Mission Creep, Part Deux

When Mitt Romney says, “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother” that means, “I favor the Supreme Court’s verdict in Roe v. Wade.”

I remember a time when prolife Americans embarked on the prolife movement because they opposed Roe v. Wade. Now, when you oppose a candidate who openly favors the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe while lying that he served as a prolife governor, you are told to shut up and even accused of not being prolife. Because “prolife now means “Republican” even when the Republican candidate favors Roe and lies that he served as a prolife governor.


"And the kids aren't just protesting, they're registering to vote. I just hope they do ..."

Today is the 19th Anniversary of ..."
"One thought that continues to come back to me when I see some of what ..."

Carbon Monoxide vs. Oxygen
"Oh man, there's so much to say about this topic... I I'm still looking for ..."

Carbon Monoxide vs. Oxygen
"What possible reason do I have to believe Frum's tweet? I don't know anything about ..."

What Christianism Stands For

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jared

    It sure would be nice to have a Pro-life canidate in this race. Guess I’m faced with an important decision…do I write in a serious protest vote (Ron Paul) or a cartoon character (Kodos)?

    • CK

      Jared, I think folks should vote on the local level. However, at the Federal level, there is no point in voting at all. Don’t waste your time. Spend those other moments of your life worrying about something more important.

      • And if every American followed that advice then…what?

        • Ted Seeber

          then we might just get the revolution we deserve.

          • Well I’m not a Qumran Catholic. If we think that’s the best solution, perhaps there’s a different solution we’re missing. This response that leans heavily on the ‘as a matter of fact I am an island unto myself thank you’ attitude is not one that seems to be anything other than the classic ‘why bother, I don’t make a difference’ attitude that has launched a history of non-participation and non-activity. It’s the political equivalent of the kid saying ‘why take a chance on getting hurt when I can sit in the bleachers and say how bad everyone on the team sucks.’ It may make me feel good and fuzzy, but that’s about it. Because as much as we would like to think we could get all Americans to not vote, chances are the really bad forces would manage to step in and exploit the ones who did nothing. At least if history has anything to say about it.

        • CK

          Then Americans wouldn’t be choosing between the lesser of two evils. That’s a revolution we all deserve.

          • BobRN

            Um, … you honestly think that will be the outcome? More likely, Americans wouldn’t be choosing at all, but the worst of all evils would be forced upon us.
            In the 1860 election, on the issue of slavery, Abraham Lincoln was the lesser of two evils. Even still, given the alternatives, I likely would have voted for him.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Obviously, if you vote for someone who supports intrinsic evil like Kodos (the enslavement of the human race), you are at least remotely cooperating in sin.

      Stick with Jack Johnson or John Jackson.

      • Jared

        But think of the setup! [Horrid winner] does [horrid thing].

        “Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.”

    • B.E. Ward

      I’m thinking of casting my vote for Morbo the Annihilator, from Futurama.

      At least he’s honest.

      • John

        “Morbo will now introduce the candidates – Puny Human Number One, Puny Human Number Two, and Morbo’s good friend Richard Nixon. “

        • Jared

          Why doesn’t this combox have upvotes?

          To you all: +1 for Futurama!

      • I’d like to see his birth certificate: I heard he was born on Omicron Persei 8…

        • John

          Morbo is pleased but sticky.

        • Andy, Bad Person


      • Thomas R

        I love the Morbo reference too.

  • CK

    that means, “I favor the Supreme Court’s verdict in Roe v. Wade.”

    That would be technically correct; Mitt Romney affirmed the holding of Roe v. Wade.

    • BobRN

      No, that would be technically incorrect. Roe v. Wade put no limits on reasons for an abortion whatsoever. Rape, incest, health, life, or getting your nails done this afternoon – under Roe v. Wade, any and all reasons for having an abortion is legal. So, if Romney opposes abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life/health of the mother, that would be considerably more conservative than Roe v. Wade and limit legal abortions to a bare fraction of those performed today.
      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the Church allowed Catholics the option of voting for legislation and legislators that limited abortions, even if they did not outright criminalize all of them.

      • Thomas R

        Exactly. In fairness it’s pretty common for people to think Roe v Wade is way more restrictive than it is in reality and the polls encourage that. Many polls give people the impression Roe only legalizes first trimester abortions. I’m not sure it’s common to think it limits it to ” rape, incest, or threat to the life/health of the mother” but maybe that’s only a little more off than average.

        Roe really allows pretty much all “pre-viability” abortions for any reason. The language of Roe, as I recall when I read it, indicate that restrictions before the third-trimester can only consider if the abortion would harm the mother. In “post-viability” it’s where you get limits to ” rape, incest, or threat to the life/health of the mother” .

        I don’t precisely like or trust Romney, but if you want no rape exemption than I say “I understand, but that will never ever happen.” Politics is the art of the possible. US abortion law ever being stricter than Poland’s is just not possible. Hence Shea’s opposition to viable Presidential candidates.

