Dear Senator Obama

I am writing this open letter to you, Senator, on the outside chance that one of your National Catholic Advisory Council members might read America and pass it on to you.

You have an abortion problem, especially with pro-life Catholics who would like to vote for you—something to keep in mind when you ponder the fact that there has been up to a 15 percent rise in Catholics voting Republican in the past two elections.

Catholic voters do not think monolithically. That should come as no surprise to you, since you have many Senate colleagues with a Catholic background who have supported every bill insuring a “woman’s right to choose.” But if you are interested in the respectful hearing of opposing positions, as you often note, it will be valuable for you to have serious conversations with groups like Democrats for Life of America and Feminists for Life.

There are some Catholics who will vote for you, hoping that your programs may do more for the unborn than rhetoric or a promise by Supreme Court nominees who would just return the decision to the states. They will vote for you, not because of your position on abortion, but despite it, realizing that your approach to wars of choice, capital punishment, hunger, homelessness, health care and refugees might better serve the lives of “the least” of our brothers and sisters.

There are some Catholics who will vote for you because your liberal agenda appeals to them and they refuse to vote for any Republican. There are other Catholics who will never vote for you—a few because of the abortion issue alone, but many more because they are irreversibly Republican and distrust all Democratic policies. As one prominent pro-life Republican put it, he would have voted “holding his nose” for the pro-choice Rudolph W. Giuliani because of Giuliani’s other Republican positions.

There is a third group who are truly undecided or are tending away from you because they think you not only defend partial-birth abortion but also are against lifesaving therapy for newborns surviving an abortion attempt. You are going to be hit with ads about your vote in the Illinois State Legislature against the Induced Infant Liability Act.

I know you have tried to explain this in your Relevant magazine interview, but you seemed evasive. Can you just simply affirm your conviction that any newborn, even after an abortion attempt, should be given effective life-sustaining treatment? Perhaps your seeming ambivalence is related to your position on late-term abortions and partial-birth abortions. Second- and third-trimester abortions comprise a small percentage of all abortions, but they are horrific. Anybody who thinks not, does not think. But even your gentle qualification of the mental health exception was met with a storm of protest from the National Abortion Rights Action League, and you seemed to wilt.

I know you do not want to criminalize abortion, that you think it is a profound moral issue and that you think a father’s responsibility continues after conception, as you said on Father’s Day this year. I know also that you think our young ones should be taught more about the seriousness and sacredness of sexuality. But more is required if you are to reach the group of Catholics (and other Christians) I have been talking about. Here are three suggestions:

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. You may find that the position of most American men and women is quite different from Naral’s. The earlier stages of embryonic and fetal development are more contested. But even your Republican opponent supports embryonic stem cell research. Ask him, and all the Catholics who will vote for him, how this fits into their professed commitments.

Perhaps you owe some courageous people like Douglas Kmiec a bit of reciprocation. Kmiec, a pro-life Catholic law professor who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations, announced his support of you because of your approach to war, poverty and immigration. Because of this stand, he has been denied Communion at least once. Are you willing to risk excommunication from the church of Naral for a principled position on abortion?

Maybe they will call you that terrible name “flip-flopper.” But remember this: anyone who refuses to change a judgment in the face of irrefutable data is either a fool or a toady. And you, clearly, are neither. As I see you move more and more to the middle in matters of the economy and the war in Afghanistan, I wait. Will you move a bit to the middle on this matter of abortion?

A vociferous cadre in the Democratic Party has for too long wielded a dogmatic veto over any discussion of limiting abortions. With your commitment to reasoned, evidence-based and respectful discourse, are you able to challenge your party to welcome pro-life Catholics into its supposed big tent?

8 years 7 months ago
I know nothing about the author of this article, but Kmiec is a disgrace. He was an ardent supporter of Mitt Romney, horrible on all the issues for which Kmiec now ostensibly supports Kmiec. His position is completely untenable and he refuses to debate it anywhere.
