The death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson has undoubtedly affected all of us who are dedicated to the pro-life cause. In the decades since his defection from the pro-abortion camp and his conversion to the Catholic faith, he was one of the nation’s most outspoken defenders of innocent human life. Among the many contributions to the cause for which we can thank Dr. Nathanson is his exposure of the deceptions and falsehoods employed by the pro-abortion movement – some of which he invented himself – in order to legitimize abortion in the eyes of the public and set the stage for its legalization in the 1960’s and 70’s.
And it is quite interesting, and perhaps even providential, that in remembering the life and works of Dr. Nathanson, we can consider how they affect the ongoing debate among Catholics over the use of lies and deceptions in order to undermine the pro-abortion movement and industry.
The Lying Worthless Poltical Hack, a\k\a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, tells Priests and Bishops to speak out on immigration from the pulpit based upon a biblical concern for “the dignity and worth of every person”.
The respect that the Lying Worthless Political Hack has “for the dignity and worth” of the smallest and most helpless among us was well demonstrated by this quote from Naral Pro-Choice America in 2007 after Pelosi became speaker of the House:
“Americans who value freedom and privacy have many reasons to celebrate as Nancy Pelosi takes the Speaker’s gavel to make this historic move forward for our country. For her nearly 20 years in office, Speaker Pelosi has been an effective advocate for women’s health and has championed her pro-choice values by consistently voting to protect a woman’s right to choose. In November, voters across this country endorsed Speaker Pelosi’s call for a change and new direction by electing 23 new pro-choice members to the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, we celebrate as Speaker Pelosi takes the reins; under her leadership Americans can expect a new focus on commonsense solutions, not the divisive attacks that marred the previous Congresses.”
Last week I posted a reaction to House Speaker Pelosi’s interview in Newsweek (cross-posted to First Things‘ “First Thoughts”). Perusing the comments, I discovered that the author of No Hidden Magenta — a blog with the daunting task of “bridging the gap between ‘Red and Blue State’ groupthink” — has responded with fury and dismay:
At least one reason why neither the Pope nor the Archbishop have denied Pelosi Holy Communion–despite having ample opportunity to do so–is because prudential judgments about how best to reflect a moral principle in public policy involved technical considerations of practical reason that do not go to the heart of what it means to be a Roman Catholic; in other words, they are not about the central value at stake. If Speaker Pelosi believes that abortion is a positive good that should be promoted by the state (rather than as a privacy right for all women) that is one thing (and her recent actions with regard to Stupak suggest that she doesn’t think this), but there are any number of good reasons for supporting less-than-perfect public policy as she claims to be doing in trying to reduce the number of abortions while not supporting an abortion ban. …
Now, we can and should have debate about this question–and I think Pelosi is profoundly mistaken in her position on public policy–but let’s be clear: both the Pope and her Archbishop do not think such a position puts her status as a Roman Catholic or as a communicant in jeopardy. And those who think it does would do well to follow their example in distinguishing between ‘moral principle’ and ‘public policy.’
I’m relieved that the author believes Pelosi is “profoundly mistaken” in her position on public policy. I’m less convinced, however, that “the Pope and her Archbishop do not think such a position puts her status as a Roman Catholic or as a communicant in jeopardy”, and the author’s explanation for why they allegedly do not think so.
Trading Women’s Rights for Political Power
By KATE MICHELMAN and FRANCES KISSLING
A grim reality sits behind the joyful press statements from Washington Democrats. [The health care bill passed. What is so grim?] To secure passage of health care legislation in the House, the party chose a course that risks the well-being of millions of women for generations to come. [Are women not being allowed to have health care coverage or something?]
[Updates at the bottom of this posting as of 3:03am CDT on AD 9-10-2009]
President Obama’s speech covered many topics, lets first layout our President’s plan:
I. Keep the health insurance you have now.
1. Pre-existing symptoms or disabilities no longer will disqualify anyone from coverage.
2. No spending caps set by insurance companies.
3. No drop in coverage in the middle of an illness.
4. Limit on out of pocket expense.
5. Minimal requirements of coverage.
II. Public Option & Exchange
1. When losing your job you have the Public Option if you can’t afford insurance.
2. Insurance exchange markets will be required for insurance companies to participate in.
3. Tax credits for small businesses.
4. In theory this will not lead to a government take over.
Father Roger J. Landry concludes here that the strategy of the Church to privately persuade Catholic pro-abort pols of the errors of their ways has been a flat failure.
“Let us take an honest look at the numbers. When we survey the long list of pro-choice Catholic politicians from both parties — Kennedy, Kerry, Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, Daschle, Dodd, Durbin, Leahy, Mikulski, Pelosi, Delahunt, Capuano, Markey, McGovern, Meehan, Granholm, Sebelius, Pataki, Richardson, Cellucci, Cuomo, and Biden to name just a handful — is it possible to say that the strategy has worked with any of them? Over the last three and a half decades, can we point to even one success story?
Another way to assess the results of the education-alone strategy is to measure the direction that pro-choice Catholic politicians have moved over the years. Even if they haven’t experienced a total conversion, have they moved closer toward limiting abortions or toward making abortions easier to access? The facts show that the vast majority of personally opposed, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators have become far less personally opposed and far more publicly in favor over the duration of the strategy.
In the initial years after Roe versus Wade, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators generally whispered their support for abortion. They displayed a palpable sense of shame, letting their abortion position out just enough so that it wouldn’t cost them the votes of abortion supporters. That discomfort began to dissipate after Governor Mario Cuomo’s 1984 pro-choice defense at Notre Dame. We’ve now come to a situation when pro-choice Catholic legislators vigorously curry the favor of Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Emily’s List; scores of Catholics in Congress have the chutzpah to co-sponsor the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate almost every abortion restriction ever passed at the federal or state level; and 16 out of 25 Catholic Senators vote against conscience protections to prevent their fellow Catholics in the medical field from being forced to participate in abortions and sterilizations.”
Father Landry ends by suggesting a new approach, perhaps we might call it the “more than hot air” approach:
“Jesus spoke of a different way in the Gospel (Mt 18:15-18). It involves not merely general educational statements that we hope offenders will apply to themselves in conscience, but the type of one-on-one instruction traditionally called fraternal correction. If that fails, and fails repeatedly, Jesus enjoined us to regard the offender as someone who no longer belongs to the community, who is no longer a member in good standing. This may seem harsh, but we should remember that Jesus always seeks nothing but the best for his Church and for individual sinners, even obstinate sinners. Implied in Jesus’ strategy is that education involves not just information, but formation, and that you can’t form disciples without discipline. This is a lesson that, after four decades of the undeniable failure of another approach, we need to consider anew.”
Hattip to my friend the ever vigilant Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia, and please go here to read his comments on Father Landry’s argument.
Obama has picked Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel for the Department of Justice. Dawn Johnsen was the legal director of the National Abortion Rights Action League back in the eighties.
The ["Born Alive controversy"] does show him to be a down-the-line pro-choice legislator. In fact, the charge that Obama is the most pro-choice candidate in years may well be true (though the other Democrats were pretty pro-choice too). When I read through the legislative history, I came to believe that Obama’s general impulse was: when it doubt, side with NARAL. If you’re ardently pro-life, you are absolutely justified in being scared of Obama for that reason alone, without having cast him as a serial killer.
Good posts, worth reading.