        • To be even more technically correct, it was Doe v. Bolton, the second of the two cases decided on the same day in 1973, that stipulated that even in the third trimester, though abortion could be limited, there must be an exception for the woman’s “health” – which could mean many things, like her poverty or age, or mental state – pretty much any reason she and her doctor agreed on. There is a reason, I’m sure, why Doe v. Bolton has pretty much been forgotten; it serves the media and the abortion industry to fool people into thinking the law is more restrictive than it is.

      • SDG


        For all practical intents and purposes, a “health” exception to abortion restrictions is exactly like no restriction at all. The courts have found that because “health” includes mental health, if a woman says a pregnancy is causing her anxiety, depression, etc., a doctor can determine that abortion is indicated for “health” reasons.

        • BobRN

          Absolutely true! Which is why abortion for the health reasons need to be eliminated. Exceptions to save the life of the mother will likely never be eliminated, and the Catholic Church allows for doctors to press on with therapy that will save the life of the mother, even if the undesired and unintended effect is the death of the child, so long as nothing is done to directly take the life of the child. Even still, if the Republicans can put restrictions on abortion, that is progress over and against a political party the policy of which is no restrictions on abortions at all.

  • SDG

    To be fair, a campaign spokesweasel suggests that Romney misspoke, or something: The official position is no “health” exception.

    • Mark Shea

      Shake that etch a sketch, Romney.

      • SDG

        FWIW, my take here, as with the “freedom of worship” business, is that Romney is tone-deaf to the nuances of these issues because it’s all a foreign language to him. “Freedom of worship” and “health of the mother” are reasonable-sounding phrases in the air around him, and he’s never been sufficiently involved in either debate to know how pernicious and reductionistic they are. I don’t mean to say that his commitment to religious freedom or opposition to abortion (exceptforrapeincestorlifeofthemother) are deeply felt beliefs, but I also don’t think these phrases were meant to signal “pivoting” away from his nominal stances on either.

        • Mark Shea

          I don’t see how this is particularly different than what I’ve been saying. He doesn’t care, will take our vote, and then will consign the matter to benign neglect and, where possible, work to see that it is so marginalized that it never troubles him again. He’s just fine with Roe. That’s reality.

          • SDG

            Yeah, I won’t argue with this. I permit myself to harbor some small hope that it may go somewhat better than this. I have more hope, someday, for someone like Ryan, whose willingness to be part of a ticket that doesn’t oppose abortion in cases of rape I don’t see in as sinister a light as you seem to.

            • Mark Shea

              At the end of the day, what Ryan is doing is flying cover for Romney. As a matter of policy, what he does is support Romney. Then he says, “I’m personally opposed so pay no attention to my policies.” And we prolifers delude ourselves that if we play along with this, someday he will be president and show his “true* colors. I think a pol who says, “I favor killing innocents who threaten my boss and my chance of election” is like the woman at the bar who, when asked if she would sleep with a stranger for a million dollars, agrees. When she is then asked, “How about for ten dollars?” and replies, “What sort of person do you think I am?” the answer for her, as for Ryan, is “We know what sort of person you are. Now we’re just haggling about the price.” It is folly to think this man is trustworthy.

              • SDG

                Mark, when it comes to skepticism, cynicism and holding politicians’ feet to the fire, I’m right there with you.

                Even so, I can’t jump as glibly as you do from “Ryan has joined the Romney ticket, and as such supports a policy that opposes 99 percent of direct abortions, even though it doesn’t oppose 100 percent of direct abortions as Ryan himself does” to “Ryan favors killing people.” That cuts too close to the quick of the eighth commandment for my comfort.

                How trustworthy he is may remain to be seen, but I can’t see what he’s done as establishing his utter lack of principle to the tune you seem to.

                • Richard Johnson

                  Over the past two years Paul Ryan has held fast to the position that any abortion bill coming out of Congress should *not* have any exceptions, period. Pleas from others in Congress for a “more moderate” position from him in hopes of gaining votes to pass bills were rebuffed.

                  Now, he states that he sees Mr. Romney’s position (supporting exceptions) as “an improvement over what we have.” What we have today is what we had for the past two years during which Rep. Ryan held fast to his principles.

                  Why take the pragmatic approach now if not for simple political gamesmanship?

                  • SDG

                    “Why take the pragmatic approach now if not for simple political gamesmanship?”

                    Endorsing a bill is one thing. Joining a ticket is another. The relevant differences seem to me to support differing approaches in political gamesmanship.

                • Mark Shea

                  When Ryan endorses, as he does, the proposition that innocents conceived in rape can be lawfully killed, he is favoring killing a particular class of people. The reason he favors this is because most Americans would not support a candidate who does not make an exception for rape. I’m sorry, but the fact is Ryan favors killing babies conceived in rape. Sure, he’s “personally opposed”. So are lots of pols who say you can lawfully kill various classes of innocents. But at the end of the day, this particular class of innocents is one most Americans favor killing, so Ryan does too in order to not lose their vote. His logic is absolutely indistinguishable from Mario Cuomo’s. He just has a smaller group of innocents he favor killing if they threaten his shot at power.

