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Last February, Frances Kissling, president for the last 25 years of “Catholics for a Free Choice,” a pro-abortion lobby which specializes in pretending to be Catholic, “retired” and will begin a fellowship at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Her successor as president (and virtually sole member) of the group, Jon O’Brien, paid tribute to her by saying, “Someone at this tribute just had to say it. Frances Kissling is a pain in the - - -.”
Undeterred by the compliment, Kissling, said, “If I wasn’t such a pain in the - - - , no one would pay attention to me.” I see. It’s all about her getting attention.
Well, recently Ms. Kissling wrote a piece for Salon.com entitled, “Why I won’t stay silent anymore.” I found this assertion remarkable. Here’s a professional loudmouth (and cheerleader for the abortion industry), heading a “group” which is little more than a fax machine and advertising budget for the abortion industry, who claims to have been quiet all these years.
The subtitle was “By upholding the ban on ‘partial birth’ abortion, the Supreme Court has injected rigid Catholic teaching into law. That’s a crime against the Constitution and women.” Turns out she’s been silent up to now about partial-birth abortion, because in her words, “it was a no-win proposition.” “Rational arguments about protecting women’s health...were simply too abstract to compete with even a measured and accurate description of what happens during this procedure.” Yes, the facts of vacuuming the brains out of an infant’s skull (what Kissling primly calls “piercing the skull so that the head can pass safely (!) through the cervix”) do detract from what’s really important: protecting the freedom to choose such a horror. The health and safety of the woman, only marginally affected, if at all, by the ban on partial birth abortion, are all that matters to Kissling. Unborn babies are nothing to be concerned about.
She admits: “Let’s face it: No abortion procedure is aesthetically pleasing.” Is that aesthetically, or ethically?
“I,” she says, “like most people, would prefer not to think about how abortions are performed.” Well, Frances, as the founding president of the National Abortion Federation (and before that the director of an abortion clinic in Pelham, N.Y.), I’m sure it’s unpleasant to think about the details of what you’ve been selling all these years. Sometimes, though, the devil is in the details.
In some ways, it little matters what she thinks about it. It’s really not about her or her pretended silence or her actual silence about the unborn lives she’s helped snuff out or even what the Supreme Court thinks about it or what she thinks about them. What ultimately matters for any Christian, myself included, is what God thinks. As Catholics, we believe that when we die we will be faced with God’s judgment. ‘‘The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’’ says, “Everyone, according to how he has lived, will either be filled with life or damned for eternity.”
Judging for myself, and realizing that it’s never too late to repent, I’m glad that I won’t stand in Frances Kissling’s shoes at the Last Judgment, even if Planned Parenthood and Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute think she’s just swell. At the Last Judgment, God will be the one unable to be silent any more.
Dwight Duncan is a professor at Southern New England School of Law. He holds degrees in both civil and canon law.