Robert George On Obama’s Pro-Life Defenders

(via Pro Ecclesia) Over at Public Discourse, Prof. Robert George has an article entitled “Obama’s Abortion Extremism” which is very much worth reading:

I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama’s self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying. But before proving my claims about Obama’s abortion extremism, let me explain why I have described Obama as ”pro-abortion” rather than ”pro-choice.”

Prof. George goes right into some very solid points about the language used to discuss these issues:

According to the standard argument for the distinction between these labels, nobody is pro-abortion. Everybody would prefer a world without abortions. After all, what woman would deliberately get pregnant just to have an abortion? But given the world as it is, sometimes women find themselves with unplanned pregnancies at times in their lives when having a baby would present significant problems for them. So even if abortion is not medically required, it should be permitted, made as widely available as possible and, when necessary, paid for with taxpayers’ money.

The defect in this argument can easily be brought into focus if we shift to the moral question that vexed an earlier generation of Americans: slavery. Many people at the time of the American founding would have preferred a world without slavery but nonetheless opposed abolition. Such people – Thomas Jefferson was one – reasoned that, given the world as it was, with slavery woven into the fabric of society just as it had often been throughout history, the economic consequences of abolition for society as a whole and for owners of plantations and other businesses that relied on slave labor would be dire. Many people who argued in this way were not monsters but honest and sincere, albeit profoundly mistaken. Some (though not Jefferson) showed their personal opposition to slavery by declining to own slaves themselves or freeing slaves whom they had purchased or inherited. They certainly didn’t think anyone should be forced to own slaves. Still, they maintained that slavery should remain a legally permitted option and be given constitutional protection.

Would we describe such people, not as pro-slavery, but as ”pro-choice”? Of course we would not. It wouldn’t matter to us that they were ”personally opposed” to slavery, or that they wished that slavery were ”unnecessary,” or that they wouldn’t dream of forcing anyone to own slaves.

It flummoxes me that people attempt to make this distinction. To take a contemporary and perhaps even more apt example: Picture if you will someone saying, “I am not at all pro death penalty. Indeed, I am very much opposed to the death penalty. And because of that, I would like to seek every possible means of reducing the need for the death penalty by trying to reduce crime.”

Regardless of your feelings about the death penalty itself, one could hardly call such a position truly anti death penalty. If one favors using the death penalty in a world in which homicides take place, then one must have the decency to admit that one favors the death penalty. Because we will not, until the final trumpet call, live in a world without homicides.

He also points out Obama’s support for “clone and kill” legislation:

He has co-sponsored a bill-strongly opposed by McCain-that would authorize the large-scale industrial production of human embryos for use in biomedical research in which they would be killed. In fact, the bill Obama co-sponsored would effectively require the killing of human beings in the embryonic stage that were produced by cloning. It would make it a federal crime for a woman to save an embryo by agreeing to have the tiny developing human being implanted in her womb so that he or she could be brought to term. This ”clone and kill” bill would, if enacted, bring something to America that has heretofore existed only in China-the equivalent of legally mandated abortion. In an audacious act of deceit, Obama and his co-sponsors misleadingly call this an anti-cloning bill. But it is nothing of the kind. What it bans is not cloning, but allowing the embryonic children produced by cloning to survive.

And in regards to other issues:

Barack Obama and John McCain differ on many important issues about which reasonable people of goodwill, including pro-life Americans of every faith, disagree: how best to fight international terrorism, how to restore economic growth and prosperity, how to distribute the tax burden and reduce poverty, etc.But on abortion and the industrial creation of embryos for destructive research, there is a profound difference of moral principle, not just prudence. These questions reveal the character and judgment of each man. Barack Obama is deeply committed to the belief that members of an entire class of human beings have no rights that others must respect….

In the end, the efforts of Obama’s apologists to depict their man as the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even should vote for, doesn’t even amount to a nice try.

An outstanding article.  Do read the whole thing.

6 Responses to Robert George On Obama’s Pro-Life Defenders

  1. fus01 says:

    This article is devastating to the ‘Catholic’ case for Obama.

  2. Deacon Chip says:

    THere really *is* no “catholic case for Obama”. Those who support him based on his war position, or on his promises of economic benefits to “the least of these”, are just practicing another form of cafeteria Catholicism.

    As clergy, I would never tell anyone for whom they should vote; vote for whom you like. But please, please, please don’t try to call it anything other than what it is when you vote for the Democrats: it is a compromise with the devil. You might (emphasis on *might*) get what you think you want, but the millions of children who will die becuase abortion becomes enshrined in law even more than it is today willcertainly not get what *they* want: a chance to draw breath outside their mothers’ wombs.

  3. Nathan says:

    I don’t know how Christian can claim to support Obama because of his war position. Obama has pledged to defeat the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan and in southern Afghanistan. Obama has several times he wants to send 10,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Obama repeated his threat to hit at al-Qaida in neighboring Pakistan unilaterally. This sounds like the expansion of war in the world not reduction.

  4. Ryan Harkins says:

    Something that seems to be missing in all the abortion arguments, and the one that I hope to cover tomorrow in a post, is the “inconvenience factor” that leads women to have abortions. When the primary reason to abort a child is because it is “inconvenient” to have a child at a particular time (due to career choices and financial matters and so on), how are economics going to solve that issue? Yes, I understand that poverty is often an excuse for abortion, as exemplified by the large number of abortions among low-income black women. But at the same time, many women have abortions not because of poverty, but because they’re on track for high-paying jobs (either going to school or working up the ladder in a business) and they don’t feel they can wreck their careers with a baby.

    Fixing the economy won’t end abortion. Having good foreign relations won’t end abortion. Having universal health care won’t end abortion. Raising our science and math scores won’t end abortion. Nothing will end abortion unless people realize why abortion is always, always, always a grave evil: because it puts self above all other considerations.

  5. fus01 says:

    Nathan, you may be under-appreciating the subtle intelligence of the Catholic Democrat voter. Catholic Democrats know that Obama isn’t really serious when he says he will sign the FOCA, or fund embryonic stem-cell research on a large sale, or advocate irresponsible militaristic approaches foreign policy (that’s just election-year rhetoric).

    Conversely, they know what Obama is serious about – doing all of the good things with health care/education/ redistribution that they want him to. Obama is to be contrasted with McCain who hides how evil he really is (he wants to attack Iran!) with more moderate statements, and he doesn’t really intend to help anyone or appoint pro-life judges. It’s a level of subtlety that, I confess, I am not able to appreciate.

  6. jonathanjones02 says:

    This article is an outstanding summation about the dangers of Obama’s clearly stated intentions and goals.

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