Did President Obama Mislead the Holy Father?

Deal W. Hudson
July 16, 2009

In the late afternoon of July 10, President Obama met privately with Pope Benedict XVI for just over 30 minutes. According to official Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J., “The president explicitly expressed his commitment to reducing the numbers of abortions and to listen to the church’s concern on moral issues.”

On July 13 in a Senate committee hearing, Sen. Barbara Mikulski was forced to admit under persistent questioning by Sen. Orrin Hatch that the new health-care bill includes abortion coverage. Planned Parenthood’s Guttmacher Institute estimates government funding of abortion increases abortion by 20 to 35 percent.

There were 1,206,200 abortions in 2006, according to National Right Life (the last annual results available). The math is easy: If the health-care


package currently being pushed by Obama is passed, the result will be 240,000 to 420,000 more abortions in the first year alone. Did President Obama know these abortion provisions were in the Senate health-care bill when he met with the Holy Father? There is no reason to think he didn’t. He certainly knew he had gone on the record supporting federal funding for abortion in the District of Columbia. If President Obama is honest with himself, he must admit to misleading Benedict at their meeting. Obama apologists will immediately defend the president by arguing that his plan is about reducing the need for abortion. Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council, revealed this as the Obama administration’s real aim last May under questioning from Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America. It’s a weak defense. Those 240,000 to 420,000 additional abortions are a near certainty. Meanwhile, the number of abortions eliminated by direct assistance to poor mothers, sex education, increased contraception, and adoption programs are unknown, and projections are highly speculative. In fact, the new health-care bill’s impact on the unborn will be so great that some are calling it the “silent FOCA.” Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Rep. Chris Smith said, “Obamacare is the greatest threat ever to the lives and wellness of unborn children and their mothers since Roe v. Wade was rendered in 1973.” Some Catholic supporters of Obama are urging Senate Democrats to take the abortion provisions out of the health-care package. On America magazine’s group blog, Michael Sean Winters wrote, “We should, however, be letting our congressional representatives and senators know that providing federal funds for abortion is a deal-breaker.” Even more surprising is a snippet that Jill Stanek posted from Hardball. Chris Matthews, a Catholic Obama enthusiast, insisted that including abortion services in the health bill is “the last thing Obama needs. The issue’s complicated and divisive and controversial enough without bringing abortion into it.” But then Matthews adds the kicker: He goes over to see the pope and says they’re going to reduce the number of abortions, and then that same week he pushes to subsidize abortion? You can’t do that! “You can’t do that!” will be exactly the reaction of most of America’s Catholics when they realize their president looked Benedict in the eye and said he was committed to reducing abortion, knowing all the while just what was in his health-care bill. This is not just about the abortion issue anymore. It’s about basic respect and honesty.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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