On Politics: My Main Issue

Poster courtesy of: Mama Says: How can Obama lead a people, if he won’t recognize a person?

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Life.

How do we define it?  How do we place a value on it?  And, what is our responsibility?

As this election draws near, I find my heart is heavy.  All that we’ve been though with Matthew this past year-and-a-half has brought these issues especially close to home.

It saddens me to know that more than 9 out of 10 women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to abort their baby.  More than 9 out of 10 families would rather end their child’s life than have a child like mine.  It saddens me for so many reasons:  These families will never know the special joy of their baby’s sweet smile.  Matthew will not have very many friends or know many others that are like him.  And, as the number of children with Down syndrome declines in our society, so too will the level of tolerance for Matthew, the number of people who have experience with others like him, the number of people who will be comfortable around him, the number of available programs to help him, the amount of research into Down syndrome, etc.

And, when I say that abortion is ending a child’s life, that is truly what I mean.  Scientifically speaking, there is really no dispute left that a “fetus” is alive.  From the moment of conception, a human embryo fulfills every scientific definition of life.  Those who try to deny it find themselves in a difficult, hazy land of trying to “re-define” definitions.

We now hear a lot about the “pre-viable” fetus.  If an infant is not able to survive outside its mother’s womb, is it really a life . . . a baby . . . ?  Let me present an anecdote from my brother:

Suppose my brother was hiking in Zion national park when he came across a nest with some California Condor eggs.  Now, suppose my dear brother, who just loves omlets, decided to cook up these eggs to satisfy his craving.  When held and questioned by the EPA, my brother tried to explain that these eggs were not really life.  The baby Condors inside were nowhere near being able to survive outside the shell, so therefore they were just the potential for life. . .  Do you think this argument would fly?  Probably not.

Additionally, the line between “pre-viable” and “viable” is getting pretty hazy.  Medical advances are able to help premature babies thrive more than ever before.  Babies born earlier and earlier are living and doing very well.  A baby born (or induced) at the same level of prematurity, who happened to have an extra chromosome or simply not be wanted by his mother, may now legally be left to die.  This is called “induction abortion,” and is what our doctors encouraged us to do with Matthew.

But, induction abortions really leave us in a sticky situation.  What do we do with that baby during the minutes or hours that it lives?  If it wasn’t a “life” worthy of protection before it came out of the womb, is he now that he is here, in our arms, breathing, heart beating, blinking at the bright lights?  Is it o.k. to wrap him in a warm blanket or place him in an incubator?  It is o.k. to provide some oxygen to help his labored breathing?  What about a little morphine to ease the pain of his respiratory distress caused by his underdeveloped lungs?  When do we define a child, a “child?”

Senator Barak Obama is undeniably one of the most radical pro-abortion politicians to cross our ballots.  He recognized this conundrum of definitions when he repeatedly voted against the born-alive infant protection act, which would allow these babies to receive some simple medical care.  He was worried, justifiably, that providing care to these infants would recognize them as human life.  Recognizing a “previable” human life as a life could well impact the future of abortions in this country.

Whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – a child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.”

Senator Barak Obama, Senate floor, 2001

“The equal protection cause does not allow somebody to kill a child . . . ”

Mr. Obama voted against it.

Watch this video to see what Obama fought for:

Senator Obama defends his stance in Illinois by saying that there was already legislation in place to “protect” abortion survivors.  Illinois compiled statute 720 ILCS 510/6 states that physicians performing abortions when the fetus is viable must use the procedure most likely to preserve the fetus’ life; must be attended by another physician who can care for a born-alive infant; and must “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as would be required of a physician providing immediate medical care to a child born alive in the course of a pregnancy termination which was not an abortion.”

So . . . let me get this right.  When performing an abortion (by definition, killing the baby,) the physician must use whichever procedure (all of which are designed to end life), least likely to do what they are trying to accomplish?  It doesn’t make any sense.  This statute is full of loop-holes, and is nothing more than pro-abortion politicians trying appease supporters who may be pro-life.  But, we can’t even count on Obama to support the above legislation.