                  I wouldn’t say he has an “utter” lack of principle. He has an average lack of principle, characteristic of his peer group. But he is not “prolife”. He is merely anti-abortion when innocent human beings don’t stand in the way of his grab for power.

                  • SDG

                    Where does Ryan “endorse” the proposition that “innocents conceived in rape can be lawfully killed”?

                    • Mark Shea

                      Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote:

                      “Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape

                      That’s the official position. It means that, as lawmakers, Romney/Ryan say that innocents conceived in rape can lawfully be killed.

                      Bill Clinton had a prolife record until it became inconvenient to courting his base. Ryan has done the same thing, only his base has a small population of innocents they feel good about killing, so he goes along with that instead. I’m sorry Steve, but Tom Kreitzberg is right:

                      Anyone who says that Mitt Romney is pro-life is speaking a material falsehood.

                      Romney is not pro-life. He is anti-abortion-in-most-cases. To be anti-abortion-in-most-cases is to hold a morally evil position. To be pro-life is to hold a morally good position.

                      If you can’t tell the difference between good and evil, then you shouldn’t tell Catholics how to vote in the general election.

                      Ryan, according to the official statement cited above completely embraces an “anti-abortion in most cases” position. What determines which innocents can and cannot be killed is popular sentiment and Romney’s need not to lose votes. What I’d *really* like to know is how Ryan addresses Romney’s “health of the mother” loophole.

                      I honestly cannot see any difference between Ryan and Cuomo, except that Cuomo’s pool of innocents he said he felt bad about killing as he permitted their death was much larger.

                    • SDG


                      Romney has said, in his own words, that he supports (his word) abortion rights in cases of rape. No question there, and Tom Kreitzberg is essentially right. (As a caveat, I don’t think the term “pro-life” can be reserved only for those whose defense of life is 100 percent — I think it’s possible to be imperfectly but still meaningfully pro-life — but in Romney’s case his pro-life credentials are sufficiently dodgy that I agree it’s reasonable to say he isn’t really “pro-life.”)

                      What you have with Ryan is very different, for reasons that, from a moral theology perspective, are material and relevant. Ryan has not said he supports abortion rights in cases of rape. A campaign spokeswoman (not Ryan) has said that a Romney-Ryan administration (not Ryan) would not oppose (not support) abortion in cases of rape.

                      From a moral theology perspective, those are simply not the same things. This is pretty black and white, and anyone who knows enough moral theology should be able to see it.

                      On the basis of the evidence presented so far, is simply indefensible — not just not true, but indefensible — to say “Ryan supports murder.” To say it anyway is to bear false witness against one’s neighbor. Please think some more about this.

                  • SDG

                    Comparing Ryan to Cuomo, whose dissent from Church teaching is clear, is disturbing to me. The exhortations of the eighth commandment apply to politicians too. Ryan has the same right to his reputation and good name as anyone else. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve scrutiny and critical cross-examination, but his statements deserve the same charitable interpretation as anyone else.

                    Ryan has a credible record of maintaining that abortion should be illegal in cases of rape, no rape exception. Not “personally” opposed, but opposed to the legal exception. Being willing to join a ticket that fails to defend the truth to this extent does not equal “endorsing” murder. Catholic moral theology just will not support this interpretation.

                    • Blog Goliard

                      Mark would have gotten sooooo impatient with Lincoln. His diatribe against the Emancipation Proclamation would have been especially memorable I’m sure.

                    • Mark Shea

                      On the contrary, it was a nice symbolic gesture. But the real work of freeing the slaves was being done with hot lead.

                    • Blog Goliard

                      Well, that’s a fair description of that, yes. But a sentence of yours from upthread makes the exact same amount of sense to me with a couple of names and words changed:

                      “I honestly cannot see any difference between [Lincoln] and [Douglas], except that [Douglas]’s pool of innocents he said he felt bad about [enslaving] as he permitted their [enslavement] was much larger.”

                    • SDG

                      “I honestly cannot see any difference between [Lincoln] and [Douglas], except that [Douglas]’s pool of innocents he said he felt bad about [enslaving] as he permitted their [enslavement] was much larger.”

                      Good point.

  • CK

    “The truth is, [liberals] really do have this power, and, as Chait avers, have triumphed completely. It is overstating matters to say that politics are a sideshow conservatives have to console themselves in the face of overwhelming defeat in the culture. But it’s not overstating matters by much.”


    • Liberals only control culture because others have ceded the field. When Catholics step up and build up a few film studios and fund pro-life films that are profitable, liberals will no longer control the culture.

    • Went to the link & read the article; very good. It explains why I’m motivated to discuss and argue culture and religion much more than politics.


