some members of Vox Nova disagreed, I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt, and trust they thought about it as long and hard as my own decision to vote for Senator McCain.

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8 Responses to To Pray, To Engage, and Fight Like a Maccabee.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    I respect you more than you know. I also agree with most of your posting.

    I do want to say that if the letter emanated from an orthodox source say like Fr. Zuhlsdorf or even Mark Shea, I would not have regarded the “open letter” as fruitless and pointless.

    I want to say that the letter, because of the source that it is emanating from, is pretty much Dead On Arrival. Not that President-elect Obama would not respond positively, which I am sure you and I agree that he does, but basically that people such as Henry Karlson, Michael Deem, and their ilk have done everything possible (with some even advocating AND voting for Obama) to confuse Catholics, obfuscate the issues, and undermine the Faithful Citizenship document to the point of allowing faithful Catholics to be confused at best, disoriented at most.

    I also agree 100% with Dale Price, and I do pray often each day and for our new President-elect, that we as Catholics should engage in dialogue with our new President. But I do not believe the sincerity and genuiness of a certain group of Catholics that did the maximum possible harm to the efforts of preventing Senator Obama from being elected President of our great nation.

    Christopher, I do not doubt for one moment your sincerity and honesty or Fr. Z’s, Mark Shea’s, Deal Hudsons, and the many other orthodox Catholics that signed. You and the other orthodox Catholics did not do anything wrong, in my eyes.

    To those that misled the faithful, the following quotes from holy scripture come to mind:

    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

    — Romans 1:22-23

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

    — Isaiah 5:20-24

    Again Christopher, I don’t fault you for you signing the document. I believe your sincerity to the fullest.

  • Christopher,

    I like the “fight like a Macabee” title. I heard it before from another poster on another blog. Is this a common refrain? If it is, I haven’t heard of it until recently.

    Again, I don’t discount the letter by itself, just that it came from certain Vox Nova bloggers, just seems very disingenuous to me coming from them.


  • Christopher,

    A very reasoned and fair engagement on your part.

    Your philosophical mentors are/would be proud, I am sure!

  • Still a nice letter. Always good to keep the door open until it gets slammed shut. If I could guess and I will that our President Elect will be totally preoccupied with ecnomic stuff and being the Wizard of Oz who suddenly makes everything better. Meaning- FOCA and Fairness Doctrine and that other messy stuff may get pushed to back of the attic. Of course this could change in blink of an eye. But still fun to speculate.

  • Wonderfully written Christopher; I agree entirely.

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  • A very charitable and reasoned post. Like you, I thought that the minority of bloggers at Vox Nova who supported Obama were wrong to do so, and I never missed an opportunity make that known in many of my posts there.

  • This is a cool blogging platform. Which is it?

A Call to Arms for God, Life, and Country

Friday, November 21, AD 2008

With the election of the most anti-life president in this nations history, Christians across America will soon be facing a daunting gauntlet of attacks on the sanctity of life.  We need to now follow Jesus more than ever, embrace His teachings, practice our faith, evangelize our friends and neighbors, and pray.  Pray and strive for prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance with faith, hope, and love.

st-michael-the-archangle-by-raphaelThis is spiritual warfare on a massive scale.  We need to win the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans in order to push back against evil.  What is at stake are unknown millions of innocents that will be slaughtered for Mammon’s sake.  Not since World War II and maybe even the French Revolution has human civilization been faced with such dark forces arrayed against it.  The time for fruitless and pointless rhetoric ended on November 4th.  We now cannot stand by the wayside and negotiate the nonnegotiables with those that intend to do harm to the most vulnerable among us.  No equivocating, no complacency, and no compromise.

Pray and fast for President-elect Obama and our glorious nation.

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13 Responses to A Call to Arms for God, Life, and Country

  • “We must make choices.”


  • Mahalo Tito for sharing! I’ve posted it on my blog and am sending it out to others.
    God bless,

  • I think it is unfair to call the open letter ‘pointless rhetoric’. Even if all it does is help people in the Catholic blogosphere focus more on FOCA, it will have done an important service. Additionally, it’s always possible that it will get picked up by a news outlet and help shape the discussion.

    I am skeptical that FOCA is a priority for the Obama administration, but if it does come up, it is very important that people call and write letters to their Congressional representatives. Raising awareness about FOCA is a good thing, and even if the open letter is not particularly successful, it is worth a small amount of effort at a chance of a larger payoff. To paraphrase Paschal, a potentially large payoff is worth a small expenditure of effort.

