Progressive Catholics Are Finally Being Heard

Joe Veix

As the recession gets worse, more Catholics are shifting their political opinions, or becoming more open to compromise and dialogue about that and other issues.

A great op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer illuminates the fact that, because of the failing economy, left-leaning Catholics are finally being heard. Remember, too, the other ways in which our poor economy is effecting reproductive health, including a spike in abortions, vasectomies, and adoption rates.

The article’s author, Dick Pulman, makes a compelling argument: Fifty-four percent of Catholic voters pulled the lever for Obama last November. Ronald Reagan is the only other president to have won such a decisive vote from Catholics, in 1984.

Pulman’s most powerful point is the comparison of the Catholic response to John Kerry in 2004 and the nomination of Kathleen Sebeilus:

During the ’04 campaign, when church leaders condemned John Kerry for being Catholic and "pro-choice," and declared that he, too, should be denied the sacrament, there was scant pushback from the Catholic ranks. The opposite is true today. Sebelius had not even been formally nominated when Catholics United, a new voice on the emergent Catholic left, leapt to her defense Feb. 28, praising her "deep Catholic faith" and "her commitment to living out the church’s call to building a more just society."

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Maybe someone could see it as disturbing that people might be abandoning their supposed deeply-held religious beliefs because of the  gravity of the economic crisis. Another way of seeing this would be that many progressive Catholics are keeping the beliefs that matter to their lives, while abandoning the harmful rules of an ideology that is too strict to be applicable in reality. The latter appears to best explain the shift in opinion, and the broader acceptance of compromise and dialogue.

Morning Roundup: Alaska Parental Notification Law Upheld, Stripped of Physician Punishment

Beth Saunders

Abortion rulings in Alaska and (expected soon) in Ireland; closeted teachers; science  doesn't match the beliefs of the Family Research Council; and "Choice on Earth" cards from Planned Parenthood.

Abortion rulings in Alaska and (expected soon) in Ireland top the news this morning, along with the plight of closeted teachers, science that doesn’t match the beliefs of the Family Research Council, and “Choice on Earth” cards from Planned Parenthood.

  • The European Court on Human Rights will rule soon on whether Irish abortion laws are a violation of human rights. The three women at the center of the case say they risked their health to travel outside of Ireland for pregnancy termination. According to Independent Catholic News, the women who brought the suit included a woman who faced an ectopic pregnancy, a cancer patient who needed chemotherapy, and “a woman whose children were placed in care as she was unable to cope.”
  • A judge in Alaska has allowed the parental notification law to stand (and it will go into effect today), but has modified the statute, removing “provisions calling for a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment of up to five years for people who violate the law. He also struck a section allowing physicians to be liable for damages.” Planned Parenthood says it will continue to challenge the law.
  • Soldiers aren’t the only ones who operate under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Many teachers, as well, adhere to an unwritten policy of keeping their sexual orientation private so as to prevent false accusations, loss of certification, and backlash from parents and their employers.
  • A new study says abortion doesn’t cause mental health problems for women, and disputes earlier studies that claim to find a link. Shockingly, the Family Research Council doesn’t believe the science.
  • Did you know that Planned Parenthood sold holiday cards? Some do (such as this affiliate), and of course, some people don’t like that. (Do you think the writer knows she doesn’t have to buy them?)

Dec 14

Dec 13

Roundup: Are Georgia Voters Getting Tired of Abortion Talk?

Robin Marty

Republican candidates for governor are attacking each other on abortion, and voters are getting annoyed.  Plus, Colorado Personhood has a new mascot: a fictitious slave.

The race to be the Republican candidate for governor of Georgia is getting heated, and the primary is becoming more and more focused on reproductive health issues as a way to discern between the two otherwise mostly indistinguishable candidates, Karen Handel and Nathan Deal.  Now the competition is who is the most anti-choice, and voters are watching a fierce battle ensue.

From the Examiner:

The rather ugly discussion focused a lot on social issues, especially abortion. Handel has been attacked by the Georgia Right to Life (GRL) organization for supporting restrictions to her pro-life stance, such as when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, and if it endangers the life of the mother.

GRL attacked Handel personally when, while commenting on Handel’s abortion views, they suggested infertile women are “barren and desperate;” Handel has been outspoken about her struggle to get pregnant.

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Most recently, the organization suggested that Sarah Palin shouldn’t have endorsed Handel, because Handel’s views would have allowed abortion of Palin’s youngest child who has a Down syndrome.

Deal himself has criticized Handel, naming issues such as abortion and support of a gay group Log Cabin Republicans as examples of Handel’s lack of conservative values.

The conversation about who’s a “true” conservative took quite a bit of time during the 30- minute debate. Handel called herself a “lifelong, conservative Republican,” an obvious hint about Deal who became Republican after his first party of choice, Democrats, lost power in U.S. Congress in 1994.

But there is such a thing as too much focus on abortion issues, and some voters are getting so annoyed they are thinking about not voting all together, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Contrary to popular belief, Karen Handel and Nathan Deal actually have discussed more than just abortion in their runoff campaign for the GOP nomination for governor.

But, for some voters, it’s still too much.

