Action Alert!

Borking the Kennedy succession

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 02, 2009

We’re back in the back alleys.

Remember the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s savage attack on Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork?

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of the government ...

A Democratic Congressman who wants to be Kennedy’s successor in the US Senate is using the same rhetorical tactics. In a debate among the Democratic candidates for the Massachusetts Senate seat, Rep. Mike Capuano tore into a rival, business mogul Steve Pagliuca, on the abortion issue:

“And by the way Mr. Pagliuca,’’ Capuano said. “Have you ever known a poor woman who was forced to choose for an abortion without health care coverage? Have you ever known one?”
“Yes, I have,” Pagliuca responded.
“So have I. And you would send them back to the alleys of America?” Capuano said.

This was not a debate on whether or not abortion should be legal; all 4 Democratic candidates support unrestricted legal abortion on demand. Pagliuca’s offense, in Capuano’s eyes, was his statement that he would vote for a health-care reform bill even if it contains language that would exclude abortion coverage. Pagliuca argued that it’s more important to obtain universal health coverage than to ensure the purity of the “pro-choice” position. Capuano emphatically disagreed. If the bill contains any pro-life wording, he said, he’d vote against it. In an ironic turn of phrase, Capuano said that a pro-life amendment would be a “poison pill.”

The good news is that Capuano (who, by the way, identifies himself as a Catholic) probably won’t win the Democratic primary. The bad news is that Martha Coakley, the likely winner (who, by the way, was raised Catholic), is every bit as extreme in her commitment to legal abortion.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Dec. 08, 2009 3:26 PM ET USA

    Calling Cardinal O'Malley, calling Cardinal O'Malley! Look at your brother bishop down I-95 in Providence for an example of how to courageously stand up to false Catholic politicians, yes even those named Kennedy!

  • Posted by: BLRallo3059 - Dec. 03, 2009 11:15 AM ET USA

    Where are the bishops in Massachusetts???? These people should not go unchallenged when they self-identify as Catholics! The Bishops are missing in action here in Connecticut, as well, and the fact that both states have laws permitting gay marriage and state-funded stem cell research is due in large part to the decades-long, collective moral abscence of our bishops. Both states have huge numbers of "Catholic" voters.