Obama vs. Pope Benedict
Byline: Jeffrey Kuhner, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President-elect Barack Obama plans to pass the Freedom of Choice Act setting up a showdown with the Vatican.
The first thing I will do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act, he said at an address before Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007. And if he does, it will trigger a harsh response from Pope Benedict XVI, as well as a political revolt among practicing American Catholics.
Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would be the equivalent of a war, a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. It would be like saying, 'We've heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.'" At a recent Baltimore meeting, the U.S. Catholic bishops pledged to challenge Mr. Obama on his defense of abortion rights.
FOCA seeks to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. It would remove all restrictions on abortion in state statutes - including restraints on late-term abortions and parental notification laws. It would also entrench taxpayer funding of abortion. Moreover, it would compel Catholic health-care facilities to provide the heinous procedure. In short, it constitutes a fundamental assault on basic Catholic doctrine.
Mr. Obama is a radical on abortion. He is vehemently pro-choice, even opposing the ban on partial-birth abortion. While in the Illinois state legislature, Mr. Obama voted against legislation protecting babies born in botched abortions.
Many liberal Catholics insist abortion is a single issue, a strange obsession of traditionalist diehards. Besides, they argue there is so much more to Catholic social thought. There is poverty, social justice, the environment and Iraq. Abortion is only one among many concerns shared by Catholics. They believe the church would be better served by focusing on creating a society based on communitarian values, the redistribution of power and wealth along more equitable lines, and an antiwar foreign policy.
Yet, abortion is the seminal moral issue of our time. Nearly 50 million unborn babies have been murdered since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973. If one includes Europe, the number of dead fetuses is staggering. Abortion has claimed more victims than either of the two great totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century, communism and Nazism. …