8 years 7 months ago
America Magazine, I continue to be disappointed by your editors and those who write in your magazine. This is a Catholic Magazine! We do not want to "reduce" abortion. Rather, we want to "eliminate and end" all abortions. Seriously, this is not OK to do this. Wake up, half measures are not enough.
8 years 7 months ago
America Magazine, “Dear Senator Obama,” tells me you live up to, among other things, the ideals of “e pluribus unum” that is synonymous with America. Thanks for fostering the interreligious dialogue that Father Daniel J. Harrington touched upon in a “Word” column of your August 4, 2008 issue.
8 years 7 months ago
It will always surprises me that just one -or a few issues, that has to be decided by the Supreme Court of our nation makes people vote (or not to vote) for a presidential candidate. I am not going to get into the pro-life pro-choice issue, but the fact that a priest denies communion to somebody because of his support for a candidate seems to me rather an act of discrimination that Jesus would never aprove. It has been said "Religion is the opium of the nations", and it was said because of the tremendous power of mass manipulation that religion has; and it was true during the last two presidential elections. We are facing again a tough choice -due to moral and religious beliefs, when it comes to vote for a candiate; but let's do our homework as responsible citizens. Many of us regreted our bad voting choices in the past... do we need to put ourselves in the same position again? We had payed a very high price (not just financially) for those mistakes. Cristians say that God is in control, yet when it comes to explain bad things happening often times we hear that He gives us "Power of choice" and, as far as I know, WE decide who to vote for. Amen
8 years 7 months ago
This appears to be a thoughtful considerate piece to Senator Obama. But it is flat out untrue that Senator Obama supports partial-birth abortion or stands "against lifesaving therapy for newborns surviving an abortion attempt." Senator Obama voted "present" on that piece of legislation in the IL Senate because it would have been found unconstitutional as it was written and the health care for infants born in such cases was already required in IL. Sen. Obama has said on multiple occasions that he would have voted in favor of the Federal version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. We can have legitimate disagreements on policy, but I hope that Christian and Catholic believers would stop spreading misinformation about Senator Obama's record. Learn more and get the facts at: www.putawayfalsehood.com
8 years 7 months ago
Legal does not necessarily equate to moral. The choice of the hierarchy to protest Roe v. Wade has caused many to believe that this is Church meddling in secular issues. Alcohol is legal, but there are those who should never drink. The same applies to abortion; it may be legal but is never right. The existence of a law does not compel women to seek abortions. Address the issues pressuring women to these centers of death. With no clients, these places would have to shut down.
8 years 7 months ago
In response to the commment by James, comment #1. Unfortunately there are to many Catholics who believe if there are 100 lives to be saved but we cannot save all 100 lives, then we should save none. 100% or none at all. I think saving 50 lives would be wonderful.
8 years 7 months ago
Will Obama be willing to risk excommunication from the Church of NARAL and its ilk? That is a key question. Another one, it seems to me, and one that John Kavanaugh seems to address, although he does not directly say so, is whether those who oppose abortion on religious grounds, are willing to use secular language to challenge those who would like to think that abortion is a purely "religious" issue, and thus can be dismissed by secularists. For starters, it might be helpful to hammer home a proposition somewhat like this: that to say that abortion means the destruction of human life is not an intellectually vapid argument. One may think it's right, one may think it's wrong, but one can't deny its seriousness. Many people (perhaps Obama among them)would prefer not to face it directly, and by and large they've had their way, preferring to talk instead about women's rights, as if that was the only issue. Moreover, it is an entirely secular, not religious, proposition, and cannot (or at least should not) be dismissed as ecclesiastical dogma. As to "half measures" about reducing abortion by providing better services, including pre-natal ones, one might wish to look at Mary Ann Glendon's Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (Harvard University Press) where she backs such steps.
