Race & Abortion

A controversy is brewing over a series of billboards in Georgia that link abortion and race. The billboards feature the face of a small black child with the words "Black children are an endangered species" above the photo and the website address "TooManyAborted.com" below. It is hard to imagine a more combustible policy concern than this, touching two of the dominant political concerns at the beginning of the twenty-first: The enduring differences between the races despite the enactment of civil rights laws and the role of religiously informed values in the political realm.

"These one-issue approaches that are not about saving the black family or black children, it's just a big distraction," Spelman College professor Beverly Guy-Sheftall to the AP. "Many black people don't know who Margaret Sanger is and could care less."

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I agree with professor Guy-Sheftall on two points. First, if we have learned anything in the past almost forty years since Roe it is that a pro-life strategy that is "one-issue" is bound to fail. I can see how Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s insistence on a "seamless garment" approach to life issues was mishandled and mischaracterized, but the distortions came from those mischaracterizations, not from Cardinal Bernardin. Abortion is a foundational concern for Catholics, it is not just one issue among many, but it does not exhaust the scope nor the demands of Catholic Social Teaching and the failure to see this does nothing to make our anti-abortion arguments more persuasive.

Second, I agree with the professor that "many black people don’t know who Margaret Sanger is and could care less." I suspect the same could be said for many white people too. Certainly, every liberal should know who Margaret Sanger was because, in addition to founding Planned Parenthood, Sanger exhibited in exemplary form the kind of hideous heresy to which liberalism is prone. There is a reason Sanger appeared at KKK rallies: She really did think that it was a good idea to put birth control clinics in poor black neighborhoods to discourage the population growth of "inferior races." She really did advocate eugenics before Josef Mengele gave that branch of science a bad name. If conservativism runs amok into fascism and romanticism runs amok into communism, liberalism runs amok into Margaret Sanger, a kind of protean sensibility that is so inhumane it becomes the antithesis of the liberal values it started with. "[This journal] is not a money-making venture," Sanger wrote in the inaugural issue of the Birth Control Review, "but the forerunner of a new era, an era when men and women shall have thrown off the yoke of medieval superstition and be free!" For a fuller explanation of Sanger’s butchery of liberalism, see Chapter 5 in my book Left at the Altar: How the Democrats Lost the Catholics and How the Catholics Can Save the Democrats.

Nor was Sanger alone. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., one of the great jurists in the history of the Supreme Court, famously said in the1927 forced sterilization case Buck v. Bell that "three generations of imbeciles are enough." The Court upheld the state’s right to forcibly sterilize mentally handicapped citizens.

Liberals have a special obligation to recognize how their own tradition became so deformed just as conservatives have a special obligation in voicing their concerns about liberal democracy to remember the lessons of Weimar and romantics who pine for an age without pain have an obligation to remember the lessons of Bolshevism. Any human construct, and politics is always a human construct, will have its weak link. The better part of wisdom always lies in recognizing what wisdom resides in the viewpoints you do not share, in recognizing how alternate points of view can refine and strengthen your own. I was born into this world with a liberal heart and have come to delight in the liberal patrimony, but liberalism’s greatest twentieth century thinker, Isaiah Berlin, spent his intellectual life with Vico, Hamann and Herder for a reason. He did not ape those conservative critics of the Enlightenment, but he learned from them and emerged as the most original liberal thinker of his time.

And, conservatives have much to think about when they ponder these billboards in Georgia. Just what do they know about the difficulties and challenges that face black America? Do they recognize that their invocations of Ronald Reagan’s name as if he was some kind of savior, rings hollow in black America, not least because of the race baiting that his campaigns entailed, the references to "welfare queens" and the like, but because he launched a new economic era in which the rich continue to get richer and the poor to get poorer, and America remains too selfish to recognize that we need to pay more, not less, in taxes if we are to maintain the standards of living which our forbears gave to us. Conservatives have to recognize that as long as this country does not treat health care as a universal right, as an entitlement, poor black women (and poor white women and poor Latina women) will get $400 abortions because they can’t afford the $10,000 it costs to give birth in America today. Health care is pro-life too, my conservative friends, and it will take more than tort reform to help poor women to keep their children.

So, hats off to the people who conceived this billboard campaign. It touches on profound and important issues and causes everyone to think more deeply.

 

 

 

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Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
William,
You say that Catholics loyal to the tenets in the Catechism and working to save unborn children from the fate of being executed in the womb are people who don't care about racial equality or poverty.  We are people promoting a political party and one option.  We slam governmental assistance to the poor.  We are grossly anti-life and are promoters of capital punishment.
 
And, we are the people sewing seeds of hate and suspicion?
 
Vince Killoran
7 years 9 months ago
Thanks, but this actually raises new questions, e.g., when you write that it's "a winning strategy that won't cost us 5 cents.   There are plenty of volunteers willing to do it" I am not certain what the strategy will look like (I keep thinking of the old Sat. Night Live "Church Lady" skit). Why hasn't the strategy been tried yet? 
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
William,
 
"The Catechism says (#2288) that respect for life entails the following: "Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance."  And yet I read your blogs and see that you are jubilant that health care reform has failed, and you oppose government assistance to those in need."
 
