Has The Persecution Begun?
Obama Declares War On the Unborn, Bishops Fight Back

R. Cort Kirkwood


“Over the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal to us.” ... Cardinal Stafford

(Posted Jan. 5, 2009 www.RemnantNewspaper.com)  On Aug. 16, purpose-driven pastor Rick Warren, of the Saddleback Megachurch in California, hosted his ballyhooed presidential forum featuring Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Hussein Obama. He asked the candidate when a “baby get[s] human rights” But the typically glib Obama’s tongue gummed up. “Well, Well, I … I … think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, uh, answering that question with specificity, uh, you know, is … is … uh … above my pay grade.”

But anyone who followed The Messiah across the hustings knew he  wasn’t suggesting that only his father in Heaven could answer that question. More likely, he was deferring to the high priests and priestesses of abortion at Planned Parenthood. On July 17, 2007, speaking in front the gathered worthies of that congregation, Obama promised to end the culture war and as his first act in office, sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would create a “fundamental right” to abortion and allow the murder of a fully developed child in the womb.

“We’re not just going to win an election but more importantly we’re going to transform this nation. …” Obama said. “[T]he first thing I’d do as President is, is sign The Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do. … I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional Law. … On this fundamental issue I will not yield.”

No wonder Francis Cardinal Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, said a “cultural earthquake” hit America when Americans, including 54 percent of Catholics, elected Obama. “Over the next few years,” he said, “Gethsemane will not be marginal to us.”

Cardinal Stafford is neither pessimistic nor exaggerating. As he and other bishops have said, Obama is the most vehement pro-abortion candidate sent to the White House since the U.S. Supreme Court signed the death warrant for 50 million unborn children with its Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. At Planned Parenthood, Obama did not cavil. He did not hesitate. He declared war on the unborn.

Planned Parenthood and FOCA

Yet it isn’t as if Planned Parenthood needed his help. Notwithstanding efforts among the states to regulate abortion, procuring one is hardly difficult, partly thanks to PP itself. With a budget of more than $1 billion, including $300 million in federal subsidies, PP operates 107 affiliates and 860 clinics across the country that annually perform nearly 300,000 abortions and dispense some 1.5 million doses of abortifacient morning after pills, along with providing millions of standard birth control pills, condoms and other contraceptives and performing some 3,500 reproductive mutilations.

The Freedom Of Choice Act, which oozed out of the fetid muck of the pro-abortion movement in 1989, would sweep away the few state regulations that might inhibit a mother from killing her child. They include waiting periods and parental and informed consent laws as well as those laws permitting Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortion because it trespasses Church teaching and would violate the Catholic conscience. It would also do away with any restrictions on specific abortion procedures and would even stop the states from imposing safety or record-keeping regulations on abortion clinics. FOCA is what the pro-abortion militants have wanted ever since the states began regulating abortion after Roe v. Wade. FOCA permits abortion for any reason or for no reason, and prohibits the states from regulating abortion at all.

Wrote Michael F. Moses, Associate General Counsel of the United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops, “[o]n balance, then, FOCA is a radical measure. It would, by its terms, go well beyond Roe. It would have an immediate effect on a wide range of state legislation regulating abortion. It would create a federal policy that at the very least would invite a challenge to existing federal laws on abortion. It would impose upon the entire country an abortion regime far worse than anything wrought by Roe or cases decided under it. It would jeopardize many laws enacted by the people and their elected representatives, at the federal and state level, over the last several decades. It is difficult to recall any other single piece of legislation that, in a single stroke, has such a comparable destructive impact on the government’s ability to regulate abortion.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who co-sponsored FOCA with Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., explained the law thusly in 2004: “Women would have the absolute right to choose whether to continue or terminate their pregnancies before fetal viability, and that right would be protected by this legislation. The Freedom of Choice Act also supersedes any law, regulation or local ordinance that impinges on a woman's right to choose.”

That truth bothers some of the more sane pro-abortion liberals. Melinda Henneberger, writing at Slate.com, worries about Obama’s signing FOCA because Catholic hospitals, about a third of the nation’s contingent, also provide much-needed health care for the urban poor. She also fears Obama will “reignite the culture war he so deftly sidestepped throughout his campaign,” a war he declared he would end.

As far as Catholic hospitals are concerned, the Bush Administration may have provided reprieve when it issued a federal regulation, which will take effect before Obama takes the oath of office and protects the right of health-care providers to refuse abortion and other “services” that violate their religious beliefs. Obama, of course, says he will rescind it.

One thing Obama didn’t promise is to make PP abide by the law. Undercover pro-lifers have filmed its counselors in California, North Carolina and twice in Indiana violating the law by not reporting what they believed were statutory rape victims seeking either abortions or birth control. Callers from the pro-life Life Dynamics group, posing as under-age girls, showed that abortion clinics routinely hide statutory rape.

The Bishops

So Slate’s Henneberger needn’t worry about Obama’s “reigniting the culture war.” He did that when he told PP he would sign FOCA and rescind Bush’s last-minute rule to protect Christian health-care workers from violating their consciences. Obama’s declaration on FOCA is why the Catholic bishops have frankly said they will go to war against Obama. Speaking in his Arlington diocese a few weeks after the election, Bishop Paul Loverde, much to his credit, threw down the gauntlet to Obama: “I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m not going to close the hospital, you’re going to arrest me, go right ahead. You’ll have to drag me out, go right ahead. I’m not closing this hospital, we will not perform abortions, and you can go take a flying leap.’ ”

Said Bishop Robert H. Hermann, administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, “I think any bishop here would consider it a privilege to die tomorrow to bring about the end of abortion. If we’re willing to die tomorrow to bring about the end of abortion, then we should be willing to spend the end of our lives dedicated, to take whatever criticism, to bring about the end to this genocide.”

Finally, the bishops have it right. The incoming President of the United States loosed his cannons on the Church, and now, its princes must unlimber their guns and return fire. If Congress passes (and Obama signs) the profoundly evil FOCA, the bishops have a duty to fight it with whatever means necessary, including mass civil disobedience, to stop Obama from dragooning the Catholic Church into providing abortions, in-vitro fertilization, sterilizations and contraception through its hospitals and health-care services. Indeed, this may be the confrontation and persecution over abortion not only the Church but also the country needs to reinvigorate the pro-life work of the Faith.

As Hilaire Belloc wrote in Survivals And New Arrivals, “if I be asked what sign we may look for to show that the advance of the Faith is at hand, I would answer by a word the modern world has forgotten: Persecution. When that shall once more be at work it will be morning.”

R. Cort Kirkwood, a columnist for The Remnant, last wrote about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and its subsidies of the radical organization, ACORN. He is the author of Real Men: Ten Courageous Americans To Know And Admire.