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So who's the abortion 'extremist' now?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 25, 2012

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has done a nice analysis of a familiar topic: media bias in coverage of the abortion debate. Douthat keys on the media treatment of Richard Mourdock, who has reporters gasping for breath in disbelief because he said a human life—even a life conceived by rape—is a “gift from God.” Mourdock, a candidate for the US Senate seat in Indiana, opposes abortion even in cases of rape.

Douthat, who is firmly pro-life, concedes that Mourdock’s position is unpopular. You might call it “extreme,” if by “extreme” you mean his view is at odds with mainstream public opinion. But if that’s the standard of measurement, Douthat argues, then reporters should identify President Obama as “extreme” as well, since his views on abortion are equally distant from the center of the road.

Thus, regarding the furor generated by Mourdock’s comments, Douthat writers:

Per Gallup’s abortion polling, only about 22 percent of Americans agree with him. But the same polling also shows, as a for instance, that only 24 percent believe that second-trimester abortion should be legal (as it is almost without restriction under current law), and only 10 percent believe that it should be legal in the third trimester. In both cases, the Democratic Party’s position is starkly at odds with the public’s, yet you almost never see a national Democrat pressed the way Republicans have been pressed on the rape issue.

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: Randal Mandock - Aug. 01, 2018 9:01 PM ET USA

    In the early 1990s two former seminarians addressed our Catholics United for the Faith group. One recounted that he had been booted out of the seminary for refusing the incessant homosexual advances. The other one quit the seminary for the same reason. Also in the 1990s a bishop who was later revealed to be homosexual complained that for two consecutive years he was not able to find a single postulant for the seminary because all the applicants were "too conservative." Did he mean too straight?

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Aug. 01, 2018 4:23 PM ET USA

    "If you know that a powerful adult is importuning young men under his authority, you know that he's a predator." Really, Phil? That's a pretty broad brush you got there. I'm not sure how you are using the word "importune," but it seems you are casting a wide net that may not be fair.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 31, 2018 8:26 PM ET USA

    In a November 2007 Chicago Sun-Times story about McCormack, bp Kicanas had been quoted saying: "It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him," which makes me wonder about the exact nature of the relation between the two. In the times of rector Kicanas, when McCormack was at Mundelein, the seminary had been extremely selective about candidates, sending away all suspected of being "homophobic" or "too rigid." And then, there is the question of promoting rector Kicanas to episcopacy.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jul. 31, 2018 3:15 PM ET USA

    Inside McCormack's psyche was a ravenous wolf, and Kicanas is fixated on a gate keeper's drinking— not, mind you, what's on the other side of the gate.