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  • Vox Nova invites the devil into their midst and then sends it a note asking the devil to not act devilish.

    The first act was foolish, the second is absurd. The letter is pointless when ‘point’ is understood to mean that which is directed to a final end. Because the letter has virtually no more chance of success as would a letter to the devil himself.

  • John Henry,

    I respect where you’re coming from and I understand why you feel the way you do. I am certainly one for constructive dialogue, but when the open letter comes from one that openly cooperates in disparaging and hindering the efforts of those wanting to end abortion, then I find it disingenuous at best.

    Christopher Blosser,

    Fr. Z may have signed it, but it is my opinion, not Fr. Z’s, that this open letter will help. But I want to reiterate that I do respect your feelings and thoughts on why the letter is important. Had it come from any other source, it would have had a different meaning to me and many others out there.

    But since it has eminated from a known anti-life blog such as Vox Nova (and yes, they are anti-life, when some bloggers openly endorse to vote for the most anti-life president in U.S. history), then it pretty much lost most, if not all, moral credibility.

    I don’t disparage those like Fr. Z, Deal, and yourself for signing it, but I do think it highly disingenous from the likes of Henry Karlson, Policraticus, and Michael Iafrate.


  • skeptical that FOCA is a priority? Obama has just recently appointed Ellen Moran (no pun intended) director of communications at the White House. She is exec director of ‘EMILY’s List’, a group that supports and promotes female candidates that are pro-abortion.

    the guy voted that a baby may be left to die when surviving an abortion attempt (in case you forgot). O is a monster

    Christ promised the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church. He never made such a promise to America.

    i hope i’m wrong but i think the prophesies of Akita, Japan 1973 may be coming true soon on American soil.

    i’ve made my choice – getting out of here. ay mate!

    it didn’t have to be this way but America has made her choice.

  • Superb to point this out about Ms. Moran. Much like the Department of Chicken Protection appointing Mr. Fox as Chief Security Guard. More like Moran is good Dem soldier getting sweet job and preoccupied with White House briefings, official statements, and babysitting Helen Thomas. As for splitting the scene…..come on….stay where the action is, Ed…….

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  • Dude get over yourself, he’s not anti – life he’s pro- choice. there is a large difference. its just that you guys are so caught up in your own beliefs, you don’t consider the rights and beliefs f your neighbors.

  • Razz,

    I’m not sure what you were trying to explain, but this is a free country and we Christians have fundamental rights in the constitution that allows us to practice our faith and exercise those rights.

    ‘Being caught up in our own beliefs’, I’m not sure what you were trying to express, but try again. Do you mean we aren’t allowed to express our opinion?

  • “you don’t consider the rights and beliefs f your neighbors.”

    Ah but that is the problem. Unborn children are our neighbors, our most weak and vulnerable neighbors, and it is unjust to allow them to be put to death.

12 Responses to Cardinal George's Official Statment on Abortion

  • The Catholic Anarchist and I agree! Probably not one of the signs of the Apocalypse, but close!

  • “This was bad law [I would say “this is bad law”].”

    Actually an attorney would use the phrase “this was bad law” which might indicate that the cardinal consulted with an attorney when drafting it. Heaven knows, however, that I would never set up my profession as models of good English usage.

  • Donald,

    Thanks. I was wondering about that, especially from such an important document such as this.

    I like the statement as well. I hope Cardinal George and President-elect Obama will be able to have a good dialogue on this and hopefully a fruitful outcome.

  • Decent stuff. Tito’s comments in red were welcome and clearly modelled on those by the esteemed Father Zeulsdorf on the most excellent What Up That Prayer Say. Almost bold or at least appears that way compared to the usual oatmeal served at the USCCB Restaurant. Time to find out if all those bold letters and statements they released in the past 12 weeks weren’t just vacant moosh. Could be tough times ahead for them and many practicing Catholics, particularly those in health care. Must pray for them to maintain the tungsten reinforcement in their vertebrae. And for us too.

  • Tito – Did you add more commentary since you originally posted this? Just to clarify, I think the statement itself is a good one. I have no comment whatsoever on your own commentary, other than to say I think you should have placed it at the end of their statement rather than mucking it up with your own interruptions.

  • The red is a little jarring to me, personally, but I like the statement. Thanks for posting it Tito.