“[A]dding a – an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.

Senator Barak Obama, Senate floor, 2002

I know that recently there has been a lot of speculation and questions about what Senator Obama really said or what he really voted for.  He’s playing an excellent game of politics, side-stepping the real questions and pointing fingers at the other side.  See for yourself at FactCheck.org, a non-partisan website.

The truth is, we live in a society that judges human life, not simply by the fact that a human baby is alive, but by the value we place on that life.  A life that is not wanted by his parents, or who comes at an inconvenient time for her mother, or a life that may have a disability, is not valued.  Therefore, we, as a society that supports legalized abortion through our laws and legislation, say that it is o.k. to end that un-valued life prematurely.

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Why we will be voting for McCain/Palin

I don’t know everything about politics, and I don’t claim to even come close.  I don’t know a whole lot about foreign policy, or economics – but I do know that our media rarely gives us the whole story.  But, I do know that, as an American citizen, I have the privilege and responsibility to elect representatives – people who will represent me – people who have made it their business to know all of those things and to make the big decisions on my behalf.  When someone is making decisions – big decisions – on my behalf, I want that person to have morals and values that align with my own.  Even though I don’t have control (nor do I want to have control) over every decision he or she will make, I know that if my representative is making decisions based on a solid moral foundation, we will be moving in the right direction.

No one person is perfect, and no politician is perfect.  No politician should ever be viewed as a “savior,” or given too much power or importance, because, like us, they are just human.  We have only one Savior, and He is not running for president 2008.

In stark contrast to Obama, McCain and Palin do have that solid moral foundation.  John McCain has a very good pro-life voting record, and states that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.  He is in favor of protecting and strengthening the family rather than “re-defining” it by allowing homosexual marriage.  He opposes embryonic stem cell research.

Governor Palin has proved herself to be an incredible pro-life advocate.  Additionally, she has lived out her values by giving birth to a son with Down syndrome . . . even though she knew he had Down syndrome.  She even continually calls her son a blessing, and says, “Children with special needs inspire a special love.”  I could go on and on, but this post is getting quite long as it is!

This statement is taken directly from the 2008 Republican Platform:

Maintaining The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.

If you are curious to know more about what McCain and Palin stand for, you can visit their web site.

Here is a note from Aaron, who is helping me with this post:

The current Supreme Court is divided.  Five of the Justices are pro-choice, and Four are pro-life.  With the oldest pro-choice justice being 88 years old and others over 70, we are heading into a crucial time in the the battle to overturn Roe vs Wade.  The next president may be responsible for nominating justices that will either turn the tide in favor of the pro-life movement or set it back decades.  We know where each of the candidates stand and our responsibility as Christians to save the lives of the innocent.  Where will you stand?  “Choose ye this day who you will serve . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15

What I Can Not Understand

I recently heard that scientists have discovered a way to effectively eliminate the mosquito population, which would stop the spread of diseases such as malaria and West Nile Virus.  It could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives in Africa, where Malaria is a real and deadly threat.  However, scientists are not going to eliminate the mosquito population, because they don’t know what it would do.  They don’t know the broader impact on the rest of the ecosystem – we don’t know all the species that feed on mosquitoes, or understand the full role of the mosquito on this planet.  This makes sense – eliminating even something as seemingly small as a the mosquito can have an enormous impact.

What does not make sense to me is that we are afraid of eliminating the mosquito population, but not afraid of eliminating the portion of the human population who happen to have an extra chromosome?

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We have a few very dear friends who support Mr. Obama.  These are good, Christian people, with both strong moral values and religious beliefs.  What I have been struggling to understand is, how can they justify their support of this politician in light of their own values?  How can they support a man who opposes such important moral teaching of the Church?  (the Catholic Church has put forth 5 “non-negotiable moral issues:”  Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic Stem-Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Homosexual “Marriage.”  see the voter’s guide for more information.)