Perhaps you don't realize it, but this is a straw man. 
Those who oppose healthcare on moral grounds do so because the plan to add 50 million people to an already burdened system has to do so by taking away provisions to the elderly, seriously sick, suffering and poor.  It spreads the system so thin that nobody in the system gets decent health care.  There are numerous countries that have tried it.  We have it here in Massachusetts.   Do some googling on how it has affected the poor in Massachusetts.  All of the hospitals serving the poor are now suing the Commonwealth.
They also oppose their money being used to exploit poor women into killing their unborn children.  
These are perfectly reasonable objections.  To then conclude that I oppose government assistance to those is need is truly ludicrous!
You seem to have a lot of conspiracy theories about pro-lifers and people who have surrendered their will and spirit to the guidance of the Church.    I would invite you to reflect upon the innacurate conclusions you are drawing about our intentions and convictions.  
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
Vince,
You're welcome.    I don't watch much Saturday Night Live.  It's too late for people who go to early Mass the next morning.   Please do give more details about the ridicule so we can all have a laugh.
The strategy is being deployed but outside of the Church and is quite succesful with those we have access to. 
Of course, the more the better, which is why I mention it here.
We are now filling our seminaries with candidates who will be loyal to Church teachings.  When the current crop of Woodstockers retires and these new priests are in place, you'll see us (and our children) coming to a local parish near you.
This is why the pro-life movement is gaining a foothold in the United States, as has abstinence programs.  We have been under the radar.  Statistics even the secular press can no longer deny.
 
7 years 9 months ago
I would like to propose a different slant to this discussion and a challenge.  How about discussing an issue that cuts across all categories of people:  all ages, all ethnic and racial groups, believers/non/believers, gays and straights and both genders?  An issue that should bring together Pro-Life and Peace and Justice.  An issue of people whose very lives are threatened by abortion, eugenics, euthanasia and poverty.  These are the neglected people with disabilities and their families.  For some, the neglect is tragic.  Sad to say, our church has a very far way to go in bringing the disabled into the fold.  It seems to me it is a matter of justice for the church to provide loving acceptance and inclusion in the life of the parish; catechetics at appropriate levels; support, services and kindnss emanating from loving Catholics.  The USCCB issued its "Pastoral Statement of U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities" on 11-16-78 and its office , the National Catholic Parnership on Disability has a wealth of resources.   What is needed are Pro-Life and Peace & Justice laypeople who can provide leadership to bring the resources to the parish level.
Frankly, I am tired of the squabbling.  As Dorothy Day said, in a different context, "There's too much work to do."
Beth Cioffoletti
7 years 9 months ago
On a major street of the black section (ie. the poor, crime ridden section) of my own community (Palm Beach County, Florida) there is a billboard claiming that black children are an endangered species.  I'm not sure who is sponsoring the billboard.
 
My work brings me in personal contact with the very rich of the community.  I have heard, more than once from wealthy and pro-life "Christians", that the problem with Haiti is that they "over-populate".
 
I am not sure if MSW is correct in claiming that contraception and the idea of "inferior races" are related, but I do know that Racism is alive and well in the USA.
7 years 9 months ago
Janice,
 
 
To me this is real Catholic Social Policy, not arguing over which political party will produce the best legislation.  When I was growing up I was part of a Catholic youth group at my parish and one of the best experiences I had was helping as a group disabled or disadvantaged youth near us.  We ended up providing some help for these unfortunate children but it was only temporary.  I think what you are talking about is working with families in their own homes and on an ongoing basis.  That may be also a way to keep young Catholics involved with the Church in a way that they can see the short and long term benefits of their own input.
 
 
''There's too much work to do.''  Yes and Catholics should do it not farm it out to others.  And as a priest said in his homily only a few weeks ago, ''I must do it and I must do it now.''  It was in reference to a story he told of someone who lost his feet in a boating accident and while learning how to use his artificial limbs witnessed those much worse off than himself.  He (the young man without any lower legs) wanted to find a way to help those less fortunate than himself.  I couldn't find the story on the internet so it may be just a good homily but it got me started on a project that I have been putting off for years.
William Lindsey
7 years 9 months ago
Carol, you invite me to reflect upon the innacurate conclusions you are drawing about our intentions and convictions.
 
My conclusions are based on reading the posting on your "America Magazine Catholic My Eye" blog to which your first comment in this thread links.  That posting attacks both the welfare system and the "universal right" to health care coverage (your quotation marks), which you equate with socialized medicine.
 
I have also read your "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way" article at Bizzyblog.  Your position on health care is crystal clear to me, as is the political intent underlying that position. 
 
When you've made your positions on these issues so clear on abundant blogs, please don't accuse me of drawing inaccurate conclusions about your intentions and convictions.  As you say in your Bizzyblog posting, you are standing up and fighting - against the "socialized" health care reform proposed by the current administration, and against Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Catholic Health Association because they support health care reform.
 