    • John

      The Media/Hollywood simply hold a mirror up to us, and give us what we want to see. Sometimes it’s difficult to look at that image, because that image is me. You. All of us. All of us. It’s ratings and revenue driven. Box office ticket sales. Movies, TV and Music is researched every which way from Sunday. Test screenings, advances, and research as to what we want. We want Liam Neeson to kill every last one of those bad guys in “Taken”. We want to be titillated by shows and movies like “Sex in the City”. We want to see the Snookie’s of the world make asses out of themselves. The list goes on. Maybe one is not your cup of tea, but I’m sure there’s something for you. There always is.

      There’s no vast liberal conspiracy to put “Will & Grace” on the air to push forward an idea of homosexuality as good. Trust me. If it didn’t deliver an audience, sell a ticket, a video sale or a download it wouldn’t have lasted. If you don’t want your children to watch it use the V-Chip. Program your television box. Don’t let them see age inappropriate movies, or listen to music. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we live in a country that allows for those freedoms of choice. Whether we like them, or not.

      But, that’s the real answer that we don’t want to face. We are human. Imperfect. We don’t want to look in the mirror – because you know what you’re not going to like what you see…

      • Scott W.

        I disagree. See Michael Medved’s Hollywood vs. America where he cites many examples of movies that were box-office flops because they were gratuitously insulting to religion, but they continue to get made.

        • John

          Proves nothing. Except if people don’t want to see it they won’t.

      • Thomas R

        “The Media/Hollywood simply hold a mirror up to us, and give us what we want to see.”

        Yeah I don’t believe that. That’s the neoclassical or realist approach to art, but I really doubt Hollywood is all neoclassicist and realist. They are often putting out things that express themselves and how they see the world. Or at the very least it’s a mix of reflection and expression.

        “The Passion of the Christ” made huge amounts of money, but there really wasn’t that many attempts after it to do religious films. “Mad Men” has a relatively small TV audience, but lots of stations tried to copy elements of it in their own shows. Additionally I think many in the biz do have a kind of principle and wouldn’t do things they don’t believe in even if they’d sell. Or maybe they just can’t write things they don’t understand or believe even if they want.

        At the very least they are writing things that reflect their reality, which is going to be different than much of America. Americans watch because the alternative would just be not watching TV and few will go that far.

  • Marie E

    Or perhaps it is an imperfect but possible solution, the closest we can get to now under current culture, but a movement in the right direction. I understand it is not the Church’s way. But I cannot think of any government anywhere at any time that was perfect in mirroring the Church’s way (even when Chancellors were Archbishops). I do not understand my participation in political life to mean that I must always and everywhere abstian from voting – the Amish do that, good for them, but they are also marginal. (and BTW have their own election problems re their own bishops )

    • Mark Shea

      I’m not suggesting you should abstain from voting. I’m suggesting the prolifers should be putting enormous pressure on Romney to walk the walk instead of just talking the manipulative and deceptive talk. Almost all the energy in the prolife movement is devoted to telling prolifers to shut up and pretend Romney is sincere.

      • B.E. Ward

        It’s almost like there isn’t a write-in line on any ballot anywhere, ever.

        • Blog Goliard

          Since most attempts to cast a write-in vote never get counted, there might as well not be, most of the time.

          Yes, there are exceptions. For instance, if your daddy bequeathed you his Senate seat fair and square but those mean primary voters refused to go along (who do they think they are?!?), any and all write-in attempts will be credited to your account.

    • Ted Seeber

      I would settle for the government respecting personal belief and not limiting it in any way, shape, or form.

  • Andy

    I guess I will suggest that in my cynical view of politics that both sides of the political spectrum do not want to overturn Roe v. Wade. If the Dems did they would forfeit a considerable voting block and an issue to raise money with; it the Reps. did they would forfeit a significant voting block and an issue to raise money with. I don’t think that either party gives a damn about the unborn or for that matter the born. To think otherwise, again in my cynical view, negates the last 40ish years of history. Romney is interested only in money, Obama is interested only in money – they just look for different facets of money.
    To affect change in America it requires personal outreach to those you disagree with – it requires an acceptance of the humanity of those you disagree with. It requires conversation – an exchange and a willingness to accept that the outcomes will take time to be reached.
    Putting faith in worldly princes only distances us from the personal touch and in my non-cyincal view that is what is needed.

    • Chris

      Pro-lifers are the new Palestinians.

      • Peggy R

        But the Left loves the Palestinians, not pro-lifers.

      • Blog Goliard

        Pro-lifers love to kill Jews? What?

        • Chris

          Well that was enlightening. Let me help you out: like the Palestinians, we pro-lifers have become nothing but political pawns. The Arabs don’t want the Palestinians to have a state anymore than the Israelis do. Why? Because the Palestinians are a convenient enemy-by-proxy for all the Arab countries who prefer to keep Israel busy instead of coming up with a solution. The Gulf States are so flush with petrodollars, they built a city from scratch (Dubai), but they’re not interested in carving out a piece of desert to build a modern society for the Palestinians. i.e, their umbrage with Israel is as fake as the GOP’s supposed outrage at abortion.

