Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Presidential Election

As I began doing some more research for the upcoming presidential election, I came across an interesting article that took off from a 2002 Illinois Senate discussion.  In his article "Why Obama Really Voted for Infanticide" Andrew C. McCarthy summarizes how our current president added to a discussion about the proposed "Born Alive" bill which discussed what practical steps doctors and nurses should take after a "failed" abortion.  I cite this article as some food for thought as I do not know enough information about who Mr. McCarthy is or what his credentials are.  Yet as food for thought I think it will get your political juices flowing if you choose to read it.

In a moment I will cite a particular excerpt from the Illinois Senate proceedings.  Before doing, I would like to muse a little bit.

First, a lot of our political energies have been spent discussing the upcoming Marriage Amendment.  This in itself is good, especially in our attempts to let the Gospel of Jesus Christ guide our civil laws and constitutions regarding marriage between one man and one woman.  With that stated, we must not forget other key issues at stake in the upcoming election and especially those that center around the right to life itself.  Jesus Himself said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10b).

Second, in my reading of sections of this transcript, it might be overzealous to label our president as a proponent of infanticide.  Senator Obama does state his confidence that a doctor in a room in which a "failed" abortion has taken place would act according to medical practice to provide medical aid for that child.  His particular point relates to the requirement of having a second doctor's opinion about the life of this newly born child.  At the same time I just stated, "it might be overzealous" (I am assuming the best of intentions of Senator Obama) because a law requiring the counsel of another doctor seems like a good and just way to prevent a doctor--who just "failed" in procuring an abortion--to neglect this innocent life.  Senator Obama seems more concerned about the liabilities faced by the doctor than the life of the child.

Third, I lament our two party system in which neither party wholly fits the beautiful teachings of the Catholic faith.  One practical example of this is the fact that many conclude that, because the Church teaches against x, y or z, the Church endorses the opposite party.  To illustrate this clearer, consider the fact that the Church teaches against abortion.  Many in our society conclude that the Church subsequently rejects Democrats and supports Republicans with respect to pro-life issues.  Many point to the Church for limiting who to vote for.  Yet the Church teaches against abortion in China, Germany and around the world regardless of what political system is in play in various countries.  She would exhort the faithful not to vote for a pro-choice candidate whether there was three, four or fifteen different political parties in a democratic form of government.  I hope that people who criticize the Church and her leaders for speaking out against moral depravity in our country realize the onus should be on our government, not our Church, for putting us voters in sticky situations with voting.

With this stated, here is an excerpt from the transcript which shows some troubling positions held by our current president:

OBAMA: Yeah. Just along the same lines. Obviously, this is an issue that we’ve debated extensively both in committee an on the floor so I — you know, I don’t want to belabor it. But I did want to point out, as I understood it, during the course of the discussion in committee, one of the things that we were concerned about, or at least I expressed some concern about, was what impact this would have with respect to the relationship between the doctor and the patient and what liabilities the doctor might have in this situation. So, can you just describe for me, under this legislation, what’s going to be required for a doctor to meet the requirements you’ve set forth?
SENATOR O’MALLEY: First of all, there is established, under this legislation, that a child born under such circumstances would receive all reasonable measures consistent with good medical practice, and that’s as defined, of course, by the … practice of medicine in the community where this would occur. It also requires, in two instances, that … an attending physician be brought in to assist and advise with respect to the issue of viability and, in particular, where … there’s a suspicion on behalf of the physician that the child … may be [viable,] … the attending physician would make that determination as to whether that would be the case…. The other one is where the child is actually born alive … in which case, then, the physician would call as soon as practically possible for a second physician to come in and determine the viability.
SENATOR OBAMA: So — and again, I’m — I’m not going to prolong this, but I just want to be clear because I think this was the source of the objections of the Medical SocietyAs I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child — however way you want to describe it — is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?
SENATOR O’MALLEY: In the first instance, obviously the physician that is performing the procedure would make the determination. The second situation is where the child actually is born and is alive, and then there’s an assessment — an independent assessment of viability by … another physician at the soonest practical … time.
SENATOR OBAMA: Let me just go to the bill, very quickly. Essentially, I think as — as this emerged during debate and during committee, the only plausible rationale, to my mind, for this legislation would be if you had a suspicion that a doctor, the attending physician, who has made an assessment that this is a nonviable fetus and that, let’s say for the purpose of the mother’s health, is being — that — that — labor is being induced, that that physician (a) is going to make the wrong assessment and (b) if the physician discovered, after the labor had been induced, that, in fact, he made an error, or she made an error, and, in fact, that this was not a nonviable fetus but, in fact, a live child, that that physician, of his own accord or her own accord, would not try to exercise the sort of medical measures and practices that would be involved in saving that child. Now, it — if you think there are possibilities that doctors would not do that, then maybe this bill makes sense, but I — I suspect and my impression is, is that the Medical Society suspects as well that doctors feel that they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations and that, essentially, adding 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. Now, if that’s the case — and — and I know that some of us feel very strongly one way or another on that issue — that’s fine, but I think it’s important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if these are children who are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they’re looked after.  (Emphasis McCarthy's)
(The transcript from this senate discussion can be found here.)  The moral of the story: vote well November 6th!

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