For many, the most challenging aspect of religion is the way it makes our judgment and preferences on key moral issues subservient to its own dictates. Many believers strive for fidelity to their faith’s standards and humble reflection that those standards are rooted in divine wisdom. But there are also those who insist they know better and will stop at nothing to square the circle of counting themselves among the faithful while picking and choosing which tenets to adopt and which to ignore.
Case in point: in a brazen assault on both Catholic principles and basic accuracy, a National Catholic Reporter column by Duquesne University Law School dean and Catholics for Obama co-chair Nicholas Cafardi makes the incredible case that Barack Obama is the true pro-lifer in this presidential contest:
First, I don’t know anyone who is pro-abortion. Think about what that word means. It means you favor women becoming pregnant so you can help them abort their child and maybe profit from it.
For what it’s worth, Obama’s close personal friends at Planned Parenthood most definitely promote a lifestyle more likely to result in unintended pregnancy, profit from abortion, and are not indifferent to what “choice” women ultimately make.
It is an ugly word, and it is used to emotionalize the debate when what we are really talking about is people who do not favor criminalizing abortion because they believe criminal statutes are ineffective ways to solve social evils. This makes them pro-choice, not pro-abortion.
We cover a lot of crazy statements here, but the suggestion that pro-choicers are pro-choice only because they’re skeptical that laws would do any good, as if they’d actually like to restrict abortion if only they could, is as crazy as they get. Even setting aside those who celebrate abortion as a positive good and a “right,” it defies all plausibility to say Obama concerns himself with the feasibility. For the president who hailed his election as “the moment the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” no undertaking is too grand or impractical for government to handle; if he really deemed abortion “evil,” he’d be even more zealous in banning it than we are.
Indeed, Obama’s own words and record reveal that that’s not his rationale at all, from human rights being above his pay grade to his active promotion of abortion through taxpayer funding and opposition to all restrictions, no matter how modest or necessary.
Obama’s Affordable Care Act does not pay for abortions. In Massachusetts, Romney’s health care law does.
Oh, yes ObamaCare does. And it forces the rest of us to, as well. As for RomneyCare, Massachusetts pro-life leaders insist that the “blame lies solely on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who ruled in 1981 that the Massachusetts Constitution required payment for abortions for Medicaid-eligible women. In 1997, the Court reaffirmed its position that a state-subsidized plan must offer ‘medically necessary abortions.’”
Obama favors, and included in the Affordable Care Act, $250 million of support for vulnerable pregnant women and alternatives to abortion. This support will make abortions much less likely, since most abortions are economic. Romney, on the other hand, has endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s budget, which will cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of the federal plans that support poor women.
The theory that pumping money into social programs reduces abortion rates has little basis – New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes that blue states tend to have more abortions and teen pregnancy, and Ed Morrissey points out in The Week that, according to Center for Disease Control data, “‘Contraceptive use in the United States is virtually universal among women of reproductive age: 99 percent of all women who had ever had intercourse had used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetime.’ Of all the reasons for non-use of contraception in cases of unwanted pregnancy, lack of access doesn’t even make the CDC’s list.” Further, Cafardi doesn’t consider that ObamaCare’s alleged economic benefits are offset by the various ways it increases other costs for women.
Next, Cafardi crosses the line from fuzzy logic to borderline slander by calling Romney an “abortion profiteer”:
Bain Capital, in the time Romney was listed as its legal head and even when he was attending Bain board meetings, was an owner of Stericycle, a major disposer of the dead bodies of aborted children in the United States […] Bain owned a share of Stericycle until 2004, selling its interest for a profit in the tens of millions of dollars. We can parse what Romney’s 1999 “retroactive retirement” from Bain means, but he still gets an annual payout from the firm.
What he doesn’t tell you: the specifics of Romney’s post-1999 relationship with Bain are irrelevant, for the simple reason that Stericycle didn’t begin its abortion-disposal operations until years after Bain sold its shares in 2004. Pro-lifers didn’t notice or publicize anything controversial about Stericycle until 2010. Cafardi’s accusation is a bald-faced lie; I wonder how he spins Catholic doctrine to justify that!
That’s nothing, though; Cafardi saves his most outrageous smear for last:
And it has long been known that millions of Bain Capital’s original outside funding, solicited by Romney himself, came from wealthy El Salvadorian clans, some of whom, while they were funding Bain, were “linked to right wing death squads.” […] Death squads killed tens of thousands of mostly poor people in El Salvador. They also killed priests, nuns and Archbishop Oscar Romero. How pro-life is that?
Over the weekend, David Harsanyi dissected this attack at Human Events. The short version: (a) there’s no hard evidence linking the investors in question to such groups, (b) there’s no reason to believe that Romney had any knowledge of such ties, (c) the assassinations Orlando and Francisco de Sola are alleged to have been involved in didn’t occur until six years after their business with Bain, and (d) Obama administration officials have also met with them. As Harsanyi says, “[i]f Francisco de Sola’s investment in Bain is worth noting, even though he was accused of his crime six years after the fact, surely the administration meeting with him after the accusations were made is remarkable.”
The Catholic faith Cafardi claims to represent unambiguously condemns abortion as a moral evil. Christianity is also clear on the sinfulness of bearing false witness. It’s not a coincidence that people have such trouble avoiding the latter while rationalizing the former.