Politics and When Does Life Begin?
On July 16, 2000, on Meet the Press, the late Tim Russert asked Al Gore “When do you think life begins?”
Gore: I favor the Roe v. Wade approach but let me just say, Tim--
Russert: Which is what? When does life begin?
Gore: Let me just say, I did change my position on the issue of federal funding and I changed it because I came to understand more from women--women think about this differently than men.
Russert: But you were calling fetuses innocent human life and now you don’t believe that life begins at conception. I’m just trying to find out, when do you believe life begins?
Gore: Well, look the Roe v. Wade decision proposes an answer to that question--
Russert: Which is?
The news stories that followed contended that Russert’s approach reflected his “Catholic bias”. Interestingly, Brian Williams, also Catholic, explained of Russert that Catholicism was his base, never his bias.
During the recent Saddleback forum, Pastor Rick Warren asked basically the same question to both Obama and McCain. Obama answered that “whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.” McCain said life begins at conception.
One question..two different answers. At this moment on the question of life, stark differences emerged from these two men both of whom would like to be the next president of America, the land of the free and home of the brave. Their respective voting records bears this out. Obama’s 100% pro-abortion voting record shows he doesn’t give a flip about life in the womb. Obama claims to be Christian, yet his pro-abortion votes mocks Almighty God’s Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”. He said if one of his daughters became pregnant he wouldn’t want her “punished” for her mistake. For over 20 years, McCain has racked up a consistent pro-life voting record, excepting the one on stem cells.
This past Sunday, Obama’s VP nominee, Sen.Joe Biden, a Catholic, was interviewed by Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press the same venue where Nancy Pelosi made the remarks that earned her the rebuke of dozens of bishops. Brokaw asked Biden, "As a Roman Catholic, when does life begin?"
Biden said that he believes as a Catholic that life begins at conception, but for him it was a personal and private issue. Brokaw challenged Biden further: "But if you, you believe that life begins at conception, and you've also voted for abortion rights..." Biden responded that his strong pro-abortion record can nevertheless be squared with the Catholic faith. At that point Biden contradicted his supposed adherence to the Church’s teaching that life begins at conception invoking St. Thomas Aquinas to argue that there is a “debate” within the Church about the question when life begins.
Biden, to justify his support for abortion, Biden pulled a Pelosi who on the same show, invoked St. Augustine to support her abortion stance.
As a response to Pelosi’s erroneous statements, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops published fact sheet directly challenging "those who say this (Catholic) teaching (on abortion) has changed or is of recent origin."
The document quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law" (No. 2271).
The fact sheet explains the Church's consistent teaching on abortion as an intrinsically evil act that can never be morally right, and provides scientific evidence that "conception produces a new living being" and that "this individual is, at the outset, distinctively human, with the inherent and active (life) potential to mature into a human fetus, infant, child and adult."
"Given the scientific fact that a human life begins at conception, the only moral norm needed to understand the Church's opposition to abortion is the principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with the respect due to a human person," the document concludes.
For those who prefer scientific fact rather than a theoretical answer to the question of when life begins, one was given back in 2000 when Russert first asked it of Al Gore.....
“Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology state that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being.” C.Ward Kischer, Emeritus Professor of Anatomy and Specialist in Human Embryology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.