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Roman Catholics for Obama '08

Some ignore his pro-abortion voting record, others rationalize it.

by Paul Kengor | June 2008

The first time I learned about the practice I was horrified. It was the mid-1990s. The source was Sharon Dunsmore, a nurse in a hospital NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) who wrote a small booklet about the experience. One day on the job she had been summoned “stat” to the delivery room to deal with an “oops abortion”—a failed abortion in which the baby unexpectedly survived, or, as Dunsmore quoted the pediatrician on the scene, “had the audacity to survive.”

The team struggled as to whether to continue intubating the child—now a little boy, not a “fetus”—who clearly was not going to make it, mangled and destroyed as he was. He gasped for air as the doctor left the room, allowing nature to take its cruel course, leaving the boy with Dunsmore. No further medical care would be administered.

Typically in these situations, the infant is left alone—on a cold metal table, in a corner, on a bare bed, in a trash can. Dunsmore did not have the heart to do that. She stayed with the boy.

In her account, Dunsmore went into painstaking detail about what happened next—the breathing, the wetting—with such vividness that I, a mere distant reader, couldn’t decide whether to cry or vomit. Recalling the scene she described never ceases to make me sad. She wrote of how she named him “Tiny Tim,” took him in her arms, held his little hand, and sang to him: “Jesus loves the little children….” The little boy fought as best he could, but to no avail. She whispered “goodbye” to him, and told him he “did matter to someone.”

I have never forgotten that story and since then have even met some of these abortion survivors, one of whom visited Grove City College to speak before a spellbound group of our students at the campus chapel a few years ago.


The United States Congress has also learned about this grisly reality, and finally, in 2002, passed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, requiring that babies like Tiny Tim who survive abortions receive medical care from the medical professionals in their midst—medical professionals who suddenly must morph from killers to their traditional roles of healers and helpers.

The bill was so obviously necessary and became so popular that it faced no real opposition, even from the most fanatical of Congress’ pro-abortion extremists, including Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Ted Kennedy. Even NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League, supported the legislation.

Indeed, who could ever oppose such legislation? Actually, there is someone: Barack Obama, who appears as of May to be the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and possibly the next president of the United States.

Obama was not a member of the US Senate at the time that the Born Alive Infants Protection Act passed unanimously through both chambers of Congress. But he was a member of the Illinois state legislature, where similar legislation was introduced at the state level. There, Obama twice voted against the legislation, in 2002 and 2003, and as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee blocked another attempt to bring the legislation to the floor of the Illinois Senate.

The pro-life community in the state of Illinois was aghast, and pro-life Catholics were horrified. Yet today Catholics around the country are lining up to endorse Barack Obama’s candidacy for president of the United States. They are stumping hard for Obama, who, if elected, has promised to do whatever he can to appoint justices and support legislation guaranteeing decades of protection for Roe v. Wade.


Who are these Catholics? They are an eclectic bunch, from politicians like Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Democratic Governor Tim Kaine (Va.), Democratic Governor Bill Richardson (N.M.), Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-Mass.), Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.

The support of the Kennedys and Kerrys is no surprise; they are pro-abortion party hacks. But the endorsement of Dan Rooney, known to be a daily communicant, is bizarre. Among other reasons, his team’s brutal Steel Curtain and Blitz-burg defenses do not call to my mind the image of the man that National Journal ranks as the most liberal member of the US Senate.

There are also, of course, the predictable “Catholic” colleges that, in defiance of repeated warnings by the bishops regarding Catholic institutions and pro-abortion politicians, have offered platforms to Obama in the form of on-campus political rallies: St. Peter’s College in New Jersey (in January) and Loras College in Iowa (in March).

But no group of Catholics seems quite as odd as the one titled “Roman Catholics for Obama ’08,” which dubs Barack Obama “the best and right candidate for Catholic voters.” The group asserts: “[W]e, as Catholics, believe Catholics can and should vote for Barack Obama because his platform aligns well with Catholic Social Teaching.”

Their website ( leads with a long quote from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which states, “The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of the moral vision for society … In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia.”

