SHOULD OBAMA OPPOSE ABORTION?

As Barack Obama closed in on the Democratic presidential nomination, Catholic supporters of the Illinois senator have been challenged on the nominee’s pro-choice stance.

Douglas W. Kmiec, a friend of Obama and a former aide to two presidents, says he was denied Communion by a priest because he has publicly endorsed Obama. Mr. Kmiec, a legal scholar, claims he was was publicly “excoriated” by the celebrating priest when he attended a Mass following a gathering of Catholic chief executives.

“I did not expect to be clobbered by co-religionists,” he wrote in a newspaper column for what he described as his perceived “Obama-heresy.”

  • Then in the city that will host this year’s Democratic National Convention, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput called on a formal group of Catholic Obama supporters to urge the candidate “to act differently” on his support for abortion rights:
  • “Changing the views of ‘pro-choice’ candidates takes a lot more than verbal gymnastics, good alibis and pious talk about ‘personal opposition’ to killing unborn children.” the Archbishop stated.

As the Archbishop requires, should Senator Obama change his views and “act differently” by opposing abortion?

Other Catholic heavyweights are also starting to crack the whip on Obama’s supporters.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is the Catholic Governor of Kansas. She is also high on Obama’s short list to be vice-president. Under very restricted circumstances she supports the pro=choice position on abortion. Recently Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann wrote Governor Sebelius warning her to stop receiving Communion at Mass until she dropped her pro-choice position. He threatened her with further unspecified actions unless she obeyed.

Should Obama change his position and opposer abortion?

What do you think?

20 Comments »

  1. 1
    Lyn Says:

    There is no way Obama is going to change his pro-choice position. He’s a fanatic about it. Obama is the most far-left pro-choice person out there. He’s more than just an abortion-on-demand supporter. He has spoken out about a woman’s “right” to abortion even very late into term.

  2. 2

    Lyn:

    But why should Obama change his pro-choice position. He is a practising Protestant. The Pope’s writ does not extend to Protestants.
    The United States is a pluralistic society with citizens holding different views on many issues – including abortion. As a matter of fact Catholics support the pro-choice position in about the same proportion as the rest of the population.

    It is curious that a small zealous group ofCatholics fight against abortion (quite ok) and try to foist the teaching on everybody else (not ok). I don’t hear thse same Catholics inveighing against the war in Iraq which has cost thousands of lives.

    Many thanks, Lyn, for your comment.

  3. 3
    Joe Agnost Says:

    When your church wants you to change something you believe in to be a member it’s time to leave that church. That comment is meant for Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.

    Obama should support what he wants… he might change if it means a gain in votes – but that’s politics.

  4. 4
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    The “pro-life” people rant all over the landscape about “protecting the unborn.” Where is their plan for the recently-born child who is too much of a burden for the mother? Where is the adoption / fostering strategy? How would they support the mother’s ability to bring the child to term, and raise it in a healthy, nurturing environment? Unless and until these people are willing to accept the responsibility for the life of the “protected” child, unless and until they put up, they should shut up. Does that make sense? CTZen

  5. 5

    It does BUT…conversely where is the “plan” to help women who have an abortion to deal with the psychological scar it leaves? How about we teach people to not be frivolous with sex? If they were responsible enough to have sex then they must be accountable and amend their lives for the consequences of their actions: that means raising the child. Put this way, abortion is wrong.

    Does this make sense?

  6. 6

    Barack Obama himself has something to say regarding this question.

    On religion and politics:

    “But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

    On religion, politics, and the abortion question:

    “Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

    This may be difficult for those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of the possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.”

  7. 7
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “How about we teach people to not be frivolous with sex?”

    Wow teaching about sex… what a great idea!

    Education goes a long way – knowledge is power!

    I find it deeply disturbing that many of the pro-life people I’ve talked with couple their pro-life stance with the idea that contraception is bad! Seriously – can you imagine a more INcompatable notion that apposing birth control AND abortion?!! For them it’s either abstinence or procreation – there is no middle ground. Reality doesn’t live in their world…

  8. 8
    Chimera Says:

    “…where is the “plan” to help women who have an abortion to deal with the psychological scar it leaves?”

    For starters, how about losing the assumption that abortion leaves any psychological scars?

    “How about we teach people to not be frivolous with sex?”

    “Frivolous?” With sex? Gimme a break, here, huh? One can be “frivolous” with money, but there is no such concept when it comes to sex.

    “If they were responsible enough to have sex then they must be accountable and amend their lives for the consequences of their actions: that means raising the child.”

    “Responsible?” “Accountable?” Again with the misplaced modifiers!

    Never mind that pregnancy is most often not the desired end result of sexual activity, but arguments like this assume that pregnancy — and if carried to term, the resulting progeny — is a punishment, perhaps for the “sin” of indulgence. I wonder how one lives one’s own life assuming he is a punishment to his mother.

    Nobody here would have any problem with your arranging your own life within whatever boundaries you want to impose on yourself. But neither you nor the pope has any right at all to impose your own standards of personal behavior upon anyone else. If you think abortion is wrong, don’t have one.

  9. 9

    Kyle:

    Thank you for the quotations illustrating Obama’s views on the relationship between religious belief and public policy. They are so clear, so logical and so persuasive.

  10. 10
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Let Obama represent his true position. If that’s pro-abortion, then so be it.

    How else will people be able show their approval or non-approval of that position in the voting booth unless he represents it?

    For him to do otherwise seems to me a thwarting of the democratic process.