8 years 7 months ago
Will Obama be willing to risk excommunication from the Church of NARAL and its ilk? That is a key question. Another one, it seems to me, and one that John Kavanaugh seems to address, although he does not directly say so, is whether those who oppose abortion on religious grounds, are willing to use secular language to challenge those who would like to think that abortion is a purely "religious" issue, and thus can be dismissed by secularists. For starters, it might be helpful to hammer home a proposition somewhat like this: that to say that abortion means the destruction of human life is not an intellectually vapid argument. One may think it's right, one may think it's wrong, but one can't deny its seriousness. Many people (perhaps Obama among them)would prefer not to face it directly, and by and large they've had their way, preferring to talk instead about women's rights, as if that was the only issue. Moreover, it is an entirely secular, not religious, proposition, and cannot (or at least should not) be dismissed as ecclesiastical dogma. As to "half measures" about reducing abortion by providing better services, including pre-natal ones, one might wish to look at Mary Ann Glendon's Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (Harvard University Press) where she backs such steps.
8 years 7 months ago
Will Obama be willing to risk excommunication from the Church of NARAL and its ilk? That is a key question. Another one, it seems to me, and one that John Kavanaugh seems to address, although he does not directly say so, is whether those who oppose abortion on religious grounds, are willing to use secular language to challenge those who would like to think that abortion is a purely "religious" issue, and thus can be dismissed by secularists. For starters, it might be helpful to hammer home a proposition somewhat like this: that to say that abortion means the destruction of human life is not an intellectually vapid argument. One may think it's right, one may think it's wrong, but one can't deny its seriousness. Many people (perhaps Obama among them)would prefer not to face it directly, and by and large they've had their way, preferring to talk instead about women's rights, as if that was the only issue. Moreover, it is an entirely secular, not religious, proposition, and cannot (or at least should not) be dismissed as ecclesiastical dogma. As to "half measures" about reducing abortion by providing better services, including pre-natal ones, one might wish to look at Mary Ann Glendon's Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (Harvard University Press) where she backs such steps.
ROBERT MCNULTY
8 years 7 months ago
I will address only one narrow lne in this article. The Church has always taught that it is possession of an immortal soul that differentiates us from other creatures. Teaching when God injects this soul has varied. St Thomas Aquinas taught that it was about four months. Recent claims have been made for conception. This raises the immediate question about what happens if twinning occurs 6-8 days later? The Anglican solution is that ensoulment occurs after implanation when the possibility of twinning no longers exists. One's view of the progress of the zygote should deinitely be affected by when life begins i.e. when ensoulment occurs.
8 years 7 months ago
Dear John, I sincerely hope Obama does read this. It is such a hard vote because Republicans have been in office for so long now and what has it done to stop abortion? It is rhetoric, but it makes it very difficult for many Catholics to vote for the Democrats when he isn't opposed to the issue of abortion. There are many lives being destroyed because of the poor choices that have been made regarding many of the issues that deal with other aspects of human life that Obama is addressing. Hopefully he will see your letter and have the courage and the wisdom to address your challenge.
LAWRENCE DONOHUE MD
8 years 7 months ago
In my thirty years practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology, I never met a medical person that believed abortion was a primarily good thing, only a remedy for a perceived social ill. Perhaps it is time to recognize that attempting to eliminate abortion by legislative means is not reducing the number of abortions being done. Perhaps it is time for “pro choice” and “pro life” people to discern their common values and work together to remove the social evils e.g. stifling poverty, that cause some women to believe that abortion is their only choice. Making abortion the only criterion for selecting our President, may continue the “wars of choice, capital punishment, hunger, homelessness, (inadequate) health care and refugees” without eliminating or even reducing the number of abortions.
8 years 7 months ago
If presidential candidate Barack Obama takes up your challenge and in turn challenges the Democratic Party to make room for Democrats for Life and Feminists for Life, he will find a huge groundswell of support from Catholics and others who sense that significantly reducing the number of abortions is an achievable goal.
