At the request of several listeners, the following is a transcript of the monoIogue I delivered at the beginning of Love Will End Abortion, Episode Six (2/28/17). I hope you find it valuable. Please leave any feedback you may have in the comments below the article.
The Power of Voting
In the last episode, we considered what the minimum responsibility is for every American when it comes to rightly responding to legalized pre-born child-killing where about 3,000 children are being killed in the U.S. each day.
Just as we would consider a German citizen complicit in the evil of their time if he or she did nothing, took no effort, to combat the injustice of an extermination camp just outside of town, but just went about life trying to ignore the horror of what was actually happening; So is the American citizen complicit in the evil of our time if he or she does nothing, takes no effort, to end legalized pre-born child-killing known as abortion. This evil is of such immense gravity that to do nothing makes us complicit in the evil itself.
We have a responsibility. And while there are some who do not really need to know where our minimum responsibility lies because they are more focused on thinking about what is the maximum that they can do, most of us need to understand what our minimum responsibility is because we are doing less than what is required of us and we need to know the lowest level to which we must ascend.
I proposed what I believe our minimum responsibility is in responding to abortion during the last show: prayer, education and engagement, activism, and voting.
We are in a much different situation than the German citizen under the Nazi regime in terms of what we are able to do to end the great evil of our time. The German citizen under a tyrannical dictatorship would be much more limited in what he or she could do to help end the great evil of their time, than what we can do who live in a democratic constitutional republic.
We can pray, we can educate ourselves, we can engage others, we can legally assemble in the public square, we can vote, all without putting our lives on the line. A German citizen during the Nazi reign would likely put himself in great danger if he was seen taking any of these actions. And yet, we would still say, he had an obligation to do something.
What prevents us from praying every day for the end of pre-born child killing? What prevents us from systematically educating ourselves and engaging our friends and family members on the equal rights of pre-born and born children? What prevents us from publicly standing up? What prevents us from voting for the candidates who pledge to do most in building a culture of life? These are all important questions.
Today, let’s look at the issue of voting.
We must never take our freedom to vote for granted. In fact, we have a duty to exercise our right to vote. We certainly can’t use the excuse of being too busy for this one – it doesn’t take long to vote.
Yet, think about this – we the people govern ourselves and choose the course of our nation based on the leaders we elect, so how is it that legalized abortion throughout the U.S. continues 44 years after it began?
We have voted poorly over those years.
If people who say they are pro-life always voted for the most pro-life candidate, the fundamental right to life would already be enshrined into law. If all Christians or even just all Catholics, put their political power first and foremost toward voting to end abortion, abortion would already be illegal and on the way to being unthinkable in the U.S.
As is often the case, an accurate diagnosis makes known the cure. It is within our political power to vote abortion down and send it packing toward its rightful place in history alongside other human rights atrocities like extermination camps, slavery, and segregation (albeit abortion is the greatest human rights atrocity in terms of loss of life by far).
Even though I think every human being has the capacity for common sense and to recognize natural law when it comes to seeing the fundamental right to life for all human beings, I can understand to some degree how non-Christian people might get confused, or even how non-Catholic Christians might lose the priority, but we Catholics have the fullness of Truth – there should be no confusion for us about what issues are most important for us at the ballot box. Our theology is crystal clear – Catholic Social Teaching informs us that BOTH all issues related to the dignity of the human person are important to us AND there is a hierarchy of moral value with respect to all those issues, in which the greatest, fundamental, preeminent human right is the right to life and it must be defended with maximum determination.
In this time of legalized pre-born child-killing, if we do not put the priority on voting for the candidate who will most vigorously defend the fundamental human right to life, we fail in our duty as citizens.
As Catholics, the problem is not our theology by any means, the problem is our adherence to it, our fidelity. Sadly, one the major problems we face as a Church is the politics within. There are far too many, especially in leadership positions within the Church, who are either outright in favor of keeping abortion legal, ambivalent about abortion, accepting of abortion, or they are advocates, whether intentionally or unintentionally, for minimizing the gravity of legalized pre-born child killing.
Why is this?
It seems to me there are many within the Church, including the leadership of the Church, who have an allegiance to the Democratic Party that seems to usurp all else. (Are there also many within the Church who have an allegiance to the Republican Party that seems to usurp all else? Sure, there are. But this is not the problem in this case, because it is the Democratic Party that has a pro-abortion, culture of death platform).
Let me prove it to you.
The Democratic Party Platform vs. The Republican Party Platform: Major Life Issues
The Democratic Party Platform states: “Every woman should have access to…abortion.” We also find two very serious lies: that of using the language of “reproductive health” to advance pre-born child-killing; and that of asserting that pre-born human children who are not wanted, are somehow no longer human beings deserving of equal rights.
