Doug Kmiec Reaffirms Endorsing Sen. Barack Obama
greatest opportunity to reduce the number of abortions “is on the idea of reducing unwanted pregnancies because, he reasons, “if we can reduce unwanted pregnancies, then it’s much less likely that people resort to abortion.
The way to do that is to encourage young people and older people, people of child-bearing years, to act responsibly. Part of acting responsibly – I’ve got two daughters,” Obama proudly points out – “part of my job as a parent is to communicate to them that sex isn’t casual and that it’s something that “should be treated with reverence.”
As a Catholic my instruction to my daughters will likely be different than my Jewish or Protestant or Islamic or non-believing friends. Like Senator Obama, “I’m all for education for our young people, encouraging abstinence until marriage.”
Unlike Senator Obama, as a matter of faith, artificial contraception is off my list, and I have carefully discussed with my daughters why a contraceptive practice that the larger culture accepts subtly undermines that which ought not be divided; namely, the unitive and procreative aspects of human love within marriage.
Senator Obama supports a wider range of age-appropriate contraceptive information to prevent unmarried, teen pregnancies, and since he would be proposing legislation for the entire community and not merely my household or people of my faith, certainly one can understand that perspective even if one might argue with it or insist upon appropriate religious exemption in a public school setting.
The so-called “95-10” legislative proposal (proposing to reduce abortion by 95% over 10 years largely by educative means) seems well-suited to the Senator’s perspective, and I have encouraged him to embrace it in principle. I hope he does, but it’s not an endorsement breaker so long as he is true to himself and encouraging of personal responsibility, rather than the codification of the abortion mentality which some in the extreme wing of his party advocate.
This much I know:
If it’s a choice between giving a boost to the work of my fellow parishioners who week after week in thinly-funded, crisis pregnancy centers, open their minds and their hearts and often their homes to pregnant women (and Obama has spoken approvingly of faith-based efforts) and a Supreme Court Justice to be named later who may or may not toss the issue back to the states, I think I know which course is more effectively choosing life.
As anyone who's ever had a conversation with a pregnant woman thinking about abortion knows, good, evenhanded information and genuine empathy and love save more children than hypothetical legal limits – which, as best as I can tell, have saved: well, zero.
Of course, there are many more reasons to affirm my original endorsement of the Senator, including his willingness to:
•Transcend the politics of division – so well illustrated on any given day by the unfortunately base tactics of the Clinton or McCain campaigns (see the recent GOP ad in North Carolina once again dredging up Reverend Wright)
•Commit us toward a course of environmental stewardship that will not be dependent upon fossil fuel
•Focus tax and health policy reform in favor of the average working family and the poor
•Reaffirm an American foreign policy respectful of international standard
•And end an unjust, preemptive war – another obvious life issue -- that deprives families of some of our most self-sacrificing yet often least advantaged young men and women and drains our economy in a 3 trillion dollar fashion, crippling our practical ability to be the force for human good that Americans want their country to be.
Chair & Professor of Constitutional Law, Pepperdine University; fmr Constitutional Legal Counsel to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush and fmr. Dean & St. Thomas More Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America; fmr Director, The White Center on Law & Government, University of Notre Dame, 1980-99.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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