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What Common Ground?

05/31/2009 Comment

USA Today‘s blog laments that it sees no common ground on abortion — even in “a roomful of people who already agree that ‘abortion is an unspeakable crime’.”

That’s a particular room full of specific people ... a National Press Club meeting with Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon, Princeton’s Robbie George and ... Pepperdine’s Douglas Kmiec.

Blogger Cathy Lynn Grossman sighs: “It turns out that the definition of ‘common ground’ between those Catholics who are relentlessly opposed to the policies of the Obama administration on all life issues and those who support President Obama on efforts to reduce the demand for abortion is that everyone insists their ground is the only place to stand.”

She likes Kmiec’s take.

He asked the room full of people if Catholics should remain “aloof with our truth, talking amongst ourselves, reinforcing our goodness” or should they engage in election and public policy to promote such efforts?

The problem with that characterization: If pro-lifers were remaining “aloof with our truth, talking among ourselves” Grossman would have nothing to write about — and the poll numbers wouldn’t be showing the pro-life side growing and the “pro-choice” side waning.

Grossman says Kmiec “recalled the words of Pope John Paul II that when it is not possible to overturn or abrogate an immoral law, the aim of the citizenry should be to limit and lessen the impact of that law. Such a compromise is not an illicit cooperation with evil.”

I hope Kmiec also quoted John Paul’s qualifiers.

This vote is only possible, he said,  for someone “whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known,” and it is an exception proving this rule:

“In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.”

We like the thought that Grossman attributes to Princeton’s George: “Fundamentally, says George, the problem is that Obama himself and his appointees do not see abortion as an absolute wrong but rather a solution to a problem.

“He says Obama has made ‘clear’ that ‘an unborn baby possess no right that others are bound to respect ...’ and that, as Obama said during the campaign, an unmarried teen should not be ‘punished with a baby.’”

She ends in all caps despair: “DO YOU SEE ... any prospects for common ground? Where?”

Cathy, if you’re reading, click here for another way to ask your question. And some pretty serious common ground as well.

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About Guest Blogger/Tom Hoopes

Tom  Hoopes
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Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.