Your posting on health care reform at Bizzyblog is full of easily disproven statements that do not advance the conversation about health care reform and abortion in any shape, form, or fashion - as easily disproven as your statement on Feb. 10 on another America thread that "40% of black children are executed by abortion."
 
As I stated on that thread, if we need to resort to disinformation to promote our pro-life ethic, then we're implicitly admitting that this ethic is not persuasive to reasonable people of good will.  We do a disservice to the pro-life cause when we distort the truth and make up facts, as you do in your Bizzyblog posting when you write the following:
 
"Catholics should be outraged that the poor are being used and exploited by the White House to swindle them out of benefits and life itself. Catholics United, Catholic Charities and the myths of other social pirates articulating that healthcare reform is about servitude to the poor should be vigorously debunked and castigated. The poor already have health coverage in combined federal and state subsidized programs (Medicaid, MassHealth and SCHIP in MA)."
 
Again, I am very clear about the political implications of the positions you're promoting, and why you're promoting them.  And I will state once again that, in my view, this politics of setting group against group, sowing seeds of social division and social hatred, and - yes - callousness towards people in need is ethically troubling.  These political activities do not represent Catholic values or teaching in any admirable way.
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
William,
 
Again, I can assure you that to suggest I am against welfare or active government programs that care for the poor is not just innacurate, it is ludicrious.  Not only am I an advocate for social programs, I happen to actively work in the industry for my day job. 
You definitely have not cracked the code.
Welfare and other social programs are not enough because families are getting caught up in them generation after generation.  This does not imply that I want to eradicate welfare and social programs.  There is where your thesis is going awry.
I can take a stand and say that we are not providing the right solutions to the poor when we pretend, as Winters did, that a hundred or two hundred more dollars a month in welfare is the solution to the problem.
There is no doubt that if every man who fathered a child did not abandon the woman he impregnanted and instead made the commitment to be a responsible father to the child and provide for them, they may be bumped up to the middle class.
If women were taught to recognize that a promiscuous and irresponsible man is not one that respects her sexuality and intimacy, they would make better choices in men.
No matter how you want to spin it, the animus behind my convictions is not hatred for the poor or opposition to social programs.
Universal healthcare in Massachusetts has siphoned care from the poor to give to families that earn up to one hundred thousand dollars.   All of the hospitals in indigent areas are suing the Commonwealth because they have taken away benefits from the poor.  
Universal healthcare in other countries take away life-saving tests, x-rays, medications and treatment to cancer patients and critically ill.
I can take a stand that  policies such as these are cruel and pro-death. They are not life-giving nor life-sustaining.  They don't improve the quality of life for the people in the system nor the country that will go bankrupt trying to build a utopia on earth.
People in this country want to preserve a nation where there is ambition to study and work to achieve their goals and possessions.    The current administration wants to take the dynamics of ambition to achieve goals and possessions and replace it with a country that relies upon the government to provide them everything for nothing.
I can oppose this dynamic, as most of the country is now doing, and call your bluff when you try to make us out to be people who oppose social programs and justice for the poor.
You're not clear at all about who I am, what I promote, what I oppose and the reasons I do so.  
 
 
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
 
William,
There go those conspiracy theories again!
I'm sure you wouldn't be interested to know that I helped lead a crusade against the Republican's Fiscal Conservative candidate Mitt Romney, whom they thought they could sneak by grassroots prolifers.   And, I was a vocal opponent of "pro-lifers" who were advocating "Scott Brown" as a "pro-life vote".
Whatever "partisan" conspiracy you think I'm engaging in,
I would invite you to read through your posts and ask yourself what kind of love and social solidarity you think you are promoting, but I think the country has stopped taking hits from that crack pipe.
I have deep roots social justice. My presence here is out of concern this kind of "love" is going to wipe out any social justice presence in 2010 in the House and the 1/3 of the Senate seats that are up for grabs.   Social justice Catholics need to adopt new talking points.  Ted Kennedy's seat was just handed over to a Republican.  The country has is fed up with being called hateful, divisive racists.
For what it's worth.
Maria,
Thanks for the support on the article.   The poor here in Massachusetts have been exploited, their healthcare taken away and reduced to scandalous proportions.  Hospitals serving in poor areas are going bankrupt because the money siphoned from them to give to the rich and middle class hospitals.  
You can reach that blog by the hyperlink in my name on this post.   You are of course right about Sacramental grace.  Even with that, ducking the daggers makes it very hard to stay the course.  We are so weak and foolish!   
 
 
Helena Loflin
7 years 9 months ago
William Lindsay, as always, you nailed it starting with #6 and throughout this discussion.
"This is all about dividing, about sowing seeds of hate and suspicion, about promoting one political party and one political option - a party and option that has been grotesquely anti-life for some time now."
Amen.
I believe that the politics of division embraced by Right-Wing Authoritarian followers is a scourge upon our beloved country..and the Catholic Church.  That billboard is an insult to the intelligence of informed Americans who do not get their news, analysis and opinions from Teabag TV or hate radio.  The pro-life movement cheapens itself once again.  How low can it go? 
 
