Time to worry

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Oct 14, 2004

Please tell me: What is there in the following statement that could not have been said by Bill Clinton:

I believe the ideal world is one in which every child is protected in law and welcomed to life. I understand there's great differences on this issue of abortion, but I believe reasonable people can come together and put good law in place that will help reduce the number of abortions.

The quote isn't from Clinton, of course. It's from our pro-life President George Bush, in last night's debate. That's the closest he came to promising any action to stop abortion.

Thirty years ago, a pro-life presidential candidate would have-- and in fact did-- promise to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion altogether. In that time, the pro-life candidate has won 5 out of 7 elections. Yet we keep losing ground, and now the pro-life candidate doesn't dare to hint at opposition to Roe. What's gone wrong?

For one thing, we've sold our support too cheaply. We haven't demanded clear and substantive promises from our favored candidates. On Election Day, pro-lifers will go out and vote in droves for Bush. Then if he wins, we'll expect him to deliver on his promises. Let the record show: he hasn't promised much.

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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 20 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Oct. 18, 2004 3:39 PM ET USA

    A vote for the Constitution Party in this election is a vote for Kerry. Even Pat Buchanan recognizes this and is endorsing Bush. (See http://www.amconmag.com/2004_11_08/cover.html ) Too much is at stake in this election to do a "protest" vote...you may ultimately cut off your nose to spite your face. If Bush loses, then Kerry wins...and abortion, aggressive embryonic stem cell research, and gay "rights" will be forced upon us all. God help us and God bless George Bush!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 18, 2004 12:44 PM ET USA

    I think Captain Cook is right. At present there are more secularists in the Democrat party than in the Republican party. As soon as the secularists get the upper hand in the Republican party its platform will reflect their support for abortion "rights". If the time comes when neither party opposes abortion we should abandon them both.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 16, 2004 9:59 PM ET USA

    I wish CWN could take a poll of its readers. I am curious as to how many would vote for Bush and how many for Kerry. In a sense, there are two parties that are neither Republican nor Democratic. There are Christians and there are Secularists who are anti Christ and anti Christians. They are members of both major political parties. I think there are far more Secularists in the Democratic party.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 16, 2004 9:10 PM ET USA

    Adoremus Bulletin, quoting NCR-Online, etc. reports Cdl Sodano, Vat. Sec. State, will confer papal knighthood on Julian Hunte, Pres of UN 58th Gen. Assem., a Senator from Santa Lucia who cast the deciding vote to legalize abortion in his country. The cover of Oct. Cath. World Report shows Ted K and John K being given Holy C. from Abp. O'Malley. So who is more sincere- George B. or the Catholic leadership? Why blame George? Many bishops really don't mean it. No wonder RCs are falling apart.

  • Posted by: Stonewall - Oct. 15, 2004 6:03 PM ET USA

    The Republicans and Democrats both will continue to increase government size and spending and decrease our freedom. President Bush will continue to fund abortion quietly without the people knowing. The media will aid in this by not exposing what he is doing. Third party candidates need to be elected to offices at all levels not just to the presidency. Continuing to elect the major party candidates will lead to our demise.

  • Posted by: Brad - Oct. 15, 2004 1:16 PM ET USA

    I agree with the fact that Christians and pro-lifers are too silent. I disagree with your position that Bush is unwilling to move towards an end to abortion. The former contradicts the latter. Bush needs to be voted into office in droves and then all decent Christians must relentlessly communicate to our elected officials we want a change. Not only do we not do this relentlessly - we don't do it at all.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 15, 2004 12:38 PM ET USA

    Bush fought hard for the partial birth abortion ban and signed it into law. Kerry voted against this ban! Bush will not allow use of federal $$ for military personnel abortions. Bush has appointed pro-life candidates to lower court positions, but has been frustrated in his efforts by pro-abortion Democrats. We must vote out the pro-abortion Democrats before anything can be achieved! A vote for a third party candidate like the Constitution Party is only a vote for KERRY in this election!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 15, 2004 8:45 AM ET USA

    No president, no congressman will overturn Roe v. Wade. That power lies only with the judiciary. With as many as four justices likely to retire during the next presidential term, any hope of stopping abortion rests with new appointees. The President's record in this regard is promising (Bill Pryor). To vote Constitutional Party accomplishes nothing but guarantee another generation of slaughter -- a consequence abetted by Constitutional Party candidate Phil Lawler's sniping at Republican Bush.

