Center for Ethics and Leadership

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Catholics, Democrats, and Abortion

Jesuit philosopher John Kavanaugh has used his regular column in America to ask Barack Obama to address some of the concerns of those who oppose abortion. Kavanaugh's premise is that many Democratic positions, such as those on immigration, the poor, and others are more acceptable to many Catholics than those of the opposing party. He is not asking Obama to take a position against abortion, but rather a more moderate stance. Here, with slight abridgement, are Kavanaugh's three suggestions to the senator:

1. Support the Rev. Jim Wallis’s “abortion-reduction agenda,” with its economic
support for pregnant women and greater access to adoption as part of the
Democratic platform.

2. If you are interested in diversity and mutual respect, give a place at the Democratic
convention for Democrats for Life to show you are unafraid of difference and
debate.

3. Engage the arguments and evidence offered in opposition to second- and third-
trimester abortions.

These are good thoughts that could bring more reasoned discussion.

3 Comments:

  • I was very impressed with Obama's acceptance speech last evening at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and especially appreciated his comments on abortion --- while maintaing his stance in strong support of a woman's right to make choices about her reproductive health, he also emphasized the need to work across constituencies and party-lines to REDUCE THE NUMBER OF UNINTENDED PREGNANCIES. This seems to me to be the best "middle ground" position for the current time, but the current administration's insistence on promoting "abstinence only education" is a fool-hardy health education (or lack of education)strategy that perpetuates unintended pregnancies among women of all ages in this country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 29, 2008 12:16 PM  

  • I was very impressed with Obama's acceptance speech last evening at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and especially appreciated his comments on abortion --- while maintaing his stance in strong support of a woman's right to make choices about her reproductive health, he also emphasized the need to work across constituencies and party-lines to REDUCE THE NUMBER OF UNINTENDED PREGNANCIES. This seems to me to be the best "middle ground" position for the current time, but the current administration's insistence on promoting "abstinence only education" is a fool-hardy health education (or lack of education)strategy that perpetuates unintended pregnancies among women of all ages in this country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At August 29, 2008 12:17 PM  

  • @att.netIt is unusual to read a statement that promotes a 'middle ground' on the issue of abortion. Most of the opinions I read state that abstinence education has not been successful. In addition to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, I would like to see more programs promoting adoption and reducing the social stigma of "giving up one's baby", single mother education options for viable careers, and birth control options and products should perhaps be included in our services to the poor (or at least in our health insurance plans). The correlations between single or young mothers and poverty suggests a need for both structural and institutional changes in our approach to reproductive health. I also think it is important to acknowledge the deeply held convictions of the Right to Life movement in this country, and try to find a way to balance that with the right an individual woman has to control both her body and her future.

    By Blogger kobe2, At September 1, 2008 7:14 AM  

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