MARIAN GRAY
8 years 7 months ago
I disagree that Senator Mc Cain favors or supports in any way whatsoever, embryonic stem cell research. This wishy-washy attempt to assuage guilt form those who would support anyone or anything that enables even one abortion, will not escape judgment from Jesus. I did not renew my subscription, as there are too many factual errors in articles and too much far left propaganda for my Roman Catholic faith. I suggest everyone buy a copy of a new book by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.” A Roman Catholic viewpoint is sorely needed by the wrtiers for AMERICA.
JOHN MCCARTHY MR
8 years 7 months ago
Thank you, Fr. Kavanaugh, for a wonderful letter to Senator Obama. I have been working for Obama for the past six months, and your views exactly express mine... John McCarthy
Bill Mazzella
8 years 7 months ago
This issue is a bogus issue. Republicans do not care about it except to captitalize on it politically which they have handsomely done. When pro life people start paying attention to all the miscarriages, which they claim have immortal souls, then we can take them seriously. All life should be revered. Not exploited.
JOSEPH D'ANNA
8 years 7 months ago
The current laws do not force any woman to have an abortion. Outside of rape, there is no good reason for an unwanted pregnancy. Numerous forms of birth control are available. These include abstinence, drugs, IUDs, physical barriers, and sterilization. To my knowledge, only IUDs and drugs may cause failure of a fertilized egg to be implanted in the womb – something that, undoubtedly, happens in the absence of birth control. Yet, the Church opposes all the “unnatural” forms of birth control and favors abstinence – which can hardly be called “natural”. To outsiders, the Church appears to equate “birth control” with “abortion”. In the very least, the Church could preach “responsible procreation” to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and potential abortions – before it “threatens” to impose its morality on all citizens.
8 years 7 months ago
A well-written presentation of the political situation for Catholics today, particularly apt after the recent piece in the New York Times about Obama's need for an appeal to [swing-voter] Catholics. I think I have loved every John Kavanaugh article I have ever read in this wonderful magazine no matter where I am spiritually or ethically at the time; keep up the good work.
8 years 7 months ago
...and McCain? What about his stance on abortion (OK in rape and incest) and embryonic stem cell research(voted FOR funding). And about his support for an immoral and unnecessary war in Iraq? If Catholics are to adhere to "single issue" politics, neither candidate would be suitable. My vote is going to Obama.
8 years 7 months ago
Maybe Obama would/could generate sufficient change to make folks think life really is worth living and sharing.
8 years 7 months ago
Obama can't 'generate sufficient change to make folks think life really is worth living and sharing' when he voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and REFUSES to call a born alive baby who by God's grace manages to survive an abortion -- a baby. This is infanticide and it cannot be reconciled with the Catholic Church no matter what you may think of the war in Iraq.
8 years 7 months ago
It is amzing seing respected personality like John SJ, coming out to address issue of respect of life, and trying to push that burned on Snator Obama. I wish people like Rev. John, who is respected theologians could have shown their concern on Human life respect earlier by addressing issues such mass-killing by bombing the innocent lives of people in Iraque, Afghastan, etc and manority people rotting into the booming prison industry of United States (kind of Ethnic cleansing of its own type). Let us be true and show Christ's concern to all people and stop political season games!
8 years 7 months ago
I agree with Mike, saving 50 lives is better than not saving anyone. But who would save more unborn children, McCain or Obama? McCain hints that he would pick conservative Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade and send the abortion debate back to the states. Father Kavanaugh pooh-poohs the impact of such a move, but neither he nor anyone else really knows how many unborn children would be saved each year if Roe were struck down. Obama, on the other hand, might nominate Hillary Clinton for the Supreme Court. But he also promises to work for universal health care and other legislation that could save the lives of many unborn children. In the words of Mark Twain, "you pays your money and you takes your choices."