  • Posted by: Stonewall - Oct. 14, 2004 7:55 PM ET USA

    Pro-lifers that are still voting for the GOP because of the supposed pro-life stance of Republicans are being conned. Voting for a party like the Constitution party is the only practicable and moral thing to do. Bush has increased Planned Parenthood funding by 10s of millions of dollars since he has been in office.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 14, 2004 6:58 PM ET USA

    To read what a bishop who is not a Methodist says about it, go back to the CWN home page and find Archbishop Chaput's name in the links to today's news in the right-hand column. It's a transcript of a raw interview so it will take a few minutes to read but you will come away praying for the Lord to send us more Chaputs. (It would be nice if the Pope would, but it's too late to expect that.)

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 6:46 PM ET USA

    I have been saying to life pro-lifers in the states that are in the Democratic column that we should be giving the Rep. Party a message by voting for the Constitution Party Candidate. The only committed pro-life republican Pres. candidate we had {Pat Buchanan} was rejected by the Rep. Party. Lip service is all we have gotten!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 3:11 PM ET USA

    Give Bush credit, he tries promoting life (e.g. He stopped the flow of US money for UN funded abortions). Kerry meanwhile gives speeches at NARAL conventions and even opposed H.R.1997/S.1019 ("Unborn Victims of Violence Act" ="Laci and Conner's Law")! Planned Parenthood fears this law because it "poses a direct threat to Roe vs Wade". Bush signed it into law! Kerry voted against this law! If Kerry were president, he would have vetoed it - like Bill Clinton vetoed the partial birth abortion ban.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 1:56 PM ET USA

    Lets get back to basics. What are the consequences for life if Bush gets elected? Now consider the consequences if Kerry is elected. Kerry did after all say he would turn back the Mexico City policy if elected. He'll appoint judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade and oppose restrictions on abortion. While ending abortion etc. is the goal in the meantime anything to be done to limit it and to stop its being further promoted is good. Lets not let the perfect get in the way of a bit of good.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 1:35 PM ET USA

    One can hope that President Bush will feel free to act in a more resolute manner after his re-election. After all, he won't be running for re-election again. What does he have to lose? Of course, if he does nothing (despite his apparent genuine feelings for the matter) that will be good evidence to support the conspiracy theorists that the Presidency is just a figurehead position controlled by nefarious characters "off stage." At least it makes for a good plot!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 12:59 PM ET USA

    Exactly Phil...pro-life Catholics haven't demanded much so they won't get much....Pro-abortion supporters have demanded much and they have received much.... Time to put an end to this "Vote Republican" fraud

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 12:31 PM ET USA

    I have grave reservations about voting for a 3rd party which is in reality a protest vote against Bush and a net gain for Kerry. Pro-lifers MUST energize Congress so they know they can expend the political capital to support Bush w/o fear of losing their seat. MAKE congress adhere to the Constitution vice a new party. By the time a 3rd party "could" become viable we will be too far gone if Kerry then Clinton is appointing justices. And the Bishops haven't seen the ball since the kick-off!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 11:34 AM ET USA

    At first, I thought Bush wasn't able to take a strong moral stand on abortion because he is a Methodist and Methodists just don't do that sort of thing. But that line of thinking didn't seem to work in that most of our Catholic bishops won't take a strong moral stand on abortion, either. Then, by a simple step of logic, it dawned on me--our Catholic bishops are actually Methodists. And that, while leaving the original proposition intact, seems to explain quite a bit...

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 11:27 AM ET USA

    "What's gone wrong?" For one very important thing, most of the USA bishops have failed to take a SERIOUS stand on this issue. Scripture has it: "When the trumpet sounds an uncertain note, who will gird himself for battle ?" Can we really expect our Methodist President to be more Catholic than our "Catholic" bishops ??? Perhaps they are more loyal to their Democrat Party than to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, Bush is more of a Catholic than "Catholic" Kerry !

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 11:23 AM ET USA

    If the President's rhetoric on stem cell research, abortion, and school choice is weak now, what can be expected upon reelection? It is time to let the Republican Party know that Catholics will not be snookered. There is a candidate fully committed to the Catholic positions on these issues. If the President loses because large numbers of Catholics vote for Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party, the next Republican nominee might actually believe and fight for pro-life, pro-family policies.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2004 10:45 AM ET USA

    "We" might include our bishops who for the most part, at best, have paid lip service to the horror of abortion. Some have showed up at prayer vigils at clinics, a handful are couageous. Most have been silent. In that atmosphere, why judge a man running for public office in a republic that requires some form of negotiation of issues simply to get elected. I'd love an Alan Keyes in the White House, but he's not going to get there. Just compare the President to the alternative. Rather stark!