David Nickol
7 years 9 months ago
The fact remains that blacks are not an ''endangered species.'' Also it is a fact that Margaret Sanger promoted contraception but opposed abortion. 
 
“While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.''  -Margaret Sanger
 
“To each group we explained what contraception was; that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.” - Margaret Sanger
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
There are two spirits (one is Holy Spirit and the other is the Devil) and a personal ego that speaks to our conscience.
When we grant licenses to ourselves (or in the case of Fr. Drinan encourage others to do so) to  "follow our conscience" and that action contradicts a  teaching of the Church, if the idea the devil is guiding the action is "shameful", if the shoe fits, wear it!
We've all been there.  Join the club.
 
ron chandonia
7 years 9 months ago
Since we are told that focusing on ''facts'' is critical, here are a couple that seem relevant:  (1)  Both the young man who devised this ad campaign and the woman who is leading the campaign in Georgia are African American.  (2) As the website for the campaign (toomanyaborted.com) points out, the majority of abortions in this state are performed on black women, far out of proportion to their numbers in the population-hence, the ''endangered species'' reference.  Is racism relevant to this?  The long-time speaker of the GA state house of representatives (Democrat Tom Murphy) used to defend legal abortion on the ground that it kept down our  black ''welfare'' population; partly as a result, our state's political ''good ole boys'' made it nealry impossible to pass even moderate restrictions on abortion.  A similar outlook seems to me to characterize those who see no problem when the lives of so many black children are nipped in the bud.
William Lindsey
7 years 9 months ago
Carol, you've made your political position very clear.
 
The confusion lies, I think, both in your lack of accurate information as you form your political opinions, and your belief that your position and only your position embodies true Catholicism.
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
No, I wouldn't say you are clear at all about my opinions.
"The confusion lies, I think, both in your lack of accurate information as you form your political opinions, and your belief that your position and only your position embodies true Catholicism."
I don't think we're there yet.    What you've made clear is that people using Church's position and only the Church's position to form our opinions is a lack of accurate information to you. 
But the Church's position and only the Church's opinion is the only source of accurate information and true Catholicism there is. 
To repeat what I've said in previous threads, anyone who has given you an information to form your opinion that contradicts the Church's official position is not true Catholicism.
If the truths in the Catechism are hateful to you, the problem is with you, not the Church nor the people publicly evangelizing the Church's position and only the Church's position.
Take heart.  We have all been there.   Some of us came to the see the truth kicking and screaming too.  
Kang Dole
7 years 9 months ago
Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!
Vince Killoran
7 years 9 months ago
"Abortion is a foundational concern for Catholics, it is not just one issue among many, but it does not exhaust the scope nor the demands of Catholic Social Teaching and the failure to see this does nothing to make our anti-abortion arguments more persuasive."
 
This is an important observation is MSW's article but it got lost in the triumphalism in many of the replies. In peace & justice meetings around my town we discuss regularly which churches we should contact. Most of the time Catholic parishes are little interested in the projects or participate in a perfunctory way. I know-there are plenty of parishes up to their eyeballs in this work etc. but, over the last couple of decades I've noticed a clear decline in involvement and passion (except for specifically anti-abortion issues).
James Lindsay
7 years 9 months ago
$800 a month PER CHILD, in addition to her pay for going to school, which would be around $12 per hour. If she and the father both work or go to school (again, at a $12/hour minimum wage), the economic incentive for abortion is gone - especially if health care is provided as well.
William Lindsey
7 years 9 months ago
And while we're putting the facts on the table, Ron, let's also note David Nichol's comment that one of the people cited defending the Georgia billboard campaign is Cheryl Sullenger.
 
Ms. Sullenger and her husband were convicted in 1988 for conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic.  More recently, Ms. Sullenger at first denied ever having been in contact with Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller. 
 
Then, when her phone number was found in Roeder's car, she admitted she had been providing him with information about Roeder.
 
I have problems squaring the use of violence with the defense of life.  I believe that we Catholics who defend life are not doing a service to the pro-life movement when we form political alliances with such groups.  And it seems significant to me that these groups are defending the Georgia billboard.
 
I am certainly troubled by the high abortion rate among women of color.  In my view, though, the most defensible way to address that abortion rate is to look at the effect of economic privation and social marginalization on women's decision to have abortions, and to address those root problems.  From the standpoint of Catholic teaching and values, I do not understand strategies to end or limit abortion that attack universal health care and social systems designed to ameliorate the circumstances of economically deprived and socially marginalized people.
David Nickol
7 years 9 months ago
If the implication is supposed to be that those who oppose racism should oppose legal abortion, I don't think a convincing case can be made. Anyone who pays the least bit of attention to abortion statistics knows that black women have a higher abortion rate than white women. This does not mean abortion is motivated by racism. While I suppose we can quibble about how many women are coerced into abortion, the fact is that each abortion is a choice by an individual. The fact that so many black women are in a position where they feel they have no alternative to abortion may be partially attributable to racism. But the fact that black women have far more unwanted pregnancies than white women and choose to abort more babies than white women, is a matter of choices made by black women. 
 
