Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The abortion vote

Commonweal magazine last month presented a guide for Catholic voters with the subtitle Abortion is not the only issue:
. . . the logic of Republican Party apologists is as follows. The issues where traditionally Democratic policy positions have tended to reflect church teaching-economic justice, the death penalty, war, environmental protection, and others-are issues for which the church’s positions are flexible, making policy disagreements permissible even among those who accept Catholic principles. The intrinsic immorality of abortion, on the other hand, allows for no dissent, and a vote for a prochoice candidate is therefore a vote for someone whose views are unquestionably opposed to what is right and good. The handful of bishops who explicitly went after prochoice politicians based their actions almost entirely on the legal status of abortion-an issue so important, they suggested, that voting for a candidate who supported legalized abortion was unacceptable, irrespective of that candidate’s conformity with Catholic teaching on other issues. As Princeton political philosopher Robert George and Notre Dame law professor Gerald Bradley suggested in an opinion piece published by National Review Online before the 2004 election: To vote for a prochoice candidate is to cooperate in evil of an unspeakable magnitude-the intentional killing of over a million human beings a year. Faithful Catholics, they implied, must vote Republican.

A full, and interesting, discussion of this position is available here.