But the group completely ignores the fact that Obama’s record contradicts this statement, instead underscoring Obama’s stance on the death penalty, terrorism, Iran, American diplomacy, regional diplomacy, nuclear weapons, the “21st century military,” gun policy, global poverty, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “new partnerships in Asia,” Darfur, and “the culture of secrecy.” In short, the group focuses on everything except the primary moral principles taught authoritatively by the Catholic Church.

Navigating one’s way around the website of “Roman Catholics for Obama ’08” is a dispiriting immersion in inanity, moral equivalency, and delusional thinking. This is likewise true for another (ecumenical) website,, which has posted a number of endorsements from Catholics like “Tamara S.” of Roswell, Georgia, who says, “I’m disturbed by the hijacking of the Republican party by far-right Christians.” Or take this one: “I have no interest in living in a theocracy,” writes Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, who is most concerned with “issues of poverty and issues of justice and equal access and opportunity, especially when dealing with children and education and healthcare.”


Many of these Catholics dismiss or downplay the Church’s teachings on the sanctity and dignity of human life. But what about the explicitly pro-life Catholics who are supporting Obama? The two most high-profile, Catholic pro-life endorsers of Barack Obama for president are Bob Casey, Jr. and Doug Kmiec.

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. is the son of and heir to the great pro-life stalwart, Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania. It was hard to find a pro-life Democrat as principled as the late governor, who was named in the title of the 1992 court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The late Casey was shocked by the abortion stridency of his party, so much so that in 1996 he considered a run for the presidency against the incumbent president from his own party, Bill Clinton. In 2006, the younger Casey, who is likewise considered a pro-life Catholic Democrat, unseated the strongest pro-lifer in the US Senate, Senator Rick Santorum. Since then, Casey has been a grave disappointment, not at all picking up the torch from Santorum.

Consequently, it was not surprising to learn that in the thick of the crucial Pennsylvania primary, Casey endorsed Barack Obama for president. He then announced he would be touring Pennsylvania cities with Obama, including, incidentally, those small towns in rural areas that Obama said were comprised of “bitter” folks who “cling” to God and guns out of frustration at the federal government’s failures.

If Obama had won Pennsylvania on April 22 rather than losing to Hillary Clinton by 10 points, he would have been propelled to the Democratic Party nomination in Denver. So, Casey jumped into the fray to do his part.

Casey was also there with Obama at the April 13 “Compassion Forum” at Pennsylvania’s Messiah College, broadcast by CNN. Abortion rights fell into the category of “compassion” for Obama, who fenced a question about whether he believes life begins at conception by saying, “I don’t presume to know the answer to that question.” Earlier in the campaign Obama had made the stunning remark that if one of his young daughters got pregnant out of wedlock, he would not want her to be “punished with a baby.”


If any of this bothers Casey, he hasn’t expressed it. Casey’s endorsement of Obama demonstrates that he is first and foremost a Democrat who places party loyalty above moral principle. The same cannot be said, however, of the endorsement of Obama by Douglas W. Kmiec, who has long been thought to be a conservative Catholic Republican.

Kmiec, a former counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, was the dean of the Catholic University of America School of Law. He is currently chair of constitutional law at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He recently was an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Kmiec calls Obama “a natural for the Catholic vote.”

“Today I endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States,” announced Kmiec in a March 23 statement posted at “I believe him to be a person of integrity, intelligence, and genuine good will.”

Unlike other Catholics who ignore the issue altogether, Kmiec addressed his difference with Obama over abortion. But he deals with the difference unconvincingly. Kmiec acknowledges that he believes life begins at conception, “and it is important for every life to be given sustenance and encouragement,” then renders this stance meaningless with a vague hope about Obama’s openness: “In various ways, Sen. Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced, based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing, that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of views and, as best as is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.”

To which public pronouncements is Kmiec referring? Recall Obama’s remarks to a screaming Planned Parenthood crowd last July, to whom he promised, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” which would overturn state pro-life laws nationwide and make abortion the supreme law of the land. In that speech, he told the appreciative women that Planned Parenthood was a “safety net provider” that needed to be given “discounted drugs” so that “all women” would have access to “affordable contraception.” In the speech, he hailed Margaret Sanger—eugenicist, racist, and Planned Parenthood founder—as a voice in the “struggle for equality.”