As I have said before, the ''endangered species'' reference is simply false, since the birth rate among blacks is higher than among whites. The abortion rate among Catholic women is slightly higher than among Protestants, but it would be ridiculous to argue that legalized abortion is anti-Catholic. 
 
Whites make up about 59 percent of the population, and of children in foster care, 40 percent are white. Blacks make up about 15 percent of the population, but 32 percent of children in foster care are black.  In 2007,  28 percent of white women gave birth out of wedlock, but the figure for black women was nearly 72 percent. In 2007, 8.2% of white people were poor, compared to  24.7% of black people.
 
Given all the problems in the black community, and given the fact that their population is GROWING, it is ridiculous to claim that legal abortion is a racist plot to exterminate blacks, and it also seems to me that if the number of unwanted pregnancies were to stay the same in the black community but abortions were criminalized and successfully prevented, the increase in the birth rate among blacks would make the problems of poverty, foster care, and out-of-wedlock births all the more severe. 
 
If people are serious about wanting to help black people AND decrease the abortion rate, there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done for the black community before trying to legally prohibit women from obtaining abortions.
James Lindsay
7 years 9 months ago
Children don't cost $50,000 per year, unless you send them to private school or include college costs. Also, it is not liberals who insisted that welfare not be paid to intact families. It is also not liberals who insist on lifetime limits on welfare or cuts to benefit levels, which should be indexed to inflation. Indeed, all families should be given a large enough payment, per child, through either labor or training programs, to care for each child. This should probably be $500 per month federal and an additional $300-$500 from state tax credits. When the Pro-Life movement champions these reforms, I will begin to take it seriously. Until then, not so much.
7 years 9 months ago
Carol: Everyone should read your article: Lead, Follow or Get out of the way. BTW-I can't access your blog-Lead Us Not Into Temptation-can you plz advise?

"To repeat what I've said in previous threads, anyone who has given you an information to form your opinion that contradicts the Church's official position is not true Catholicism. If the truths in the Catechism are hateful to you, the problem is with you, not the Church nor the people publicly evangelizing the Church's position and only the Church's position. Take heart. We have all been there. Some of us came to the see the truth kicking and screaming too".

I would only add to this that nothing so blinds like sin. Only grace helps us to *see* the Truth. How do I know this??? I know this becaue I was led out of led up and out from under an avalanche of my own sin. How was I led out of sin? Through grace given to me by the sacraments-the Eucharist and Confession and prayer-thourgh Mercy. No debate got me there. Only Love.
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
 
 
I searched “America Magazine” website to find “Catholic Charities” as a “one issue” project that is bound to fail because they only focus on clothing and feeding the poor and came up empty.
Why do you suppose that is?
Stephen Braunlich
7 years 9 months ago
While it is correct to say that Catholics are not single issue, its wrong to say that single issue political campaigns (such as one against abortion) are ''bound to fail.'' 
Historically, single issue campaigns are in fact the most likely to succeed in passing their policy.  Abolitionist organizations focused on slavery, tee-totalers focused on drinking, and NARAL only deals with abortion.  Regardless of the morality of their ends, each was successful in achieving them for good or bad.  Slavery is banned, the 18th Amendment passed, and many states were opening the abortion license before Roe. It takes time to achieve your ends, but, politically, it makes sense that your political organization or movement has a single focus.  Catholis can properly belong to an organization that advocates for change on a single issue; they just cannot personally support only one issue. 
I'd also argue these billboards do not, in themselves, have anything to do with religiously informed values.  They are paid for by Georgia Right to Life, which is a non-sectarian organization.  The values they bring are values accessible regardless of one's religious beliefs, because they are pro-life values.  This is why the movement can attract people like Nat Hentoff even as it attracts Catholics.
David Nickol
7 years 9 months ago
The problem with the slogan ''Black children are an endangered species'' is that it is a lie. The birth rate for blacks in the United States is higher than the birth rate for whites. 
 
From Wikipedia: ''Today, non-Hispanic whites make up about 68% of the population. This is expected to fall to 46% in 2050. The report [released in 2008 by the Census Bureau] foresees the Hispanic population rising from 15% today to 30% by 2050. Today African Americans make up 12% of the population, in 2050 they are projected to comprise 15% of the population. Asian Americans make up 5% of the population today and they are expected to make up 9% in 2050. The U.S. has nearly 305 million people today.''
 
The two ''pro-life'' advocates quoted in the article supporting the billboard campaign (Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler) are both white. I sincerely doubt that they are concerned with the ratio of blacks to whites in the United States and wish the birth rate among blacks were even higher than it is today. I suspect that for them the racially provocative billboards are just a new ''angle,'' otherwise they would be honest and not refer to black children as an ''endangered species.'' 
 
Unintended pregnancies are dramatically higher among black women (69%) than they are among white women (40%), which is one reason for the very high abortion rate among blacks. The much loathed Planned Parenthood at least seeks to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. What do right-to-life organizations do? 
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
"Catholis can properly belong to an organization that advocates for change on a single issue; they just cannot personally support only one issue."
 
