Archbishop Chaput: "Abortion Reduction Strategies" Ignore Half of the Problem [UPDATED]
In Ireland, Archbishop Chaput slams "abortion reduction strategies" as half measures:
Dublin, Feb 9, 2009 / 05:34 am (CNA).- During a trip to Ireland this past weekend, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver delivered a talk to the Irish chapter of Human Life International that outlined the “dos and don’ts” for the pro-life movement. Those who claim pro-lifers should avoid the “divisive” issue of ending legalized abortion and focus on providing better support for pregnant mothers are creating a false division, the archbishop insisted.
Following the theme “An American view on how to build a culture of life,” Archbishop Chaput explained that his goal was “to offer some lessons from the American experience that Irish Christians might find useful.”
“Don't create or accept false oppositions,” the archbishop cautioned as he waded into a topic that has caused great debate in the American pro-life community.
“During the last U.S. election,” Chaput recalled, “we saw the emergence of so-called pro-life organizations that argued we should stop fighting the legal struggle over abortion. Instead we should join with ‘pro-choice’ supporters to seek ‘common ground’.”
“Their argument was simple: Why fight a losing battle on the legal, cultural and moral front since - according to them -- we haven't yet made serious progress in ending legalized abortion? Let's drop the ‘divisive’ political battle, they said, and instead let's all work together to tackle the economic and health issues that might eventually reduce abortions,” he explained.
But this argument doesn’t sync with history, Archbishop Chaput stressed.
“Did Americans take a gradual, social-improvement road to ‘reducing’ racism? No. We passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” he pointed out.
Taking the logic a step further, the Denver prelate said, “Nor have I ever heard anyone suggest that the best way to deal with murder, rape or domestic abuse is to improve the availability of health care and job training. We make rape illegal -- even though we know it will still sometimes tragically occur -- because rape is gravely evil. It's an act of violence, and the law should proscribe it.
“Of course, we also have a duty to improve the social conditions that can breed domestic and sexual violence. But that doesn't change the need for the law.”
“Likewise,” Chaput reasoned, “if we really believe that abortion is an intimate act of violence, then we can't aim at anything less than ending abortion.
“It doesn't matter that some abortions have always occurred, and some will always occur. If we really believe that abortion kills a developing unborn life, then we can never be satisfied with mere ‘reductions’ in the body count.”
The new groups that materialized during the last election seem to operate from an “either/or” mentality, that argued that pro-lifers needed to choose between abortion “reduction” programs and outlawing abortion, the archbishop said. But protecting the unborn child “is not an ‘either/or’ choice. It's ‘both/and’,” he countered.
“We need to help women facing problem pregnancies with good health care and economic support; and we need to pass laws that will end legal abortion. We need to do both.”
Playing off his previous “don’t,” the Denver archbishop focused on adversaries again, saying, “Don't let your adversaries set the agenda.”
President Barack Obama’s recent reversal of the Mexico City policy in office served to illustrate this point for the archbishop. “His reason for signing the executive order was that it was time to put this ‘divisive issue behind us,’ once and for all,” Chaput reminded.
“There's something a little odd about rhetoric that tells that we're the ‘divisive’ ones, and lectures adult citizens about what we should challenge, and when we should stop. In a democracy, we get to decide that for ourselves.
“An issue that involves the life and death of unborn children and the subversion of entire traditional societies can't be ‘put behind us’ with an executive signature.”
[Read the whole thing]
More on "abortion reduction" at GetReligion:
Remember when President Bill Clinton said he wanted abortion to be safe, legal and rare? Remember how he was pro-lifers’ favorite president? Oh wait, that’s right, the “safe, legal and rare” formulation isn’t a pro-life mantra but a pro-choice mantra. And Bill Clinton fit perfectly in the pro-choice camp.
But somehow when President Barack Obama says something along the same lines, we are to believe that he is no longer one of the most articulate advocates of abortion ever to ascend to the White House but, rather, a lightbearing pro-lifer? Time magazine’s Amy Sullivan has a headline up right now that says:
Barack Obama, Pro-Life President?
This is because he created a council — a faith-based “advisory council” — that will look at, among other things, “reducing the need for abortions.”
Yes, with his campaign promise to Planned Parenthood that his first priority as president would be the passage of a bill removing any state-based restrictions on abortion, with his move in the first week to fund international groups that perform abortions and with his 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, I’m pretty sure that headline sums it up. Fighting any restriction on abortion is the new “pro-life”! Princeton professor Robert P. George calls the notion “delusional” and I’m pretty sure pro-lifers in general would be willing to trade President Obama’s actual record and actions for that advisory council.
Remember those less complicated times when “pro-life” meant you opposed abortion and “pro-choice” meant you supported abortion rights? Well, President Obama is shooting for a new political paradigm where opposition to any restriction on abortion + support for increased government spending along the lines of what liberals normally support = a new category of abortion reduction. I certainly understand why President Obama would want to push that storyline but it would be nice to have the media exercise a bit of caution before running with it.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Catholic World Report: "Douglas Kmiec and His Misinformation Offensive for Barack Obama"
Prof. Robert George: Notion that Obama's Policies Will Reduce Abortion is "Delusional"
Archbishop Chaput: Kmiec Doing a "Disservice to the Church"
"Separate But Equal" Redux - Pro-Life Edition
Mark Stricherz: "Why the Democratic Abortion Strategy is Worse"
What is the "Pro-Life Position" Regarding Abortion?
Kmiec's Dishonesty [UPDATED]
Kmiec's Wishful Thinking on Obama and Abortion