Catholic Obama backer Doug Kmiec recently penned an article for Commonweal complaining he has become the target of uncharitable invective from “right-wing Catholic bloggers.”

The Pepperdine law professor says unfair attacks are being directed at him because of his advocacy for the pro-abortion Obama. And, he suggests, the vituperation is so extreme it could injure relations between the Holy See and Obama’s Washington.

You can read a response from some Catholic bloggers here at the Catholic News Agency’s website.

It seems highly unlikely that anyone at the Vatican would be swayed by overheated rhetoric on some obscure Catholic blogs, but beyond that the Daily Blog won’t offer too much comment on the Commonweal article — other than to note that Register coverage of Kmiec’s pro-Obama advocacy wasn’t in any way personal.

Instead, on the Daily Blog and in the Register’s print issues, we gave space to carefully reasoned refutations by leading Catholic pro-life experts of Kmiec’s argument that Obama was an acceptable choice for Catholic voters despite Obama’s 100% pro-abortion voting record and his pro-abortion election platform. Experts such as Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, the late Father Richard John Neuhaus, papal biographer and theologian George Weigel and Princeton law professor Robert George.

But we do want to take a closer look in this post at one assertion Kmiec made in his Commonweal piece, regarding the abortion lobby’s Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).

“This essay is not about abortion, but at least this much must be said: blog lies to the contrary, there is no real legislative interest in FOCA,” Kmiec wrote. “The attempt to use FOCA to drive a wedge between the Church and the incoming administration is unjustified.”

This isn’t the first time Kmiec has argued that FOCA is a non-starter and therefore that Catholics need not fear Obama’s pledge to Planned Parenthood in 2007, that if elected president he would sign the extreme pro-abortion legislation. In a recent interview with Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life Committee, we asked Johnson to assess Kmiec’s claim.

Here’s part of what Johnson told us:

“Well, Doug Kmiec has said all sorts of things that he doesn’t have any knowledge of,” said Johnson. “He endorsed Obama, I think, without even knowing he was a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act. And once that was pointed out he said all sorts of silly things about the bill, that it might not do this, that it might not do that. The things he was saying that it might not do were things that the prime sponsors have said it does, that all the groups supporting it say it does, and that any competent lawyer that reads the bill can see it does.”

Added Johnson, “So he was just making stuff up to try to change the subject. And I think this was another thing he just made up, waving his hand in the air saying, ‘Nobody has to worry about it.’ I wouldn’t put any stock at all in assessments, either of the legal effect or the prospects of enactment, from Doug Kmiec. Because he was just saying anything that he thought might help this guy he hitched his wagon to.”

Johnson predicts Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress will seek to advance other pro-abortion initiatives first, such as the ones detailed here to the Daily Blog by the pro-life Congressional expert.

But FOCA can be brought before Congress later, Johnson notes, at whatever time its Democratic backers conclude that it has the best chance of passing.

Said Johnson, “So we take it very seriously, particularly since well over two-thirds of the current members of Congress were not members of Congress the last time FOCA was the focus of serious legislative activity, which was back in 1993 and 1994 when Clinton first came in.”

— Tom McFeely