Catholic politicians who actually have their heads on straight about abortion? Now that’s news! I am not really familiar with Reps. Cao and Melancon, but they certainly are a nice change from the Catholic politicians who say, “I’m personally opposed to abortion BUT…” (With my emphases and comments):
By Kathleen Gilbert
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, August 4, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Like his fellow conservative delegates from Louisiana, one U.S. Representative has vowed not to support Obama’s health care overhaul. But Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-New Orleans) says that his primary motivation stems from a desire to preserve his own soul from the danger of participating in the destruction of “thousands of innocent lives” [A Catholic politician concerned for his soul–that’s refreshing. Would that all the others would follow his lead.] that are threatened by the vast expansion of abortion embedded in the bill.
“At the end of the day if the health care reform bill does not have strong language prohibiting the use of federal funding for abortion, then the bill is really a no-go for me,” Cao, the first Vietnamese-American Congressman and a Catholic, told the Times-Picayune this weekend.
Cao once studied to become a Jesuit priest before turning to a career in politics.
“Being a Jesuit, I very much adhere to the notion of social justice,” Cao said. “I do fully understand the need of providing everyone with access to health care, but [BUT] to me personally, I cannot be privy to a law that will allow the potential of destroying thousands of innocent lives.” [This is a dilemma faced by most Catholics today: we want to support all social justice causes, with abortion being the greatest social justice cause of all… but too often, even among Catholics, the two are opposed. Abortion is left out of social justice. And we get accused of being ignorant, narrow-minded “single-issue” voters who don’t truly care for social justice. Rep. Cao makes it clear that he cannot be accused of such ignorance. In that, he speaks for most of us.]
“I know that voting against the health care bill will probably be the death of my political career,” he continued, “but [BUT] I have to live with myself [he has to follow his conscience], and I always reflect on the phrase of the New Testament, ‘How does it profit a man’s life to gain the world but to lose his soul.'” [St. Thomas More would be pleased.]
The abortion mandate may not be the only thing preventing Cao’s support for the bill: he also told the newspaper that he is wary of the formation of a public health insurance option, which Cao believes could end up crippling the private insurance market and facilitating a “government takeover” of health insurance.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon [also a Catholic], a Louisiana Blue Dog Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, says he voted against the committee’s version of the bill Friday night due to in part to his concerns over the abortion mandate.
“I am concerned that the public option, as designed, would unfairly undercut anything the private sector could offer,” Melancon said. “As someone who is personally pro-life and represents a deeply pro-life constituency, I am also concerned that this bill does not do enough to ensure taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion.” [No BUT about it.]
Other Catholic politicians should take a lesson from these two men about when and where to use the word BUT.