In reality, pro-lifers work to educate other Catholics on a large range of issues. The Liturgy, moral theology, poverty, affordable housing, just war, death penalty, art, literature, music and the family — these are a small number of “issues” being discussed in the public square by Catholics who also evangelize on the right to life for the unborn.
 
Of course, there are several projects that focus mainly on the constitutional right to life for the unborn, just as there are several projects that focus mainly on serving the poor.
 
Are projects focusing mainly on housing and clothing the poor Catholics who "only personally supporing one issue"? 
 
Is this something other Catholics find objectionable?
 
I don't know much about Cardinal Bernadin, but it would seem to me that the "seamless garment" would be that each of us find our talents and interests to focus on serving where we are meant to serve and be supportive of each other.
 
Isn't it time to stop using the divisive labels such as 'conservative' and 'liberal' and refer to each other more as 'social justice' and 'pro-life' interest projects and groups?
 
This way, those whose arguments are looking to derail the teachings of the Church to a particular group serving one could be discussed in an intellectually honest context.
 
 
 
 
William Lindsey
7 years 9 months ago
Nice try, Carol.  But when you're on record writing one statement after another that undercuts core Catholic pro-life principles like the overriding moral obligation we have to provide access to health care to all, I'll continue taking a pass on your "Catholic" "truth."
 
You're spreading disinformation.  And you're doing so for partisan reasons.  Seems to me another moral consideration comes into play here: our serious obligation to pursue and tell the truth.
 
Disinformation: you say, "Universal healthcare in other countries take away life-saving tests, x-rays, medications and treatment to cancer patients and critically ill.  I can take a stand that  policies such as these are cruel and pro-death."
 
This is simply untrue.  And it's astonishing that you want to take these untruths about how universal health care coverage functions in other nations, and call it a defense of life.
 
For partisan reasons.  Not Catholic ones.  Spreading untruths, fomenting hate, destroying bonds of social solidarity.
 
All for partisan reasons.  Not Catholic ones.  Because real Catholicism is all about love and social solidarity.
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
"Unintended pregnancies are dramatically higher among black women (69%) than they are among white women (40%), which is one reason for the very high abortion rate among blacks. The much loathed Planned Parenthood at least seeks to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. What do right-to-life organizations do?"
Thank you for affirming that statistically speaking, there is a very high abortion rate among blacks.  This seems to be the point of the project.
I'm very glad you asked what "right to life" organizations do.
 
Women don’t need a few hundred more dollars in their welfare check. And, every woman in this country who cannot afford to deliver a child is given the care they need. That’s not the problem.
It takes over 50,000 a year to provide a child with decent housing, food, clothes, transportation and essentials for living. Unless we’re going to provide them that kind of money in their welfare check, we’ve been offering them the wrong solutions.
Poor and middle class women need men like Winters to stop lobbying for more welfare and instead be responsible fathers and husbands.
Testosterone-driven cries for welfare has been a cop-out for years, an excuse to continue to indoctrinate young girls into promiscuity, abortion and welfare.
Women need to be taught how to recognize a promiscuous and shallow man who just wants to get into their pants from one who loves them and will be a devoted and responsible partner to any child born in their relationship.
When women do find themselves pregnant, we offer them hope, success stories, education, money, support, housing, adoption if they feel they are unable to raise a child themselves.  This is how the pro-life movement spends their time on the ground.  
 
William Lindsey
7 years 9 months ago
David, thanks for insisting on truth in this conversation. 
 
There are a number of lies going on here.  One of the biggest whoppers is that those spearheading this politics of division care about racial justice and about the economic and social obstacles confronting African Americans.
 
This is all about dividing, about sowing seeds of hate and suspicion, about promoting one political party and one political option - a party and option that has been grotesquely anti-life for some time now.
 
When I read blogs and web commentary by the leaders of this campaign and its chief defenders, who crow about the defeat of universal health care coverage, and who slam programs of governmental assistance to the poor, I'm repulsed.  I'm repulsed by the claim that these folks promote an ethic of life.  I'm repulsed by their implicit defense of capital punishment while they claim to be all about defending life.
 
And I'm repulsed by their use of religion to foment hatred and create division.  The church they are creating is not catholic at all - and, frankly, I'm glad to have been shoved to the margins.  At least on the margins, I don't have to listen to the poison that these folks are trying to inject into the body politic.  Deeply sad, how the Catholic church has allowed itself to become a vehicle of hate in many respects today, and how wishy-washy centrist Catholics are about that fact - and about contesting the grotesque lies being spread in the name of Catholic orthodoxy by political partisans who are all about hate, division, and disrespect for the lives of anyone but the affluent.
 
If this is where the church is choosing to go, I'm glad to let these folks have the church.
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
 
Pro-lifers are peole who use religion to forment hatred and create division.  We are a vehicle of hate and spreading grotesque lies.  We are all about hate, division and disrespect for lives of anyone but the affluent.
Do I understand your convictions correctly?
 