    MI- approved your comment (not the second one, although I found it amusing). I feel your pain with the moderation; it’s happened to me occasionally with the auto-filters at VN and I know it’s off-putting.

  • Too bad the Catholic Church does not persecute the pedophiles and rapists within their very ranks with the same fervor they pursue the people’s elected representatives who do not kowtow the Catholic line.

    What about protecting the children that are already born? This is an organization that by it’s very actions basically condones child molestation!!!!!

  • M.I.,

    I was thinking the same thing. The red seems to scream out. I was puting in my commentary and saving the column after each paragraph, hence why you thought you saw double or something.

    I believe Fr. Z uses a slightly off-blue on the background to calm down the screaming red. I like your idea of puting the comments at the end though.

    I’ve been practicing on my personal blog with the red commentary a la Fr. Z and still haven’t figured out the right balance so as not to distract from the statement itself.

    It’s a work in progress and I also agree with you that the statement itself would have been sufficient, though what fun would that have been?


  • Zebediah,

    Could you present proof of the Church’s teaching on the condoning of said behavior?

    Here’s our catechism link so you can find it for us and post it on our website: http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


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FOCA meet the USCCB

Wednesday, November 12, AD 2008


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have made fighting against the Freedom of Choice Act a high priority in their current meeting.  The Catholic Church and the incoming Obama administration are on a  collision course in regard to abortion.  For every American Catholic the choice couldn’t be starker:  which side are you on?

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3 Responses to FOCA meet the USCCB

  • The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

    Will our shepherds lay down their life for their sheep, or will they flee and leave us to the wolves?

    For decades they’ve acted as hired hands and squandered their authority.

    How many will see this through, and give their all so that, martyred their witness may provide the moral authority to their successors that they received from so many of their predecessors?

  • About time. For too many years, our shepherds tapdanced around controversy. They allowed most official documents to be wrapped around the blanket labelled Social Justice. When none of the sort meted out to around 50 million unborn children. Now awake, they speak pretty boldly for such an august body. Hope they’re ready for whatever level of persecution may be dished out by the new administration. So they were going to avoid that abortion/election/citizenship stuff at this meeting. Events dictated otherwise.

  • Pray for our bishops.


Friday, November 7, AD 2008

So I sit on the couch watching Thursday Night Football, cringing at the poor performance of the Denver Broncos, and alternatively trying to work on my writing and my reading. And then it pops up during one of those lulls in action. Spicy chicken nuggets from Wendy’s. My stomach rumbles, and I immediately consider the benefit of running down to Wendy’s and ordering some. The store is just a few blocks away, the nuggets are only 99 cents a pack, and I haven’t eaten dinner yet. I stand up, contemplating, and then with a sigh I decide to eat the leftover stew from the previous night.

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3 Responses to Scandal

  • You had a better alternative that didn’t involve behaving petulant adolescent hellbent on dereliction of duty?

  • “Did the potential of defeating Obama truly outweigh the scandal provoked by voting for a candidate that is all for embryonic stem-cell research, and is only half-heartedly pro-life? Does it make any difference in retrospect, now that Obama won? What we view as the greater evil has now taken office, but it would it have been anything but a pyrrhic victory if the lesser evil took office, instead?”

    Yes, yes and no, as we shall see to our dismay during the course of the Obama administration.

  • It’s the scandal you don’t see that’s the most dangerous, friend.

Knights of Columbus: "Remember FOCA on November 4th"

Sunday, November 2, AD 2008

The Knights of Columbus remind us that among the most important issues at stake Nov. 4 is FOCA [“Freedom of Choice Act”]:

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declared recently:

“Abortion rights groups and their allies in Congress are promoting a radical bill called the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). If this extreme measure is enacted, widely-supported and constitutionally-sound abortion regulations will be knocked down nationwide.”

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3 Responses to Knights of Columbus: "Remember FOCA on November 4th"

  • Almost nobody who brings up FOCA asks about its likelihood of passage. While it’s indicative of Obama’s horrific views, it could very well be useless scaremongering to claim it’s going to pass if Obama gets in.

    The focus on FOCA could lull pro-lifers into a false sense of security if it is in fact a doomed bill. They’ll declare a great victory on its defeat and yap about how strong they are, never questioning if Obama’s promise to pass FOCA was just pandering to the pro-abortion fundraisers.