My husband, Aaron, has said, “Is that really what you want to stand before God and answer for?  Do you really want to be held responsible for being an accomplice to the murder of millions of babies every year?  How will you explain to God why you stood back and allowed these evil things to occur?”  (Aaron also has some other comments that may be a little strong for this blog.)

To me, being Christian seems absolutely incompatible with being a supporter of Barak Obama.  I welcome your comments.

I do understand that is is difficult to get away from voting strictly along “party lines,” especially if that is the way a person was raised.  We tend to vote the way our parents do . . . but the parties have changed a lot in the past 50 years.  It is our responsibility to carefully evaluate each candidate, and vote in the kind of “change” that this country really needs.  Please vote very, very carefully in November.

If you consider yourself a Catholic or a Christian, and a Democrat, please check out the following link.  There is a book (available on Amazon or Sophia Institute Press) called:

Can a Catholic be a Democrat?  How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion, by David Carlin.

When I told my friend that our new book is called Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?, he shot back, “Can a Catholic be a Republican?”

That’s a good question, since these days both parties endorse policies or engage in activities that contradict some or many Catholic teachings about abortion, poverty, immigration, war and peace, or other issues of life and justice.

But that’s not always been the case.

Indeed, when author David Carlin was a young man, it was scandalous for a good Catholic to be anything but a good Democrat. In the pews, pubs, and union halls of America’s cities, millions of poor European immigrants and their children pledged allegiance to the Church of Rome and the party of FDR.

Also, check out the following (non-partisan) voter’s guides:

Voter’s Guide for Serious Christians

Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics


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14 thoughts on “On Politics: My Main Issue

  1. Amen! Thank you Amy for having the courage to speak these truths. I couldn’t agree with you more and thank you for this well thought-out message.

  2. Amy,I really appreciated this post. You have definately done your homework on these key moral issues. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Aaron and Amy, we are so proud of you! With your degrees, M.D. and P.A., you, more than most, knew what you you were doing. From a medical standpoint you were running against the current- but you have darling, thriving Matthew who is blessing you and both your families with his sweet presence. It is not often one sees a good deed rewarded so immediately. God is blessing you.

  4. Amy,
    Bravo! Thank you for taking what you’ve been given and in turn have shared it apostolically! God bless your sweet family!

  5. Amy,
    Thank you for your beautifully presented argument for life. The kids happened to be looking over my shoulder when I was watching the you tube clip and it became an amazing teaching moment!
    Thanks again!

  6. AMEN!!! Right on the button, Amy! I will send this message of truth to the people I know that are voting for Obama. You have presented the facts wrapped in love……I know this message will make them think. Thank you, Amy and God Bless us all.

  7. Amy I appreciate your compassionate and well argued position. Even though I myself would not abort and believe abortion is wrong I cannot force others to take the same stand as I and as a result would not choose to put into law a law that is based on a belief system. I truly and honestly believe that these fetuses are in fact lives, children that would like in your case, be beautiful and wonderful children that enhance the lives of everyone around them just like any other child would, but many people honestly don’t believe these unborn children are in fact lives…it is their belief…and where do we draw our beliefs that the unborn child is a human, from our Bibles. To change these people’s view would be to change their beliefs, to adopt what the Bible says. And yes there are Christians that also believe that the Bible does not teach that unborn children are indeed human lives…I long for the day that we live in a world where all lives are recognized as equal…but for now in an imperfect world I need to choose a party that most represents the ideals that I believe that Bible has set forward that does the least amount of harm. My moral conscience will not allow me to vote republican because from what I have seen they have mistreated millions of people not only in our own country but abroad and have also said in actions that foreigners are less than human…terrorists are less than human and can/should be mistreated…we have two campaigns that say the same thing but about two different groups of people, unborn children and people from other countries. So I have to look past all that, I need to see what their ideologies are and align myself with the group that best represents what I believe. To me its not about this or that law, or this issue or that issue its about an ideology and I know that for others the republican party best represents what he/she believes. I accept that. God’s hand is in everything, I will vote according to my conscience and will leave everything else in God’s hands. There is nothing that happens outside of God’s will. So whether Democrat or not I will continue to pray that God will lead our nation’s future leader. I apologize for my scattered response and not being as eloquent as you.

