A Pro-Life DNC Chair!

I never thought I would live to see the day. If anyone had any doubts about Barack Obama’s willingness to listen to pro-life Democrats, his selection of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to head the Democratic National Committee should settle those doubts. Obama means business.

Governor Kaine is clearly one of the president-elect’s favorite fellow politicians. He was on the short-list for the vice-presidency but his lack of foreign policy credentials was deemed an insurmountable hurdle. But, Kaine is also pro-life. There are those in the GOP who will contest the point. They correctly point out that Kaine said during his campaign that he would enforce the law and the law is Roe v. Wade. Of course, this was a mere statement of fact. The Governor of Virginia, like the Governor of any other state, must abide by the laws of the United States. We fought a great and terrible civil war, much of it on the soil of Virginia, on precisely this point.

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But, Kaine said more than that he would enforce the laws. He took the time to explain his opposition to abortion and to capital punishment. In historically Republican and conservative Virginia, Kaine’s opposition to capital punishment was even more of an impediment to his election than his opposition to abortion! He explained why his Catholic views were important to him, and how he saw those views making different claims upon his conscience and upon his veto power. Most importantly, he was not afraid to admit that there is some ambivalence about how religious views intersect with the duties of public office. NARAL refused to endorse his candidacy.

It would be wrong to think that either abortion or capital punishment were the decisive issues in the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial race. Taxes and transportation funding were the main points of contention. But, Kaine’s willingness to talk about his views on traditional moral issues, to say nothing of his biography which includes a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Honduras, kept him from being tarred as a typical, ACLU-loving liberal. Having dodged the caricature, he got a hearing on the issues over which a governor really has some clout, namely, taxes and transportation. While his fellow Democrats lost all other statewide races, Kaine won a surprisingly easy victory as Governor.

So far, there has been no comment from NARAL or NOW on the selection, which has not been officially announced. It will be curious to see if pro-abortion groups take to the airwaves in protest the way gay rights groups did over the selection of the Reverend Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Inauguration. And, it will be even more curious to see how Team Obama responds. They stuck to their guns on Warren and my fingers are crossed they will do the same on Kaine.

 

