President Obama made his commencement speech at Notre Dame University today. I did not watch the speech, but I did read the transcript. I used to believe that I am in the minority on the issue of abortion. But, a recent Gallup poll was released and for the first time since the question was asked the majority of people regard themselves as pro-life, but the dichotomy being that they felt it should be legal. My opposition to Roe V. Wade has more to do with states rights than abortion in and of itself. I don’t believe that the federal government has any right to make the decision, this is a state issue. I would never have one; but as a practical woman, I realize that it will happen regardless of the legality of it. Therefore, it needs to be safe.
That being said, the real opposition was not to abortion in and of itself, it is about the Catholic Church and the mixed messages it is sending. One of the main tenets of the Catholic faith is the respect of life; from conception to natural death. The Catholic Church is very clear about this, there is no ambiguity. The deeds of President Obama in no way respect that. He has a 100% rating from NARAL – Pro Choice America. Very few politicians have that rating, so obviously it isn’t all that easy to get. President Obama is also seen as a cheerleader for stem cell research that is funded by the federal government. President Obama’s record is one that does not respect life at all stages. There is no other way to say it.
The Catholic archdiocese has made it clear who can and cannot receive honorary degrees from any Catholic University. The President doesn’t fit into this definition. I have a close friend who is Catholic, went to a Catholic university and is raising his children as Catholics. I spoke with him about it; while I did attend a Jesuit University, I am not catholic. So, I decided to get a point of view from someone who has more of a stake in this than I do. He told me that he was fine with the President speaking there as long as the topic wasn’t raised. Well, that didn’t happen.
These are his words: “…So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women." But, his actions and the policies that he has advocated have not lived up to these words. That is the real issue. He has never taken any stance limiting abortions; nor does he have a legislative history of funding adoptions and giving counseling to women who may easily be swayed into putting the child up for adoption and making some infertile couple’s dream of a family come true.
This issue has been so badly politicized that I am not sure it will ever be solved. My own feelings aside; I understand why some Catholics who adhere to the tenets of their faith are disappointed in the decision to allow the President to receive an honorary degree. It is saying that a main tenet of the faith can be compromised. We are at a point in our history that some really need their faith to help get through these troubled times. One year, at my alma mater, the graduating class decided to have Billy Joel give the commencement speech and it turned into a big deal due to Only the Good Die Young; a song about a Catholic girl named Virginia who isn’t living it up. We ended up with Maya Angelou. Boy, I guess that times have changed since I graduated huh?