Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #197

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

I hope all is well with you guys. Not much going on in the way of talks in the near future, although I will be speaking at another Rally for Religious Freedom in Huntsville, AL on October 20th. If you’re in or around Huntsville, it starts at 11:00 AM at Big Spring Park.


This week will be a follow-up to last week’s newsletter on Catholic voting principles. I received some emails with questions about specifics relating to this particular presidential campaign. I have a couple of them below.

My comments will follow each question. Basically, I’m going to be giving you the situation as I see it – this would fall in the realm of prudential judgment – but each of you has to make your own decision when you step into the voting booth.



This election is very confusing to me in that both Presidential candidates have the same stance when it comes to abortion.  The Republican platform is against abortion, however, their candidate has a different view.  Romney has publicly stated multiple times, most notably after the Republican senator made his well publicized comments about a women’s body being able to tell whether it was a ‘legitimate rape’ or not, that he does not support abortion except in cases of rape and incest.  This is the same stance of the Democratic candidate, which is also different from the democratic platform.

Since we vote for the person, not the party platform, when it comes to this issue, how do you vote for either candidate when they both support abortion in cases of rape and incest?  With the comments below, as a Catholic do you weigh the other issues in at this point, or do you scrub both completely because they support abortion?  I am not asking you to tell me who to vote for, just looking for advice and clarification when it comes to politics and my Catholic faith.

My Response:

 I would disagree with the opinion that both Gov. Romney and President Obama have the same stance when it comes to abortion.  Yes, they both agree that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest – which is indeed intrinsically evil -  however, that’s where the similarity ends. 

President Obama agrees 100% with the Democrat Platform when it comes to the "right" of a woman to abort her child.   He has on a few occasions spoken to Planned Parenthood conventions and made it very clear that there isn’t an abortion that he wouldn’t support.  He even pledged to Planned Parenthood that he would make passage of the "Freedom of Choice" Act – which essentially removes any and all state restrictions on abortion (parental consent laws, 48-hour waiting periods, laws requiring women see a sonogram of their baby before the abortion, and so on) – as one of the highest priorities of his administration.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened…yet. 

His administration has gone so far as to sue at least one state to force them to reinstate funding for Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion provider in the country.  Also, he is 100% in favor of the Health and Human Services regulations, which are a part of Obamacare, that would require all Catholic hospitals, Catholic businesses, and most Catholic organizations to pay for abortion, contraception, and sterilization in the health care plans they provide to their employees – trampling all over the religious freedom rights of Catholics. 

While a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama was the lone vote against a bill that would require doctors to give proper medical care to infants that were born alive after a failed abortion.  It was, essentially, a vote to allow infanticide when a baby survived an abortion.

Now, Mitt Romney does not have a stellar record on abortion.  It seems he has gone back and forth a bit.  He has nowever, made a pledge during this campaign with the following provisions:

1) I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

2) I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.

3) I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.

4) I will reinstate the Mexico City Policy to ensure that non-governmental organizations that receive funding from America refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries. This includes ending American funding for any United Nations or other foreign assistance program that promotes or performs abortions on women around the world.

5) I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

6) And perhaps most importantly, I will only appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written.

7) If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation’s next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.

Now, the first point above is not really a "pro-life" position.  But, if we can limit the number of abortions to only those associated with rape or incest, we will have eliminated around 99% of the abortions in this country.  We can then start working on legislation and education campaigns to eliminate the remaining 1%.  So, while this position is not a pro-life position, it is much less of a pro-abortion position than President Obama’s.  It is the lesser of two evils. 

The other six provisions, however, are indeed pro-life provisions.  So, you have one candidate who is a pro-abortion extremist, and one who is pro-abortion, but much less so, in certain respects, but pro-life in other respects.  You clearly have a situation where, on the issue of abortion, one candidate is the lesser of two evils.  And, we are allowed, when there is no other viable alternative, to vote for the lesser of two evils. 

Now, the prudential question becomes, can I trust Mitt Romney’s pledge to do these things?  After all, he is a politician and he has seemed to flip flop before on this issue.  I don’t know if you can trust him or not.  However, I know that with President Obama, we are absolutely assured that a pro-abortion mentality will dominate his administration – that has already been demonstrated over the last 3 and a half years.  With a Mitt Romney administration, there is at least a chance, that some babies lives – either in this country and/or in other countries – will be saved by his policies.  I’m not a big fan of Mitt Romney (he was my 5th favorite out of the 6 main candidates on the Republican side), but I personally have to vote for the potential of pro-life policies being implemented vs. the absolute no hope of pro-life policies being implemented. 

