One thing about being around for awhile is that I am old enough to remember when Joe Biden, (and John Kerry, and Al Gore and Daschle) were prolife.

Most people tend to be prolife, you know, at least in most cases.

They oppose abortion except in three cases: That of incest, rape and deformity. (My more cynical colleagues used to rephrase this “except in three cases: that of their wives, their daughters, and their girlfriends”).

Abortion has pretty well been a disaster for women, because it was legalized at a time when the sexual revolution occurred: So that girls who once felt it was okay to say “no” now were pressured by society to think they “owed” men sex in exchange for dates. At the same time a callus approach to the possibility of pregnancy resulted in many girls not realizing that sex equals babies, and a Playboy attitude taught to the young men meant that too many men no longer will stand by and help them.

The result is that abortion, which was envisioned by the Supreme Court as a moral decision made by a woman and her own doctor (with whom she has a relationship) only after discussion, quickly deteriorated into post sex birth control:  a “drive by” idea: making a woman wait 24 hours is a “hardship”, making a vulnerable girl tell a relative is a “hardship”.

Yes, there are ethical doctors who do abortion, and make sure that the girl is counseled and makes them wait if the girl is not sure, but they are few and far between. Ethical docs quickly they get discouraged at the third result: That of women who use abortion as birth control. Even without considering the life being destroyed, this is not exactly a benign procedure.

And abortion, by making the man an outsider in the pregnancy, resulted in another social problem: Single moms. As one of my teenaged patients told me: I’m the one who got pregnant, so why should he suffer for it? (she went on welfare).

But something else happened, and this to the Democratic party.

Traditionally, the Democrats should have been on the side of the woman, allowing safeguards to prevent women from being pressured into abortions for economic reasons, or by callus parents or boyfriends. I’m happy that Obama is “prolife” and wants these things in place, but my question is: the Democrats have had 40 years to do so, why haven’t  they bothered to do it, and why should we believe you will be different?

Instead, the Democrats all caved in. And the question is why.

Not hard to find out. Forty years ago, the Protestants weren’t in the fight, and Catholics faced a backlash for opposing abortion. At the same time, the elites took over the Democratic party from the broad based coalition of FDR: that of socialist intellectuals and working class, often union workers. The elites had an agenda that included abortion.

So Catholic politicians were given the choice: face opposition in the primaries, and a loss of money from elite groups because of your prolife position, or face the wrath of the Catholic hierarchy.

Alas, this is about the time when the Catholic hierarchy was being battered into accepting “enlightened” approach to priests who erred (i.e. psychological treatment was in mode in the 1970’s and 1980’s for such sexual predators: don’t blame the bishops: check the newspapers and medical journals from back then).

Then there was the naive Cardinal Bernadine’s “seamless garment” idea, which equated opposing  all actions “against life” as being equally serious. This ended up as equating the dismemberment of a baby half born as the same moral decision as opposing the death penalty for the murderer/rapist of nine Filipino nurses (a notorious Chicago murder case).

At the same time, in the name of compassion, Catholic politicians realized that all sins could be forgiven if you spent most of your time promoting compassionate government, which translated as big government programs as the answer for every social problem that used to be taken care of by family or church.

So Biden and the politicians got a pass: as long as they promoted goodies for the poor they were considered good guys.

Oh yes, Biden still opposes partial birth abortion, and taxpayer funding of abortion, but that’s about it.

So don’t expect the pro life issue to be big in the election. The press has decided it is not a big thing in the election. Even if the VP has flip flopped in his beliefs and decided to back his party’s position rather than the two thousand year old beliefs of his church.

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