To the editor:
We know from a recent letter (Endorsement process is open and fair, Oct. 1) that candidates Tollefson, Townsend and Roth have sought and received the endorsement of the Democratic Party in their bid for Bainbridge Island City Council.
I have looked at the voter guide statements for the candidates. Thank you Bainbridge Review for providing them. All of the candidates seem like decent and sincere individuals, good people.
I cannot, unfortunately, as a Catholic vote for Tollefson, Townsend, and Roth. To do so would be tantamount to my approval of what is expected of them: "that they... be with us on the issues that are truly vital," and that means affirming the Democratic Party's plank of abortion on demand.
Abortion is contrary to the moral law, natural law, common law and ethics; it is opposed to the rights of man. I have written previously on how exceedingly difficult it is for a Catholic to condone abortion (see "OK to question...," (March 4) and "hold all politicians to account...," May 10). There are some Catholics who would say "yeah, but" because of a false perception of the totality of human rights. The United States Catholic bishops answer that in their document "Faithful Citizenship" --- "Calls to advance human rights are illusions if the right to life itself is subject to attack."
I addressed the common law aspect of the right to life in Sir William Blackstone's "Commentaries" (Founder said... March 31).
Some might ask, "What is natural law?"
The pagan Roman orator, Cicero (106-43 BC), knew of it: "For there is a true law; right reason. It is in conformity with nature, is diffused among all men, and is immutable and eternal... To replace it with a contrary law is a sacrilege."
Ethics is philosophy, not religion. And it is opposed to abortion. Aristotle, among the foremost of philosophers, opined in his De Generatione Animalium that the embryo does not become human until sometime after conception. That should not be lost upon us. To a pagan philosopher over 2,000 years ago the embryo, not just the fetus, was a "human." To those who are unsure, needing proof of the "person," its "human" nature, ethics tells us that we cannot kill through abortion that which some might think to be only "probably" human; the morally safer course must be followed.
A right to abortion is claimed. Rights are founded in the natural law; and it prohibits abortion. Therefore, no such right. No one disputes that rights are integral to the very nature of our individuality, however, we seem to forget that "limitation" is also a distinct attribute of rights. And limitation becomes determinant when the exercise of my right injures another's rights. The right of the child in the womb to life, to be born, is superior to all other rights of the mother save her own right to life, and here in this last instance the principle of double effect must be applied.
But abortion is the law of the land! Not really. The Supreme Court does not make law. "The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust;" so wrote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." He continued: "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." ... A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. ... To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law." To this Dr. King would add: "Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
With so many citations against abortion it is difficult to see how anyone, not just Catholics, could vote for "any" candidate that asserts a "right" to abortion. Or stand with a Democratic Party that so prominently proclaims its opposition to the moral law, the natural law, and the unalienable right to "life" proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence as "endowed by our Creator."