Blog Template Theology of the Body: George Weigel's Latest: Obama a genuine abortion radical

Friday, October 24, 2008

George Weigel's Latest: Obama a genuine abortion radical

To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred 'pro-life' option is to subvert what the word 'pro-life' means."

Why? Because the public record amply demonstrates that Senator Obama is not the abortion moderate of our professors' imagination, but a genuine abortion radical. In the third presidential debate, Obama described Roev. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that obliterated the abortion law of all fifty states, as "rightly decided"—a judgment with which Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec have all disagreed in the past. Moreover, Senator Obama's defense of Roe extends far beyond anyone's "elegant theorizing." Support for Roe was Obama's stated reason for opposing Illinois bills aimed at providing legal protection for children who survived an abortion. Support for Roe buttressed Obama's criticism of a Supreme Court decision upholding state partial-birth abortion laws. The full implementation of the most radical interpretation of Roe would seem to be the goal of Obama's support for the federal Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA], which, by stripping Catholic doctors of "conscience clause" protections currently in state laws, would put thousands of Catholic physicians in jeopardy.

Our law professors rightly ask who would best serve women in crisis pregnancies and their unborn children. The answer is obvious: those thousands of crisis pregnancy centers across America, staffed largely by unpaid volunteers and veterans of the pro-life movement, which offer women a real choice, and a better alternative to their dilemma than abortion. How is it possible to square a concern for women in crisis with support of the presidential candidate who favors ending the modest federal funding some of those crisis pregnancy centers now receive? How is it "pro-life" to support a presidential candidate who is publicly committed to requiring any federal legislation in support of pregnant women to include promotion of abortion? At a certain point along this trajectory, I fear, we are through the looking glass and into the White Queen's world of impossible things before breakfast.

...It is very bad theology to suggest that the controversy over the reception of Holy Communion by Catholic politicians who actively support the abortion license is a matter of "using the sacrament as a political tool." On the contrary, it is a question of maintaining the integrity of the church's central act of worship, and of calling Catholics with an ill-formed sense of the moral requirements of both faith and reason to a serious examination of conscience. As for divisiveness, well, there are times when bishops are morally required to be "divisive," as when Catholic bishops deliberately "divided" their flocks on the question of the segregation of Catholics schools by excommunicating segregationists.

...Is John McCain—for whom, I might add, I have never served as an adviser, formally or informally—a perfect pro-life candidate? Of course not. But Barack Obama is a perfect pro-life nightmare. President McCain would not work to repeal the pro-life legislative advances of the past 35 years; knowledgeable and sober-minded Catholic legal and political observers who have worked on these issues for decades are convinced that an Obama administration and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress would eviscerate those modest advances within a year.

-George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, is a Newsweek Contributor. More here.