Richard Kemmer
8 years 7 months ago
"A vociferous cadre in the Democratic Party has for too long wielded a dogmatic veto over any discussion of limiting abortions." Likewise for public education. In neither instance does the "party of compassion" cover itself with glory, having consigned millions of unborn and then born to death or wasted lives because of powerful interests that pay for the Party. Look at the numbers of abortion related providers and teach unionists that are leading and funding the party. Party of compassion? Follow the money.... Ask how much NARAL spends on the Democrat Party. Ask how much the teacher unions spend. After that, you can gauge the likelihood that the position will change. This letter is an exercise in unrealism and futility.
Thomas Hickey
8 years 7 months ago
As Catholic children we were taught that one of the great gifts bestowed on us is free will. In grammar school, high school and college, we were instructed in Holy Mother Church's criteria by which to exercise our free will. At almost 73 years of age, I am old enough to note that the topic of abortion was never mentioned in the teachings I received. This was so, I believe, because abortion was not even on the horizon of then-possible Catholic life issues. On the other hand, birth control - even unsanctioned practice of the "rhythym" method - was considered a serious sin. Some members of my Bronx-Irish-Catholic generation continue to accept these admonitions; others, depending on their life experience and exposure to other thought systems, have reached different conclusions. In the light of our professed belief in free will, I must ask the following: How dare we impose our Catholic strictures on those who, in accordance with THEIR education, experience and personal condition, exercise THEIR individual free will in choosing to make the very difficult decision to abort or not? To rid their bodies of unlawful invaders injected by rape? To avoid conception (and possible future abortion) or not? Why can't we keep our Catholic noses out of the moral lives of others and - if we're truly intent on preserving life - terminate the political lives of those who cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people via warfare founded on lies and greed, two sinful behaviors I believe we can all agree on.
JAMES OLEARY MR
8 years 7 months ago
I am terrified McCain will win. He is far ahead in the polls of Catholic voters. I would like to believe the Catholic vote isn't a racist vote and just a pro-life vote but I have been personally burned by too many pro-life Catholics to give them any credit for being open-minded enough to see any nuances. They have closed minds so far as I can see. I am afraid, very afraid, McCain will win. I don't have any advice for Obama except to hang in there. I think it's hopeless but at least he can keep his integrity. I go to daily Mass by the way, just in case you think I am not a "real" Catholic.
8 years 7 months ago
Dear Mr. Hitler Would you please reduce the number of people being gassed. Maybe you could also give a sincere talk about how gassing is a complex issue. This gassing business embarasses us liberals and we would rather be talking about new autobahns. Yours truly PS If you want, I can send a long letter that will use big words and be more intellectual.
8 years 7 months ago
I hope the Obama team not only reads but responds positively to this letter. Our 2-term, pro-life president has a record as governor and president that scores pretty low against Catholic teaching. Neither candidate fulfills the principles laid out in "Responsible Citizenship" -- we need to examine all issues and choose the candidate we believe will be most successful in supporting the principles. May God bless us and the candidates and the election process.
8 years 7 months ago
Get off the high horse! Who do you think you are? Sanctimonius jackass? What about the thousands being killed in Iraq? What about the disastrous war? What about the church's social policies? A lot of talk asbout helping the poor but little action. If at all. Aren't you all a bunch of hypocrites? Why not think for yourself and not let the more conservative s speak for you? Think of Rahner, Curran, and Kung. Or are you just pretending to be serious? Abortion trumps mass murder? Why don't you join thinking Americans who want to get Bush impeached for war crimes? Haven't you noticed some inconsistencies in your "religious ideas"?
CLAIRE BANGASSER MS
8 years 7 months ago
Dear Fr. Kavanaugh, I thank you for this column which I see as a real attempt at dialogue with us pro-Choice folks. I can see points where I agree with what you say. The fiery reactions of some pro-Life advocates simply fill me with sadness at the absence of willingness to empathize with those who fall outside of their beliefs. For what you wrote, Thank you.
