(1) voted against protecting babies born alive during botched abortions;Skepticism over Kmiec's and Casey's pro-life credentials is of no short supply. Anderson says that actively campaigning for Obama belies one's "claims of being 'pro-life' in any meaningful sense." Mark Shea writes, "Try as I might, I can't conceive how you get from 'As a Catholic...' to endorsing a man who is eager to make it possible to stick as many scissors in as many baby's brains as possible." Jeff Miller of The Curt Jester accuses pro-life Obama supporters of throwing the pro-life cause under the bus. Gerald Augustinus of The Cafeteria is Closed remarks, "I wouldn't call it treachery. I'll call it early-onset senility, to be generous. Or reminiscent of the girl who goes out with the abusive guy everyone's warned her about. If that creep becomes president, Mr. Kmiec will experience the consequences of having gotten into bed with Obama." Some regular commentators on Gerald’s blog are less generous to Catholic supporters of Obama:
(2) said that his "biggest mistake" in the U.S. Senate was voting to help Terri Schiavo;
(3) pledged to Planned Parenthood that he "will not yield" on the "fundamental issue" of abortion;
(4) stated that he has a pro-abortion litmus test for Supreme Court nominees; and
(5) vowed that his first act as President will be to sign the "Freedom of Choice" Act
"Doug Kmiec, who is very anti-abortion is a shocker. Regrettably, I consign him to the category of fake Catholic. He must be looking for his 15 minutes of fame and adoration by the abortion loving media."Is it hot in the Catholic blogosphere, or is it just me?
"Catholics for Obama are not Catholics anymore than Catholics for Hitler were Catholics. You can fool yourselves but you can't fool the Almighty!"
"They're a bunch of worms studying to be slugs. If I ever get absolute power, I'll impose a confiscatory tax on idiots who get advanced degrees in philosophy or theology; but first we'll kill all the lawyers."
"It is a sin to vote for Obama. Liberalism is a crime. Go ask the dead unborn."
Jay Anderson argues that Catholic supporters of pro-choice candidates need to make a pro-life case for their support, and given the gravity of abortion, I tend to agree. I’m not a supporter of Obama or Clinton (or McCain) , though, so I don’t feel compelled to argue the pro-life benefits of either candidate.
However, I’m not ready to dismiss someone’s pro-life credentials because that person supports a pro-choice candidate, even one who so willingly plays offense on abortion rights as Sen. Barack Obama. Why?
That ending abortion may be a non-negotiable issue doesn’t mean that there is only one non-negotiable strategy to that end. The abortion issue can be treated as a political or a philosophical problem, a cultural malaise, a consequence of social/economic conditions or an uneasiness about parenthood, a symptom of a our consumerism, or a result of Machiavellian moral thinking. To name a few. How we respond to the reality of abortion will partly depend on how we see abortion as a problem. Moreover, each perception of the abortion problem carries with it multiple means of responding to it.
Someone who sees abortion primarily as a political problem may favor the means of overturning Roe v. Wade and outlawing abortion state by state. He or she may instead favor programs such as this aimed at reducing abortions. One may argue for the restructuring of American society so that the fate of millions is not dependent on the will of nine un-elected justices with near-perfect job security.
When a pro-life voter declares support for a pro-choice candidate, I react not by doubting his or her devotion to the defense of life, but rather rather by wanting to ascertain the reasons for the choice. Does the voter believe that the cause of defending life (unborn life included) would be better served by a pro-choice candidate rather than a pro-life candidate? Whether I agree with the reasons is a separate matter from whether I think the voter is acting out of a pro-life persuasion. I may find the reasons wanting but nevertheless see them as pro-life reasons.
Given that the majority of American’s believe abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, I’d say the pro-life movement has enough persuading work ahead of it without alienating from its ranks genuine pro-lifers who pursue means to ending abortion alternative to the declared non-negotiable strategies. Which strategies should be principal in eliminating abortion is a question of prudential judgment. Let's debate them while we work to build a culture of life.