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Democrats support right to choose

Brittany Dunn-Pirio | Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Dear Mr. Whichard (“Catholics and Liberals,” Sept. 18),

The Democratic Party supports the right of a woman to choose whether or not to abort a pregnancy. There is an important difference between this and advocating abortion. The position is that a woman has this right and should have the resources to abort or not abort a pregnancy; we pray she would choose not to do so. Furthermore, we work to prevent abortions through programs like Planned Parenthood. Most of the work of these organizations consists in providing education and resources to avoid unwanted pregnancies and situations where a mother would be unable to provide for her child.

It is not a “government take-over” for public policy to address the concerns of poverty, hunger, homelessness, etc. By your own interpretation of Church teaching, the government should help accomplish what individuals cannot do by themselves. People are still poor and hungry in our nation of plenty and this is a testament to the fact that efforts on the individual level are not enough to address poverty. Our government is a representative democracy and thus it is through government that we can address the underlying structural problems that perpetuate poverty. The efforts of private individuals and organizations should also be valued, but the government can and should do more to help “the widow, the orphan and the stranger.”

We find it very hard to accept the idea that the religious freedom of Catholics is being “attacked” and “dismantled.” This was true in the past when Catholic immigrants were publicly disparaged because of their faith, but America has since become a more tolerant nation (though not perfect) and Catholics no longer face such persecution. We think the government should find some means of exempting Catholic institutions from the provision that requires they provide contraceptives to employees, one that still allows those employees free access to this care. Yet, the way to accomplish this goal is through continuing political and legal processes that don’t require manufactured suffering.

Finally, we should all take the time to thank God we live in a country where our individual convictions have political power.

Brittany Dunn-Pirio
Sept. 24