8 years 7 months ago
You have no credibility! So abortion tops mass murder, eh? What kind of morals do you have? Priests who have no education in science, modern philosophy (non medieval thomism) and anthropology should keep quiet. Read Rahner, read Lonergan, read Curran, read H. Kung. What is wrong with you? You are not serious. You post an article like this to give dumb Catholics, racist Catholics, an excuse to hide their basic racist fears of a black president. How could you? Are you any better than the bible-thumping evangelists? I do not think so! You should be ashamed of yourself! Go to confession before it is too late! What about this immoral war that people keep quiet about? What about the racist, imperialist policy our nation has taken? How is a dumb McCain any better? Is he against artificial birth control? How stupid!
8 years 7 months ago
How many innocent people have died in illegal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries? How many people in this country die each year because they are two poor to obtain the necessities of life? How many innocent people die in prison? How many women would bleed to death in back room abortions if Roe vs Wade is reversed? Many Catholics are thinking people and refuse to vote one issue politics. My vote will go to Barack Obama.
8 years 7 months ago
I suspect that I disagree with Fr. Kavanaugh in regards to a number of prudential political judgements -- in that I think that a conservative approach to many social and economic ills (a truly conservative one, not one in which the government seeks to tilt the scales towards large business interests) is better for both individuals and for the reciprocal relationships of human society than a more "progressive" approach. However, I think his letter to Senator Obama is principled and powerful. And if Obama were to fully and sincerely take his advice, I would be tempted to set aside my political and economic preferences and vote for him simply to show that such a move would be rewarded.
KC Mulville
8 years 7 months ago
If there was any doubt about Obama's answer, or any hope that the Democrats would even consider defending life, here's the response: http://www.slate.com/id/2197363/
8 years 7 months ago
Fr. Kavanaugh avoids one of the defining sins of our time, that of oversimplification. Debates will continue on the efficacy of criminalization as an antidote to the practice of abortion, but I agree heartily that it would be folly to put all of our eggs in that one basket. I hope that someone on Obama's staff will bring Fr. Kavanaugh's article to his attention, and that he will respond favorably to the concerns expressed therein. I was heartened to learn just now via NPR that Sen. Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat, will be addressing the convention, which is in line with Fr. Kavanaugh's suggestion #2. The ideal candidate and the ideal party do not exist in the real world, where we often have to settle for doing all we can to make actual parties and candidates responsive to our concerns. Bravo to Fr. Kavanaugh for his effort in that vein.
Scott Brazil
8 years 7 months ago
Thank you for the passionately argued letter, John. Let's hope your words are taken seriously by Sen. Obama's team.
8 years 7 months ago
Fr. Cavanaugh provides good advice. I would add to it proposing a tax subsidized living wage, so that each family receives $500 per month for each child and providing a principled defense of the pro-choice position. John Kerry justified his political stance in pluralistic terms. This is not adequate in the least. A better strategy is to castigate the pro-life movement for not outlining the measures it would take to protect those lives it advocates and to then explain why these measures will not work. Until there is a "pro-life" legislative proposal, progressive Catholics refuse to refrain from Communion for not supporting it.
8 years 7 months ago
Whether "abortion survivors" should be given life saving intervention depends on their chances of survival and the level of intervention required. Morally, the standard is the same - extraordinary measures are not required outside of normal nutrition and hydration. They can of course be provided optionally, but it should not be made mandatory.
