Deal W. Hudson
January 27, 2009
The centerpiece of Obama’s Catholic outreach in the recent election was the “abortion reduction” trope. This was the cover provided by Catholic supporters for some of the most pro-abortion politicians in U.S. history. Doug Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life, has detailed its deceptions and misrepresentations.
By ending the Mexico City Policy, President Barack Obama is moving quickly to keep his promise of removing all restrictions to abortion on demand. Millions of taxpayer dollars will now be spent through non-governmental organizations like Planned Parenthood to kill unborn children around the world.
And yet the abortion reduction con still continues. Only two days before Obama announced the end of the Mexico City Policy, two Catholic organizations who supported Obama – Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United – were handing out their abortion reduction literature at the March for Life. What’s more, neither of these organizations issued statements condemning Obama’s actions. Catholics United, in fact, used the occasion for another attack on Catholic League president Bill Donohue for an “inaccurate and racially charged press release critical of President Obama’s executive order reversing the Mexico City policy.”
The Washington Post didn’t recognize the scam, either. In their page-two coverage of the March for Life, the only organizations in attendance mentioned by name were Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance. The Post called them leaders in a new pro-life movement “to further reduce abortions through education, better health care, and counseling for pregnant women and new parents.”
Obviously, anyone familiar with the history of the pro-life movement knows there is nothing “new” about providing education, health care, or counseling.
While some aspects of the abortion reduction dodge are obvious at first glance, others are more sophisticated. Take the example of Doug Kmiec’s recent tribute to the late Father Richard John Neuhaus. Kmiec argues that since
the Declaration’s more fulsome affirmation of life seems unlikely… we have no alternative but to be about the business of helping one woman at a time making a choice in favor of life. Many will recognize this as the Obama approach, but what may be overlooked (but should not be) is that it was also that of Father John (emphasis added).
The obvious response here is that like all ardent pro-lifers, reducing abortion through means such as education, health care, and counseling is indeed part of the larger effort – but that effort cannot be reduced to just these.
Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington rightfully answered Kmiec by addressing the false dichotomy at the heart of the argument: “This is not an ‘either/or’ matter; one can advocate both for social policies that may reduce the number of abortions and for the overturn of Roe v. Wade.”
In his Beliefnet interview, Kmiec responded directly to Doug Johnson’s charge that abortion reduction is a scam. Kmiec defended his support for Obama by stating outright, “Senator Obama has never been pro-abortion, and is not now.”
I wonder if he’d still say that.