    What if time spent on FOCA would be better spent warning about judicial nominations or persuading people who are lukewarm on abortion or other important issues?

  • What if time spent on FOCA would be better spent warning about judicial nominations or persuading people who are lukewarm on abortion or other important issues?

    I think it makes sense to do both.

    If Democrats get a majority in both the House and Senate there’s never a better opportunity for putting that legislation before Obama. So I can’t fault the Knights of Columbus (or the Catholic Bishops for that matter) for sounding the alarm.

  • The likelihood of FOCA passing will probably be hard to say until we see how the new congress will be composed.

    While on the one hand some argue that it’s unlikely to pass, on the other I could see ramming through some fairly simply, highly partisan bills like FOCA, Fairness Doctrine and Card Check being a way to placate the liberal base as it becomes clear that troops are not being instantly pulled out of Iraq and something as wide ranging as healthcare reform will take at least a year or two to pass, if it ever does.

Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

Election fever is catching everybody these days, even bishops, and since it’s so fashionable to issue clarifying statements about the 30+ page Faithful Citizenship document, Cardinal Justin Rigali (chairman of the USCCB* Committee on Pro-Life Activities) and Bishop William Murphy (chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development) have issued a clarification about clarifications of Faithful Citizenship.

Though my tone in stating this is flip, there’s some very good material in the two page letter:

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5 Responses to Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

  • Darwin,

    I’m getting around to a post about universal healthcare, what I think are many common misconceptions about it, and particularly what is wrong with the American health care “system” and try to get a general consensus of what we can all rally around.

    In my research of healthcare, I have found that not all models or notions of universal healthcare mandate that the government actually run hospitals nor be the delivery system of healthcare. Rather it’s creative ways — some good, others bad — of how we can cover everyone, or at least have the possibility there. The best version of a universal healthcare I have seen (and of which I agree) is put forth by the group “Republicans for Single-Payer,” which is a group that posits a single-payer universal healthcare system (not government-run) while maintaining their committment to a free-market economy.

    In regard to the statement itself, I think the Bishops may being acknowledging charges made at groups like Catholic Answers who advocate applying a litmus test on candidates. You take two candidates: candidate A and candidate B and you look at their views on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and gay marriage. If candidate A, supports abortion, then you’re morally obligated to vote for candidate B. If both candidates support abortion, then you look at the other four, and if they support all, then you’re allowed to look at other issues and make your decision from there.

    In essence, while I do sympathize with that view, I do think that such a rigid litmus test is not what the Bishops recommend. Though, I’m not at all defending for voting for pro-abortion candidates. In essence, what I’m thinking is this, Republicans are often charged with legally restricting abortion, but not supporting “progressive” policies that would lead women to choose abortion. While there is much folly to that proposition, there is some truth. SCHIP — the child healthcare program — that provides healthcare to socio-economically disadvantaged children allows many families to have their children covered with basic healthcare, while the parents cannot afford it. Republicans (and some pro-life Democrats) have fought tooth and nail to get unborn children covered in this program so that pregnant women feel they have an option. Republicans also routinely vote against expanding coverage, or redirecting funds toward something else, which seems to me a contradiction of their own principles. Why cover unborn children, if you’re going to redirect the funds to something else, thus limiting the recepients and thus limiting the number of unborn babies potentially saved?

    I think that’s what they’re getting at. Then again, I could be wrong.

  • haha…I meant “lead women to NOT choose abortions”

  • I figured that was basically it — but it still strikes me as something of a straw man dichotomy, though perhaps a necessary one in order to get both sides to listen to your critique.

    I’ll be curious to read a piece by your about health care. I would certainly agree that we need some outside the box thinking about it. A while back I did a somewhat unrealistic thought experiment on it focusing heavily on subsidiarity. And I’d be interesting to brainstorm some more realistic ideas.

    In this particular election, I don’t think McCain’s health care plan is all that great — though I don’t like Obama’s either.

  • Health care… what an interesting topic. Personally, I’ve been employed by companies with stellar benefits for the most part. The exception being a temp position at a major firm that Darwin surely remembers. 🙂 Currently, my employer offers several medical packages, one of which is a zero contribution plan (i.e. no payroll deductions, for the whole family). With this, I am truly blessed.