ROBERT HARRIGAN MRS
8 years 7 months ago
I am with Joe, comment #9; when will the church stop equating birth control and abortion as equal evils? I dont think they are and pay no attention to the birth control rules. Abortion is certainly a moral evil; but making it a civil crime doesnt end it; it drives it underground. Each person is morally responsible for his/her own acts. The church should oppose abortion in a responsible way by teaching about responsible sex,to BOTH men and women, permitting birth control, and extending a helping, nonjudgemental hand to women faced with a problematic pregnancy. Tricia Harrigan
8 years 7 months ago
Fr. Denk, You ask what Republican's have done to eliminate abortion? While I admit that they squandered much of the power they held when they had control of Congress, I'm sure that I do not have to tell you that the abortion battle is not being fought in the Executive Branch, or the Legislative Branch, but in the Judicial Branch of our government. What pro-abortion people fear the most is for a true conservative (not John McCain) to be elected, because he/she would nominate a conservative to the supreme court. President Bush has given us Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Previous Republican Presidents have given us Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. The "Left" knows that a shift of one more conservative justice could set the stage for reversing Roe v. Wade. I find it a travesty that any Christian could support the Democrat Party, which has Pro-Abortion (pro-choice) as a major plank in it's platform. The commandment is "Thou shall not murder", not "thou shall not kill." Abortion, especially partial birth abortion, is Murder.
8 years 7 months ago
I am just amased at all of you!! Since when was it the lords decission to make you the deciders of other peoples lives? One question that stands out 100% in my mind would be- Who would take care of all of these unborn lives you want to save? Have you ever taken that into consideration? Should it be the responsability of the states? Should it be the responsability of the catholic church and the persons who pass the law? WHO??? Tax payers!!! Then let them sit in adoption homes and become wards of the state becuase the USA makes it so difficult for a family to adopt a child especially a newborn? Have you seen how many childre are out there now with no homes, no familes, living on the streets with their parents because of lack of jobs!!! How is that a better life? I am not saying I don't agree with the fact that we have to many abortions but "we" do not know of the situation as to why the women is making the choice she is. If you have a women that is a hooker, drug adict ect,. and abuses the right then yes they should put a stop to women that abuse that right! I think you all need to sit back and come back to reality. We are not living in a fantisy world here!!!
8 years 7 months ago
Es para mi un placer leer esta carta y ver lo valiente que son los Jesuitas en otras partes del mundo, con gran dolor veo la situación de los Jesuitas en mi país, y este articulo me dice despues de leerlo, Adelante Con Fe, jose maria oliu carbonell, ex alumno jesuita, 11 años, del Colegio Sagrado Coraczón , ex Seminario, Montevideo Uruguay
8 years 7 months ago
Fr.Kavanaugh's letter to Obama states eloquently how I feel about this whole election campaign. Damned if I do and damned if I don't - I abhor abortion and partial-birth abortion - it is a true horror that must end. But I cannot vote on one issue only - we must have a leader who will seriously address some of our other domestic issues on poverty, education, and health care. I will continue to soak up as much information as I can on each candidate and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit on election day.
8 years 7 months ago
The judicial solution to abortion that Mr. Plante speaks of will never happen and should not. Justices Alito and Roberts had the opportunity to join in the Scalia concurrence on partial birth abortion - they did not do so. They can be counted on to be Kennedy conservatives rather than Scalia conservatives. The remedy which the pro-life movement seeks would gut the minority protections contained in the 14th Amendment, thereby undoing much more than Roe. That would fundamentally alter the nature of the Republic and would be unacceptable. Obama should make this point to, as it is often missed. As a black candidate, it would have resonance for him to defend the body of law which allows the federal government to overturn local majorities when they seek to impose their will or their power on their neighbors. The answer is in the National legislature, which can alter the terms of citizenship and personhood under the 14th Amendment's enforcement provisions. The states are not competent to take this action constitutionally, nor should they be. Restated more clearly, the Congress can at any time move the start of legal recognition to sometime in the second trimester. It so far has chosen not to (as the GOP knows what would happen to its donations if it offended rich pro-choice donors and placated their energized pro-life volunteers and small donors - who would no longer be hungry enough to volunteer over the issue).
