Recently I described and criticized the effort in Colorado to define a fertilized egg as a person. While the Catholic Church has not officially endorsed the measure, Catholics also wish “to end abortion,” according to one spokesperson.
Electa Draper writes for the February 28 Denver Post:
“We commend the goal of this effort to end abortion. Individual Catholics may choose to work for its passage,” [Colorado Catholic Conference Executive Director Jennifer] Kraska said.
“At the same time, we recognize that other people committed to the sanctity of life have raised serious questions about this specific amendment’s timing and content,” she said.
Kraska does not reveal — and Draper does not report — what problems some Catholics find with the measure’s “timing and content.” But Kraska could not be more clear in her position on abortion — a position that, far from preserving “the sanctity of life,” would destroy the sanctity of life of some people.
Nor are other Catholics as hesitant, as Draper continues:
“It’s a political, gutless position,” said Judie Brown, president of the American Life League.
“As a Catholic, it’s the most scandalous thing I’ve ever heard,” Brown said. “I can’t believe that any bishop wouldn’t want to be out in the front lines helping the petitioners. The sanctity of life is a fundamental teaching of the Catholic Church.”
This issue is not limited to Colorado. Draper concludes:
The Colorado effort is part of a national movement to win Supreme Court review of Roe v. Wade, Brown said. Montana and Mississippi also have ballot initiatives in progress for 2008; Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Oregon were working toward a 2009 measure.
Nobody can say the advocates of faith-based politics didn’t warn us.
2 thoughts on “Catholics "To End Abortion"”
Anyone interested in the “social mechanics” of the debate over abortion in the USA, might profit from a close reading of Ch. 14, “Bioethics and Public Policy: Catholic Participation in the American Debate,” in Robert P. George, The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis, 2001.
George, an articulate intellectual in academic and Catholic circles, surveys the history of the participation of the Catholic Church in the abortion and related debates in the US, mainly during the last 20 years or so. George sees mostly failure in Catholics’ efforts to convey their message, as well as to actually ban abortion.
In part, the value of the chapter is that it shows:
1. “The enemy has problems too.” Their problems consist of:
– Wavering (due to confusion, among many Catholic leaders influenced by post-modernism, over fundamental principles).
– Lack of organizational discipline (allowing prominent Catholics, such as Sen. Kennedy, to contradict Catholic teachings without being expelled from the Church), thus leading to confusion among Catholic followers.
– Conflation of official discussions of guiding principles, which should be absolutely set by the Church, with discussions of the minutiae of particular proposed laws, about which “reasonable Catholics” might disagree.
2. The fight, in Dr. Peikoff’s terms, between M1s and M2s, on one side, and D1s on the other side, is happening within massive institutions such as the Catholic Church in the US, as well as in the larger society.
3. George is fully aware that the fight to control this society is an intellectual fight: “… to a very large extent, it is on Catholic campuses that the future of the Church in America, and of a Catholic bioethic, will be decided. Let us be under no illusions: much of this ground is currently under enemy occupation.” (p. 301)
George is a perfect conservative intellectual. Conservatism is the ideology whose four highest values are: God, Tradition, Nation, and Family. Those are his guiding values. He is serious and articulate, especially in his M1 epistemology: faith sets our highest values and we should use “reason” to implement them in society. He is therefore a potential “mover” in society.
Might the Church simply be trying to protect its tax-exempt status by not officially endorsing a ballot initiative?
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