          We’re just political pawns. We’re useful until we’re not.

          • Blog Goliard

            Ah. I see where you’re coming from then.

            The animus against Israel is quite real though. The Palestinians are to be used as pawns and distractions only until the Jews can be (after so many failed attempts) successfully driven into the sea.

          • Andy

            Thank you for explaining Chris – i just read your response and was confused. Yes I agree pro-life has become a pawn for political types.

  • Chris

    Shorter Romney: “So whaddya gonna do about it?”

  • It’s very disappointing to hear Gov. Romney speak this way. He really needs to be confronted with people who are children of rape and incest so he can meet some of the real human beings who his partial pro-life stance would not protect. This shouldn’t be done in a hostile way but I suspect that such people are an abstraction for him. He needs to meet them, shake their hand, and see the reality of what his mistaken compromise would snuff out.

    That being said, I remain, disgruntled and voting for Romney. If Romney evolves it’s at least a coin flip that it’s going to be an improvement. If Obama evolves again, he’s going to get behind infanticide.

  • thomas tucker

    I don’t think Ron Paul can correctly be identified as being pro-life either, especially if that means making abortion illegal in every state.

    • Actually, he is. He wants to federally define personhood as beginning at conception. After that, abortion would be, legally speaking, murder. It is true that he wants the penalties for murder to continue to be determined at a state level, and that theoretically states could still declare abortion to be not punished by the law.

      I don’t really think I disagree with this position. I mean, should there be a one-world government just to make sure that no one, anywhere, could make abortion legal?

      • thomas tucker

        that is interesting- I will have to read up on that. I simply saw him state in a debate that it was a matter for each state to decide.

        • I am not sure about what he said in the debate, but you could look up the Sanctity of Life act and the We the People act, both of which Ron Paul co-sponsored, I believe.

          The former would define life/personhood as beginning at conception, and the latter would remove abortion from the jurisdiction of federal courts.

        • I heard an interview with Ron Paul during the 2008 election season on npr. He said, “abortion is an act of violence and like other acts of violence should be dealt with by the states.”

  • Observer

    Rom’s concern is taxes, securing the economy and soc. security for retirement. Rom’s hair-line fractured stance on life, on the other hand, is a sign and indication where he will bend to his opposition. So, between him and O, one will try to save our economic system, whereas the other is willing to ruin it. Any other conclusion of Rom: he’s going to overturn the man-date, protect life, ensure due process of law, defend civil liberties, etc. would not truly reflect what grounds he began with during the primaries. He opposed many of the repub’s during the primary on the basis they were going to do away with soc. security. And, that has been his most appealing point.

    • John

      Romney’s concern is getting elected. Any how. Any way. He has no other concerns. I believe that in his mind, he NEEDS to be President. If that isn’t abundantly clear from his changing positions, and the choice of Paul Ryan, I don’t know what is. He has been running for office since 1994…sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

      But, for some reason, he doesn’t want it, he NEEDS this.

      • S. Murphy

        That *is* the problem — we have a choice between people who want the job.

        • John

          No, The Romneybot3000 NEEDS it.

  • Observer

    He intends to defend retirement and retired folks from being collateral damage. As well, he intends to reduce the debt going into a un-sustainable soc.wellfare program by allowing either state sponsored programs or charitable organizations to deal with assisting people who need assistance (which they were previously dependening on fed. programs.) And, he is looking forward to getting our economic system back up from a lot of un-necessary govt regulations which are not helping quality of living, but ruining the system which aides the quality of life for each person to be gainfully employed.

  • R. Howell

    Yes it’s clear that Romney has no great personal pro-life conviction because anyone who cared seriously about the issue could not possibly “misspeak” about the big-enough-to-fly-a-747-through health exception.

    He has calculated the official position he needs to take in order to secure the Republican nomination and not totally alienate the base. So, you can have a President who is officially pro-life and susceptible to pressure to follow through on his promises, but probably won’t life a finger if he’s not forced to. Or you can have Obama. That’s the menu.

  • Koz

    No, pro-life Americans (such as Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney) started the pro-life movement because they oppose abortion, and Roe v Wade facilitates abortion. In order to end the abortion license in America, we need Americans who claim to be pro-life to actually vote pro-life so as to give the prolife part of the political class the capability to outmaneuver and defeat the abortion license.

    In order to end the abortion license in America, we need Americans who claim to be pro-life to actually vote pro-life. The Republican Party is irrational conspiracy among all social and economic classes to end the abortion license in America. There is no reason why we can’t have two pro-choice parties. The political class is all about convenience, and unwanted babies are decidely inconvenient. That’s why they are aborted in the first place. But it didn’t work that way. The Republican party has demonstrated (for reasons best known to God) an unshakable commitment to ending the abortion license.

