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Declan McCullagh photographer

Declan McCullagh photographer

Alternet has a post you ought to take a look at. It’s about abortion. Yes, THAT subject again. It is about the campaign being run by the USCCB to fight the passage of a bill not yet in Congress. The bill is the Freedom of Choice Act.

Conservative Catholics and no doubt other right wing religious groups find this legislation threatening and of course are getting ready for another fear driven fight over it. The did their best to urge their members to not vote for Obama because of his pro-choice position.

The fact of the matter is,  most Catholics ignore this sort of thing. They voted, for instance, for Obama to the tune of 54%. What is worse, is that internal polling by the USCCB turns up the fact that 9 out of 10 Catholics support the right to choose, believing that there are valid reasons for allowing abortion in at least some cases.

The hardliners, of course can allow no such exceptions, since their logic collapses if they do. They are also, for the most part silent on punishment as well. If abortion is murder, then the penalties for murder must apply. In fact, it is clearly premeditated, so only the severest penalties would be appropriate.  Only the most rabid of anti-choice people are willing to go that far, but of course, by failing to, they lose the argument.

A walk around the forums uncovers that nobody on the conservative side has a nice thing to say about Obama. There is to them, still only one issue, abortion. It is all talk about who in the administration is “pro-abortion.” Of course, nobody really is pro-abortion. People are pro-choice, and that is hugely different.

The writer of the piece at Alternet is president of Catholics for Choice. He makes the important point, that if we could eliminate the fear tactics and get on with some meaningful discussion, we might actually be able to work on the problem we all should see as foremost: what can we do to help reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies? What can we do to find solutions to unwanted pregnancies that are short of abortion?

Sex education is a huge component in this of course. It is universally considered a major key to reducing the number of teens and young adults who find themselves in the situation where abortion becomes an alternative to examine. I am saddened, that the Roman Catholic church cannot explore this means of addressing the problem, since at least from the prospective of the radical right, any discussion of contraception is unacceptable.

In this, Catholicism has of course painted itself into a corner. And although again, most Catholics use contraception with no thought to the Vatican position, or with due thought, the conservative element in the Church seems to be the one in charge now and for the foreseeable future.

That pretty much leaves them out the of mix, at least publicly, though no doubt many fine Roman Catholics work quietly and effectively with other Christians to reduce the number of abortions by improving sex education.

The Alternet article serves to remind us all that the minority is vocal but they hardly carry the day. Rational thoughtful and compassionate middle of the roaders and progressives and liberals, on the other hand, do have the actual votes. It might be worth reminding your congresspersons of that when the Freedom of Choice Act comes up once more.

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