Notre Dame Disgrace
And the Kmiec/Kaveny embarrassments.


President Obama has said he will repeal this protection for the consciences of doctors and nurses.

Douglas Kmiec and Notre Dame’s Cathleen Kaveny are among the Catholic professors who told us that President Obama would actually lower the number of abortions. I hope that they are counting. It is certainly difficult at this point to see any obstacle to abortion that President Obama will allow to stand. The Kmiec/Kaveny tangle of illusions underlies Notre Dame’s rationale for inviting the most extreme proponent of abortion in American presidential history to receive the university’s highest honor.

A defense of slavery would have barred him. His support of harsh offenses against human beings in the womb does not disqualify him?

Profs. Kmiec and Kaveny used to argue that President Obama’s reductions in poverty will bring abortions down. That proposition does not seem empirically valid. Even the poorest households in our big cities spend much more money each year than they report as income. They have far more money at their disposal than the poor of two generations ago, when abortions were far more rare. Poverty is not so acute today, but abortions in some sizeable areas — in Washington, D.C., for example — now exceed live births.

Moreover, existing abortion statistics in America are skewed by the fact that black women make up about 11 percent of the national female population, but have more than 36 percent of all abortions in America. Put another way, of the 47 million children aborted since 1973, some 16 million have been black. If those children had been allowed to live, the black population would today be about 50 percent larger than it is — about 49 million blacks instead of 33 million.

Think of the talents that have been lost. Think about the lost contributions to their own families and to the nation. Think how much stronger our Social Security funds would be today, if all those 47 million aborted (of all races) had come of age, and were creating new wealth, and paying into Social Security.

Taking the black abortion rate and abortion numbers out of the equation, it would be interesting to check the hypothesis that a reduction in poverty reduces abortion. Is it poverty that makes the difference? Or out-of-wedlock pregnancies? Or something else?

What proportion of abortions among whites and Asians, for example, coincides with poverty? Have the numbers or proportions of abortion among the middle and more highly educated class gone up since 1973? Do fairly well-off women at Boston College or the University of Notre Dame have more abortions today than they did three decades ago? Getting people out of poverty, while good for many other purposes, does not necessarily decrease abortions.

Yet even if there were evidence of a relationship between a reduction of poverty and a reduction of abortions, President Obama plainly does not have as his primary priority reducing poverty. That is not the direction in which his economic actions point. Quite the reverse; every economic move he has made since his inauguration seems to point to the constriction of economic activity, loss of entrepreneurial confidence, and punishment for job-creators, investors, and entrepreneurs. There can be no new employees, alas, without employers; no new jobs without new capital investments.

Again, one of President Clinton’s great achievements was to sign the Welfare Reform Act, which set time limits to welfare benefits and demanded work from the fit and the able. Welfare rolls soon dropped precipitously in most states (down by one-third or more). Morale among the newly working population, observers noted, was far higher than before. Those who previously felt no pride in being on welfare experienced real pride in their new economic independence.

President Obama promises to have that act repealed. And that will help morale, reduce dependency, and lower the number of abortions? Reason and experience counsel skepticism.

Another argument the Kmiec/Kaveny school produced in support of Obama is that he will end the war in Iraq, which they seem to think was illegal and, on balance, evil. Well, as far as the facts go, it appears that President Bush’s war in Iraq produced a hard-won victory (not necessarily long-lasting) over the die-hard followers of Saddam, “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” Iranian infiltrators, and other assorted Yemeni and Syrian homicide bombers and terrorists. The depredations these fascist forces committed against democratic Iraqis finally ignited revulsion among their victims. A fierce rebellion against al-Qaeda caught fire among their former allies. These rebels joined with the largely Shiite democratic parties and supported the Americans in the final stages of this precarious victory.