EXCLUSIVE: DOUG KMIEC - 'After Meeting with Barack'
endorse either Senator Obama's or Senator McCain's positions on life. As a Catholic, I believe both fall short of the ideal.
Senator Obama's position accepts the existing legal regime which leaves the abortion decision with the mother -- which is all right so long as the mother is persuaded to choose life. Senator McCain's position would leave the decision with the individual states -- which is all right so long as the individual states prohibit abortion.
Since we are assured of neither, neither position is fully pro-life.
In truth, both positions are pro-choice, with the former focused on the individual and the latter focused on the state. Senator McCain's position is sometimes described as pro-life, but it is more pro-federalism (states being free under the McCain position to decide to permit or disallow abortion as they see fit).
From a standpoint of subsidiarity and prudence, one can make an argument that the Obama position is preferable since it does not arrogate to a higher level that which can be done more effectively below in direct relationship with the mother.
That said, as a constitutional law teacher, I respectfully disagree with both Senator Obama and Senator McCain since the Constitution was intended as a means to enforce and guarantee the unalienable right to life recited in the Declaration of Independence, where of course it is explicitly traced to our Creator.
Thinking of the lives with actual faces and names the church has encouraged to life
Since neither candidate presents a position fully compatible with Catholic teaching recognizing abortion for the intrinsic evil that it is, I understand my Catholic responsibility to work for the reduction of the incidence of abortion through the most prudent way possible.
My experience in parish work and with Catholic pregnancy centers suggest that the most effective way to actually protect life is to work directly face to face with someone facing the awful thought of taking an innocent life.
Doing one’s best to work toward respect for life as a matter of personal responsibility; meeting as best one is able the social and economic and religious reassurance needed by the individual children of God (mother and unborn child) brought into one's life.
Can pro-abortion be distinguished from pro-choice?
Many conservative activists say the answer is “no,” but does this collapse of categories not understate the free will that the good Lord has given us Himself? Yes, the choice must be to affirm life if we are thinking with the church, as we should, but there is a necessary category difference to be stated.
Those who are pro-abortion, as I see it, are those who advocate the practice as a matter of fundamental right or as part of a radical, often feminist, agenda that takes no account of the moral weight or significance of unborn life. This is not Senator Obama's position, though before our meeting, and during it, I would take issue with him and his advisors for occasions where he has, in my judgment, spoken with less clarity than he should to differentiate himself.
This is an effort of evangelization at work, and the Senator would appear to affirm the importance of the distinction not just because it is politically convenient at that moment, but because of his desire to honor the moral reality of the child deeply held even as he will not impose the same recognition upon the mother. He reminds me that he speaks consistently to those who are both pro-life and pro-abortion and for the most part I have found that to be true.
But isn't it all about overturning Roe v. Wade?
I have long thought so myself. The objective has guided my pro-life testimony, litigation, lobbying, marching, praying, and related speaking and academic writing efforts for the past several decades. I don't think it is necessarily wrong for a Catholic voter or I would not have pursued it with such single-minded devotion; it just has not proven very effective.
I also think many Catholics misunderstand what can be gained. In particular, I am distressed by well-meaning individuals who have been led into thinking that we as a nation are merely one vote away from protecting life if we control the composition of the Supreme Court.
First, I think it's wrong to understand court appointments in this fashion as it indulges the pernicious notion of the rule of men rather than the rule of law. But, putting that law teacher's objection to one side, in truth, there is not a single member of the present Court willing to affirm the unalienable right to life from the moment of conception, as opposed to merely reversing a single court decision such as Roe, which, as best as I can tell, would directly save no unborn life.
Yes, if Roe was reversed a few states ...
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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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