Obama's threat to Catholic hospitals and their very serious counterthreat.

Women writing about politics, etc.
Nov. 24 2008 6:56 PM

Lose-Lose on Abortion

Obama's threat to Catholic hospitals and their very serious counterthreat.

(Continued from Page 1)

And those who argue that FOCA poses no actual threat to Catholic hospitals are not so laid back when it comes to assessing the threat that conscience laws supposedly pose to clinics. Whenever I see conscience laws written about in—even in print, I have to sigh before saying this—the mainstream media, they are always framed as Italianate laws that would force unsuspecting abortionists to hire kooks who would then crow, "Ha! Gotcha, I'm a pro-lifer, so I'm going for coffee now. See ya on payday.''

Even without the passage of FOCA, conscientious objectors are already feeling pressure to provide services they don't believe in. Sister Carol Keehan, a former hospital administrator who runs the Catholic Health Association, told the Times that "we have seen a variety of efforts to force Catholic and other health care providers to perform or refer for abortions and sterilizations." This is why the Bush administration is trying to rush through a new Health and Human Services regulation that the New York Times said would grant "sweeping new protections'' to health care providers opposed to abortion on moral grounds.

Advertisement

If Bush's HHS does manage to push through the proposed changes before Tom Daschle takes over there, Obama has promised to rescind the new regulation. The president's supporters say it merely implements existing legal protections for conscientious objectors (much like abortion-rights supporters say FOCA only codifies Roe).

So where does all this leave us? On the one hand, I agree with Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, S.D., who reminded his brother bishops in Baltimore to "keep in mind a prophecy of denunciation quickly wears thin, and it seems to me what we need is a prophecy of solidarity, with the community we serve and the nation that we live in."

And as I think I have made clear—here, here, here, and here—I have high hopes for President Obama, I was so looking forward to dancing at this party. Yet, although abortion was not a major issue in the race, the pro-life argument that he was the candidate most likely to decrease the need for—and number of—abortions did make it easier for many Catholics to cast their votes for him. I think we should hold him to that commitment now.

At the very moment when Obama and his party have won the trust of so many Catholics who favor at least some limits on abortion, I hope he does not prove them wrong. I hope he does not make a fool out of that nice Doug Kmiec, who led the pro-life charge on his behalf. I hope he does not spit on the rest of us—though I don't take him for the spitting sort—on his way in the door. I hope that his appointment of Ellen Moran, formerly of EMILY's List, as his communications director is followed by the appointment of some equally good Democrats who hold pro-life views. By supporting and signing the current version of FOCA, Obama would reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout this campaign. This is a fight he just doesn't need at a moment when there is no shortage of other crises to manage.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 3:19 PM In Defense of Congress Leaving Town Without a New War Vote
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 18 2014 3:31 PM What Europe Would Look Like If All the Separatist Movements Got Their Way
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 4:26 PM Global Oceans Break All-Time Heat Record; World on Pace for Warmest Year Ever
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.