    My sister, on the other hand, is employed by a school district somewhere in north Texas and the medical benefits do not even come close. Her coverage is less than $100 per month. When adding her husband to the plan, the employee contribution jumps to over $500. My brother-in-law recently jumped onto his employer’s plan. In effect, it’s a $400 “raise” a month for them. Others aren’t so lucky.

    Another friend from back in TX is in a similar predicament with insurance. Covering his family is just too expensive, so they pay for some other insurance.

    Looking forward to your piece, Eric.

  • Please consider posting this video and passing it along, it’s amazing. It’s great at showing the distinction between MaCain and Obama in regards to the abortion issue. Please pass this along to everyone you know. We have to get McCain elected… E


    Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.
    Ronald Reagan

Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

“Catholic Answers: Two books for voters who take their faith seriously”– Doug Kmiec, who has lately become something of a poster-boy and spokesman for ‘Catholics for Obama’, reviews Archbishop Chaput’s Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (Doubleday, 2008) and A Nation for All How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America from the Politics of Division , by Chris Korzen and Alexia Kelley.

As to be expected, Kmiec finds a sympathetic ear in Korzen & Kelley, given their assertion that Catholics have become ‘preoccupied’ with abortion to the subordination of peace, the environment and welfare:

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5 Responses to Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

  • I cannot help but believe that these guys simply have no interest in abortion as an issue. I don’t believe their insistence that they are somehow pro-life, nor can I believe that they honestly think that Barack Obama will cure war and poverty in the same way that they criticize Republicans for not having ended abortion.

    At best, these guys may think that they’ll be pro-life later, when there ain’t-a gonna be no war no more, and when the poor are no longer with us. But I can’t help my suspicion that, even if they could achieve these things, they’d still want to uphold the “right” to an abortion.

    Their refusal to be taught by the bishops and the Holy Father on this issue is most telling. They are desperate to justify their vote for Obama and the new ardently pro-abortion regime he promises. Maybe they can sleep at night after spending their days giving such scandal, but I couldn’t.

  • I believe it is utter rationalization to vote for Democrats, who champion the culture of death in all its forms, because the Republicans haven’t eliminated abortion themselves. Congress operates on coalitions, and, Bush has only been able to get two Supremes through…both pro-life.

    Simply put, it is the ONLY issue this year…everything else pales next to the sacred duty of all Christians to uphold “personhood!” The Natural Law, upholds the dignity of each human life, but, for Christians, it is the Holy Trinity, ie., “three Divine Persons in communion,” which bestows ultimate dignity on human personhood. “Personhood” is the ultimate victim in every abortion.”

  • “Of course, voting for a “prolife” candidate does not guarantee that he will appoint Supreme Court justices who accept the church’s natural-law arguments against abortion. Nor does it mean that anti-Roe appointees will be approved by what is sure to be a Democratic Congress.”

    Is Kmiec trying to say that only “natural law” jurists will be anti-Roe?

    One of Kmiec’s arguments that really concerns me holds that we’ve been counting anti-Roe justices wrong.

    First, because the GOP is unwilling to make openly the case for overturning Roe, we have to judge anti-Roe justices by circumstantial evidence, like whether his wife is a strong pro-life woman.

    Even if a justice is putatively anti-Roe, he or she might not completely overturn Roe but only make minor piecemeal changes. The justice might be more committed to stare decisis or schools of jurisprudence that would mitigate his or her desire to fully overturn the decision.

    As for FOCA, I’d like to know if it has a realistic chance of passing even under a predominantly Democratic Congress.

  • But why is the GOP unwilling to openly make the case for overturning Roe?

    I think it is because this type of campaigning is easily misunderstood; people may misunderstand the Constitution and the law. It also might not be a very winning issue politically.

    I don’t think this is a good excuse, but it’s probably why they’re not doing it.

  • Kevin – FOCA has been attempted in the past. However, there is more support for it from members of Congress than ever more. The current legislation was introduced April 19, 2007. Planned Parenthood is actively campaigning for the bill. See: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/issues-action/courts-judiciary/support-foca-14393.htm

    Given our country’s political climate at this time in history, it would be imprudent for Catholics to assume the FOCA is too radical to ever be passed.

    The house bill has already more than 107 cosponsors (106 Democrats, one Republican). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click here for the current list: http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=9653451&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL

    The senate version introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.), had more than 19 Democratic cosponsors, including presidential candidate Barack Obama (IL) plus Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), and independent Joseph Lieberman (Ct.). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/issues/bills/?bill=9668701&cs_party=all&cs_status=C&cs_state=ALL.

