This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Abortion and the Race for Virginia Governor

As in most elections, there were homilies, announcements, prayers and articles in the Virginia diocesean papers over abortion in the last few weeks regarding the Commonwealth's gubanatorial election to be held tomorrow. There are those in the hierarchy who see abortion as the most important issue in any election. I must demure from their view.

With a few notable exceptions (New York and California), abortion rights were not conferred by legislation in the United States. Rather, they were conferred because state regulation of abortion in the first trimester was ruled unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, which does allow regulation by states of late term abortion. This was modified by the Federal Partial Birth Abortion, which ended one particular abortion method, but not others. Note that this law passed where state laws failed because defining who is, and who is not, a citizen or a person is a federal responsibility, not a state one. Unless and until the federal Congress grants personhood to the unborn at some earlier stage of pregnancy than birth, the states are powerless to say anything else (except within the confines of Roe v. Wade).

While many see Roe as tragic, it is totally in keeping with constitutional reasoning and should not be overturned by judicial action. The rule of law demands it be respected and, although the bishops and the Right to Life movement would like to pretend differently, it is not going anywhere. The only way to grant the ubon greater rights is by an Act of Congress under the Fourteenth Amendment. While the Right to Life Movement and the Bishops fixate on Roe, they can do nothing to actually move the issue forward in Congress, which is a pity.

Given that, the opinion of any politician or voter on the overturn of Roe v. Wade is absolutely irrelevant, whether they are Catholic or not (except as it involves their legal reasoning ability and their respect for the rule of law). Until there is a bill to grant status to the unborn in Congress (and none has been profferred of late by the National Right to Life Committee) the subject is totally irrelevant. You cannot excommunicate me for voting for a politician based on their opinion on settled law (given that four of six Catholic Justice agree Roe is settled - five of whom are GOP appointees) or on a bill that has not even been suggested - let alone introduced.

What is more important is how each candidate would deal with the factors that cause women to get abortions - which in 73% (according to Guttmacher Institute research) is an important factor in the decision to get an abortion.

One candidate is against greater social services, increasing taxes or accepting federal bailout money (even at an eventual annual cost of $4.60 per worker in increased unemployment insurance taxes - a pittance).

The other candidate will work with the Administration in expanding social services, including health care, which will make prospective parents feel more secure about bringing another child into the family.

What matters most is not the lip-service one pays to life issues, but how each candidate's views play out in the decision to keep a child or abort it. Since banning abortion is off the table, economics is the key, so there can really be no question.

As a Catholic voter, I know who I am supporting - and it's not Bob McDonnell.

Please join me tomorrow in voting for Creigh Deeds for Governor, Jody Wagner for Lt. Governor and Steve Shannon for Attorney General.

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