Amazingly, Kmiec read this speech and points to it as an example of Obama’s alleged flexibility. Kmiec sees the speech as lacking the vituperation of so many speeches by pro-choice Democrats to abortion groups, an interpretation that mistakenly assumes that style and tone trumps substance and policy for Obama.

Behind Obama’s smile is an uncompromising advocacy for unfettered abortion rights. Obama is committed to appointing strictly pro-abortion judges to the US Supreme Court. As for Reaganesque pro-life judges recently promoted to the court by President George W. Bush—namely, Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, both of whom Kmiec commends—Obama boasts of his votes against these two judges.

Obama has said that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most stalwart abortion crusader on the high court, is his ideal justice. Kmiec, given his expertise as a legal scholar, knows this.

To be blunt, Kmiec’s perception of Obama’s openness to accommodation on abortion is pure projection. There is absolutely no reason to conclude that a President Obama would be receptive to a pro-life message. Obama himself has repeatedly made it clear that his stance on this issue will be unyielding. As president, he might say he is open to pro-lifers and that he respects them, but he would not be expected to join them on any meaningful pro-life action.

There is a psychological-emotional attraction to Obama that goes beyond the traditional reasons explaining why people, Catholics included, support certain candidates. What’s more, the Roman Catholics in Obama’s camp are largely typical of the religious left generally and left-leaning Catholics specifically who identify with and support a liberal Democrat for president. The abortion issue simply loses out to a wider swath of “social justice” issues that for them take precedence.

The Church continues to exhort Catholics to reject this moral equivalency in their voting, but Obama’s Catholic supporters don’t care, and from this atmosphere of dissent Obama hopes to ride a wave of millions of Catholic votes all the way to the White House.  (Note from Page Editor - "Sadly, he did")


Special thank you to Dr. Paul Kengor who has most recently published God and Hillary Clinton (HarperCollins, 2007) and The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007). He is professor of political science at Grove City College.

NARAL Raising millions to kill babies
From: Houston Chronicle; June 9, 2001 (our headline for the following article)

Washington, DC -- Pro-life candidate George W. Bush may have won the presidential election, but six months later his candidacy is paying off for pro-abortion organizations. With Bush in the White House, many pro-abortion organizations are catching a windfall of financial contributions and new members.

"We are raising $1 million a month and are way ahead of our own projections," said Steve Jost, communications director for the National Abortion and Reproductive "Rights" Action League.

"There has been, among our supporters, a certain amount of complacency in the past eight years," Jost said. "Now, people are waking up to the fact that Bush's policies and initiatives are just way outside of the political mainstream."

In March, as Bush and congressional Republicans began work on a series of pro-life measures, NARAL launched a four-year, $40 million fund-raising effort to fight it.

Pro-life organizations are encouraing pro-life advocates to help them with the legislative fight with their donations and support.
MCFL Note: This is why it's so important to make donations to your local pro life organization. After you help them, would you consider making a donation to Michigan Christians for Life? ALL profits beyond costs go to educate Christians about their responsibility to protect God's gift of life. Donate today and help save an innocent person from this culture of death.

Subject: Abortion: A World of Contradictions
Source: National Right to Life; May 26, 2001
By Kathleen M. Gallagher
Associate Director, New York State Catholic Conference

The words were jarring --as much because of the source as the message. "We can no longer deny the fact that by allowing abortion on demand we have created a world filled with contradictions." So said a WNBC-TV commentary during a newscast nearly 14 years ago. I found the words courageous, and unquestionably true.

In a world of breathtaking medical advances that make it easier both to save a prematurely born infant and to destroy an unwanted unborn child, where government spends millions of dollars on programs designed to promote fetal health, while spending millions more to facilitate fetal death -- the words border on the prophetic.

