Fr. Neuhaus has penned a reply to Doug Kmiec on Catholic political obligations and pro-choice candidates. It’s in the National Catholic Register , but only available to subscribers.

The Pro Ecclesia blog has posted some excerpts:

. . . The question is that of justice for unborn children. When one candidate supports the unlimited abortion license and another wants the abortion question returned to the states, it is disingenuous to suggest that they are equally pro-choice. And to say that the first candidate’s position is closer to a Catholic understanding of subsidiarity is, I am sorry to say, risible. Catholic teaching and the mandate of justice is that all members of the human family, born and unborn, be protected in law. To deny that protection is a grave injustice.

The candidate who would return the abortion question to the states so that citizens working through their elected representatives can enact laws protecting the unborn is, in taking that position, pro-life. The candidate who, by supporting Roe v. Wade, would deny to citizens that opportunity is pro-choice. It is a great disservice to try to obfuscate such an obvious distinction.

It is deeply regrettable that Mr. Kmiec cites Archbishop Chaput’s 1976 support of President Carter, who endorsed Roe v. Wade, as evidence that one can rightly support his preferred candidate today. Archbishop Chaput can speak for himself, and he has, both on the First Things website (May 20) and in his new book Render Unto Caesar . He makes it unequivocally clear that he regrets that 1976 decision, which he rationalized at the time along lines very similar to those now employed by Mr. Kmiec.

The archbishop says that he does not believe there is a proportionate reason — a reason he will one day have to give to the aborted babies — to justify support for a pro-choice candidate. Nor has Mr. Kmiec indicated such a proportionate reason. Mr. Kmiec claims his candidate wants to reduce the number of abortions by reducing the incidence of unwanted pregnancy, and he will do that by encouraging “responsible sexual behavior.” One may be permitted to point out that four decades of sex education, including the massive promotion of contraception, has not been a great success in reducing unwanted pregnancies or abortions.

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