Politics and Abortion


it's election season, and you know what that means.  Lots and lots of annoying ads, for one
thing.  "Candidate X eats boiled puppies
on toast with Big Oil Executives every Tuesday. I'm Candidate Y and I approved
this message"

also means, especially this year, that the abortion issue moves closer to the
center of the national discussion.  I say
"especially this year" because between Barack Obama's vote against protecting
infants born alive during an abortion 
and Sarah Palin's refusal to abort her own Down Syndrome baby, the
candidates are giving us all quite a bit to talk about.

we're all talking.  A lot.  Especially here in Denver, in the wake of the Democratic
National Convention, it seems like every conversation I have somehow manages to
veer to the political, and to the issues involved in the campaigns.  Especially, for some reason, the issue of

going to be honest.  When I'm around
people I don't know very well, or people I know well but know disagree with me,
I'm not thrilled when abortion becomes the topic of conversation.  Because abortion bugs me.  A lot. 
It makes me mad.  It sickens me,
horrifies me.  I've been writing about
the subject in one way or another for a really long time. I know a lot more
than the average person about what an abortion is – the gruesome way it
dismembers a tiny human being, the emotional scars it leaves deep within a
woman, the way it tears apart marriages and relationships and lives. 

is virtually impossible for me to hear abortion being defended in any way
without somehow responding.  I don't want to respond, in the sense that it'll
be a pleasant experience, or enhance the pleasant conversation we'd been having
up to this point.  I just know I could
never face God knowing that I had left any defense of abortion unchallenged.

I had first started college, way back when, a pro-life group did a presentation
about abortion in my dorm's lounge.  I
went with all of my new friends – the people who had become my "family away
from home."  And I heard these newfound
buddies say things like "How can you say something that looks like a tadpole
has rights?" And "I used to think I was against abortion until I realized that
I would consider having one myself."  I
spoke up, of course.  Emphatically.  And afterward I locked myself up in my dorm
room for three days.

tricky part to all of this isn't just knowing what to say.  That's easy, especially when I'm mad.  I can be brilliantly, bitingly eloquent in my
condemnation.  The problem is in knowing when
to go for "righteous anger" and when to err on the side of "Christ-like

what winds up happening.  I'm chatting
with a group of people.  Somebody says
something defending the importance of "a woman's right to choose."  I react viscerally, delivering a scathing
blow intended to clarify the overwhelming gruesomeness of the procedure being
"chosen."  And then, just as the words
are escaping my mouth, it occurs to me. 
"She's had an abortion."  And with
that comes the realization that scathing oratory is not the way to her
heart.  The compassion of Christ is.  And so I abruptly switch gears, but the
damage is already done. 

1.5 million women have been having abortions every year for most of my
lifetime.  That's a lot of women walking around deeply, deeply wounded.  Women you know, women you work with, women
you meet at happy hour, women you date. 
You may not know about the abortion – in fact, you probably don't.  But they remember, and a discussion about
abortion is not going to strike them the same way as a discussion about high
oil prices or the war in Iraq.  It's going to be very, very personal. 

attended a beautiful rally here in Denver,
where Dr. Alveda King spoke about the pro-life legacy of her uncle, Dr. Martin
Luther King.  At that rally, Archbishop
Chaput called abortion an "intimate violence." 
And it is.  A woman's child is
killed and dismembered right inside her own body. I don't think most women who
have abortions fully realize that. 
That's not to say that they're stupid or naïve or out of touch, but
simply that they're not given the information, and they're often operating from
a state of short-term panic. 

the abortion, a woman isn't going to be particularly interested in learning
that the "blob" that was removed from her body was a waking, sleeping,
heart-beating human person – her son or daughter.  On some level, she probably senses something
is not right – who could be the same after that kind of violence happened
inside of her body?  But I'm sure it
seems a lot safer to suppress that feeling than to let it out and examine it
and have to fully face the horror of what has happened.

wherever two or more women are gathered, at least one of them is likely to have
had an abortion.  So that's a pretty big
minefield to be walking into with a seemingly innocent political discussion.

so with care.  By all means, speak
up.  God expects no less of you.  But don't do it without praying first, and
putting on a heaping helping of the compassion of Christ.  He loves that woman.  He wants her to reconcile and heal and live
in His fullness forever.

blistering oratory probably won't help that process.