The irony is that the children of these undocumented moms, at the moment of birth, are automatically eligible for Medicaid. The babies are citizens, born in the USA, the court reasoned, and to deny them assistance would be an act of discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Thus the same child who is entitled to care after birth is not entitled to assistance before birth simply because she happens to reside in her mother's womb. The Court said:

"At that moment, the fetus had no constitutional right to equal protection, and the born child's subsequent protection by the Equal Protection Clause cannot retroactively create a claim that was not cognizable before birth."

Legally, it makes sense. Anyone even remotely familiar with abortion jurisprudence knows that Roe v Wade forecloses the possibility of equal protection in utero. But logically? What event took place between the moment before birth and the moment of birth to change the need of that growing child for vitamins, good nutrition, doctor visits and other medical care? We're talking about the same living human entity, aren't we?

A lawyer with the Legal Aid Society, which argued the case on behalf of the pregnant immigrants, decried the fact that "little unborn U.S. citizen kids...will not get vital prenatal care" as a result of the decision. I couldn't have said it better myself. But Legal Aid now appears to be waffling on whether to appeal the case, for fear it may invite the Supreme Court to reexamine Roe.

If that's not contradictory enough, there's the comment from a representative from the NOW Legal Defense Fund saying the ruling "just ends up harming innocent children." Can this advocate not see the incongruity between her organization's tireless support of abortion rights and its passionate defense of pregnant women and the children they carry?

Such inconsistencies are becoming more apparent. Last year state legislatures all across the nation rushed to enact "abandoned infant protection laws." The laws -- which received broad bipartisan support -- allow parents to escape criminal prosecution if they abandon their newborns in a safe place.

The laws are designed to save infants from being left in a trash can to die. New York's law applies to infants from birth to six days old. Yet six days prior to birth the lives of these same children can be legally terminated through late-term abortion, and legislators have felt no similar urgency to save them. Am I missing something?

Our federal government promotes its anti-nicotine campaign with the message, "Pregnant? That's two good reasons to quit smoking. No baby should be forced to smoke." This is the same federal government that approved the new abortion-inducing drug RU-486.

Our state government advertises its prenatal care program with a "Healthy Baby Hotline" and posters urging pregnant women to "take care of your baby right from the start." At the same time, it compels taxpayers to fund thousands of abortions each year and insists that every federal program designed to promote health and wellness be perverted into a new slush fund for abortion.

Abortion is legal, as the Second Circuit rightly noted in last week's decision. And because it is, the judges' hands were tied. The Court was not free to use rational thinking to determine that the children of poor immigrants need health care even more before birth than after, to spare them from low birth weight, disability and disease. No, the Court was bound by the unfettered right of a woman to choose whether her child will live or die. If a child has no assurance of an opportunity to be born, a Court cannot possibly find a basis for assuring it enhanced prospects of future good health.

It is time for consistency and common sense. The organisms being destroyed in abortions are the same ones medical experts desperately try to save in hospital neonatal care units. They're the same ones we joyfully watch kicking their legs and sucking their thumbs on the ultrasound screen as we await their birth.

How much longer can reasonable people comfortably accept such arbitrary values being thrust upon the same human organism? Will we still be fooling ourselves after another 14 years?


Subject: The Biased Media: Show Executions, Not Abortions
Source: Christian Broadcasting Network; May 14, 2001

Washington, DC -- Until the revelation about the FBI's mistake in the McVeigh case, the media had gone into overdrive examining the death penalty. The show "20/20" spent its whole hour on the subject May 4th, and "Nightline" along with dozens of public radio stations on May 2nd played audio from actual executions.

But the mainstream media never provide the same kind of coverage on another life and death issue -- abortion.

As the tape played, audiences heard, "On my count of three, press the button. One, two, three." The national public had never heard an actual execution before this month.

"The execution is now in progress," said the observer on the tape. "When the first surge entered his body, he stiffened and I heard a pop, as if one of the straps broke."

These tapes of Georgia executions carried out in the 1980s played on network and cable TV, as well as on at least 55 public radio stations. The mainstream media seem to be trying harder than ever to confront their audiences with the real result of the death penalty -- prisoners killed.

But, as Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center points out, these are the same media who refuse to show the real result of abortions -- babies killed.

"They want the public to see the execution because they want to influence the public against executions. The primary reason the same media will never show an abortion on television is because they have an agenda that is for abortion," Bozell said.