  11. 11
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “If that’s pro-abortion, then so be it.”

    I believe he has not minced his words… he is pro-choice and doesn’t seem to hide this fact.

    I don’t know anyone who is “pro-abortion” though… the whole idea is ridiculous!! It seems to be a way the pro-life group demonizes the pro-choice camp and is rather tasteless IMO.

  12. 12

    “I believe he has not minced his words… he is pro-choice and doesn’t seem to hide this fact.”

    Yep, he’s more than clear about his stance on the abortion question.

    “I don’t know anyone who is “pro-abortion” though… the whole idea is ridiculous!! It seems to be a way the pro-life group demonizes the pro-choice camp and is rather tasteless IMO.”

    I don’t care for the term “pro-abortion” either. It is alienating and demonizing. Perhaps someone who thinks abortion is a good thing and that we should have more of them could be accurately called pro-abortion, but in most cases, what inspires pro-choice people to defend the legality of abortion is not a love for abortion but a concern for women.

  13. 13

    Thanks, Neil. The whole 2006 address can be found on the Sojourners website. I first read it around that time, and I remember thinking at the time that Obama was going to make waves and gain some unlikely supporters.

    As I’m sure I’ve stated here, I support the outlawing of abortion, but I think the case for that has to be ultimately based on appeals to reason. Seems to me that when a law is enacted based strictly on a purely religious teaching, the society enacting that law has acted against religious freedom. Religious ideas can certainly be brought to the table and contribute to the discussion, but when when religious ideas are forced upon a religious and non-religious public, you lose the freedom of religion.

  14. 14
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Joe: If a fetus is not a human being, why in the world would anyone take offense at the use of the term “pro-abortion”?

  15. 15

    Chimera, forgive me if I say: phooey.

    There are many studies that show women struggle psychologically with its aftermath.

    By frivolous I mean irresponsible (be it giving into social pressures at a young age or unprotected sex as an adult who should know better.

    I have no idea where you deduce I’m imposing my personal views on anybody. I’m merely giving my opinion.

    And yes, I do believe it comes down to that.

    I agree with Neil, Kyle. Wonderful stuff.

  16. 16
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Joe: If a fetus is not a human being, why in the world would anyone take offense at the use of the term ‘pro-abortion’?”

    First of all – I’ve never said a fetus is not a human being.

    Second of all – I didn’t take offence to pro-abortion. I said it was ridiculous, and it is.

    Hmmmm, why would anyone take offense (if they don’t think it’s a human being)? A dog isn’t a human being and would take offense at the term ‘pro-dogkilling’. Why does the fetus being a human being or not factor into it??

    Being pro-choice does not mean that you “like” abortion, or want more people to get them… it just means that you support a woman’s CHOICE – to either have the child or abort it.

    I know that makes it harder for the pro-life side to villianize the pro-choice side but I’m sure there are other lies you can make up to gain support.

  17. 17
    Chimera Says:

    “There are many studies that show women struggle psychologically with its aftermath.”

    If I may quote you: phooey.

    “Many” studies do not make a case. I’ve seen a few articles on the so-called psychological “damage” done to women by abortion, and it’s peculiar how one little tiny factoid endlessly raises it’s little paw and squeals, “Look at me!”… Every single one of the women that were “studied” were identifiably anti-choice! In such reports of “psychological damage,” not one single pro-choice woman was ever represented.

    I’ve known some women who have had abortions. None of them has any regrets. None of them is damaged in any way. Where were these women when those “studies” were being done?

    “I have no idea where you deduce I’m imposing my personal views on anybody.”

    By your choice of words. When you say that someone “must raise the child” as a consequence of their having sex, you are advocating the forcing of parenthood on people who just want to boink for fun. And when you use the terms “frivolous” and “irresponsible,” in regards to sex, you are advocating their judgment based on your own personal attitude that sex is for married people only, and then only if they are willing to get the woman pregnant. And attributing teenage sexual activity to “social pressure” is pretty much akin to attributing any other hormone-driven activity, including growth spurts, to social pressure. And, by the way, “social pressure” is everywhere — you yourself are making a stab at using it as a tool to bend other people to your own particular way of thinking.

    “First of all – I’ve never said a fetus is not a human being.”

    Okay, I’ll be the one to say it, then: A fetus is not a human being!

  18. 18
    Chimera Says:

    Quick follow-up to clarify a seemingly trivial point.

    “I have no idea where you deduce I’m imposing my personal views on anybody.”

    I did not refer to your “personal views.” I specified your standards of personal behavior.

  19. 19
    John Meade Says:

    THE CREATOR IS GREATOR THAN WHAT HE CREATES.THE CARPENTER IS GREATOR THAN THE DESK HE CREATES OR MAKES.
    GOD IS GREATOR THAN HIS CREATED HUMAN BEING.
    MANKIND HAS LEARNED TO RESPECT THE GIFT OF LIFE RESULTING FROM THE SEXUAL UNION OF A MAN TO A WOMAN. THOU SHALT NOT KILL THE CHILD OF YOUR UNION BECAME THE ADOPTION OF GOD THE CREATOR’S TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR MANKIND
    FOLLOWERS OF THE GREAT RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD RECOGNIZE THAT EVERY HUMAN BEING HAS A SOUL THAT SEEKS ITS CREATOR
    ABORTION KILLS THE HUMAN BODY BUT NOT THE SOUL!

  20. 20

    John Meade_

    Thank you for your interesting comment on the abortion debate.


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