    In order to end the abortion license in America, we need Americans who claim to be pro-life to actually vote pro-life.

    • Mark Shea

      Mmmmm…. Kool aid.

  • Jeff

    Perhaps I am missing the subtlety of the arguments. I oppose abortion in all cases. I think Roe v. Wade is terrible law. But, I’d much rather see Roe overturned and have have abortion outlawed in all cases except rape, incest, and health of the mother than continue on with the murderous status quo. I’d hate to see millions more babies murdered because we won’t elect an imperfect, but shockingly better, presidential candidate.

    We pro-lifers have (rightly) advocated for informed consent laws, that don’t outlaw abortion, but hopeful make it less likely to occur. If we can incrementally reduce abortion by outlawing in all cases except rape, incest, or health of the mother, I think we should do so enthusiastically. That shouldn’t be out end-game (no more than the end-game of “gay rights” folks was abolition of sodomy laws). But, would be an outstanding step.

    • Ted Seeber

      Roe told us the end game: Pass a resolution defining personhood as beginning at conception.

      • Jeff

        I would absolutely favor that. But, in the meantime…

        • Richard Johnson

          The GOP has proposed such an amendment since 1980. How much meantime do they need to bring it to a vote?

          • ChrisKABA

            You don’t even need a Constitutional Amendment (even if it were actually possible to get one first passed, then ratified).

            The multiple “Sanctity of Life” acts put forth by Paul would have done it.

            Of course, every time attempts to bring it up have been made, they’ve been completely ignored by the entire GOP, even when it had majority control of the White House, both houses of the legislature, and a majority of SC appointees.

            They don’t need time to bring it to a vote, they don’t WANT to bring it to a vote.

            • Blog Goliard

              Nope, sorry. It will require either an Amendment or five justices willing to consign Roe and Casey to the dustbin of history.

              An Act of Congress that attempted to strip the Federal courts of jurisdiction over abortion would be a third possible tactic; but this would spark a Constitutional crisis, the outcome of which would be difficult to predict.

              • If it takes a Constitutional crisis to end abortion, bring it on!

              • Ted Seeber

                According to Roe, all it would take is a Congressional Resolution defining the word “person” in accordance with science discovered since 1973.

                • Blog Goliard

                  Ted, I’ve never spotted such a proviso in Roe, Doe, or Casey. You wouldn’t happen to have a precise citation for me to look up, would you?

                  • Richard Johnson

                    Allow me to help Ted here. From Blackmun’s opinion, written for the majority:


                    “A. The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a “person” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, [p157] for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument. [n51] On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument [n52] that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

                    “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, …” It truly does not get any clearer than that. Whether by Constitutional amendment, Congressional action, or executive order, if an unborn child can be declared to be a person for purposes of the 14th Amendment, Roe, Doe and Casey all fall and abortion becomes murder. Game, set and match.

                    • Blog Goliard

                      “…no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

                      No case…within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

                      You cannot create precedential caselaw by Constitutional Amendment, Congressional action, or executive order.

                      You cannot change the meaning or interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment by Congressional action or executive order.

                      This passage does not support the claims being made.

          • Noah D

            How long did it take Wilberforce to convince Parliament to act to end slavery? Should we give up, then, if it takes even longer?

            • Richard Johnson

              Did Wilberforce say that slavery was OK in certain instances? Or was he one of those dreaded folks who eschewed incrementalism?

    • Mark Shea

      “health of the mother” *is* the murderous status quo. IT’s the catchall phrase used to justify all abortion on demand whatsoever. Romney supports Roe.

      • Blog Goliard

        A “health” exception will surely be, in many states, one you can drive a truck through. I agree with you that it’s spinach and the hell with it.

        Conflating that with Roe (and its successor cases, most notably Casey) is still misleading though. Roe is far more extreme than even that; and being a Constitutional law matter related to emanations from the penumbra of Griswold‘s imaginary privacy right, it’s an argument on a different battleground with different inflection points.

        • Mark Shea

          Romney’s not offering a legal argument. He’s offering the standard political code–used for decades by pro-Roe politicians–to signal that he favors the Roe status quo. Honest. That’s what this code means.

          • Blog Goliard

            Hmm. You and Phil have a fair point there. I naturally focus on the legal side because…well, at least if I’m deliberating over points of law as a hobby from time to time maybe my law degree wasn’t a complete waste of time and money.

            But basically, my point is that if “health of the mother” had to be demonstrated for even first-trimester abortions–even if certification of such were ridiculously easy and often fraudulent, that would still constitute a more restrictive abortion regime than the one imposed by Roe, and would reduce the number of abortions (even if by a heartbreakingly small number).

    • Richard Johnson

      Then was Rep. Paul Ryan wrong to advocate for no exceptions when he was in the House? Should he have accepted changes to the bills he sponsored that would have allowed exceptions simply to help get them passed?