These are the same media that refuse to carry political ads by candidates that show the results of abortion, or that refuse ads linking abortion and the death the following ad by the Child Protection Fund:

"What if we told you there was an execution procedure so gruesome that it started by puncturing the head with a sharp instrument? It's not used to execute mass murderers. That would be considered cruel and unusual punishment Instead, this procedure, called a partial-birth abortion, is usually used on healthy babies with healthy mothers in the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy."

And you never see on the mainstream media the kinds of illustrations and video that can bring home the reality of abortion, like a medical illustration that would show how all the brain tissue gets sucked out of the baby's skull.

"And the very last thing they want is for the public to see an abortion so that their opinions might not be swayed against abortion. It is a very crystal clear situation," Bozell said.

The anchor of one newscast led into the report with a word of caution, "Some of the material you're about to hear is graphic."

What the audience heard was the voice of a prison official describing the execution of Ivon Ray Stanley in 1984. "Perspiration is now being wiped from the forehead of the condemned, and he is secure and ready for the execution," the official said in a matter of fact voice. "When the first surge entered his body, he stiffened and I heard a pop, as if one of the straps broke."

Laura Walker, the president of WNYC Radio, said the decision to air the tapes was "not something we decided to do lightly." She added, "We believe this is important material in the public record. We believe we have a journalistic responsibility to air it."

But would Walker and other journalists would agree they also have a responsibility to take us inside another "execution chamber": an abortion facility.

Imagine Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather or Peter Jennings, opening their newscast by saying, "Tonight, we have exclusive audio tapes of a doctor performing Partial Birth Abortions. And we want to caution you, what you're about to hear is graphic."

Can you imagine hearing a doctor describe pulling the child feet-first through the mother's womb? Imagine him describe the movement of the child and the caution that must be exercised in not letting the child's head come through the birth canal. Now imagine hearing the doctor matter-of-factly tell us how the baby stiffens as he punctures the back of his neck. Then think of hearing the unmistakable sound of a suction tube removing the baby's brain.

A majority of Americans believe Partial Birth Abortion should be outlawed. If the major networks aired tapes like the one described above, they would be hard-pressed to find anyone who says partial-birth abortion should be legal. Support for other forms of abortion would plummet too.

Pro-abortion groups and their allies in the media know that. That is exactly why they won't let you hear, much less see, what goes on in abortion facilities around the country.

Subject: World's Tiniest Premature Baby Born in London
Source: This is London; May 17, 2001

London, England -- London baby Christopher Williams looks set to make it into the record books as the lightest single premature child ever born. His mother, Leona, feared she would never get to cradle her first son when he arrived 16 weeks premature and weighing only 603 grams - just over 1lb 5oz.

Christopher was smaller than his mother's hand and was denied that first hug for the first three weeks of his life, as doctors and nurses fought to ensure his survival.

Ms Williams, 23, said: "When I first saw Christopher I just burst out crying. I was shocked. I couldn't believe this tiny baby was real and would survive. I knew when he was born that he was alive, I could hear his little voice. But when I saw him, he was so tiny I didn't know how long I would have him."

Christopher was born prematurely at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone on 21 November And spent the first five months of his life in hospital. He was rushed to a specialist baby unit in Oxford, where he spenthis first three weeks.

Ms Williams, from Walthamstow, said: "Every day was a milestone. He has had a tough time and I didn't know if he would make it.

"He was in the special care baby nursery on oxygen and had two hernia operations. It was the happiest day when I brought him home last month.

"I look at him now and I can't believe he's the same Christopher. He's just a bouncing baby boy with the sweetest nature. I just want to do everything I can to make sure the rest of his life is easy now." The 2001 Guinness Book of Records lists the most premature baby as James Elgin Gill, born in Canada at 128 days premature, but weighing 21 grams - 7.4oz - more than Christopher.

Australian twins Roshan and Melanie Grey were born in 1993 weighing only 490g, or just over 1lb 1oz, and 370g, or 13 oz.

The following is a picture of Christopher:

MCFL Note: Living proof that life resides in the womb prior to birth.

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