MICHAEL CALLAHAN MR
8 years 7 months ago
Dear Father Kavanaugh, Thank you for addressING the issues of many Catholics who HOPE that they can vote in this election for real change and not continue other policies that are NOT Pro-life. Is there a direct way we can send this to the Obama Campaign. You make it possible to have a real dialogue on the depth of the issues this year. I am grateful for your continued hard work for us all to bring about CHANGE THAT WE HOPE FOR AND THAT WE CAN BE TRULY PRO-LIFE.
8 years 7 months ago
If a Presidential candidate were to express opposition to laws designed to end the annual killing of, say, one million Jews, or one million Irish, or one million of ANYONE, that candidate would not stand a chance of election. Your article implies that a candidate who opposes laws designed to end the annual slaughter of one million unborn children might, given some faint inclination toward compromise, be worthy of one's vote. Like so many other arguments from the left side of the Catholic "big tent," you weigh other Catholic social justice positions against support for "abortion rights" as if they could be deemed equivalent or even of more importance. So, let me get this straight: a candidate who supports the annual slaughter of Jews or Irish or ANYONE might be OK given their correct position on a variety of other social issues, as long as that candidate makes a gesture toward reducing that annual carnage. Let's be very clear here: you cannot possibly really think the unborn babies being slaughtered are human persons worthy of protection, because if you truly did, the presupposition of your article (that a pro-choice candidate might EVER be worthy of election) would be ludicrous. In addition, I point out that your article very clearly implies (very nearly states) that the lives of second or third trimester unborn babies are more valuable and more worthy of protection than first trimester babies. All I can say, Father, is shame on you.
8 years 7 months ago
As this battle of the votes continues, the candidates intention to "please" everyone who can vote for their agendas goes on. Everyone knows the super importance of this coming election. Everyone knows the multitude of important and crucual issues we face as a country, leader of the world. Obama seems to be the voice of "change". It has been a very enticing alternative. We have already suffered enough the horrors of the neo-coms mentality, the kidnapping of the amrican common sense and the shame in the lost of the international respect for us, the injustice of an immigration system that is broken and the open persecution and abuses of human rights in America. Obama looked like the agent for change But when a learned that he support partial birth abortion my sense of "change" turned 360 dregrees. I will not vote for Obama now when I know his philosophy about respect for the sanctity of life. If he thinks that he might restore this country to be the internation herald of peace and justice for all under the assumption of irrespect to human dignity, he is either a fool or complete ingnorant. Wich in fact I do not think so. I hope and pray he listen to us, the good american citizen.
Allen Lysne
8 years 7 months ago
I am sorry, but as a Catholic (Byzantine Rite) I also cannot be a one-issue person, ie, abortion. I am having a horrible time trying to see which candidate is the lesser of 2 evils. Where are the good, qualified Christian men this year? We do not have a candidate in either party that qualifies.
8 years 7 months ago
Responding to comments #1 and #2: It may look like the important thing to do is save 50% of lives, however we can push for that, and I would certainly support incremental pro-life victories, but I think our stance should never be presented as 50%. It appears as if we are willing to compromise, as if abortion is not so bad if it happens early. Think about a social evil that has been abolished: slavery, or killing Jews in Germany. Would you vote for a candidate who supported limited slavery, or the murder of only the elderly Jews? No, you would vehemently oppose such a person. Not to say that I vehemently oppose Barack Obama, but why don't I? I wonder if I ought to? How can abortion take a backseat; how can the battle be compromised if we really believe it is legalized murder? Slavery sure had a lot of supporters who just didn't understand that Africans were people too, and whose economy appeared to depend upon it. I think that such an approach coming from a Catholic priest is really detrimental to the Church, and misleading about who Jesus is. If we are to be primarily faithful, not successful, in our path to holiness, then our fight for justice should be without blemish or reproach. We can not compromise with the evil lie that abortion is ever valid or holds any place in a free society. It's more important to be a witness to the truth than to play the politics game to get a politician to soften his blows. Let's not back down from the truth - abortion kills!

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