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8 years 10 months ago
If things are really and truly going to change insofar as establishing a "culture of life" in this country, we are all going to have to stop with the "all-or-nothing" mentality and the black and white labeling(from BOTH "sides"), as illustrated by the thoughts shared above. What's it really and truly doing? It's only serving to polarize and alienate people from surprisingly common goals. And in the meantime real change is prevented from happening.
8 years 10 months ago
Kaine told the Washington Post, during his 2001 campaign for Lt. Governor, that he "opposes efforts to restrict abortions" and that he "opposes efforts to require a parent's consent before a minor gets an abortion." He now says he has a faith-based opposition to abortion. I would rather he have a natural law opposition, since we have plenty of Catholic pols that say they personally believe abortion is wrong yet nonetheless vote for it. And do you really think he is not going to be promoting pro-abortion Democrats? Well here is hoping that he at least promotes pro-life ones.
8 years 10 months ago
It would be better to take a "wait and see" position before asserting that Obama "means business" on eliminating abortions. He just nominated Dawn Johnsen to be the Assistant Attorney General. She is the former head of NARAL. This is not a movement friendly to the pro-life movement. All should read a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal by Anne Hendershott. It is understandable the Michael Sean Winters and others think one can be Catholic and pro-abortion at the same time. They have been misled by the likes of Rev. Joseph Fuchs, the Rev. Robert Drinan, and the Revs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran. Jeffery Miller and others who have posted a comment have it right. Timothy Kaine may say he is opposed to abortion, but his actions contradict this. To read the Wall Street Journal article, go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123086375678148323.html
8 years 10 months ago
It's clear that many of the bloggers here, as evidenced by their arrogant and mocking rhetoric (using words like "extreme" and "abortion wars") want the pro-life voice to be silenced so we'll all just "get along" and find "common ground". How much "common ground" is there when an unborn baby is legally and unnaturally sucked out of a womb for any and every selfish reason under the sun? Oh I know...we're supposed to be "personally" against it ("just don't have an abortion then..." and stop trying to "infringe our morality" on others, right? Tell that to the millions of wonderful black americans today who would still be in slavery if certain brave and vitruous men and women (of all colors) hadn't had the perserverance and love in their hearts to stand against the evil of slavery and "impose their morality". Whether it's Kaine or Obama or any politician, being called "pro-life" must be earned with both your record as well as your rhetoric. Show me with your votes as well as your soundbites. Short of that, you're just trying to manipulate votes from pro-lifers while continuing to play up to the lucrative and immoral abortion groups (Planned Parenthood, Emily's List...etc).
8 years 10 months ago
So AMERICA Magazine's idesa of a "pro-life Democrat" is one who said that he would fight efforts to restrict abortion? Does anyone remember back when the Jesuits SUPPORTED the Church and its teachings?
8 years 10 months ago
In order to be Pro-Life, one must be Pro-Life from the beginning of the Life cycle which includes Birth, bringing forth the Child from the Womb alive. What determines personhood is the definition of a Person. From the Merriam-Webster On Line Dictionary: Person: Human,Individual
8 years 10 months ago
This Jesuit journal's article supports a Catholic politician who at best, from his public comments, appears ambivilant on abortion. Some Jesuits hold the belief that it is legitimate to look at the value of having a Catholic in power regardless of his/her views on fundamental issues such as abortion. Unfortunately the order that was the intellectual vanguard of the Church has lost its way. What would its founder think of the doctrinal ambivilance found in this journal? AMDG
8 years 10 months ago
Obama has appointed an entire cabinet full of the most rabid pro-abortionists in the country, but Tim Kaine is proof that he "means business" about listening to the pro-life side? Please tell me this post was supposed to be satirical.
8 years 10 months ago
If the law had considered the unborn as persons before Roe, Nancy and Milbo would have a point. The law did not. Until the law considers them to be persons, women have a right to privacy. You cannot go back to the days of regulating abortion with fines. The rights of the unborn need to be recognized by competent legal authority (the national government) in order for abortion to be regulated. Barring such legal recognition, the regulation of abortion is unconstitutional. Look, I am trying to help. Insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result. I've decided to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. When the pro-life movement becomes more than an opportunistic Republican recruiting tool (meaning no disrespect for non-GOP pro-lifers, I am attacking the leadership here), I might give it a second look. For now, I have lost my patience with it and the Bishops who support it.
8 years 10 months ago
Has America devolved into a satirical web site like The Onion? Kaine isn't pro-life at all! Kaine claims a personal, religious opposition to abortion, but nonetheless supports legal abortions. That's not different from Democrats in presidential elections past like Mario Cuomo -- who made famous the "personally opposed but" statement that has rankled pro-life advocates. Kaine told the Washington Post, during his 2001 campaign for Lt. Governor, that he "opposes efforts to restrict abortions" and that he "opposes efforts to require a parent's consent before a minor gets an abortion." Then, facing more intense scrutiny in his 2005 gubernatorial bid, Kaine changed positions and said he favors abortion limits. However, his flip-flop didn't catch leading pro-life advocates off guard. "When Timothy Kaine was running for Lt. Governor, he supported abortion," former National Right to Life political director Carol Tobias told LifeNews.com in 2005. "Four years later, after seeing pro-abortion Democrats continue to lose election after election, Mr. Kaine now sings a different tune." Tobias said she didn't believe Kaine's supposed change of position is real. Recognizing Kaine as the more pro-abortion of the candidates in the race, the director of NARAL's Virginia affiliate said, "Between these two men, we see more hope ... in Kaine's candidacy, and we are eager and willing to work with him on these important issues should he be elected." From http://www.lifenews.com/nat4700.html
