Monday, September 8, 2008

Note to Dems: Shut Up!

First, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi demonstrated that she wasn’t paying attention during theology classes when she matriculated at Trinity College. Now, Sen. Joe Biden has managed to wade into the treacherous waters of making pronouncements on what the Church does, and does not, teach about when human life begins. The Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate, who has a mixed record on pro-life issues, went further than he needed to go on "Meet the Press" yesterday, mentioning Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica as if he were an expert, but quickly demonstrating that he is no theologian.

Note to Democratic candidates: You are not running to become theologian-in-chief. And, in the event, the platform you just adopted has something genuinely new and important to say about abortion, and theological speculation is just going to step on that platform.

The Democrats, for the first time, called for policies that will reduce the number of abortions by preventing crisis pregnancies in the first place and by providing assistance to women facing crisis pregnancies so that they can carry their child to term. The GOP removed similar language from their platform, keeping their traditional but so far unsuccessful call for overturning Roe v. Wade. Seeing as seven of the nine justices on the Supreme Court were appointed by Republicans, pro-life advocates need to ask themselves how effective they think the GOP approach is ever going to be.

In fact, a new study undertaken by the group Catholics in Alliance For the Common Good shows that overturning Roe would have a minimal effect on reducing the number of abortions because the states likely to enact restrictions on abortion are also the states that have the fewest number of abortions. Conversely, providing pre-natal health care to poor women and making adoption less onerous and expensive might actually produce dramatic decreases in the number of abortions.

This is what the Democrats should focus on. The debate over Roe is stale and divisive, but all Americans can agree that reducing the number of abortions is an important societal goal. What will work to achieve that? The Democrats have a plan. The GOP has a 35 year record of unfulfilled promises. And, the next time someone in the media asks when human life begins, tell them to call a theologian.

Michael Sean Winters


Unknown said...

Warren did not ask "when does life begin". He asked at what point do humans get human rights, in your view. That is a legal question not a theologic question. One cannot discuss human rights if they do not define the terms. Define "human"! This is a scientific term. The individual in the human species begins at conception.

Jim Belna said...

As this is an educational blog, let's have a pop quiz:
Which one of these statements is the bold new approach that the Democrats have adopted this year to win back pro-life Catholics, and which one is the tired old 2004 version?

(a) We will defend the dignity of all Americans against those who would undermine it. Because we
believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman's right to choose,
consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican
efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption
incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

(b) The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right
to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all
efforts to weaken or undermine that right.
The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family
planning services and age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed
choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education
help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for
abortions. The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills,
income support, and caring adoption programs.

I forget, but I guess it is the one that is genuinely new and important - whichever one that is.

Franzia said...

What the democratic platform supports, and is particularly promoted by Obama is not just an end to the "stale" debate (as you've termed it) but a massive liberalization of our already liberal abortion laws. Obama supports the Freedom of Choice Act which goes much further than our current Roe/Casey jurisprudence and would wipe out any state enacted incremental legislation.

Democrats have also been instrumental in destroying the freedom of conscience of health care providers by enacting compulsion laws - forcing individuals and institutions to choose between their conscience and their careers. For a party that claims to be so concerned about health care, this seems rather short sighted. In an era where we are already experiencing shortages in pharmacists, nurses and doctors of every specialty, the last thing we need is to push pro-lifers out the door and dissuade competent young people from entering these vital professions.

The abortion mantra of the democrats is no longer that government cannot stand in the way of a woman's "right to choose" but has become one requiring private individuals to be complicit with grave moral evil: health care providers have to perform them, and all taxpayers have to pay for them ("regardless of her ability to pay").

Pointing to the failure of Republicans to accomplish everything they have set out to in their platform does nothing to negate the fact that the democratic party, and particularly the Obama campaign, are ACTIVELY trying to liberalize our abortion laws. They will end the Mexico City policy, they will force health care providers to quit or violate their consciences, and they will further divide the nation when they take away the little regulatory rights the states have now.

The democrats do not stand for keeping the status quo of Roe - they are fervently advocating much more: free and total access to abortion.