Also, this is where I factor in such things as Romney’s running mate – Paul Ryan – having been a pro-life Catholic for many years. This is where I factor in the Republican vs. Democrat Platforms.  The Republican Platform does not have a plank advocating abortion "rights," while the Democrat Platform does.  So, even if Mitt Romney is not very pro-life in his heart of hearts, he is a politician.  And, he knows that the pro-lifers are very important to his election and, if he is elected, to his re-election. If he is elected, and he reneges on the above-mentioned pledges – he is up the creek without a paddle and I believe he knows that.  Which, will give him incentive to work on fulfilling the pledges he has made.  

But, each person has to decide for themselves.  I believe there is clearly a lesser of two evils here when it comes to the issue of life.  If you see it that way, then it comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils, voting for a third-party or write-in candidate, or not voting at all. 

One other thing to factor in, though, is President Obama’s support for so-called homosexual "marriage."  That, too, is an intrinsic evil.  Mitt Romney is opposed to same-sex "marriage."  So, if you see no difference between Obama and Romney when it comes to abortion, there is definitely a difference when it comes to same-sex "marriage." 


My problem is that Romney is clearly in favor of abortion by his actions if not his rhetoric. He signed into law while governor of Massachusetts for the public funding of abortion. He also recommended to his sons that they practice invitro fertilization for his grandsons. As you probably know thois process murders the babies that are not implanted. So, in some ways Romney is even more in favor of abortion than Obama. Do you believe it is intrinsically evil to vote for either of these candidates based on their positions on abortion. If so, in your opinion, should Catholic Christians stay out of this presidential election? It has been the position of many of the leaders in the Church that we should vote for those candidates who would be less likely to promote this evil but it does not seem to me as if either are likely to limit abortion. What is a Catholic to do? I am over 60 years of age and I have never been in a situation where there was not a candidate for president that was for life. This is new ground to me and I do not know how to advise people that seek my advice. God bless.

My Response:
Regarding the differences, as I perceive them, between Romney and Obama on abortion, I refer back to my answer above.  I personally believe there is a significant difference.  Is Romney’s record a good one?  No.  But, could he possibly have had a change of heart?  Maybe.  Could he maybe have realized that pursuing pro-life policies is politically advantageous to him?  Definitely.  And that is why, I believe, there will be a huge difference between the Obama administration and a Romney administration.  The political realities are such that Romney will, at the minimum, have to throw some bones to the pro-lifers.  Those "bones" will save at least some babies’ lives.  
Did Romney sign into law a healthcare system that allowed for public funding of abortion.  Yes.  Did he also veto laws allowing for public funding of embryonic stem cell research and the morning after pill?  Yes.  Mixed record.  Obama’s record is not mixed in any way, shape, or form.  He is pro-abortion through and through. 
Another thing, Romney has said that on his first day as President, he will sign an executive order giving waivers to all fifty states that would allow them to opt out of Obamacare.  This is the kind of pledge that he pretty much has to fulfill, or he will be toast from day one of his administration.  This will single-handedly restore the religious liberty rights of Catholics who own and run businesses, and Catholic organizations who have healthcare plans – the rights that have been trampled on by the HHS regulations issued under Obamacare.  
Regarding Romney and in vitro fertilization.  I’ll assume what you said is true, although I haven’t personally heard that.  That does not, mean, however, that he is necessarily in favor of the "murder" of the embryos that do not "take" in the mother’s womb.  First of all, it is not "murder" if the implanted embryo dies – if it does not grow and develop.  Murder is the intentional taking of life.  An embryo that does not grow upon implantation was not intentionally killed.  The natural processes of pregnancy simply did not, for one reason or another, kick in to allow that embryo to survive.  That is not "murder." 
Now, sometimes when there are multiple embryos implanted, you get multiple children growing in the mother’s womb.  There is, quite often, what has come to be called "selective reductions."  These are abortions that are carried out to get down to just one or two children in the womb.  These selective reductions are indeed murder and are indeed intrinsically evil.  However, they do not occur in every instance of in vitro fertilization and, therefore, it cannot be said that Mitt Romney is necessarily in favor of such a thing.  We don’t have enough evidence to know for sure either way. 
So, you asked for my opinion, and I will give it to you.  In my opinion, Romney is clearly the lesser of two evils.  Since I see him as such, my only options are to vote for Romney, write in someone, or not vote.  For me, personally, voting for Obama would be a participation in moral evil.  You have to decide for yourself given the facts, and given the guidance of the Church on these matters. 


In Conclusion

I hope all of you have a great week!

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Apologetics for the Masses