8 years 10 months ago
While I admire Gov. Kaine's opposition to capital punishment-- I consider such opposition to be a seamless garment pro-life position--I'm less than convinced about his lukewarm opposition to abortion. I recall seing him on Charlie Rose, and Gov. Kaine, if I remember correctly, stated that he would be opposed to a partial birth abortion ban unless it also included an exception for the ''health'' of the mother. Such an exception swallows up any effort to put limits on abortion. I confess to not being familiar with all of the Governor's positions on issues, but what I have seen of him in the context of the abortion issue leads me to think that he is an artful politician who is trying to triangulate the issue for maximum political gain. I'd like to be proven wrong about that, however.
8 years 10 months ago
Why is it that when Republicans change their pro-abortion stance it is characterized as a ''change of heart'' (a la Mitt Romney) whereas when Democrats do it is characterized as a ''flip-flop?''
8 years 10 months ago
"I never thought I would live to see the day...Kaine is also pro-life.' You haven't. Hope you're young and in good health.
8 years 10 months ago
I have to agree that it depends on how you define being "pro-life." The majority in this country has more wisdom then those at the extremes. They do not like abortion, but they do not favor use of the police power to stop it in the first trimester. They cynical among us might also comment that for some people, to be pro-life is to support a revocation of federal supremacy on the abortion issue (which would bleed into all areas of law, including race), treating abortion as a gynocological crime - as it was prior to Roe and/or supporting a Life Amendment - which would ultimately require constitutional Republican majorities in Congress and in 3/4 of the state legislatures. I doubt any Democrat, or even most Republicans, could meet those standards. The ability for the Governor to call himself pro-life is the movement's own fault, since it is very amorphous on its legislative agenda, speaking only in code about what it wants to do (using words like "Federalism" when there proposal would make Hamilton - the founder of the Federalist movement go into fits). That bit of wiggle room allows Kaine to claim he is pro-life, or Biden Kerry to say they are personally pro-life. If the pro-life movement does not like this, they need to get very specific about what they stand for.
8 years 10 months ago
Mr. Ertelt wishes to continue the "abortion wars" and has used his own web site to further what in my mind are extremely dubious pro-life causes. He, like so many, apparently see no zones for collaboration with those whose pro-life views are not his own. What he and so many fail to realize is that their arguments must be won both personally and polically before there is legal change. And that is something that all of the rantings simply do not achieve.
8 years 10 months ago
Milbo, It is not pro-abortion to believe that states cannot trumpt federal supremacy on civil rights matters; that absent federal action to change the status of the unborn, it is illicit to regulate abortion as a gynecological procedure; and that possibly as a matter of policy, the criminalization of abortion that would ensue if the legal status of the unborn in the first trimester would change is not advisable due to negative consequences for society and those who wish to use obstetric services. This is called supporting the rule of law. Until the Right to Life movement comes to grips with the fact that Roe was rightly decided given the circumstances of the time, it will not make progress in passing any kind of legal restriction on abortion. Instead, it will be seen as an arm of the Republican Party, to be ignored by thinking Catholics, who are tired of opportunism in the name of morality.
8 years 10 months ago
I get frustrated by the extremism of these terminologies, "pro-life", "pro-abortion". During the recent campaign I engaged a couple of evangelicals and one fundamentalist Catholic in some argument. As soon as I suggested that there could be nuance between the extremes, I was branded "pro-abortion" which really got under my skin in a big way. The thing is, in terms of politics, I don't know of a single thoroughly "pro-life" official. There are always the exceptions. My understanding, and certainly my strongly-held personal view, is that all abortion is murder all the time. Further, that artificial contraception is the doorway to abortion and the culture of death. The political right-wing in the U.S. has managed to grab hold of the "pro-life" medal, and get lots of votes from Catholics and evangelicals on that basis alone. This then gives them power to pursue other, less pro-life programs. Many Catholics and evangelicals claim that abortion is a non-negotiable. Fine. But what about the exceptions? What about birth control? Haven't they "negotiated" away their absolute belief in abortion as murder by voting for candidates who favor the exceptions?
8 years 10 months ago
Many legal scholars who agree with abortion thought the Roe v. Wade decison was incorrectly decided. It is unfortunate that Michael Binder says that Roe was correctly decided given the circumstances at the time. The same line of logic would assert that Dred Scott was correctly decided given the circumstances at the time.
8 years 10 months ago
Michael, by your statement,"Roe was rightly decided given the circumstances of the time" are you suggesting that at that particular Time in History a Child in their Mother's Womb was not a Human Individual? Perhaps you are suggesting that the definition of a person is a matter of opinion in which case the State has the right to decide which Children in their Mother's Wombs are persons and which Children are not persons? Or are you saying that a Mother has the right to decide if the Child in their Womb is a person? If a Child in their Mother's Womb is not a Human individual what exactly is it? A person is a Human Individual in every location, which includes inside or outside of their Mother's Womb.

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