    This bill is so dangerious that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat has urged clear, vigilant, and persistent advocacy against the “Freedom of Choice Act” (or FOCA). The Pro-Life Secretariat has expressed grave concern to state Catholic conferences that FOCA would, if enacted and signed into law, sweep away hundreds of pro-life laws and policies at the state and federal levels! Check out the USCCB-approved alert released September 24, 2008: http://www.nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=263

    For a careful legal analysis of FOCA by the USCCB’s Office of General Counsel, see: http://www.nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/pl-foca.pdf

    Cardinal Rigali recently warned “if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket.” See the September 30, 2008 press release from USCCB about FOCA: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-141.shtml

12 Responses to Obama and the Freedom Of Choice Act

  • This would federalize every abortion in the sense that any state prohibition or regulation would be superseded…plus Obama’s healthcare plan pays for these procedures.

    Any pseudo Catholic that votes for this infanticide loving scumbag is in direct contravention with the Bishop of Rome…

  • I understand the democrat party platform removed the “safe,legal and rare” smokescreen and defined abortion as a “need”. In N.J., my old party pushed thru the “clone to kill” bill at a mid-nite session without any news report from the local papers. Assaults against life have sprung up thru-out history. Keep on praying for sanity,work for life and know that we win no matter how hopeless it seems to us.

  • Carlos, as much as you might not like to admit it, Catholics can licitly vote for Barack Obama if they do not vote for him because of his pro-abortion, pro-ESCR stance. For whatever reason, some people’s consciences weigh the current circumstances differently and decide that there are proportionate reasons to vote for Obama.

    I say this as someone who does not think such proportionate reasons exist and will not and could not ever vote for Obama.

  • What follows is a release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C., issued on Tuesday, October 7, 2008. For further information, call 202-626-8820 or send e-mail to [email protected]. NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of Mr. Johnson’s new article on National Review Online, “Unholy Messaging,” including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama’s sweeping agenda for pro-abortion policy changes examined by NRLC’s Douglas Johnson in National Review Online

    WASHINGTON (October 7, 2008) — The Obama campaign and its allies have adopted an extensive “messaging strategy” that seeks to persuade religiously committed Americans that Obama has a middle-of-the-road position on abortion policy and will promote “abortion reduction.”

    Douglas Johnson, longtime legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and author of an article published today on National Review Online, titled “Unholy Messaging,” calls the Obama effort “a brazen scam.”

    “The scam depends on the Obama campaign, with cooperation from the mainstream news media, deflecting attention away from Obama’s actual record, and from his extensive commitments to pro-abortion interest groups,” Johnson said. “Barack Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes that, if implemented, will surely greatly increase the number of abortions performed.”

    Johnson noted that a few short months ago, during his primary contest, Obama and his advocates were boasting about his record of leadership in opposition to legislation to ban partial-birth abortions, to protect infants born alive during abortions, and to require parental notification for minors seeking abortions, among other pro-life bills. “Those boasts were well-founded, and the current effort to re-package Obama as a moderate is a brazen scam,” Johnson said.

    The Obama “messaging” campaign includes a recently launched “Faith, Family & Values Tour” that will visit Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, various independent groups are disseminating advertising and literature that advances the same strategy.

    Among the specific Obama positions documented in Johnson’s article (which contains extensive hyperlinks to documentation):

    — Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA, S. 1173), which Johnson calls “the most sweeping piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in Congress.” The FOCA is a bill that would make partial-birth abortion legal again, strike down restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, and nullify virtually every state and federal law or policy that would in any way “interfere with” access to abortion, including parental notification laws. In a letter sent to every member of Congress by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on September 19, Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote, “No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.” In a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, Obama said, “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 advocates the nullification of state laws requiring parental notification or consent for a minor daughter’s abortion, which would be one of the effects of the FOCA. Moreover, since entering the U.S. Senate, Obama has had two opportunities to vote directly on the question of parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, and he voted “no” on both occasions.

    — Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the law that since 1976 has blocked almost all federal funding of abortion, even though both pro-life and pro-abortion analysts agree that this law has prevented many abortions. By even the most conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. “Because the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, a new president hostile to the Hyde Amendment could quickly place it in jeopardy,” Johnson observed. The FOCA would also nullify all state laws restricting state funding of elective abortion.