  1. David-1216155 August 31, 2015 Reply

    Did you know that our Catholic colleges and universities have had ties to Planned Parenthood? In a report on Catholic Radio 1430AM in Houston the Cardinal Newman Society provided evidence that Boston University, University of San Francisco, DePaul and others have referred students to Planned Parenthood for medical services, internships and jobs? These are related to majors in women studies, gender studies, etc.

    Not only that, our colleges and universities have hired people indiscriminately who make these referrals. With this confusion our children are being groomed to vote for the wrong candidate.


  2. James-283154 October 31, 2008 Reply

    I am pro-life not only because of my personal morality but because of the beliefs in my Catholic faith. But something is very troubling to me about this election. There are many people who claim to be pro-life but only talk about one pro-life issue, death to the unborn by abortion. Some have gone as far as to imply that it would be a sin to vote for Obama or say they are forced to vote for Mccain because of that single issue. I have to say that the Catholic Church seems to be somewhat guilty of that as well although in more of an indirect way.
    My belief is that there are several more issues that should be included under the heading of pro-life. These issues should be recognized because they are also causing thousands of American deaths. Some are listed below.
    In 2006 it’s estimated that 27,000 Americans died because they couldn’t afford health care insurance.
    In the US, 2,660 children are born everyday into poverty and 27 die because of it. In New York City alone 762,000 children live in poverty.
    Babies born into families whose income is at or below the poverty level die at twice the rate in their first year than babies from families whose income is above the poverty level.
    There is inadequate sex education available to help reduce or prevent unwed pregnancies and a lack of sufficient programs to counsel teenage girls who become pregnant.
    Over 4100 soldiers have died and over 22,000 have been injured and handicapped in the Iraq war.
    I believe these and other issues not listed here must be grouped under the pro-life umbrella when considering my vote. These deaths are no less immoral and sinful than abortion. Yes, we do need to fight wars to defend our nation but in this case we were rushed into a war when there were still other options and sanctions that could have been explored to remove Saddam Hussein. We also mismanaged the war because we didn’t listen to our generals in regards to invasion troop levels. This incompetence caused unnecessary deaths and injuries to our troops. Let’s not forget that over 50,000 Iraqi civilians have also been killed. I can relate personally to this war experience because I served with the Marine Corp in Vietnam.
    Where is the outrage from Christians and churches of all denominations on all of these other pro-life issues? Why are they only focused on one type of death (abortion) for this election? We need to stop letting only one pro-life issue decide our vote. Allowing a woman a choice to have an abortion is clearly a liberal policy but many of the other deaths and sufferings listed above were allowed under conservative policies. It’s clear to me that there are policies in both parties that can lead to death for some Americans.
    Then is it a sin to vote for either candidate? I don’t believe it is. Instead of voting against a candidate because of policies that could lead to American deaths we should vote for the candidate that we believe has the policies that will provide for the welfare of the greatest number of Americans, that is the lower and middle class. We also expect that candidate to have the most Christian and compassionate values. His good policies should address the largest amount of these pro-life issues and greatly improve or eliminate them. Maybe neither candidate meets these requirements completely but we need to choose the one that comes closest in our opinion. It may be obvious who I’m supporting but every one of us can decide for ourselves. My point is we must stop deciding our vote based on only one pro-life issue, namely abortion. We must each vote our conscience and include all pro-life issues in our decision to pick the best candidate for all Americans.

  3. Ruth-366190 October 3, 2008 Reply

    I believe the women who choose abortion are lost souls looking for an answer to a problem they believe is unsolvable without taking drastic measures. Many of us have met women who do not seem to heal spiritually or emotionally(self-forgiveness) after an abortion. I listened to a debate on Catholic radio last month. The gentlemen were giving opinions on politics and abortion issues. While abortion is an important issue, it seems to get buried or forgotten when the individual enters office. I'd like to see Roe vs. Wade overturned at some point in my lifetime, for the sake of everyone. Our local priest has referred to the culture of death, since the abortion issue was upheld. I am glad that partial birth abortions were stopped; however, that is just the first step toward stopping abortion in general.

  4. Daniel-66493 October 2, 2008 Reply

    Great article! It is tough to broach the subject with anyone, but you have definitely helped me to see one more level. Thank you and God Bless you!

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