And, we are the people sewing seeds of hate and suspicion?
Marie Rehbein
7 years 9 months ago
Carol, please allow me to respond to your question to William without precluding what he may answer.  This billboard will sow the seeds of division in the following way:  some people will accuse those who advocate keeping abortion legal (so that the women generally do not take matters into their own hands) of being racists when they are not.
Vince Killoran
7 years 9 months ago
I'm not sure I follow Carol's argument-she begins by writing that money is not the answer and then concludes by listing all of the resources (mostly monetary) provided to pregnant women by anti-abortion groups.
 
Is the pro-life movement trying to end abortion on the cheap?
William Lindsey
7 years 9 months ago
Carol, it's "sow," not "sew." 
 
And I challenge your claim to represent what the Catechism says in some unique way - though I freely admit that the church seems to belong to you.  Not to me, certainly.
 
The Catechism says (#2288) that respect for life entails the following: "Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance."
 
And yet I read your blogs and see that you are jubilant that health care reform has failed, and you oppose government assistance to those in need.
 
The Catechism also says (#24), ''The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love."
 
The attempt to sow seeds of social division for political ends is not about love but about hate.  The politics of division, which tries to sow seeds of racial division and suspicion, does not make love accessible.  It makes hate accessible.
 
I'll repeat: I have not seen any conspicuous concern on the part of those promoting and defending this campaign for African Americans and for racial justice.  This campaign is all about trying to use the African-American community as yet another wedge to promote one party and one political position.
 
It's about social fragmentation and not social solidarity.  It's politically and morally ugly, and the fact that it claims religious sanction as it does its dirty work does not make this campaign any less morally repugnant.  It makes it more so.
7 years 9 months ago
“There is No Stopping Abortion Without the Eucharist… Hardon SJ

"Abortion and the Eucharist. What possible connection is there between murder and Jesus Christ and the Blessed Sacrament. What do we mean by combining those words. We mean that the world wide mania of killing innocent unborn children is literally (and I mean literally) the work of the evil spirit. As Christ made so clear that the devil not only was a murderer from the beginning, he is the principle agent behind every willful killing of innocent people. Over the years I have been telling one audience after another, one of the main reasons for the world wide homicide millions of innocent unborn children is because Catholics are not living up to practicing their faith.

If ever Christ’s words were meaningful, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God.” If ever those words of our Savior were relevant dear Lord they are that today. In one nation after another what belongs to God is being given to Caesar.
Stephen Braunlich
7 years 9 months ago
@ ''David Nickol'':
Pro-life organizations understand that to suggest that work to minimize unplanned pregnancies somehow cancels out work to terminate those unplanned pregnancies is to lose a sense of the ''foundational concern'' which the right to life is for all people.  You introduce a red herring.
And your use of scare quotes is ridiculous.
 
@ ''carol mckinley'':
I don't doubt that pro-lifers do more than just pro-life advocacy; they should.  The point I was making is that pro-life political organizations (such as Georgia Right to Life) do not and should not, if they want to succeed.
 
@ ''William Lindsey'':
You say that ''This is all about dividing, about sowing seeds of hate and suspicion, about promoting one political party and one political option.''  Yet the thing at issue here - the billboard - says nothing about hate, suspicion, parties, or politics.  Nor do I think that the groups in question only promote one party.  Look at Kentucky or Louisiana, for example, and you'll find major pro-life organizations akin to Georgia Right to Life supporting members of both parties.  Their only litmus test is that they are pro-life.
It also strikes me that the vituperative language you're employing also creates divisions on the basis of hate and suspicion.  You allege ulterior motives rather than employing the principle of charity.  You give them no credit for good motivations or good actions, and, implicitly put them on the bad side of hate (thereby justifying hatred for them).
I'd also turn your last post back on you, and ask what work you've done or support you've shown for outlawing abortion.  This is explicitly called for in the Catechism (e.g. 2273),  encyclicals (e.g. Evangelium Vitae), and elsewhere (e.g. Didache).
 
@ ''Vince Killoran'':
I think carol is aiming more at the old myth that pro-lifers don't care about babies after birth.  That said, there is some internal inconsistencies to her post 15:21:08
William Lindsey
7 years 9 months ago
A little postscript to illustrate the disconnect between authentic Catholic pro-life values and current campaigns to use wedge issues and wedge politics to destroy social solidarity:
 
David Nicholl notes in a comment above that Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue is quoted in the article cited by Michael Sean Winters supporting the billboard campaign.
 
In 1988, Ms. Sullenger and her husband pled guilty to conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic.  They subsequently did time in jail for this.
 
In 2009, following Scott Roeder's murder of Dr. George Tiller, Ms. Sullenger first denied she had been in contact with Roeder, then admitted (when her phone number was found in his car) that she had kept Roder in informed about Dr. Tiller's court dates.
 
From the standpoint of Catholic teachings about social solidarity, social justice, and respect for ALL life, as well as about the centrality of love in the moral life, the alliance of Catholic pro-life activists with people who engage in violence to oppose abortion, and who sow social hatred and division, is extremely problematic.
 