The Republican Party Platform:
- “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.”
- “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”
- “Through Obamacare, the current Administration (The Obama Administration) has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and wellbeing of women, and we stand firmly against it.”
The Supreme Court
The Democratic Party Platform states: “We will appoint judges who…will protect a woman’s right to…abortion.”
The Republican Party Platform: “We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.”
Defunding Planned Parenthood (and other abortion providers)
The Democratic Party Platform states: “We will…stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.”
The Republican Party Platform: “We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare…We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.”
Federal and State Laws Restricting Abortion
The Democratic Party Platform states: “We will continue to oppose – and seek to overturn – federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion.”
The Republican Party Platform:
- “We salute the many states that now protect women and girls through laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation. We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics.”
- “Over a dozen states have passed Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which current medical research shows that unborn babies can feel excruciating pain during abortions, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version. Not only is it good legislation, but it enjoys the support of a majority of the American people.”
- “We support state and federal efforts against the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb.”
- “We call on Congress to ban sex-selection abortions and abortions based on disabilities — discrimination in its most lethal form.”
- “We believe the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex, a dangerous abortifacient formerly known as RU-486, threatens women’s health, as does the agency’s endorsement of over-the-counter sales of powerful contraceptives without a physician’s recommendation.”
The Democratic Party Platform is silent.
The Republican Party Platform: “We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for leading the effort to add enforcement to the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act by passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which imposes appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery whether the death of the infant is intended. We strongly oppose infanticide.”
The Hyde Amendment
The Democratic Party Platform states: “We will…repeal the Hyde Amendment.”
The Republican Party Platform: “American taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion. As Democrats abandon this four decade-old bipartisan consensus, we call for codification of the Hyde Amendment and its application across the government, including Obamacare. We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.”
Promoting Abortion Around the World
The Democratic Party Platform states: “We support the repeal of…the Helms Amendment.”
The Republican Party Platform: “The U.N.’s Population Fund has, from its origin, been rooted in no-growth policies that limit economic development in the countries needing it most. Its complicity in China’s barbaric program of forced abortion led President Reagan to set a wall of separation — his Mexico City Policy, which prohibits the granting of federal monies to non-governmental organizations that provide or promote abortion. We affirm his position and, in light of plummeting birth rates around the world, suggest a reevaluation of the U.N.’s record on economic progress.”
Religious Freedom in the Context of Abortion
The Democratic Party Platform had a commitment to religious liberty in the context of abortion as part of the 2012 Democratic Party Platform, but it was removed for 2016.
The Republican Party Platform: “America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty.”
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
The Democratic Party Platform is silent.
The Republican Party Platform: “We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from individuals with disabilities, newborns, the elderly, or the infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.”
Stem Cell Research and Cloning
The Democratic Party Platform is silent.
The Republican Party Platform:
- “We oppose embryonic stem cell research.”
- “We call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions — through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life.”
- “We support adult stem cell research and urge the restoration of the national placental stem cell bank created by President George H.W. Bush but abolished by his Democrat successor, President Bill Clinton.”
- “We oppose federal funding for harvesting embryos and call for a ban on human cloning.”
- “We applaud Congress’ ban on the FDA approval of research involving three-parent embryos.”
The Democratic Party Platform merely mentions that they “recognize evidence-based sex education.”
The Republican Party Platform: “We renew our call for replacing ‘family planning’ programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. That approach — the only one always effective against premarital pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease — empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception.”
The Republican Platform is in the right and the Democratic Platform is in the wrong on every single one of these issues.
Failure of Catholic Leadership in Forming Consciences for Voting
How many times have you heard “we can’t be single issue voters”? By the way, according to Catholic Social Teaching, we are not single issue voters, we are primary issue voters – remember the teaching is we care about all issues related to the human person, and there is hierarchy of value with respect to those issues and the right to life is the most important (and I’ll add in our present climate of 3,000 pre-born children being killed each day, abortion is far and away the most important “issue.” In fact, it’s hard to even reduce this atrocity down to calling it an “issue.” So technically, no we’re not single issue voters, we are primary issue voters, and the primary issue by a mile is abortion).
How many times have you heard the consistent life ethic or the seamless garment stressed? These are fine if presented in their right context, but it is extremely rare to hear consistent life ethic or seamless garment invoked and then also hear that there is a hierarchy of moral value with respect to the issues and abortion is by far the greatest injustice and we must confront it accordingly. Rather, when consistent life ethic and seamless garment are presented outside of this right context, it gives the impression that all the issues are generally equal. And this is heresy plain and simple. All the issues are not generally equal – that’s not consistent with Catholic Social Teaching, natural law, or even common sense. And yet in most cases, when Catholic leaders bring up abortion in any way, they seem to have an almost knee-jerk reaction to quickly stress consistent life ethic, and an aversion to ever saying anything about the hierarchy of moral value with abortion at the top of the list.