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Semantic nitpick:

    Folks, please stop referring to Romney as PIVOTING his views. In order to pivot, one must plant at least one foot firmly in place — something Romney has never learned how to do. The man’s views are a constant shuffle

  • Richard Johnson

    “So, you can have a President who is officially pro-life and susceptible to pressure to follow through on his promises, but probably won’t life a finger if he’s not forced to.”

    Can you demonstrate from his prior governing experience (in Massachusetts) where Romney responded to such pressure from the pro-life community? Did he ever change his actions while in office based on the pro-life community pressuring him? Or did his change come after office and in preparation for a national campaign?

    • Blog Goliard

      “Governor Romney was a great friend to the pro-life movement in Massachusetts. In a very difficult political environment, when many doors of the State House were closed to us, we always were welcomed by Governor Romney and his staff. He was a great pro-life governor and he will be a great pro-life president.” — Mary Ann Glendon

      Glendon always struck me as a thoughtful and intelligent and faithful Catholic in the public sphere. Have I misread her? Has she catastrophically misread Mitt Romney?

      (These are not meant to be rhetorical questions. I would be honestly interested to hear answers…though please at least keep a stab at keeping them charitable and fact-based.)

      • Blog Goliard

        Or “take” a stab. Take or keep a stab…either way is good.

        (Man, I wish there were an edit function…)

      • Mark Shea

        Impossible, without knowing her, to know why she would make a documentably counter-factual statement. She either believes what she says and is therefore in error, or she doesn’t believe it and is therefore lying. Or she has in mind something besides the matters of public record concerning Romney’s words and deeds vis a vis abortion. Perhaps, as he is now doing, he maintained an affable relationship with prolifers while exploiting and betraying them and they managed to persuade themselves that this constituted support. We are, after all, talking about Massachusetts for Life, which was ecstatic when Scott Brown got elected despite his emphatic support for Roe and his eagerness to distance himself from them. But that’s just a guess. I’m mystified by her remarks.

        • Blog Goliard

          Or maybe I should be reading “when many doors of the State House were closed to us” completely literally…and she was just grateful that Romney and his people didn’t actually slam the door in her face, and even pretended to listen to and agree with her.

          I could see myself being overly grateful for that myself, considering how low the bar has been set by prior and subsequent administrations. Would that gratitude make it seem justifiable to offer the vetoes she mentions (of an embryonic cloning bill and a bill to allow the “morning after pill” to be sold over the counter) as sufficient evidence to support the “great pro-life governor” claim…or would one still be consciously stretching things to make that statement? I don’t really know.

          • Mark Shea

            It’s quite possible. When you starving, a rich guy who give you a cracker and then tells you there’s more where that came from if you will go lick his car clean can seem like a benefactor compared the passersby who spit on you. It’s pathetic, but not without precedent. There were slaves who willingly fought for the Confederacy. Stockholm Syndrome.

            • Thomas R

              Hm the evidence for slaves willingly fighting for the Confederacy is actually pretty weak. Not saying it never happened, I know smart people who insist it never happened though, but it was likely quite rare. Especially as most masters wouldn’t trust their slaves with weapons and feared the whole idea. The one Confederate “free Negro regiment” I found turned sides to the Union pretty fast.

              Most of the “black Confederates” I’ve found, when looking it up, were with Missouri’s raiders or were biracial in states like Louisiana where there was the “Creole” thing. The Missouri raiders were quite possibly not fighting for the Confederacy so much as settling personal grievances and enjoying the excitement of vandalizing Kansans. Creoles weren’t slaves and wouldn’t have deemed themselves black.

        • Richard Johnson

          It is entirely possible that she, like so many in the pro-life arena, have conflated “pro-life” with “Republican”. Mitt Romney campaigned on a pro-choice position for Governor, and during his term of office. This website does a pretty commendable job of documenting his career.


  • Observer

    “…outlawed in all cases except rape, incest, and health of the mother…”

    Doesn’t anyone see the hair-line fracture in the argument? Once you enable a special case for it (something appearing relatively limited at first), you run the risk of giving into the argument for aborshun for everyone (because you run the issue of arguing for *equality* to the same.)

    Think for a moment, Akin used the word “legit.” to describe what is an actual case and claim of real r.a.p.e. By using “legit.” (sounds like a legal term), he seems to mean where you’re not dealing with a mere claim. Hence, he appears to have been referring to an actual crime (not someone merely making a claim to it to get an aborshun. And thus, you will not get limited or even the least evil of aborshun. And even more worse still, you’re going to get a legal nightmare of a very great and worse injustice. Because, when woman want to get an aborshun at any cost, they will make claims of “r.a.p.e” which will jeopardize men who will then be sentenced for it.

    • Jared

      Also…”Rape OR incest…”

      How often does non-rape incest actually come up? O.o

      • Thomas R

        I think I’ve heard of half-siblings having consensual sex. Sometimes without knowing they were half-siblings. If you go more broadened with the term “incest” there are cultures where first-cousin marriage is almost preferred.