It turns many of us away from a church that finds common cause with those who defend not love but hate, and not life but violence.
7 years 9 months ago
There are so many things wrong with Mr. Winter's post that it is impossible to get them in with one comment.  But before that, I want to say that I agree with his last statement.
 
Mr. Winters has to create straw men to knock down.  Let's begin with conservatives tending toward fascism or remembering the Weimar Republic.  Hasn't anyone told Mr. Winters that the fascist were socialist.  Mussloini was a communist at first and NAZI stands for National Socialist German Worker's Party and they used to call each other comrades.  The socialism was not the form instituted by the communists who were collectivists.  The fascist system was socialism with big business organizations under the control of the state. It certainly wasn’t free market capitalism.  Conservatives are for small government.  How does conservatives morph into fascists.
 
 
''did advocate eugenics before Josef Mengele gave that branch of science a bad name''  Is Mr. Winter suggesting that eugenics at one time was good before Dr. Mengele.  Eugenics was a direct offshoot of Darwinian evolution as Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton founded the movement and most of his sons were involved with the eugenics movement and one was president of it.  It never was consistent with Catholic thought.
 
 
''Just what do they know (conservatives) about the difficulties and challenges that face black America?''  What an incredibly arrogant statement.  Does Mr. Winter know more as he endorses liberal policies that have increase the illegitimacy rate and its associated poverty among blacks to 70%.  Before Roosevelt enacted his liberal policies, black illegitmacy was the same as the white's. about 5%.  Before Lyndon Johnson enacted the Great Society, it was about 28%.
 
''because he launched a new economic era in which the rich continue to get richer and the poor to get poorer''  What utter nonsense. Reagan's policies opened unprecedented wealth in the country and made it especially attractive for illegal immigrants to enter the country to find work. I wonder why.  If blacks have been left out it is because of the dysfunctional programs Democrats set up that made them unable to compete.
 
 
I could keep going but let me end with this, I didn’t leave the Democrat Party.  It left me, morally and philosophically. 
Mark Harden
7 years 9 months ago
''will get $400 abortions because they can’t afford the $10,000 it costs to give birth in America today''
Not according to the women themselves. A survey by the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's own statistical arm, (found at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/psrh/full/3711005.pdf') provides a couple of dozen different reasons for abortion in Table 2,page 113. Not one of them refers to choosing an abortion because the cost of giving birth to the child was unaffordable.
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago
"I'm not sure I follow Carol's argument-she begins by writing that money is not the answer and then concludes by listing all of the resources (mostly monetary) provided to pregnant women by anti-abortion groups."
 
Oh dear.   Thank you for pointing out the confusion.  Let me see if I can clear it up:
 
Lots of people seem to be under the impression they have created the life in a woman's wombs.  Catholics know (through, among other things, the teaching of the Annunciation in Scripture) that God creates life.
Abortion is the action of killing that life. Most women (if not all) go on to realize this and deeply regret it.  Killing someone is never the answer to a problem.
The mission of the pro-life movement is to put an end to this grevious offense against God and to prevent women from being talked into it at a time of crisis, and to offer her the support she needs to line up resources so she can continue her education so that she will be earn enough money on her own to provide a decent lifestyle rather than being dependent upon the pittance welfare provides.
Empowering young women to recognize a promiscuous, immoral and irresponsible man who will sleep with her and then abandon her from the ones who respect God and want to please Him, who respects his family, is studying and working hard so they can earn a decent living for his family - that's a winning strategy that won't cost us 5 cents.   There are plenty of volunteers willing to do it.   
Welfare is necessary but it only gives a woman less than 12 thousand dollars a year.  Women need 50,000 a year to raise a healthy child.  Missing from the hubris of all these men pushing welfare on women is the obvious ommission of men not preaching to other men to accept the awesome responsibilty of fathering a child and holding them accountable. 
It's the difference between keeping women relying upon men for their fish and when they walk away letting the government throw them crumbs and teaching them to fish themselves.
 
 
 
 
7 years 9 months ago
Who has signed up for 40 Days for life?? It starts in your city today. What are you doing for the least of these this Lent???
Carol McKinley
7 years 9 months ago

$800 Dollars a month?

Where do you suggest a monther lives and eats with her child on that?

per month expenses (modest round abouts)

1500 rent decent 2 bedroom
200 health insurance
800 groceries
200 heat
100 electricity
250 modest older car in decent condition
75 gas for car
150 car insurance
75 phone
100 cable and internet to do homework/achievements

We're up to 40 thousand a year.

Want to give them clothes, shoes, dentist and doctor co-pays?

child care so you can work/go to school?
lessons as they get older so they don't get into trouble?


800 a month - that takes the cake!
Pearce Shea
7 years 9 months ago
Sidebar-
 
MSW, if you read this comment, and you may not, I think that this and another recent post of yours have been very, very strong. You are at your best when you take to task your own party and, in my opinion, at your weakest when you start talking about conservatives. I would love to see more of this thoughtful stuff (the stuff that led me to buy your book for so many friends).

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