Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama, Kmeic and Abortion, (continued).

The smart side of the blogosphere continues to look at the evasions by the Obama camp on his extreme pro-abortion stance and his efforts to downplay that stance.

First, here's Archbishop Chaput, at Public Discourse, excerpt:
Prof. Kmiec has a strong record of service to the Church and the nation in his past. He served in the Reagan administration, and he supported Mitt Romney's campaign for president before switching in a very public way to Barack Obama earlier this year. In his own book he quotes from Render Unto Caesar at some length. In fact, he suggests that his reasoning and mine are ''not far distant on the moral inquiry necessary in the election of 2008.'' Unfortunately, he either misunderstands or misuses my words, and he couldn't be more mistaken.

I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed ''abortion-rights'' presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973. Despite what Prof. Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively ''pro-choice;'' it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child - and let's remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion ''murder'' - the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.

Prof. Kmiec argues that there are defensible motives to support Senator Obama. Speaking for myself, I do not know any proportionate reason that could outweigh more than 40 million unborn children killed by abortion and the many millions of women deeply wounded by the loss and regret abortion creates.

To suggest - as some Catholics do - that Senator Obama is this year's ''real'' prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse.
Notre Dame Law Prof. Rick Garnett writes of the Kmeic essay, mentioned below:
Doug Kmiec's latest, in the L.A. Times, seems, at the end of the day, to endorse the old "personally opposed but . . . " argument from Gov. Cuomo's Notre Dame speech....

* * *

This is not the pro-life view. Nor, until a few months ago, would Doug Kmiec have regarded this as the pro-life view. It is emphatically not the case - at least, it is not the case for those who hold the views that Prof. Kmiec always professed to hold — that the regulation of abortion involves a burden on the religious freedom of those who do not believe that unborn children are entitled, as a matter of human rights, the protection of the law. To protect unborn children is to vindicate human-rights commitments. It is not to impose sectarian morality on non-adherents. (Remember, Doug Kmiec professes to believe that the Constitution requires governments to ban abortion. It doesn't, but that's not the issue. Can it be that the Constitution requires a ban *and* that "the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment"?)
In Newsweek, the unholy trio of Obama apologists (Nicholas P. Cafardi, M. Cathleen Kaveny and Douglas W. Kmiec) who claim to be communicants in the Church of Rome respond to George Weigel. Unfortunately, the best they can offer about Obama is that he's not McCain:
The church asks its faithful to find meaningful—not hypothetical—ways to promote human life. While getting the law and philosophy right might eventually do that, it does bring up the question: What are you doing for the cause of life now? The McCain answer: not much.

Besides being prepared to nominate justices like Samuel Alito and John Roberts, who in keeping with their judicial oath are certainly not on record as having a predetermined view on the reversal of Roe, McCain's planning has all the narrow, in-built affluent bias of the near-identical Bush ideas. In terms of health care, McCain makes no provision for the uninsured and proposes that the insured pay more, in all likelihood dumping people into a private insurance market that is more expensive and less responsive to those with pre-existing conditions.
They are unable to give any positive reason explaining how voting for the radical pro-abortion Obama is consistent with Roman Catholic theology.

On Mirror of Justice, Richard Stith replies:
Doug Kmiec, Cathy Kaveny, and Nick Cafardi make some good arguments for voting for a Democrat who actually helps women choose life as opposed to a Republican who pays only lip-service to the pro-life cause (even though lip-service from a bully pulpit counts for a lot). As a life-long Democrat, a passive member of Democrats for Life, and an active member of Consistent Life [formerly “Seamless Garment Network”], I would be quite open to such an argument.

But that argument would be valid only if we had candidates like Jimmy Carter running against pitiless Republicans.

By contrast, Obama has refused to endorse our modest Democrats for Life proposal to help women choose life. Far worse, he has said that his first act in office will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. FOCA will hurt women as well as children, especially because it will eliminate state laws that discourage overly hasty abortion decisions.

Why don’t Doug and his friends ever respond fully to the FOCA question raised by Weigel and George? (I call Doug “Doug” because he was my colleague here in Valparaiso for two years or so, during which, by the way, I don’t recall him ever hinting that he agreed with my pro-life stance. I was pleasantly surprised to hear of his views later on.)

More generally, they don’t seem to take seriously Cardinal George’s statement that “children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can't be something you start playing pragmatically against other issues.”

My suspicion is that all three of them –and indeed John McCain as well—have failed to grasp the fundamental pro-life argument for human equality....
More later, I'm sure.

More already:

From Richard John Neuhaus:
As abortion extremists put it, the woman has a right to a dead baby. Obama apparently agrees, even saying that it is a constitutional right. In this he goes farther than almost any reputable constitutional scholar, claiming that the abortion license is covered by a right to “privacy” that is found not only in the “penumbra and emanations” of the Constitution but in the Constitution itself.

This, together with his adamant support for the government funding of abortion and for the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate all state regulation of abortion–including waiting periods, parental notification, and other very modest measures–leaves no doubt that Senator Obama is on the farthest edge of abortion extremism. And it highlights what is arguably the most important single issue in this election: Who, as president, will get to nominate the next one, or two, or three, justices to the Supreme Court.


BTW, I looked for a link to this here and see I failed to mention it last spring. Therefore, from last April, this by Michael Gerson, in part:

But Obama's record on abortion is extreme. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion -- a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called "too close to infanticide." Obama strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion. And now Obama has oddly claimed that he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" because of a crisis pregnancy -- hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.

For decades, most Democrats and many Republicans have hoped the political debate on abortion would simply go away. But it is the issue that does not die. Recent polls have shown that young people are more likely than their elders to support abortion restrictions. Few Americans oppose abortion under every circumstance, but a majority oppose most of the abortions that actually take place -- generally supporting the procedure only in the case of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother.

Perhaps this is a revolt against a culture of disposability. Perhaps it reflects the continuing revolution of ultrasound technology -- what might be called the "Juno" effect. In the delightful movie by that name, the protagonist, a pregnant teen seeking an abortion, is confronted by a classmate who informs her that the unborn child already has fingernails -- which causes second thoughts. A worthless part of its mother's body -- a clump of protoplasmic rubbish -- doesn't have fingernails.

Abortion is an unavoidable moral issue. It also has broader political significance. Democrats of a past generation -- the generation of Hubert Humphrey and Martin Luther King Jr. -- spoke about building a beloved community that cared especially for the elderly, the weak, the disadvantaged and the young.

The advance of pro-choice policies imported a different ideology into the Democratic Party -- the absolute triumph of individualism. The rights and choices of adults have become paramount, even at the expense of other, voiceless members of the community.

These trends reached their logical culmination during a congressional debate on partial-birth abortion in 1999. When Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer was pressed to affirm that she opposed the medical killing of children after birth, she refused to commit, saying that children deserve legal protection only "when you bring your baby home." It was unclear whether this included the car trip.

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