God bless Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City who wrote a great piece today in the The Catholic Key explaining just what the “Freedom of Choice Act” would do for abortion in the United States and our responsibilities in voting. I’m taking a rather long quote but it’s worth the read:

There is evidence of a very significant reduction of reported abortions, particularly among teens, through the passage of parental involvement laws and the use of ultrasounds. The August, 2008, report of the Alan Guttmacher Institute notes the greatest decline in abortions over the last 30 years is among teens, attributable in large part to the above restrictions, as well as a later initiation of sexual activity. It must be concluded that chastity formation or abstinence education has a positive effect on lowering these rates, as well as enriching the lives of our young men and women.

I was recently asked to comment on claims by a group calling itself Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which says that electing candidates who have permissive or clearly pro-choice stances in support of abortion, but are determined to provide more assistance to poor and vulnerable women and families would actually help to reduce abortions in the United States. This group, I believe has its priorities backwards. It seems unlikely that candidates advocating full access to abortion – which attacks the most vulnerable poor, the unborn – will at the same time have a consistent or principle-based plan for helping other poor people.

It should be noted that the Catholic Church worldwide provides more help in assisting the needy than any other single private agency – religious or secular. At the same time, she operates from the principle that the measure of our charity is first defined by what we do to and for the most vulnerable.

When a candidate pledges to provide “comprehensive sex education” to school children and promises to promote – or to “sign immediately upon taking office” – the Freedom of Choice Act, Catholics and all people of good will have cause to question the sincerity of the candidate’s determination to reduce abortions, when these already existing limits have caused a decrease of more than 100,000 abortions each year. (cf. Michael New-Matthew Bowman, Combined Reductions in Abortions, with data supplied by NARAL Pro-Choice America)

As Archbishop Naumann and I stressed in our recent Pastoral Letter, “Our Moral Responsibility as Catholic Citizens,” we can never vote for a candidate because of his or permissive stand on abortion. At the same time, if we are inclined to vote for someone despite their pro-abortion stance, it seems we are morally obliged to establish a proportionate reason sufficient to justify the destruction of 45 million human persons through abortion. If we learn that our “candidate of choice” further pledges – through an instrument such as FOCA – to eliminate all existing limitations against abortion, it is that much more doubtful whether voting for him or her can ever be morally justified under any circumstance.

Bishop Finn points out in the piece that abortions are down in this country, especially among teens showing that abstinence education does work.

He points out that the Freedom of Choice Act would eliminate:

State abortion reporting requirements in all 50 states

Forty-four states’ laws concerning parental involvement

Forty states’ laws on restricting later-term abortions

Forty-six states’ conscience protection laws for individual health care providers

Twenty-seven states’ conscience protection laws for institutions

Thirty-eight states’ bans on partial-birth abortions

Thirty-three states’ laws on requiring counseling before an abortion

Sixteen states’ laws concerning ultrasounds before an abortion

I have been very pleased the last few months by the number of bishops coming out and saying what needs to be said. Abortion is the biggest evil in this country. You can’t proportionally offset the murder of 40 million unborn babies by talking about food stamps. God bless Bishop Finn.