Not quite on board

Print More

The conference call (see immediately below) has come and gone, with much in the way of testimonials to the effect that the Democrats’ new abortion language is “a real step forward” (Wallis), “a historic and courageous step” (Hunter), “an excellent example of the art of the possible” (Cahill), “most significant” (Kmiec), “Catholics United is very happy about this new language” (Korzen), and “Those of us who have pro-life commitment are pleased” (Campolo).
Does that mean that they actually support the plank? Well, not exactly. When I put the question, there was dancing around from some and silence from others. What they’ve got via the language is reassurance that the Democrats are sensitive to pro-life concerns and prepared to undertake policies that overtly aim at abortion reduction. My colleague Renny Fulco points out that abortion reduction via contraception has always been the goal of Planned Parenthood, but on this the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, that remains an unacceptable approach in certain quarters.
Hunter, a self-described Republican, seemed to be struggling with his vote. The others will clearly be voting for Obama (Campolo’s on the Platform Committee), but now with an easier conscience and good talking points for dealing with their censorious co-religionists. A key point is to challenge Republicans to join them in a bipartisan (“common ground”) effort to support funding for programs that make it easier for pregnant women contemplating abortions to choose to carry to term. Look for Obama to make that point when Rick Warren asks him about abortion at Saddleback on Saturday.