On the other hand, how many times have you heard a leader in the Catholic Church publicly declare that in our current two-party system, a simple reading of both party platforms makes it clear that one party is generally advocating for the culture of life and the other party is generally advocating for the culture of death, so vote for the culture of life and it should not be mystery which party that is, but if it is, here’s a hint, you cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate that is pro-abortion?
Why can’t we make it clear if it is clear?
And it is clear.
The Antidote to be Vigorously Proclaimed
Those who are Catholic and registered Democrats, you must at least break from your party in regard to its position on abortion.
I’m a registered Republican for two reasons: 1. Of the two parties in our two-party system it most represents the culture of life (like we already noted it is on the right side of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, etc.), and 2. It gives me the ability to vote in the primary. But even though I’m a registered Republican, I am not lock-step in union with everything in the Republican Party Platform. For example, I break from my party when it comes to the death penalty. The Republican Platform is in favor of capital punishment. I am not. While the death penalty is not wrong in any and all circumstances, it is always wrong in a first-world country where we have the capability of keeping dangerous criminals securely separated from society. My conscience is formed by Catholic Social Teaching which is founded upon natural law.
Catholics who are registered Democrats, I implore you – please break from your party at least on one issue (and really I should say at least on five issues: abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning).
There are many important issues where it is not so black and white with respect to the party platforms and reasonable people can debate the various facets of these issues: what’s the best tax plan, how should we handle illegal immigration, how do we safely help refugees, what’s the best way to deal with inner-city crime, what should we do about health care, what is the reality about climate change and what can we do about it, how can we best engage the problems of poverty and homelessness, what is the best course of action on entitlements or defense spending, etc.
But let’s be clear about what is black and white – pre-born children are human beings with a fundamental right to life just like born children. But the law of the land currently does not recognize the right to life for unwanted pre-born children and because of this nearly 60 million have been killed since 1973. This is disgusting. The Democratic Party is in favor of not only keeping this atrocity going, but they are also in favor of bolstering its structures for decades to come and pouring more tax dollars into the funding of it and into the promotion of it around the world. The Republican Party is in favor of enshrining the right to life for pre-born humans into law and in the meantime incrementally restricting abortion, stripping it of all taxpayer funds, and eliminating the promotion of it around the world.
I think it’s clear which side every human being of good will should be on.
I think it is absolutely clear which side every Christian, and especially every Catholic, should be on with respect to their vote.
And I believe it is high time for every Catholic leader to proclaim this truth often and without one shred of apology:
All issues related to the dignity of the human person are important to us AND there is a hierarchy of moral value with respect to all those issues, in which the greatest, fundamental, preeminent human right is the right to life and it must be defended with maximum determination. Vote for the right to life for all pre-born humans. You cannot in good conscience, unless you have an extremely poorly formed conscience, vote for any candidate for office who is in favor of keeping abortion legal.
Why it Matters
Look at the facts – 45% of Catholics voted for the extremely pro-abortion Hilary Clinton for President in 2016. This is a candidate who ran in favor of legally killing pre-born children up to the moment before birth. And 45% of Catholics voted for her.
How does this happen?
A Pew Research study just months before the 2016 election asked Catholics what the most important issue is…abortion came in as #13 out of 14 issues (only 46% of Catholic voters said it was “very important”).
We have a major gap here between what the Catholic Church teaches and what Catholics are believing and acting on. And this gap has been having disastrous effects for decades.
This is undeniable proof that Catholics need their leaders to stand up and proclaim again and again the hierarchy of moral value with respect to all issues, in which the greatest, fundamental, preeminent human right is the right to life.
If we could simply do this one thing – wake up Catholics and form them in this truth; if we could go from 45% down to something like only 10% or 5% of Catholics who sadly vote for the pro-abortion candidate – legalized pre-born child-killing would be over in one election.
It would be made known very loudly to the entire world that Catholic voters almost uniformly refuse to vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion. And the Democratic party would realize they have to change their pro-death platform.
Then, with both parties in our two-party system in favor of the fundamental right to life, we can get to the business of debating and seeking to solve all the many other important issues within a healthy two-party system.
And the barbaric era of abortion in America will be history.
Jim Havens hosts Love Will End Abortion live Tuesdays 4-5PM(EST) on The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network.
Stay tuned to Love Will End Abortion as we seek to awaken hearts and minds, beginning with our own, to face the reality of legalized pre-born child killing and seek to answer three questions:
- What is our responsibility?
- What are the most effective non-violent actions available to us to end abortion as soon as possible?
- Do we love enough to do more?