Christian voters are always confronted with difficult choices during election years and this year is turning out to be no different. Last Tuesday, Senator Barack Obama was victorious in the Wisconsin Democratic primary. Obama has a consistent record of supporting abortion, including partial birth abortion, the ban on which he did not support when he was in the Illinois legislature.
According to onotheissues.org, a site that tracks politician’s positions, Obama consistently votes in favor of embryonic stem cell research, and fought President Bush’s pro-life Supreme Court nominees. The Catholic Church’s teaching on these issues is clear and well known, especially on abortion, for which the Church has declared that any Catholic who “procures a successful abortion” is automatically excommunicated (Code of Canon Law no.1398). Further, the Church teaches that every citizen has a “co-responsibility for the common good” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no.2240), thereby noting that all citizens should vote for candidates who support the well being of all people, which includes the unborn and life in the embryonic stage.
Mike Movido, a sophomore active in Campus Crusade for Christ, who says, “No president will be able to greatly affect abortion laws. Look at how many years since Roe v. Wade that a pro-life President had been in office. Has Roe v. Wade ever been overturned?” Movido also noted that abortion rates in the United States paradoxically declined during the Clinton administration.
It is important to highlight that the Center for Disease Control data shows that four states saw a decline in abortions during the Clinton administration, including California, stopped reporting abortions to the CDC, which keeps track of abortion statistics.
Professor Dan Maguire, an ethics professor at Marquette, feels that abortion is not the most important social issue facing Christian voters, and that the conflict in Iraq is more pressing. He states, “the ongoing slaughter that our military are engaged in…should be at the top of the voting agenda.” Dr. Maguire points out that “war is an abortifacient (something that induces abortion)”. He notes that many pregnant women have become collateral damage in Iraq, and observes, “that kind of abortion does not seem to bother the right wing”.
Matthew Dambach, a junior and practicing Catholic, disagrees. “Democrats stand against the Church’s teaching on abortion. Being pro-choice is like being pro-murder. I would never vote for anybody who thought it was okay to kill other people, much less one who would put justices in the courts to uphold laws allowing it”.
So, as election season continues to take shape, morally-minded students will have to make choices on who to vote for. For many students, the choice forces them to prioritize their beliefs and vote their priorities. For some students the decision is not a hard one, like Dambach who adds that “if statistics included abortion as a cause of death, it would be the leading cause of death in the world”.