        If you go broad in a different way I believe Leviticus indicates it’s gravely sinful, and I think incestual, to commit adultery with your mother-in-law. I think there are a few young husband’s who’s mother-in-law is still in her reproductive years. It wouldn’t shock me if such an affair has occurred somewhere. (It seems like it would have to or there would be no need for a rule specific to it)

  • Observer

    If the courts are so lenient upon divorce as they’ve always been, they are so easily led by a very pro-fem. appeal as is very common at the city and state levl, and such as the courts run the course in being very short-sited to mere claims of crying wolf, then you will get one of the worst situations in law. The courts are not the brightest (even though they run on a circuit – pun intended.) And, they are easily persuaded by legalistic and persuasive lawyers (who afterall know how to use the laws to their advantage) as a common practice. Hence, you will see how the hairline will grow and spread wider and wider into something far much more worse.

    The lady, then, who spoke on CNN, though she wasn’t being completely honest, did have reason to be weary of Rom. Her reasons to feel alarmed were very clear: he isn’t trustworthy. She may have even been off by what she really ought to have been alarmed about. However, she is completely right in her reaction: the man changed his position. And, therefore, what integrity of a man who changes is his position do you have that he will be fimrly “pro-c.h.o.i.c.e” (Or, even pro-“l.i.f.e.”?) Her reaction was correct. But her premises were wrong.

  • BobRN

    Limiting abortions to cases of rape, incest, or the health/life of the mother is not the same as saying, “I support the Supreme Court’s verdict in Roe v. Wade.” Roe v. Wade provided no restrictions whatsoever to reasons for an abortion. A woman can procure an abortion for any reason at all and at any time during her pregnancy under the Roe v. Wade verdict, as long as she’s able to find a doctor willing to perform the abortion. Were Romney successful in limiting abortions to cases of rape, incest, or the health/life of the mother, he would be successful in placing the most restrictive legal measures on abortion since Roe v. Wade, and the number of legal abortions would decrease dramatically.
    Does the Catholic Church allow Catholics to vote for legislators and legislation that limits abortions, even if it doesn’t stop all abortions?

  • BobRN

    Sorry for the double post, I also meant to ask if you could provide some links to pro-life organizations that tell people to “shut up” or “you’re not really pro-life” if you don’t vote for Romney. Thanks!

  • Maryam M.

    It is most tragic that, as Mr. Shea wrote, “pro-life” now equals “Republican”. This is really abhorrent and makes a complete mockery of the values the pro-life movement should stand for. The current Republican party platform is not pro-life. Sure, one could argue former president Bush was more pro-life than Obama, which is certainly true, but he was conveniently pro-life for his party (and pro-life only in terms of abortion, not pro-life for the countless dead Iraqi children, women and men, for example.) I’m thinking about writing in Ron Paul this year. Again.

  • Richard Johnson

    A very interesting article this morning regarding Mitt Romney’s sister and her beliefs about her brother.


    Tampa, Fla. • Mitt Romney’s sister promised that a ban on abortion was “never going to happen” under her brother’s presidency, a reassurance to women that is at odds with the nominee’s stated position on the issue.

    “It’s not his focus,” Jane Romney said at a talk here Wednesday. “He’s not going to be touching any of that.”

    Her remarks seemed to revive uncertainty about Romney’s stance on abortion just 24 hours before he was scheduled to accept his party’s presidential nomination.

    Few issues have bedeviled Romney as much as abortion has. When he first ran for the Senate from Massachusetts in 1994, he said he supported abortion rights, a position he reversed in 2006 as he prepared to make his first run for president.

    Today, Romney says he favors overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

    Jane Romney challenged Democrats’ assertions that abortion rights would be in danger under Romney and his running mate, Paul D. Ryan.

    “That’s what women are afraid of, but that’s conjured,” she said in remarks that were first reported in The National Journal. “Personally, I don’t think abortion should be used as a football in the political arena.”

    A spokeswoman for Romney declined to comment.

    Jane Romney, an actress who lives in California, said her brother understood that if there were a federal ban on abortion, “women would take to the streets.”

    “Women fought for our choice,” she said. “We’re not going to go back.”

    • B.E. Ward

      Wait, wait.. you mean Mark has been right about all of this??

      I get the impression that even if someone finds a taped conversation between Romney and confidants in which he says “These yahoos actually think I care about abortion. I just say things like ‘Roe v. Wade needs to be overturned’ and they flock to me like the Pied Piper!” we’d still be hearing how great he is to the pro-life movement.

      Wake up!

  • John
  • enness

    Um. You know I’m incredibly cynical about our options here. But can’t we disagree without misrepresenting other people? I assume they are sincere in their belief that Romney would be better than Obama, if only marginally, and not necessarily because they are partisan shills.