The Basement of the Culture of Death

Deal W. Hudson
June 11, 2009

With a pro-abortion president in the White House, new sub-groups in the broader “culture of death” is coming into view. One of them is dark, indeed.

Take two recent events: Dr. George Tiller is compared to Martin Luther King, Jr. The president of Catholics for Choice attacks a political appointee, Alexia Kelley, who defended Obama’s abortion record before the nation’s Catholic voters.

As head of Catholics in Alliance with the Common Good, Alexia Kelley was second only to Doug Kmiec in making Obama’s record on abortion palatable to Catholics. Aren’t these two organizations supposed to be on the same side? Why wouldn’t Catholics for Choice applaud Ms. Kelley’s appointment to the faith-based office of the Department of Health and Human Services?

In the previous commentary on this quarrel, I implied that the objection to Kelley was a simple territorial spat. During the presidential election, Kelley’s Catholics in Alliance had supplanted Catholics for Choice as the preeminent organization of the Catholic Left. Kelley now stands atop not only the movement pecking order but also controls $20 million of the Health and Human Services budget earmarked for family-planning services. The present and former presidents of CFC, Frances Kissling, and Jon O’Brien, fear the loss of status, but they fear the loss of power as political gatekeepers even more.

In dwelling on the political aspects of the attack by O’Brien and Kissling, I neglected to probe the deeper issue feeding their animus against the “abortion reduction” argument and Kelley’s support for it. That dimension reveals a subculture among abortion supporters that may well distinguish O’Brien and Kissling from Kelley. If not, it surely distinguishes them from many who consider themselves “pro-choice.”

O’Brien considers his objection to Kelley’s advocacy of abortion reduction so fundamental that he describes both her and Catholics in Alliance as “anti-choice.” I should have paused longer over that description because it reveals an outlook entirely at odds with the abortion-reduction program (assuming that it is held as a matter of sincere conviction and not political expediency).

When O’Brien accuses Kelley of an “abandonment of ideas,” it should be clear that Catholics for Choice cares, first and foremost, about protecting a woman’s alleged “right” to end a human life in her womb. What pains O’Brien and Kissling is any stifling of a woman’s choice, not the death of an unborn child. What enrages these two about Kelley is that she and her organization publicly regarded abortion as something to be equated with torture or war. Catholics for Choice is so exercised over Kelley’s leadership that the organization produced a pamphlet titled, “The Trouble with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.”

Indeed, Kissling and O’Brien employ “pro-choice” not as a euphemism to disguise the horror of what they espouse, but as a direct signifier of what they value to the exclusion of anything else: choice. Anyone who describes herself as pro-choice but has an impulse to protect the unborn is “anti-choice.” Thus is revealed the darkest recesses in the “culture of death,” when all compassion for the unborn child is reviled in the name of freedom.

Such was also the case recently when late-term abortionist Dr. LeRoy Carhart compared the murder of Dr. George Tiller, another late-term abortionist, to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. But Dr. Carhart went even further:

This is the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, and any other major historic event where we’ve tolerated the intolerable for too long.

Dr. Carhart is exactly right: The argument over abortion is about what is intolerable. Once we have fully recognized that this question divides even abortion supporters, we must ask, “Which side does President Obama stand on?” Based upon his record in supporting infanticide, I would guess he stands with O’Brien and Kissling, which may explain why they were surprised with the appointment of Alexia Kelley to a plum position at HHS.

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.


  1. Hi Deal, I’m getting close to 20 emails a day from you. I enjoy the emails but is there a way I could choose the number I receive?

    God Bless, Tim


    1. Tim, I’m sorry. I have been adding to My archive after a long period of inattention. You may want to disconnect until this is finished. Best, Deal

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