  8. I have to say just one thing to Tania. We need to repeal the laws against all murder. They are based on a belief system that says that you do not have the right to stop me from living. Some don’t believe that is true, obviously, because many people continue to do it. I would like to see your justification, based on what you said, that we should not repeal all laws against murder.

    Voting “your conscience” is simply a cop out to say, “I don’t care what God has taught–I can do what I want, and think that my reasoning will convince God.”

  9. Amy, I’ve enjoyed getting to know a little about you, your family, and especially little Matthew on this blog! Thank you for sharing your family and your heart.

    With that said, I feel compelled to address only one thing that you’ve said, and that is: “When someone is making decisions – big decisions – on my behalf, I want that person to have morals and values that align with my own.”

    Well, what if that person doesn’t have the same morals? In that case, shouldn’t you be able to make your own choices? Shouldn’t you be able to follow your heart and make the right life choices for yourself? There are many things, as a gay woman in this country, that I am not allowed to do because our government doesn’t “agree” with my values and morals. Does that make me any less of a person? Because I live my life against your belief system, does that mean that I should be punished? Does that mean that I shouldn’t have the same rights as all other human beings? Does that mean that I shouldn’t have complete control over my own life?

    I personally would rather have a government that would “govern” with laws that allowed me the freedom and choice to live my life as will coincide with my own morals and values, not laws that dictate their own. Don’t I deserve that too?

    If you don’t want to have a gay marriage, don’t. If you don’t agree with abortion, don’t have one. If you don’t agree with hunting, don’t hunt. If you don’t agree with divorce, don’t get one. If you don’t agree with eating meat, then don’t.

    However, imposing restrictions only limits choice. Isn’t “free will” the point of our lives? The option to choose the direction of my own life is too important to vote for someone that would take all choice away.

    When Aaron mentions that “we” have our responsibility as Christians, that doesn’t even account for the billions (with a B) of people that aren’t Christian. Are you saying that the only right view is yours? Are you saying that people shouldn’t have rights if they don’t agree with your morals?

    I don’t say this to “pick” on you, only to foster an open discussion and a little more thinking.

  10. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there’s a reason for separation of Church and State….because our government shouldn’t be run by religion. Would you like a Muslim or Buddhist government? I wouldn’t appreciate a Catholic or Christian government, either.

  11. I would like to respond to Jodi. You state that you want a government that allows you freedom to live your own values, one that would not impose restrictions or the values of someone else.

    If you think about it, you impose your values on others all the time. We all do. Let me give you an example. What if I took your car? You believe that to be stealing, and would report me to the police. But what if I believe it to be sharing and perfectly acceptable? According to your argument, I could tell you “If you believe taking a car is wrong, don’t do it, but don’t stop me from doing it”. The same would apply to driving drunk, polluting the environment, rape, and murder.

    There are certain acts human beings accept as wrong, regardless of any religious beliefs. One of these is the murder or torture of an innocent human being. A society that fails to protect its innocent will fail to survive.

    A free society is not one in which everyone does as he or she pleases but one in which you are free to do what is right. If there were no restrictions on our behavior, we would have absolute chaos; no one would be safe or free. What you describe is license, not freedom.

  12. Pingback: Addressing Many of the Pro-Life Stumbling Blocks « Blessings and Glory

  13. Pingback: Sanctity of Life Sunday | Matthew Nicholas Vawter

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