A Stark Difference
It has been stated here and here that both President Bush and Senator Kerry are anti-life, pro-aborts, and neither will do much to reduce abortions over the next four years. The reasoning then goes that it really does not matter who you vote for or you should just vote for Senator Kerry because he is supposedly in line with other Church teachings. Others have suggested if President Bush were Catholic he should not present himself for communion and if he did, the Blessed Sacrament should be denied to him because of his pro-abortion views.
Yet, in contrast to Senator Kerry, who has voted against banning the brutal crushing of the skull of a partially born child, voted against the Unborn Victim of Violence Act, voted for federal funding of abortions on military facilities, would rescind the Mexico City policy and allow federal funding for international organization which use abortion, and promises to nominate only pro-Roe v. Wade judges to the federal bench, President Bush has stated he supports (yet has not acted in any way to ensure) abortion be allowed only in the rare cases of rape and the health of the mother (which, by the way, include ectopic pregnancies, which the Catholic Church does not consider abortions) and has allowed federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR) on pre-existing cell lines. Some allies of the president have been critical of this stance, telling him he should instead allow more funding and not limit it to only existing lines.
Is this enough to deny the president communion if he were Catholic? Maybe? Is he a perfect pro-life president? No. But, given the stark differences above, is there any doubt which of these two men is an opponent of abortion and is willing to use the influence he has to help create a culture of life here in this country and which is not? Given the political environment President Bush works in, (and this is not an excuse, more of an explanation of what some believe is inaction on his part) the list of his pro-life accomplishments is very welcome. Yes, they are small steps, maybe just baby steps to many pro-life Catholics, but they are steps in the right direction. Steps never before taken. These steps are not political calculations but signs of hope. Hope that one day our nation and its citizens will embrace fully a culture of life. Right now President Bush is leading the nation on a journey toward that culture of life. I doubt a President Kerry would continue the trek.
Many Catholics supportive of Senator Kerry point to the reduction of abortions during the eight years of the Clinton administration as proof that a Democratic pro-abort president can affect the abortion rate. Just because we saw a reduction in the rate of abortions during this time it does not follow that it was because of his social and fiscal policies. Yes, the economic rebound (which the Republican Congress can also take some credit for) played some role in this reduction, but there is a much more likely reason for it. Pro-life state legislatures and governors passed and enforced state laws requiring parental consent, informed consent, banning partial-birth abortion, and restricting Medicaid funding of abortions. The Supreme Court ruling Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992 (before President Clinton was even elected) really opened the doors for this legislation. To suggest that Kerry's social and fiscal policies, which one assumes would be similar to President Clinton's, is all that is needed to create an incentive for women to not abort their babies is just not true. Other actions need to be taken, and again, we know Senator Kerry will not lead the fight for what is needed. President Bush has and will continue to do so.
This is enough for me, as a Catholic, to support and vote for President Bush. It should be, and I hope and pray that it is, enough for Catholics and other Christians to vote for him as well.