Still on Obama and Abortion

In 2004 shortly before the American elections, this current Pope, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger authored and tactically deployed a letter to the American bishops warning Catholics that voting for any politician that supports the 1973 US supreme court judgement Roe vs Wade or back abortion rights of women would make them morally culpable in the sin of abortion. That is: there is a mortal sin inherent in voting for the presidential candidate Senator John Kerry and the democrats because they espouse women’s freedom of choice. To show that he meant business, he further asked the bishops to strip such catholic politicians of the right to take Holy Communion at Mass. That is why up till today Obama’s VP nominee Senator Joe Biden, John Kerry and Speaker Nancy Pelosi do not eat Jesus Christ at Mass. That letter with its weird logic appealed also to evangelicals and other firebrand Christians across America. And it was influential in returning President George Bush to power. Since Ratzinger was speaking about how the people become responsible for the actions of those they choose to support, going by that weird logic, one is tempted to wildly claim as well that the pope should consider himself morally culpable in the many sins of George Bush as the President of the United States as from 2004: whether it is the ones in Iraq, or Guantenamo Bay or his endorsement of torture as an instrument of state policy or his worldwide assault on civil liberties. What is more, since the 8 years of President Bush, has the number of abortions in America reduced? No.

Paul Kosoki’s letter published in The Guardian of Friday October 17, 2008 like the Ratzinger’s is a cause for concern. His statements that “An estimated 1.3 million innocent children are murdered each year in the U.S. through the Obama adopted policy of abortion.…Obama is a false prophet who preaches ‘change’ and ‘hope’ while pursuing a culture of death” can only find respectability in extremist or authoritarian circles. [Note his use of “Obama adopted” policy of abortion not “the US constitution guaranteed” policy of abortion] Apparently, his notion of human rights and freedoms – freedom of choice, in particular, that is freedom to abort or not to abort is founded on ignorance and a defective sense of what is morality. Freedom is the very basic condition of humanity. Without it there is nothing called virtue or vice, there are no heroes or villains, no good or bad. There is no morality. I support women’s freedom of choice. But I don’t support them using that freedom to do abortion. But the ‘freedom to’ should be there. Even more, were I a woman in the labour ward, and I was told conditions have reached a critical state in which I’d have to choose between my baby’s life or myself, I am the type who would without hesitation ask that my baby should live instead. Yet I am a staunch defender of freedom of women to abort which is part and parcel of freedom of choice which flows forth from human freedoms and rights in general. We can only appreciate our mothers more nowadays because we know they have the right to have flushed us down the toilet but they just refused to. You can only say someone’s actions are kind because you know the person has the option to be unkind. In a society where everybody is kind, it is either nobody is kind or there is nothing called kindness. As a friend of mine argued during a debate on prescribing dress codes for university students: “nonsense,” she said bluntly: “How would you be able to separate the decent girls from the indecent ones if there is no freedom to dress anyhow? The good girls would always use that freedom to dress decently while the bad ones would not. But in an atmosphere where everyone is being forced to conform to a dressing code, this would be difficult to know. You’ll just be thinking everyone is decent, everyone is good.” If everyone is decent then, there is nothing called decency.

Women’s freedom of choice is what every being that is human should defend not only Obama or the democrats or liberals. And if for instance a woman uses her own freedom to be aborting babies, it is utterly inappropriate to blame those who guarantee that freedom just like Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter did or Paul Kosoki’s has done. It is like blaming the Constitution for assuring our freedom of speech because someone else was always using his own for slander, insults and curses. Or it is like the angels saying ‘God’ is morally culpable for all the evils in the world because he gave human beings freedoms. He should have made them robots, dundees, or yes men. Of course without freedom there is no temptation. There is no evil.

Written by
Damola Awoyokun
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