“The state has 10 percent unemployment and the worst budget crisis ever, and they want to fight over things that happened in the ’90s,” said James Williams, 42, of DeKalb County, who said he supported Handel in the primary. “It makes me angry enough to skip voting for the first time in my life.”

Theresa Matt, 66, of Athens is strongly against abortion, but she wants to hear the candidates discuss jobs, water and Jekyll Island. A retired attorney who said social issues are “real important to me,” she voted for Sen. Jeff Chapman (R-Brunswick) in the primary, and if the runoff vote comes down to abortion, she’s not impressed with either Deal or Handel.

“I don’t really trust either one of them,” she said.

It seems like the “who’s the most anti-abortion” game really only goes so far, though, as neither candidate appears to have showed support for the recent “Pro-Life Freedom Ride,” who’s inagural trip recently terminated in Atlanta and was attended by leaders of Georgia Right to Life.  However, their intended prayer vigil at the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not to be, according to Lifenews, who reports they were turned away.

After the protest, which went unchallenged except for three pro-abort bike riders who peddled by, the Priests for Life team and the pro-life and civil rights leaders boarded the Freedom Bus and headed to Atlanta, followed by a caravan of some 50 cars and vans. When it became clear en route that they would not be able to assemble at the King, Father Pavone told a King Center employee, “There’s a lot of people here from all over the country and we’re on our way there, so get ready for us.”

Looks like a lot of Atlanta is getting tired of anti-abortion talk.

Mini Roundup: Fertilized eggs are slaves?  Well, that’s what the Colorado Personhood Initiative sponsors are going to claim.  Folks, get ready to meet “George Stevens,” a fictitious slave who is prepared to claim a moral equivilancy between using the pill and owning human property.

June 26, 2010

Youth arrested for forcing girlfriend to undergo abortion  – IBNLive.com

Buffett Secretly Spending Millions On Abortion Med-School Scheme: NY Times – Philadelphia Bulletin

Early abortion may be allowed – JoongAng Daily

NARAL backs DiNapoli » – New York Daily News

First GOP gubernatorial debate takes some ugly turns – Examiner.com

99 Days to Decide: Anti-Abortion PAC Learns Endorsed Candidate Is Pro-Choice – FOXNews

Philippine Bishops on Sex-Ed/Abortion: State Must Obey Moral Law – Lifesite

Former Surgeon General Koop Calls Kagan’s Alteration of ACOG’s Partial Birth … – CNSNews

Bench Memos – National Review Online

Alaska Abortion Advocates Spending Big to Stop Parental Notification Vote – LifeNews.com

Organizers: Pro-Life Freedom Ride a Success Despite Pro-Abortion Opposition – LifeNews.com

Is the Roberts court too conservative? – The Week Magazine

Palin’s Progress – Huffington Post

Handel, Deal focus on abortion; voters want to hear about jobs – Atlanta Journal Constitution

Abortion initiative radio, web ads run afoul of APOC – Alaska Dispatch

Personhood Amendment Backers Announce Strategy –  KUNC

DiNapoli Gets NARAL, Declines to Comment on Indy Party – New York Observer

Why would you want more abortion on TV? – ProLife Blogs

Obama: A Feminist Scorecard – Huffington Post

Gov. Chris Christie Vetoes Health Care, Tax-breaks – The State Column

Permanent Birth Control – WDEF News 12

Jayne Dowle:Teenage mothers are turning the clock back – Yorkshire Post

FDA Approves New Permanent Birth Control – WCCO

Get Permanent Birth Control Without The Operation – cbs4denver.com

Call to recruit women in campaign against HIV/AIDS – AsiaOne

Cash payments lower HIV and STD rates – Sovo.com

Vaccine hopes can’t mask the extent of Russia’s AIDS crisis – The Moscow News

Pregnant teens shun HIV treatment for fear of stigmatization – Myjoyonline.com

International AIDS conference ‘a disappointment’ – Charities Aid Foundation

Coming face to face with maternal, child mortality, Africa’ s death trap – Xinhua

AU Leaders Summit Kicks Off, Focus On Maternal And Child Health – Kaiser Family Foundation

Can Pregnant Women Be Shackled In DC? – Washington City Paper

June 27, 2010

Backers of ‘personhood’ measure regroup – Boston Globe

Measure 2 could put girls’ lives at risk – Anchorage Daily News

Big Abortion Isn’t Having the Recession They Hoped For – National Catholic Register

Are fetuses like slaves? – Denver Daily News

Schools must get permission from parents to teach sex ed – Arizona Daily Star

Abortion provision looms for Dems – Politico

Family planning push for nations – BBC News

Bense, Scott meet in the cover of night – Palm Beach Post

Family planning saves us millions – HeraldNet

Teen births rise in Wyoming – Casper Star-Tribune Online

Popularity of morning-after pills fuels concerns in India – Arab Times

Family planning push for nations – BBC News

More women than men have HIV/AIDS in PNG – Radio Australia

Kerry Continues Push to End Ban on Gay Men Giving Blood – Las Vegas TSG

Lincoln Foundation includes AIDS education in grants of $720000 for learning – News Sentinel

Cervical screening age to be raised in Northern Ireland – BBC News

UN chief calls 2010 a turning point for women’s health – TwoCircles.net

How Nebraska ranks – Lincoln Journal Star