Recently the City of San Francisco got to experience a peaceful and powerful Pro-Life march on January 23. In what is being billed as the largest gathering of Pro-Lifers in San Francisco ever, an estimated 40,000 volunteers from all ages, cultures, and nations descended on what is known to be the most egregious community of new Carthaginians in the country.
The March for Life in Washington, D.C. embodied the pro-life movement’s annual commitment to renew the fight against public policy and cultural attitudes that undermine and violate the sanctity of human life. This, for some, is not always the most pleasant experience.
A friend of mine who traveled to Washington, D.C. attended a pro-life student conference where the primary focus of the discussion was the future of the conservative movement in the wake of the current Democratic administration and Congress. My friend, Joseph, who is very lost in the world of politics did not care, nor could he fathom why at a pro-life conference the discussion could not drift away from advocating for lower taxes, tighter national security, and “less government in our lives.” He emphatically claimed that he “did not care about those things.” He would rather discuss, staying on topic, what can be done to promote a culture of life and to end the horror of abortion.
This altogether reminded me of the Texas Right to Life Gala back in October 2009. It was literally a Republican banquet, with the politicians present scoring points and boasting their rhetoric. The keynote speaker talked about supporting small businesses, lower taxes, opposing big government, the problems of “the welfare state,” national security, and a host of other traditionally-conservative concerns. Abortion was most certainly mentioned and only discussed within the greater picture of why less government is good, but it (abortion) and other life issues were not the focus at all. In fact, the keynote speech was about the evils of liberalism and why we should fight it by supporting the Republican Party. Suffice to say, I did not enjoy the event at all. It was designed for conservatives and this, in my view, is not good for the pro-life movement. Continue reading
My ignorance of sports is vast. However, I believe I now have a favorite quarterback. Focus on the Family has paid for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl featuring former University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother Pam. When Pam was pregnant with Tim she contracted amoebic dysentery. Harsh antibiotics were administered to her to rouse her from a coma. She was counseled to have an abortion, being warned that her baby would be stillborn or live only a few hours. She refused to have an abortion and Tim Tebow came into the world.
“When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, ‘Spare him because he loved us,’ and God will look at you and say not, ‘Did you succeed?’ but ‘Did you try?’” – U.S. Congressman Henry Hyde
Deal Hudson at Inside Catholic wrote recently about the divisions in the pro-life movement over the Personhood Initiative, a nation-wide effort to legally define “personhood” as beginning at the moment of conception. The testing ground for the initiative was Colorado, where the movement’s founder, an admirable 19 year-old by the name of Kristi Burton, hails from. The lowdown, according to Deal, is that,
Colorado voters turned down the amendment by a stunning 73 percent to 27 percent, in spite of support from Focus on the Family, American Life League, and legal advice from the Thomas More Law Center. But the effort had failed to gain the support of either National Right to Life (NRTL) or the Colorado Catholic Conference.
Whether or not that extra support would have resulted in a less unbalanced result, I cannot say. For those wondering why the Catholic Conference, and many American bishops are hesitant to embrace the PI, the concern was apparently that if it were taken to, and shot down by, the Supreme Court, it would have the effect of “actively reaffirm[ing] the mistaken jurisprudence of Roe.” According to Deal, however, some Catholic bishops are reconsidering their position on the PI.
Not long ago, in the context of the debate over the efforts of Bart Stupak and the pro-life Dems, I wrote about pro-life pragmatism. I argued that the much-derided “incrementalism” is actually the most viable way of winning the long-term war against the abortion industry in light of the facts about where the American electorate stands on abortion. With respect to the PI, and with all due respect to the founders and supporters of this movement, I must reaffirm that position.
One of the latest noteworthy political rumors is that Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) is considering a run for Governor of Michigan. A Stupak victory would be a decisive pro-life victory for Michigan and drastically change the abortion policies promoted from the state’s Governor’s mansion.
Democratic Representative Bart Stupak, a leader of a drive to toughen anti-abortion restrictions in President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul bill, said he is “seriously” considering running this year for governor of Michigan.
Stupak told reporters last night he is “really concerned where we’re going as a Democratic party of Michigan,” and “I may very well be the strongest candidate because, as you know, I don’t do everything my party tells me.”
He said his independence, shown in the health-care debate by his insistence that an overhaul bill clearly ban federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions, “works well” in a general election contest.
Still, he said he won’t join the gubernatorial race if a “heavy duty” primary battle develops for the Democratic nomination. In such a case, his opposition to abortion rights would alienate too many voters.
Michigan Lieutenant Governor John Cherry earlier this month announced he wouldn’t run for the top job, leaving Democrats without an obvious frontrunner. Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, is barred by term-limit laws from running again.
If Stupak joins the race, it would force Democrats to defend a House district that includes Michigan’s entire Upper Peninsula, an area generally friendly to Republicans. Stupak, a former state trooper first elected to Congress in 1992, was the driving force behind abortion restrictions included in the House’s draft of a health-care bill that now threatens to delay a final agreement.
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska said ‘no-go’ on the most recent health care bill that Harry Reid and the Democrats have compiled. This most likely will derail President Obama’s efforts to have a Senate health care bill done by Christmas.
“As it is, without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient,”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat just released a statement denouncing the defeat of the Pro-Life Nelson Amendment. In addition the USCCB will not support any health care bills that diminishes the Stupak Amendment that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Here is their released statement in its entirety:
December 9, 2009
Bishops Call Vote a Grave Mistake and Serious Blow to Genuine Reform
Say the Senate Should Not Support Bill in its Current Form
Hope That House Provisions on Abortion Funding Prevail
BISHOPS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY SENATE VOTE
TO TABLE NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT
WASHINGTON—“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,” said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.”
Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of immigrants.”
The Senate defeated the pro-life Nelson amendment that would have disallowed public money to be spent on killing babies.
Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.com explains what the current bill contains without the pro-life Nelson amendment:
The legislation currently allows abortion funding under both the public option and the affordability credits to purchase health care insurance.
Pro-abortion Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine voted along with most Democrats when pro-abortion Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer of California moved to kill the bill. Democratic Senators Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania, David Pryor of Arkansas, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Edward Kaufman of Delaware, and Evan Bayh of Indiana voted along with the rest of the Republicans to not kill this amendment.