    — In a written response to a pro-abortion advocacy group, the Obama campaign said that Obama is opposed to continuing current federal funding for “crisis pregnancy centers,” which provide needed assistance to many thousands of pregnant women.

    — NRLC has thoroughly documented that in the Illinois state Senate, Obama led the opposition to legislation to protect babies who are born alive during abortions, and persisted in his opposition even after Congress had enacted a virtually identical federal bill without a single dissenting vote. Obama has in numerous ways actively misrepresented the content of this legislation, and his actions on it, but even when such misrepresentations were proved by NRLC and others, the major media simply let Obama abandon them and fall back to a different set of equally misleading claims.

    In his article, Johnson criticizes recent coverage in the “mainstream news media,” which, he writes, “have, with few exceptions, been very compliant with Obama’s recent efforts to downplay his hard-line pro-abortion history and policy commitments, for the purpose of winning the general election.” Typically, journalists simply describe Obama’s position as “supports abortion rights,” without giving details regarding his advocacy of federal funding of abortion, invalidation of parental notification laws, and the rest.


    NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of the Obama agenda on abortion, including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama. Call 202-626-8820.

    Mr. Johnson’s article has been cross-posted on the NRLC website under the title “Efforts to Sell Obama to Pro-Life Americans Collide With His Support for Sweeping Pro-abortion Policy Changes.”

  • Zach, you seem to be misinformed. Catholics, considering the stands or platforms of the current nominees, can not vote for Obama ‘licitly’. Simply stated, intrinsic evils (like abortion) can not ever be ignored and take priority over other issues in weighing factors that contribute to your decision.

    Secondly, any Catholic who feels his or conscience allows for proportionate reasoning that ignores the life issues, is not judging with a clear, informed conscience but rather has had their conscience cluttered by societal peer pressure. When in doubt, turn to the Magisterium of the Church and vote on the side of what the Church teaches.

  • In this particular election, a Roman Catholic MAY NOT vote for Obama, even if they are not voting specifically because he is pro abortion. They would be able to vote for Obama ONLY if Mc Cain would kill over 45 million babies…in the womb or alive….or their mothers…there has to be, according to Rome and our Bishops, a ‘proportionate’ reason…since already over 45 million human babies have been killed in the womb, Mc Cain would have to pledge to kill more than that amount, or kill their mothers or….SOMETHING FAR WORSE! Since that is not the case, a Catholic may not vote for Obama…it’s not simply a matter of conscience…but of an INFORMED conscience…informed by the authorities in the Church and by the teaching of Christ in Scripture and through the teaching authority and tradition of our Church….Sam

  • I can see the argument that certain policies reduce the abortion rate, therefore, one for other reasons and lowering the number of abortions. But given the circumstances, I find that the arguments for proportionate reasons very thin. If the Democrats take greater majorities in Congress (and they will) and Obama signs in FOCA — eliminating every pro-life law, and he replaces the 88 year old pro-choice Supreme Court Justice that’s expected to retire in the next presidency with another pro-choice Justice instead of a pro-life Justice giving us enough to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he funds abortion via the medium of universal healthcare, making it free and accessible at all nine of months of pregnancy, the question is how can one argue that the abortion rate will go down?

    Inevitably, I don’t see how a good Catholic can vote for Obama and I think I can fairly say, of Catholics loyal to the magisterium, I’m pretty liberal and even I cannot see this.

  • Correction: “one for other reasons and lowering the number of abortions” votes for a pro-choice candidate.

  • I deeply question the judgment of any “pro-choice” politician and find it extremely unlikely that I could ever vote for one, but Zach is correct: the Church does hold that it *can* be permissible for a Catholic to vote for a “pro-choice” politician, if there are — as he notes — proportionate reasons. Like Zach, I cannot see any reasons justifying a vote for Obama, but we cannot overstate the Church’s teaching to mean that a vote for him would be *necessarily* wrong for a particular voter.

  • In a joint letter with Archbishop Joseph Naumann in Kansas City, Kansas, and Bishop Robert Finn wrote:

    “If we are inclined to vote for someone despite their pro-abortion stance, it seems we are morally obliged to establish a proportionate reason sufficient to justify the destruction of 45 million human persons through abortion.

    “If we learn that our ‘candidate of choice’ further pledges – through an instrument such as FOCA – to eliminate all existing limitations against abortion, it is that much more doubtful whether voting for him or her can ever be morally justified under any circumstance.” (CNA)


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